Know Your Values: Speed and Light with Versatile Indigo



Galway Marina, Watercolour by Róisín Curé

I’ve long admired the work of Miguel Herranz and Inma Serrano, and I was thrilled when they accepted my invitation to present a sketching workshop in my home town. And so, last week I was honoured to welcome them and students from across Europe to Galway. We spent three days, from 13th-15th July, in the practice of our passion of urban sketching. In true North Atlantic style, the sun split the stones on the day everyone arrived, only to become shy and hide until the day they all went their separate ways. After that it got really hot and sunny, but that’s the Atlantic coast for you.


For my first lesson, I wanted to demonstrate how simple and powerful a tool one blue-grey colour (indigo or Payne’s grey) can be to convey values when used to advantage. If you don’t have much time but really want to produce something dramatic, understanding values to convey light and shade is a great tool in your kit. The above sketch of boats in Galway Marina is a good example of using values quickly and effectively: more on that later.

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