Pen, watercolour, and rain on paper

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Ian Fennelly is an artist and more specifically an urban sketcher who loves to make art in busy locations while looking at buildings and street furniture.

Ian has always been drawn to the urban environment; where people interact with the busy spaces that surround them. He draws people without actually putting them in his works - partly because they never stay still. However, he likes drawing the spaces they’ve been in, or the cobbles they’ve walked on, and the windows they’ve looked through.

His process begins with a painted wash to break up the space in front of him. This establishes the broad shapes of his composition.

"This is a very emotional part of the process as you are dealing with color which affects us all in different ways. Watercolor paint is perfect for this part of the process as they soften easily and create a wonderful layering effect which enables me to build up tones and glazes of color. Then I work on top of the color with brush pens which adds depth and tonal value to the image. Then I use liner makers to add texture and detail. This is a big part of the creative journey as recording the detail of an urban scene forces you to look and notice things. This brings in the very human element of simply being out on location and fully experiencing and enjoying the world around you.

Finally, if I am lucky, it will be complete. In between all this, I'm constantly jumping around, bouncing up and down, nipping to the toilet, or buying a coffee and cake. I tend not to sit still, so the angles can change. If a car or van parks up in front of me, the choice is to draw through it or move around it – either way you have to get fully involved in the scene, both physically and imaginatively."

Ian's urban sketches typically take around 2 – 3 hours to complete. He used to be a lot quicker but he notices more things now. "The more you look, the more you see, the more you understand."

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Photographize granted permission to feature photos by Ian Fennelly


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