Monthly Archives: January 2014

Don’t feel intimidated

The sketchbook is a very personal, visual diary of sorts. No one needs to see what you are sketching unless you feel confident enough for others to see it. There is probably an element of self-doubt when beginning this new adventure but I can almost guarantee that you will get hooked. Personally my greatest regret is that I did not start sooner. Just get started. Join a group like an Urban Sketchers Meetup. This is an excellent place to start. There are plenty of people that will help you along the way.


So why not start a sketch journal?

This can be a very intimidating endeavor, especially if you feel that perhaps your drawing skills are minimal to non-existent . Don’t despair, there is hope. I can help as best I can through this blog. Giving some tips about sketching as opposed to drawing is a key. The reason I say that Drawing or rendering is really not what you do in sketching. You can think of sketching as the generic form of drawing. In other words, a sketch of a car is just the shape of a car. It is not a detailed drawing of a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro. With a sketch you are trying to get the essence of the environment with little detail. A drawing can be extremely detailed but takes a lot of time. Time is an issue, where you only have an hour or so for sketching, you have to learn to eliminate the details.

Let’s get started. You will need a sketchbook, pencil and a model. The sketchbook should be of the all-media 90# variety (the brand does not matter). As long as it takes wet brush work and ink. Use a pencil with relatively soft lead like HB hardness. The model I am referring to is any simple object like a teapot or a cup and saucer. Set your model on a table. Open your sketchbook and with your pencil sketch your model. Sketch what you see, not what you think you see. Follow the form with your eyes and your finger. Don’t do any erasing. Just restate with your pencil where you may have made a mistake. Don’t worry about it. Just spend no more than fifteen minutes on your sketch. The key here is to be able to sketch what you see with just line. We won’t look at anything but the model. Sketch this model a week for about 15 minutes a session, each day is a new page. At the end of the last day compare your prior sketches with the last one. Find another model and do it again for a week and compare the results. Do you see any improvement? Now find two models and place them side by side. Do the same practice again for about a week. Each day make a 15 minute sketch of these two models. The following 4th week do the same thing with three models staggered together. Sketch them together and make sure you are keeping the size and shapes according to how they look. How are they related? Is one taller than the other? In each of these exercises you should fill the page of your sketchbook. Have you seen any more improvement? Are you able to make a line drawing of your objects within 15 minutes? Doing these exercises teaches you how to get a sketch done within a set time period. Your sketching style will develop over time and you can always find a small segment of time to sketch.
Well that is enough to get started. This may sound simple to more experienced sketchers but 80% of the people out there need help and I intend on providing some guidance at no cost. I will also provide visuals in future blogs.