Sunday, February 7, 2016

Learning During Sketch-outs and from Blogs and Sites for Urban Sketchers


Below are my sketches done in Tacoma from the day before our First Saturday Sketch-out 2/6/16, and during the actual sketch-out. The first sketch is from Tully's Coffee Shop at Broadway and 9th, the others from inside of Sanford and Sons, both in downtown Tacoma.(The sketch of the autos was from looking out the window towards Commerce St.)  I did the first two the day before our group sketch-out...and the lower two during our sketch-out.

The car on the left drove away when all I had was pencil lines, so there is a lot of guessing going on here!
The first three sketches took at least a couple of hours...and the one below was less than 20 minutes.
 I did a fast (and not too accurate) light pencil drawing for each of these sketches (contour drawing or just plain fast scribbles to work out the shapes and composition) , then I corrected each of the sketches or fully drew the form using a Micron .005 ink pen. The pencil lines are a nice, comforting security blanket for when I begin using non-erasable ink.

In the past I almost always did linear shading for forms, which took forever (!!): hatching, cross hatching, dots...whatever a rigid ink point could offer me. I'll continue using that technique when I feel like it or have time. However, in these sketches my goal was to learn how to do my values much, much faster using Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens. I've used a couple of values for each sketch and saved the whites of the paper for the lightest value.

I discovered if I put down the lightest value everywhere except where I want to leave white, I have a bounded area or matrix upon which I can add subsequent darker values either by adding more layers of  one pen...or using a next-darker value pen. I think this is similar to how one builds up a watercolor.

Below are some blogs I presently receive in my email inbox, because I subscribe to them. My list of favorite blogs evolves from time to time, depending upon what I am interested in learning. I highly recommend every single one of these if you want to improve as an artist/sketcher!

The Craftsy blog is a bit different from the others: I sign up for online classes on this site when they are on sale...even if I don't currently have time to give them attention. Once I have paid for a class, I can take it whenever the time is right for me. It remains online, ready for my attention, indefinitely.

Brenda Swenson....(watercolor demos)....

Gurney Journey....(James Gurney)....

Roz Wound Up....(Roz Stendahl)....

The Sketchbook....(Shari Blaukopf)....

Love to Draw....(Paula Ensign)....

Craftsy....(Inexpensive online classes taught by sketchers)....

Citizen Sketcher....(Marc Taro Holmes)....

Urban Sketchers Chicago...(blog)

I love when people tell me about educational blogs for Urban Sketchers which I haven't yet discovered.(Hint!) Perhaps our other USk-Tacoma Blog Correspondents will offer their current favorites too.

Best Regards,

Frances Buckmaster 


  1. Thanks for sharing your process here, Frances! I see we are both fans of many of the same online resources! Here's one not on your list that I've found very useful and informative: John Muir Laws:
    He is a nature artist (I love his books on drawing birds), but his techniques can apply to any subject matter.


    1. Thanks, Tina! I'll take a look at John Muir Laws. Another time I'll post some more blogs I follow. There are so many good ones!

  2. Thank you for the list of blogs. I am interested in learning how to sketch.