Tag Archives: sketching

Getting to the Finish Line

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.

This constant process of comparative and relational measuring can prompt students’ inward screams, “When will I ever get to finish a drawing?” Continue reading Getting to the Finish Line

Drawing Italy: (Part 1) Wherever You Go, There You Are

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Studies from inside and outside the room at Hotel Italia, Rome

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.

Continue reading Drawing Italy: (Part 1) Wherever You Go, There You Are

Students Explore the Benefits of Sketchbooks

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.

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Our Thursday evening crew, deep in the sketchbook drawing zone

Regular practice in a sketchbook is an important aspect of improving observational drawing skills. The sketchbook is also a powerful tool for drawing from imagination, organizing ideas for projects, and journaling one’s deepest thoughts. Continue reading Students Explore the Benefits of Sketchbooks

Emphasis In Your Drawing

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Micron pen sketch along the Emma McCrary trail, Santa Cruz, California.

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

These Could Be Anybody’s Drawings

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These drawings look like they could have been made by anyone—a child scribbling just for fun, an employee doodling during a staff meeting—but they’re not.

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Extraordinary ideas can start with ordinary drawings. Brilliant thinkers use drawing as a tool for solving problems and conveying ideas. Can you guess who made the drawings shown above? Continue reading These Could Be Anybody’s Drawings

How a Road Trip Can Ignite Your Desire to Draw

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A drawing road trip is great for trying new tools and exploring techniques

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.

And along the way I came up with some essential tips that I’d like to share with you. Here’s what I learned about the art of sketching while on the road. Continue reading How a Road Trip Can Ignite Your Desire to Draw

Walking Into a Sketch

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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