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Workshop: Capturing an Owl in Flight using Pen & Wash

Filmed live on 22nd Sept '20, join Liz Chaderton for a 2hrs+ Exclusive Workshop to put your dip-pen (or cola pen from the recent Arty Class) through its paces and capture the flight of an owl.

Pen and wash is a wonderful way of working. It is one of the oldest forms of illustration and is always popular for journaling and drawing everyday scenes, illustration, through to highly finished works of art. The combination of ink and watercolour brings strength, contrast and delicate transparency together in one place. The lines define details and give structure while delicate watercolour adds tone and colour. The sum of both together should mean that impact of the final image is greater than either on their own.

Many artists use fine liners or technical pens . Though they are convenient, they tend to lack character. Old fashioned dip pens, used with Indian ink bring unpredictability and excitement - along with the possibility of blots and scratches. Cola pens can produce a wonderful range of marks and lines, from thick heavy black to needle fine.

In this workshop you will join Liz Chaderton, to draw a Siberian Eagle owl in flight, using waterproof Indian ink to first sketch the bird and then adding washes of watercolour to bring it to life. You will learn how to manipulate the pen to get a full range of lines and how to use hatching and more stylised lines to add tone. You will learn what to leave out, as well as what to put in. Once your drawing is dry, we will add wet in wet washes to add movement and energy, ending up with a contemporary painting of a timeless bird. The reference photo is a copyright free image from Pixabay and can be found here: .

All these skills can be applied to any subject from portraiture to landscape. Warning: You may find you become hooked on cola pens!

You can watch the video of the live session by clicking the unlocked video below - or watch for free via our Patreon platform if you are at the applicable level. You can also unlock it below by purchasing it on the artists shop here:

See Workshop Reference picture and recommended Arty Class materials below.

Workshop Video (watch on Patreon or purchase here)

(If you have paid to unlock the video but still can't see it showing, please contact us)

Materials required:

  • A cola pen - if you could not join Liz on 15 Sept, you can readily make this at home watching the film on YouTube. If you prefer you can use an ordinary artist's dip pen, but you may find you cannot achieve as much variation in your line. Don't let that put you off. It will make you more creative!

  • Waterproof Indian Ink (black or sepia). Please check it is waterproof as otherwise you may end  up with a muddy puddle after adding watercolour.

  • A shallow container for the ink

  • A sheet of watercolour paper approximately 50x45cm. This can be Hot pressed or Not. It should be a minimum of 140lb. If you have heavy weight cartridge paper, that would also work, as we will not be using a huge amount of water.

  • Watercolour paint - Liz used French Ultramarine, Burnt Sienna, Alizarin Crimson, Quin gold. You are welcome to decide your own palette

  • Palette and medium size round brush (size 8-10)

  • Two water pots, small spray bottle

  • Kitchen towel

  • HB pencil and eraser


Paintings submitted:



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