Author Archives: Rene Wojcik

About Rene Wojcik

Retired Petroleum Geologists living in central Texas hill country. I have painted in Watercolors since the early 1990's. Joined several organizations focusing on watercolor painting. Recently sketching with Austin Urban sketchers.

I’m Back…and here are some future musings ……

My next trip will be to Sedona, Arizona and the Grand Canyon this fall, perhaps in September.  Then to Yellowstone NP early spring of next year.  We had planned the Yellowstone trip this year but it was all booked up…



From Marc Taro Holmes – Part 2

Direct-to-Ink Exercises: Part Two: Tone Shapes

APRIL 21, 2015

Carrying on from the previous post – here’s another pen and ink exercise aimed at freeing up your line.

Direct to Ink Exercise: Tone Shapes

  • Every scene can be thought of as three values: Light, Middle and Dark.
  • In this exercise, we will create the silhouette shapes you see, with masses of accumulated pen marks.
  • Think of it as simply scribbling in the dark shapes. working from left to right in a continuous ‘blob’.
  • This exercise will develop your ability to see the composition as a big shape.
  • You’ll find this skill invaluable as a painter. But even if you stay with drawing, you’ll benefit from a better sense of mass and volume.

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  • This time, do not outline. Instead, build values shapes from the inside out with passages of pen hatching.
  • Merge the shape of cast shadows into connected mid-tone shapes. High key passages can be left as negative space.
  • Foliage and trees, or dark rooftops can be seen as solid dark shapes.
  • Try to imply internal structure by varying your mark making.

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  • It’s ok to ‘color outside the lines’. Just approximate what you see – try to interpret reality into simple shapes.
  • Dark masses (windows, contact shadows) can be done with the brush pen.

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  • These tonal drawings should have more solidity and sense of three dimensions than the previous line drawings. Compare your linear sketches vs. your tonal ones at a distance. Stand back a few feet. See how the big tone shapes hold up?
  • This is why paintings work on the wall, and drawings work in a book. You read a drawing, you view a painting.

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  • When you’ve tried a few of these ‘shape only’ exercises – add back in the Single Line Drawing.
  • Use the line for detail, the tone shape for masses.

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From Marc Taro Holmes – Citizen Sketcher Blog

Direct-to-Ink Exercises: Part One: Single Line Sketching

APRIL 17, 2015

I’m going to do a short series of posts about the exercises from the Richmond workshop.

These projects are designed to be quick jolts of inspiration. Something you can do in under an hour.

Each one is a visual/perceptual game. Just have fun playing with them, and see what you can do. Don’t worry too much about the results – these are aimed at fun and relaxation.

Although, I hope at the same time, they will get into your subconscious and help you be more spontaneous, more ready to just throw down and make a sketch in a few moments.

You will not need any special supplies. Just a drawing pen and a brush pen. Any brand will do (but I do have supply notes here).

These types of sketches all work very well with watercolor (because, that’s my ultimate goal – drawing methods that translate well into painting). But for the first few times, don’t worry about tinting your sketches. Just concentrate on feeling what it’s like to draw quickly with confidence.

Direct to Ink Exercise: Single Line Sketching

  • In this exercise we’ll be sketching with a continuous line.
  • We’ll do five sketches in 20 minutes. Work small. 4×6″ or 5×7″ would be great.
  • When you start drawing, don’t allow yourself to pick up the pen point. Make the sketch in a single, uninterrupted line.
  • Keep the pen moving, letting the line flow between objects, cross forms, and break out of shapes.

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  • Finish the line drawing with the brush pen, placing darks in trees, windows, and cast shadows.

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  • It’s best to work on location (you can see so much more looking around), but if you want to draw at home, Google Street View or Image Search are good resources.
  • This probably won’t be easy at first – but that’s ok! You are learning with every sketch. The more you do, the faster you learn.
  • See how far you can get with one uninterrupted line.
  • Feel free to leave things out – edit reality.
  • You can pause your pen and study what’s going on before continuing.

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  • If you accidentally lift – just keep going where you left off. Don’t be too strict.
  • Work left to right, leave negative shapes, break forms, join shapes, connect objects to the ground.
  • Use overlapping objects to move the line back and forth in space.
  • Have FUN with it!

Direct to Ink Exercise: Cinq-à-Sept Sketches (5-7 lines)

  • After a few rounds of Single Line Sketches, your drawing hand should feel more relaxed.
  • Now try a slightly larger drawing with more detail. 6×9″ or 8×10″.
  • Aim to get three drawings in 45 minutes.
  • Don’t lose the feeling of flowing lines and rapid observation.
  • This time: allow yourself 5 to 7 continuous lines. One line for each major object or passage in your drawing.

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  • The limit is meant to keep the drawing fresh. Don’t worry too much about the exact count.
  • Establish a central shape in a few lines, then do the background with another line or two. Save a couple of lines for people, cars, and small objects in the foreground.
  • Remember to weld shapes when possible, to reduce the number of objects. Feel free to leave out detail in areas away from the focus.
  • Reduce distant figures and street clutter to brush marks and floating squiggles.

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  • Save some time to go back and add darks with the brush pen.
  • These drawings will look great with color but don’t stop sketching yet. Paint them after you get three in 45 minutes.  Often I’ll paint in a café when I’m taking a break to eat.
  • If you are spending a day on location, see if you can get 8-10 sketches in an afternoon of sight-seeing.

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