This is an illustration I did from a photograph I snapped on my iPhone during the 2011 Catalina flying season. We’d flown in from another airshow in Switzerland and landed at Adolf Würth Airport in Schwäbisch Hall, a very pretty town about a two-hour train journey from Stüttgart (Germany). It was the late afternoon of a very hot summers day and the airshow had just come to an end. We were duly transported from the aeroplane to the beer tent per stretched Limousine (it was only a very, very short hop, but it’s the thought that counts!) and as we were sipping some well-deserved chilled weiss beer, they were inflating this huge Action Man hot air balloon. I love this photo as you can really see how big it is compared to a normal hot air balloon. As it was, it was still too hot for the Action Man balloon to take off – the difference in temperature between the normal air and the heated air was simply not enough to lift a balloon of that size.

This is the first time I used Derwent Inktense pencils and it’s been a bit of a steep learning curve! I chose to use Inktense as I thought they’d be perfect for such a lovely colourful subject. I like the intensity of the colours and way they handle on small, detailed areas of drawing – you can layer colours beautifully as it dries like an ink so the colours won’t mix with the next layer of pigment. I’m not to sure I liked using them on large areas, such as the sky. I had to have three goes at that, as the colour pulled away in a rather odd way as the drawing was drying causing it to look quite blotchy. I was able to correct it to some extent but my sky came out a lot darker than planned. I used a few of my old Karisma colour pencils at the final stage to crisp up some of the detail.

Derwent Inktense pencils, Karisma colour pencils (known as Prismacolor in the USA), A4 watercolour Moleskine .

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