Review: Dynamic Detail in Pen, Ink and Watercolor by Steven Reddy (Craftsy course)

I'm a fan of Steven Reddy's art and had the good fortune of looking at his original sketches while he was teaching in Singapore a few years ago. I also bought his book Now Where Was I? A Sketchbook Memoir when it out on Kickstarter.

I love his style, a sort of cartoony, sometimes caricature look at daily scenes and surroundings.

It's quite a surprise for me to discover that he has a video course on Craftsy Dynamic Detail in Pen, Ink & Watercolor

The 160-minute video tutorial is about creating a sketch with pen, ink and watercolour. The materials are the same as those from Matt Rota's course that I featured recently, but you'll be learning the Steven Reddy style here. It's cool to see how artists use the same tools to create art in their own style.

The course is split into seven lessons namely:

  • Marking With Confidence
  • Sketching in Pencil & Pen
  • Working With Ink Washes
  • Inking the Grisaille Layer
  • Creating Contrast with Grisaille
  • Glazing With Watercolor
  • Contours, Hatching & Highlights

If you've even wanted to learn how Steven creates his art, this is the video course to get.

This is a complete course for beginners and assumes no prior knowledge. Every lesson builds on the earlier one and the pace is very comfortable. He's very clear with his instructions and he has this gentle teaching style that students seems to like (judging from their comments). For me, I found the whole process of watching him create an illustration from a set up still life to be quite illuminating.

He's one of the rare sketchers that I know that uses the Grisaille method. Grisaille is a concept where you layer gray tones to form an image, in short it's painting in black and white. I find it quite strange because usually people who use watercolour don't use Grisaille as underpainting because it sort of dulls down the colour (at least to me). However, Steven Reddy uses it to great effect and really makes his subjects pop out of the pages.

There are many useful drawing tips and if you're lost, you can also ask questions on the Craftsy platform and get response from Steven himself.

One thing to note about this course while it's simple and easy to follow, it can be quite time consuming to create an illustration using his style. The reason is Steven likes to use lots of layering to create the subtle colour changes and shadow areas. First you have to create several layers for The Grisaille, then you have to paint in several layers with the watercolour. The result is a beautiful painting and I think that speaks for itself.

This is a good course for practising gray tones. Using gray tones to practise values was something I use years ago. It's an excellent way to learn about creating values. You'll learn a lot on tonal values in the course.

Finally in the last lesson, you'll learn about the finishing touches he use to give his artworks more detail, such as using hatching lines to enhance surface contours to make them read better, or use white pen to highlight certain subjects to give them more contrast.

This is a great course for beginners, and for those who like journal art.

Check out reviews from other students and enrol in the course on Craftsy.

Check out other video courses from Craftsy that I've featured at

Disclosure: This course was provided to me by Craftsy for review purposes. You can support Parka Blogs by using the affiliate links as I get a little commission from each sale. :-)


Add new comment