After your first session or two with me it becomes clear—while spending hours practicing my block-sketch-draw method, we often find ourselves in a tortoise and hare race.
As you jump ahead to attempt drawing perfectly finished lines, I slow you down to keep your line work light and open. As you slow down to finish a specific area of your drawing, I come along and have you bounce around the entire composition, comparing the size of one shape to another, correcting the distance between an angled line and a curved one, and so on.
After months of anticipation, the moment of departure finally arrived—I was jetting to Italy with the purpose of diving into its culture and drawing in my sketchbooks. During the long flight, arcing over Iceland toward Zurich and Rome, I pondered Robert Henri’s advice in his book The Art Spirit:
“The sketch hunter has delightful days of drifting about among people, in and out of the city, going anywhere, everywhere, stopping as long as he likes—no need to reach any point, moving in any direction following the call of interests. He moves through life as he finds it, not passing negligently the things he loves, but stopping to know them, and to note them down in the shorthand of his sketchbook.”
That would be me; a sketch hunter for a month-long adventure in Italy.
Drawing Lab students work in sketchbooks to augment studies we usually do on larger paper. Our Wednesday and Thursday evening crews enjoy learning quick gesture sketches as well as longer, detailed studies of objects around the studio. Shown in the above photos, Lenore happily busted out a fine Picassoesque gesture sketch of the rooster, while Fiona swiftly studied textures and details of the rusty, old lantern.
On urban streets or nature trails, where I enjoy sketching swiftly, I often find myself struggling with how to show realistic depth in my drawing. I’ve come up with a few strategies that use emphasis of lines and tones to create the illusion of depth and I’d like to share them with you. Continue reading Emphasis In Your Drawing→
Can urban sketching—the art of drawing what you observe in a city—ever become a truly comfortable and relaxing pastime for amateurs? By way of curiosity, commitment, and courage the answer is a resounding YES! Continue reading Ups & Downs of Urban Sketching→
Several decades ago, as an avid surfer, nothing excited me more than packing my surfboards and heading up the coast to discover new places to ride waves. Recently, I decided to conjure up my youthful fervor for exploration and set out on a sketching safari to the Pacific Northwest. What happened on the journey was totally unexpected; I rediscovered the thrill of drawing for pure enjoyment.
Every time we open our urban and field sketchbooks to draw, we’re faced with the same challenge—to swiftly transform flat 2D pages into believable 3D environments the viewer can walk into.
For the ranch buildings, shown above, I lightly sketched dominant angles (indicated with red) before drawing anything else. Dominant angles are the essential framework for sketching accurate 3D representations of buildings in a composition.
Notice the angle of the table in the foreground compared to the buildings. Getting these foundational angles correct was crucial in giving a place for the viewer’s eye to travel into the depths of the sketch. Continue reading Walking Into a Sketch→