Pen and Wash Sketching: What to Add or Take Out

Enhance or simplify your sketch by using artistic license to take out unwanted elements or add additional features, to balance the composition or to enhance the sketch. You can create a focal point to draw the eye into the sketch, learn about rule of thirds for landscape sketching, how to frame elements in your sketch by adding surrounding trees. Bring your photographs on any subject you prefer. Demonstrations on techniques both class and individual. All skill levels.


  • Materials and Techniques. Comprehensive class demonstrations of waterproof pens and use of watercolours, either from pan or tube.
  • Techniques for using various brushes demonstrated. Using coloured pencil technique demonstations
  • Sketch books. Importance of size and quality of paper.
  • Perspective & Focal Points: landscape, people and buildings.
  • Sketching from Photographs or Sketching on Location. What to leave in or take out. Simplify sketches. Work quickly to retain spontaneity.
  • Class and Individual Demonstrations.
  • Class Appraisal: Completed work to be appraised by tutor.

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Understand the techniques of pen outline with watercolour wash.
  2. Learn the techniques for representing trees, skies, water and people.
  3. Identify focal points in a scene, to enhance the sketch.
  4. Understand the principles of perspective.
  5. Understand how to translate photographs into sketches.
  6. Add or eliminate elements of a photograph to compose a sketch.
  7. Use tonal values to maximise the sketch impact.
  8. Techniques for sketching on location, as well as from photographs.


  • Bring some photographs, perhaps taken from a holiday, with various elements in them, such as landscape showing trees, water, skies or people.
  • HB Pencil or clutch pencil 0.5mm HB
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Black Pigment Liners or Drafting Pens, water resistant 0.05mm NOT 0.5mm (Staedtler is one brand). Available from art shops.
  • White plastic eraser
  • Grey kneadable eraser
  • Watercolour Sketchbook OR Cold Pressed Watercolour 300GSM Paper (Please do not bring Cartridge or Drawing Paper to paint on)
  • Compact Sketchers' Pocket Box Set (or similar)
  • If you have tube watercolours, bring these as well. Do not bring stacked palettes in round container
  • Water Brushes. Have reservoir for water and nylon brush. Available at Art Shops – OR bring a variety of various sized sable brush (NOT Golden Sable with red handles) Sizes 3,5 useful. Do not purchase ‘Royal Aquaflow’ Brushes or Brush Set
  • Flat square brushes are useful for larger areas of wash
  • Small box Tissues

Sketchbooks are available in all shapes and sizes. Approx 20 × 13 cms good size or A5. Use a sketchbook with GOOD QUALITY 300GSM cold pressed watercolour paper.

Useful watercolours are:

  • Cadmium Lemon
  • Cadmium Yellow
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Cadmium Red
  • Permanent Rose
  • Alizarin Crimson
  • Winsor Violet
  • Burnt Umber
  • Burnt Sienna
  • French Ultramarine
  • Cerulean Blue
  • Sepia
  • Permanent Magenta
  • Naples Yellow

Coloured Pencils
If you would like to use coloured pencil, bring a selection of colours. It does not matter if they are water soluble or not. These can be used for sketching, or in conjunction with watercolours and colours can also be purchased individually.

Some useful green colours are:

  • Sap Green
  • Olive Green
  • Pine Green
  • Cedar Green
  • Apple Green

Black waterproof pens and waterbrushes will be available to purchase.

IMPORTANT: Materials cost is not included in a course fee. In the event of a course being cancelled WEA cannot be held responsible for the purchase of any course materials. We therefore suggest you purchase your materials closer to the time of the course commencing.


  • The Art Scene on campus at UNSW Art & Design (formerly UNSW COFA), Ph: 02 8815 1569. Cnr Oxford St. and Greens Rd Darlinghurst.
  • Oxford Art Supplies 221-223 Oxford Streets, Darlinghurst, Ph: 02 9360 4066.
  • Bondi Road Art Supplies 179 Bondi Road Bondi. Ph: 9387 3746.
  • Eckersley’s Art and Craft Store 93 York Street Sydney, Ph: 02 9299 4151. Also at North Sydney, St Leonards, Chatswood, Caringbah, Parramatta & more.

Enquire at your art shop for a Student’s Discount with your WEA course receipt.

This course has no current classes. Please join the waiting list by clicking .