I believe sketching and painting to be one of the greatest joys of life and one which is increasingly seen as being beneficial to our mental health in this modern, highly technological and stressful life.

Although it can also be hard work in that it requires a degree of concentration on the matter in hand, it depends at what level one is working.

At it’s simplest, the only materials needed are a piece of paper and a pencil – from there it is a natural step to progress to sheets of paper or a sketchbook which means you can keep all your sketches together. Then it is possible to try drawing in ink or adding colour to add another dimension to your work. Exploring the world of coloured pencils, pastels or paints is absorbing and exciting. My own preference is for watercolour.

For beginners, once they have overcome their fear of the blank page, the greatest problem seems to be what to sketch. The answer to that is absolutely anything. It depends on your individual interests. It could be as simple as a thimble or as challenging as an industrial landscape. It may be your garden or a plate of cakes – it doesn’t matter. Living in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds region of the UK, my interests tend to lie with landscapes although I try to do other things as well.

One positive aspect of our highly technological world is that the budding sketcher can quickly discover they are not alone. The internet reveals there are many people willing to share their efforts and pass on tips about the use of materials thus providing endless inspiration. Also one soon finds out that the sketching community really is world wide. It always amazes me that there are others living thousands of miles away who share the same passions.

I hope this and other websites will encourage you to pick up a pencil and a piece of paper and begin to make your mark.