Monday, November 08, 2010

sketching 101

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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.


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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.


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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.


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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 :)


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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.

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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.

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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!!!


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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!

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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.


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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.


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I fill my object with color.


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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.


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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.


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


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I fill the background with color and shading.


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I fill in the borders with more color.


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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.


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Sometimes I will work backwards with the process-

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


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


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I add more color.


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


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And last, I add written observations.


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And there you have it!


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

70 comments:

Samantha Kira said...

Love!!

I began my art journey through drawing from daily life and coloring with watercolors. It seems so simple compared to how I work now, though it is still a book of experimentation and play.

I do think I shall start making color swatches. There are so many amazing new colors and flowers here in the desert, I can't help but be constantly inspired. Thanks for the post and ideas!

Leah said...

Thank you. I really love this post. Will have to get my sketch book out and have a go.

by night said...

Woooow!
Drawing has always been a part of me (although I am far from being as talented as you are!) but for now I just can't find the time and the trust I need. This post really makes me want to get my sketch book out and try drawing again. Thank you!

Saraccino said...

I can't get enough of seeing your sketch books :) They are really special and beautiful!

Kaili said...

I've been trying on and off for years to master watercolours and you make it look so easy! *sigh* You have inspired me to keep at it! Thanks for the lovely post.

Rachel M said...

I haven't done any painting or sketching in a long time, but this post has made me want to dig out my paints. Thanks! :)

upstateLisa said...

gorgeous! I wish i could draw magically with watercolors!

Anonymous said...

How do you do the white script over the painted background?

laurie b said...

thank you so much for showing us your process. your sketchbooks are beautiful!

Theresa said...

Great tutorial Alisa! Haven't tried the watercolor pen before. Really love the effects you were able to create with a simple supply list.

jgr said...

Great information! Thank you for the details, your sketches are so lovely, I would have never known you use inexpensive paper, as always you have inspired me!

nacherluver said...

What a great little tutorial. Love the watercolor to go idea. Thanks for sharing.

Di said...

This is a wonderful post full of ideas and inspiration. Love the tip about the water color pen -will have to look for some. I also love sketching with a pen over a pencil. Forces you to be confident even if you're not.

Bee said...

Great tutorial, Alisa! Thank you for sharing your beautiful sketchbooks. You are a constant source of inspiration!

astr!d said...

oh, thank you so very much for this! and the watercolor pen is on my christmas list!

Cynthia Schelzig,Cynnie said...

Wonderful post...interesting seeing your work process,,,love the end result too!

Meghan said...

I am sooo envious of you! I am in LOVE with your use of watercolors and sketching and whatnot. I would LOVE to learn how to do that. I just don't think I am able too. Did you start out taking classes? Would love to learn!



mthimjon@aol.com

Joanne said...

I am so, so inspired right now. I can't draw, but I want to draw, I must draw. Practice, practice, practice I guess! I will do it...you are my inspiration - thank you!

Terry Bisset said...

You are amazingly talented.

susan in seattle said...

Thank you for the peek into your sketchbook. I am truly inspired! And you are very talented!

Denise Whitney said...

Thank you so much. I have been sketchbook watercoloring for about 3 years. You really helped me take it a step further. I will follow your tutorial today.

Dayna said...

Thanks so much for the post and inspiration. I use sketch books mainly for just jotting down ideas and sewing projects. You have inspired me to try a little more and add some color. Thanks

grayzeee said...

I also have one of those waterbrushes & LOVE it! I'm going to have to look into the field kit so I can use those when I travel! Thanks for the inspiration! It makes me really want to find the time to do it!

Carlotta said...

Thanks for sharing this! The word that came to mind while I was reading was generous. Thank you for generously sharing your gifts [your how-to's, your vision, your gentle wisdom, your process].

Anna in Tampa[ant] said...

being an Aries, Tuesday is my POWER DAY..lol...so I feel very powerful having discovered your blog today...wonderful sketching. You have shamed me [she who has just about every tool to create art and it ALL sits fallow] I will definitely seek out the Sakura pens you mentioned...having a capsule for water is a really neat idea...I use watercolor pencils a lot for sketching and "spit"{I know, sounds awful but one must improvise sometimes...lol] I usually end up with a very colored tongue. I love the way you go about laying down what you see and your photos of those barnacles(?) were glorious - you must be on the northern CA coast or maybe even further up...gorgeous sights...I'm here in flatland Florida - borrrrrring...now to grab my sketchbook and hmmmmm, maybe sketch the cat or a garden lizzie eating one of my glorious Hibiscus flowers...oh, I do have some seashells...LOVE your blog!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing your sketch book process

Bee Yourself Designs said...

I have been wanting to sketch EVERY day! But, I just can't seem to do it! You have inspired me again! I love looking into your sketchbooks! This is actually my favorite blog! Keep up the awesome work! Thanks for sharing!

Kate said...

Fantastic. This was the best tutorial. I am kind shy with watercolors and you made it looks so easy. I may have to give it a go again. Thanks for being so inspiring..

Kate

heather noye said...

What a fabulous post! It's so interesting to see the process for other artists. Thank you for taking the time to do this. I look forward to seeing more. :)

Anne-Laure said...

Thanks a lot for this post! Your sketchbook is amazing. I think I would like to dram agian, with natural subjects like you... ;)

Have a good evening!

Anonymous said...

Alisa,since Imstarting my art journey late in life I can not thank you enough for this. Can you please add layout for pages ect.
Linda

Anne-Laure said...

No sooner said than done!
I have just drawn again, inspired by you...
Thank you again!

Jeannie said...

Thank you so much for sharing your process. I have never been a doodler, drawer, or painter and I am trying to relax and learn. This tutorial was so insightful. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Julie said...

Thank you for taking the time to document your process, Alisa. I've so enjoyed seeing the finished work in your sketchbook posts and am fascinated by what you've shared today.

ariadne said...

Oh I enjoyed this so much!You are sketching wonderfully but I mostly like the end result.I would frame these pages!Ariadne from Greece!

Jana said...

So cool to see your process from materials used to start & finish! Really like how you make color swatches on your page - something I haven't thought to do, and the notes you write too! You've inspired me to go do a sketch as soon as I can! Thanks.

Sarah said...

thank you!!!!

Jill said...

fabulous, your work is so full of life - must just go get my sketchbook

Diana Dellos said...

Awesome! Thank you for this post. I love your sketchbook . . . so inspiring!

PaperPumpkin said...

Thank you! Thank you! I love this! I've always loved your work and your blog. You inspire me so much.

focusfinder said...

Generous sharing, simply and delightfully explained and illustrated thankyou.

Createology said...

Thank you so much for sharing your techniques for drawing and watercoloring. I don't do either however you make it seem possible. Happy sketching...

Diane J. Evans said...

What a fabulous tutorial, Alisa! I discovered you through Dawn Browning's blog, and I'm hooked. I even ordered the Sakura paints that you use -- I can't wait to get started. You've inspired me!

Diane

Pat said...

Thanks so much!

Lexi said...

WOW! these tips are fantastic! I always get so scrambled when I sketch and your sketches and methods are so inspiring! Thank you!

NatalieJean said...

These are so amazing! I don't really have a lot of the basic drawing skills that you were talking about. How would you suggest learning these? If I just practice enough will it come, or should I invest in a class or something? You are surely and inspiration!

peggy aplSEEDS said...

i so enjoyed this post and i love how the pages turned out. i want one of those brushes with water!

Anonymous said...

ARETI MARTIRIO (FM GREECE)

ALISA YOU ARE A TREASURE..THAT SHARES HER SECRETS.!!

THIS MAKES U MORE VALUABLE!
CONGRATS

Emie58 said...

Lovely post. I love seeing the process of how an artist gets to the final piece.
Thanks for sharing, Emie

gina armfield said...

Thanks so much for sharing your method. I love seeing what others do. I myself love to watercolor in my journals and have been rather obsessed with it as of late!

Kirsten said...

Thank you so much for sharing your process! I have found that I have not nurtured my love of drawing in a long time. It's what I have done since I was a kid! Thank you for reminding me to reawaken my love of drawing. Plus, I have been eyeing that Koi kit for awhile now. Time to print out my coupon and go buy it!

Elaine Lipson said...

Beautiful post, Alisa!

Lexi said...

I just ordered myself that watercolor set and a pair of the Sakura Micron pens! I'm so excited to get them in the mail and have them ready for me on the go!

Thanks for the inspiration!

Diana said...

alisa, this is just fab - could you write all this kind of thing down in one place for us as a book? i love your style and your work -
diana (uk)

Silver Sisters said...

Thank you for sharing your process. It all seems souch more accessible now.

vee said...

That is amazingly beautiful! You have an awesome talent!

Jaimie said...

Incredible. I definitely want to learn to use watercolors, more for fun than anything, but you are inspiring.

Anonymous said...

I love your sketches, I've been doing a visual Journals for a while now and would love to be able to draw and paint like you, thank you for sharing it with us x

Stephanie ;) said...

This is so awesome! Thanks for sharing! :)

Ludmi said...

Wonderfull!!!!!!!
Your work is excellent! I admire you from Argentina.

Cynthia said...

I love your sketches. I'm trying to teach myself to slow down and put more effort into my mine.

Joel (UrbanExpo AKA Expo) said...

Very amazing art!

Joel (UrbanExpo AKA Expo) said...

Very beautiful! I love the art.

Carol said...

I don't use watercolours in my work, but needed a set for the City & Guilds course I am taking, catching up on your blog last week I decided I had to have the little Koi watercolour travel set, I found it on Ebay and 5 days later it has arrived,your colourful sketches made me want to have a go, thank you :)

peggy aplSEEDS said...

your post was just too tempting so i got myself both the little 12 color set and the 24 color one like yours. i'm so excited to try it out!

Kelly Warren said...

this is so inspiring. i used to sketch all the time when i was much younger (middle and high school age) but somehow i got away from it. this makes me want to try again. thanks for sharing your process.

Katie said...

I just stumbled across your page, and this is soooo beautiful!! You make it look so easy! Watercolor is so intimidating to me, but after seeing this, I'm going to give it a shot!! :)

www.palencia-3d.com said...

This can't have effect in reality, that's what I think.

Tammy Hemion said...

Beautiful artwork! Thanks for sharing your talent!

Anonymous said...

this is so nice! i have resigned myself to thinking that i will never be artistically inclined but after reading this, I really want to give myself another chance. thank you!

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