Monday, July 15, 2013

sketching on the GO

If you frequent my blog, you will know that sketching is such a big part of my creative process. It is how I work through ideas, practice drawing and challenge myself to capture my experiences and inspiration on paper. The sketching process is also one of my favorite ways to explore the world around me.

In the live classes and retreats that I teach at my studio, we spend time outside sketching and I demonstrate simple sketching techniques, ways to keep a visual journal and how to use exploration and adventure in your sketching process. Inspired by my live classes, I thought it would be fun to share a handful of my favorite tips for SKETCHING ON THE GO here on the blog!


I have found that having simple supplies on hand (that can go anywhere with me) helps keep me inspired to sketch on the go.

1. A sketchbook- preferably one that is not too expensive- Lately I keep a number of the Strathmore sketchbooks on hand- my favorite size is 6.26 x 8.5 inches- it is big enough to have a nice page to work on and small enough that I can throw it in my purse.

2. I like to carry some kind of tape (washi tape is a favorite) so I can adhere things to the pages of my journal.

3. I always carry some kind of paper towel or rag.

4. A water brush- I almost always have a water brush with me because it cancels out the need to bring a water vessel. You simply put your water in the handle of the brush, squeeze the handle and water comes out of the brush.

5. I always carry a pencil and pen with me.

6. I prefer to add color to my pages with watercolors- they are easy to use and most important- very portable and easy to pull out when you are on the go. My favorite watercolors to use are Sakura Koi Watercolor Sketch Box

TIP: Keep your sketching supplies in your purse or in your car or by the door. If you end up somewhere inspiriting or even have time to kill (doctors apt, picking up kids from school, soccer games, etc) pull out that sketchbook and get creating! Use your surroundings (no matter what they are) as your inspiration.




There is something SO profound about sketching outside and on the go. In my experience it is much different than sketching at home or in the studio. There are all kinds of outside factors you have to deal with (weather, lighting, crowds, people wanting to watch you, comfy places to sit, etc). But taking your supplies on the go is a great way to push yourself outside the box. It is also a great way to document and explore the world around you.






I spend so much time in my studio and creating indoors that I tend to get a little stir crazy! I have found that going somewhere, even if it is somewhere simple (like my backyard, my local coffee shop or neighborhood park) I am inspired and revitalized!

TIP: Challenge yourself to go somewhere (anywhere!) for one hour and sketch in that location. Try completing 1-2 pages. Have fun finding a new location every couple of weeks.


There is nothing more inspiring than a little adventure to get your creativity flowing! Try finding a place that you would like to go for the day and incorporate that little trip into your sketching inspiration. Bring your camera and your supplies and incorporate a some time to documenting the experience in your sketchbook!



For some reason, sketching outside or on the go is more challenging for me. I still love it but I tend to be more concerned about perfection than when I am working in my studio. It probably has a lot to do with time constraints (I often feel rushed) and comfort (sitting on a large rock is not as comfortable as my couch). Over time I have learned that its ok to be challenged or a little uncomfortable and I use these moments to work on letting go of perfection in the sketching process.



Since sketching on the go can be challenging try to challenge yourself to "capture the essence" of your inspiration instead of feeling like you need to be perfect. Try to focus on the color, pattern, shapes and texture instead of perfectly replicating your subject matter.



Sometimes I don't have time to sit and sketch on the go but I still want to capture an idea or inspiration in my sketchbook for later. I like to take creative notes- I jot down a quick sketch, record the weather, the colors I see, shapes, pattern or texture. When I am back home with more time, I use my visual notes as reference for drawing and painting projects.



Don't be afraid to get messy! While I love sketching detailed illustrations and pattern, there are times when I also enjoy getting messy in my sketching process. I love slopping color all over the page, scribbling, filling a page with shapes or free writing. Some of these pages end up being my favorite because they perfectly capture the moment in a creative way.




I love to hunt for treasures when I am outside and often these treasures end up being the inspiration for my art. If you don't have lots of time to sketch or if you are just not "feeling it" (it happens to all of us) try using your time collecting objects and things that can be used as subject matter for your sketching. Bring your treasures home and use them for future sketching projects.



I always have a camera on me- sometimes its my fancy camera, sometimes its my iphone while other times its my Instax MINI. In addition to sketching, I am always snapping photos of my subject matter. This process enables me to not feel rushed while sketching on the go. Instead I am able to use my photos as reference and keep sketching once I get home. 



P.S. To read more about my sketching process you can visit:








P.P.S Looking for sketching prompts and inspiration? 
My latest online class  SUMMER SKETCH goes live on Friday!
Summer is my favorite time of year- it's when we play outside, stay up late, soak up the warmth and watch the sun set! It's also a perfect time to break out your sketchbook and utilize all those activities and inspiration. I've put together this fun class with the hope to keep you sketching all summer long. Summer Sketch is structured to fit into those busy summer days- join me for drawing and doodling prompts, ideas, techniques and ways to turn those warm sunny days into inspiration and subject matter for your sketchbooks and art journals. 

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