Monday, November 08, 2010

sketching 101


Since sharing the pages of my sketchbook in a variety of posts, I have received lots of inquiries about my sketching process, my supplies and techniques. I thought I would put a post together to answer some questions and give a little tutorial on sketching (my style).

Drawing and sketching is not an easy daily task but creatively I believe it is such an important part of the process when making art or craft projects. I strongly believe that learning the basics of drawing, finding your own style and taking time to develop it is so rewarding!

You can read more about my thoughts on drawing in this post.


I don't use any specific or special kind of sketchbook (typically something affordable) and I always keep a few around (in my purse, in my studio, in the living room). Since my sketchbooks are really just a place for practice and documenting ideas and colors I don't splurge on sketchbooks with special paper or covers. I save that money for paper or supplies that I use in final projects. If I get REALLY attached to a page or a drawing, I will scan the page and use it in different ways.


Recently I purchased a bunch of sketchbooks from a local art supply store for around 2.00 each they have what I consider "all purpose" drawing paper that works great for my process.


My drawing tools are also really simple! I almost never draw with pencil because for some odd reason I have always been most comfortable drawing with pen. Most of the time I use what I have on hand which often (like when I am on the road) tends to be a ball point pen :)


I have a little collection of five favorites pens which include-

A couple of sharpies- a fine point and an extra fine point.
Sakura Micron- these are really the best for drawing in pen!
A couple of favorite ball point pens that I have tested and had success with over time.


I use watercolors to add color and shading to my drawings. I have been sketching and painting with watercolors since I was a little kid so for me it is easiest and most comfortable way to get color down onto a page. Some other options are colored pencils, markers, crayons and watercolor pencils.

I am IN LOVE with Sakura's Koi Watercolor Field Travel Set- it is perfect for sketching and I literally carry it everywhere! It comes with 18 colors that can be mixed to create even more.


The set comes with a really cool water brush with a brush tip that attaches to a handle that gets filled with water. This means that you don't have to worry about having a water vessel on hand, you simply fill the handle with water and squeeze to release water as you paint. IT IS THE BEST TOOL EVER!!!



I always keep a rag on hand when working with watercolors, especially when I am not working on watercolor paper. Regular drawing paper can get saturated with water quickly and easily so I always use a rag to blot and soak up excess water on my pages if needed.

Ok lets get started!


I use sketching as a way to explore color, document inspiration, document things in nature, exercise my creative muscles and just find some quiet and simple escape in the process. Sometimes this means drawing on site while other times this means drawing from all those photos that I take. For this tutorial I am using photos that I took yesterday while beach combing.


I start by drawing (in pen). Again, I am not comfortable drawing in pencil and if I mess up I just start over on the same page- this is really about the process and the discipline involved in practice- not necessarily the end result.


I fill my object with color.


I go back and add more color for shading and details. I let it dry and then use my pen to add even more details.


I fill my page with different things- either things that I saw on my outing or took pictures of.
My goal is to completely fill a page with images and color.


Often I will outline the objects or create a border that I can write in.
I also create little boxes to record color.


I fill the background with color and shading.


I fill in the borders with more color.


I use the free spaces to add notes from the outing, color observations and anything else that I want to remember or make note of. If the background is dark I use a white pen and if it is light I use a dark pen for notes.



Sometimes I will work backwards with the process-


Again, I find subject matter either "live" or from one of my photos.


I start with painting first, laying down color and very simple shapes.


I add more color.


I use my pen to go back and add details, lines and simple shading.


And last, I add written observations.



And there you have it!


I sometimes think there is nothing so delightful as drawing.
-Vincent van Gogh


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