Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Approaches to Sketching



I enjoy trying out all sorts of sketching approaches. So far, I've explored using graphite, colored pencils, various forms of ink pens, watercolors, and oil paint. I like sketch books of all sorts too. Below are three sketches I did recently in my little 3.5" x 5.5" Fabriano sketchbooks. These books are small,  inexpensive, come in a packet of multiple books (3), fit in my shirt pocket, and don't bleed through the pages. Because of their attributes, I have no excuse not to carry one with me at all times.

Once in awhile I enjoy skipping serious or risky or expensive art explorations..and simply enjoy basking in my comfort zone of sketching in ink. I often make a few lines in pencil to help me size-up the subject (though I often don't really measure anything, for good or ill..instead, depending on visual relationships between forms as well as the shapes and sizes of negative spaces). I follow this approach either rapidly or slowly depending on the amount of time I have to spend with the subject.   

Ballpoints are very forgiving pens to use and allow us to make a range of marks in values from light to quite dark, depending on the lightness of our touch. Early mistakes may be corrected with later strokes  if you 'stay light.'  When I am 'speeding against the clock,' and don't take time to measure size relationships or stay in the 'light stage' long enough permanent mistakes become inevitable. It still is fun to sketch on the fly. The kayak was much longer than what I drew...yet, I like the range of values in the sketch. I did this sketch in about 20-30  minutes.

Kayak's for sale  in Gig Harbor WA 

 The type of pen I've used most is the Sakura Micron .01. It's line is permanent, unvarying in thickness, offers a lot of control, and, is great for fast cross-hatching. Here I sketched Leroy (sculpture) at the Tacoma Art Museum with a plan in mind: leave room at the bottom of the page to add people when they happen to come by. The couple buying tickets came by first, then the school group with chaperones came. I drew the lower part of Leroy and the background last. You can see the remaining 'saved' (and then forgotten) white spaces between the kids.

 Leroy (sculpture) being admired in the Tacoma Art Museum Lobby
The most recent additions to my pen options are some big brush pens (Pitt-Faber Castell) in a range of shades of grey  (warm & cool). I've recently also become enamored with Micron brush pens (black). In the sketch below, I used my Micron .01, a Micron brush pen, and for shadows...warm and cool grey Pitt pens. Those Pitt pens make sketching values a breeze!

A dark and rainy night and a cozy chair in Deep Cove (North Shore) British Columbia

I hope you too have a sketching 'comfort zone' you will be enjoying as our season turns toward lower temperatures and lots of  rain!

Happy Sketching!

  Frances






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