View Full Version : sketch or no sketch?

02-14-2000, 01:43 PM
I have a question for all you watercolorists out there, Do you use a sketch on the paper before you begin to paint, or do you paint directly without a sketch? I was just curious to hear other people's opinions on the subject, I haven't decided yet which way I prefer.


02-14-2000, 03:39 PM
Well, I guess I do some of every way. Sometimes I do a drawing first, or maybe lay in some preliminarly washes and then a drawing. Sometimes I wet the paper and just throw some color on it, then see what it suggests to me. Sometimes I just put in the shapes in a scene and add everything else as I paint. Gee...I could go on and on! I think it's whatever suits me at the moment.


02-14-2000, 05:26 PM
Thanks for answering, that's pretty much what I do too. I notice that when I don't sketch first, the painting is not as stiff but flows better. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

02-14-2000, 06:06 PM
Sometimes I will just block in broad areas, and sometimes, I will do very detailed pencil work when I am doing surrealism.

Johannes Instructor
02-15-2000, 10:31 PM
If you are aiming for accuracy, then detailed pencil work should be done. There isn't much room for improvement with watercolor, so a good drawing will help win the battle. If doing abstract art where accidents are to be achieved then who cares about drawing.

02-16-2000, 05:01 PM
when doing detailed stuff I put my final sketch on the back of my paper with repositionable tape and use a light table


02-18-2000, 04:19 PM
I will always start with a sketch unless it is a very simple landscape or something else that is equally un-complicated.


02-19-2000, 02:39 AM
I always use some form of sketch, quite often generated and printed by my computer.Composition arranged using cut and paste. I never sketch directly onto watercolor paper, because if mistakes are made rubbing out can damage the paper.
Tranfer the sketch from sketch pad to watercolor paper after completed with graphite transfer paper or pencil rubbed on back ,

[This message has been edited by Rod (edited February 19, 2000).]

Christine Zook
02-24-2000, 02:17 PM
Has anyone ever tried using a watercolor pencil for the sketch? If the drawing is not too complicated, that's what I'll use (usually in yellow).

02-27-2000, 03:42 AM
i've used watercolor pencils, both the color and pencil-color kinds, and the water soluble pens and inks...

these are great tools for sketching and getting ideas for final pieces OR for completing pieces with them. they are absolutely fabulous.

for an astronomy project i sketched the moon with a water-soluble pencil (4B) and they came out just beautiful.

i got an A from that class.

if that's not a reference.. well then, i dunno what is! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

try the Tombow markers ... great fun.. you can get other brands and compare the color of the black pigment. some are more green, some more blue, some almost brown when washed, and all from "black" pens. i've heard of people using solely "black" water sol pens and doing whole compositions with them because of the variety of color they get from them.. pretty cool

good luck http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

km (http://www.artistnation.com/members/lofts/kmarion/)

03-02-2000, 09:17 AM
Pastel pencils work nicely too. And I like to use charcoal sometimes even.

Painting direct is fun though and a lot more spontaneous. Sometimes not having the drawing "perfect" makes the painting more interesting.

Also, I feel less like I'm "coloring" when I don't do a prelim sketch on the paper...

Cindy Agathocleous

"What if imagination and art are not, as many of us might think, the frosting on life, but the fountainhead of human experience?" - Rollo May from The Courage to Create

03-04-2000, 05:53 AM
i always felt that the sketch was a key component to watercolors. not some dark heavy outline, but a guide that creates an architecture for the watercolor. during the course of the painting, a lot of the drawing gets lost anyway. but you should at least know where your elements will lie in your space.....milt

03-14-2000, 02:12 PM
I was taught (when trying to do watercolors) to make a thumbnail sketch...to remind me of what my composition began with and to show the darks and lights...
Then I sketched out the basic shapes on the w/c paper but not with a lot of details. As the color went in ,the thumbnail was my reference more than the lines on the paper, especially for the values.

04-23-2000, 09:01 PM
I have to start sketching in! It's my fear of starting for real. I'm experimenting with the medium right now, and tyhe results are so satisfactory that I fear the sketches might make the painting less free somehow. I'll see after I try. I'm also a newbie with colours, so maybe that's the old insecurity. But for other forms of paintings, I almost always make some form of preliminary sketch.

Happy experimenting!

-But what if I learn too much?
-Nah, there's always a leak anyway...

Joe Cartwright
04-29-2000, 06:25 PM
I generally use a sketch. If it is very detailed I will do it on tracing paper first and then transfer to the watercolor paper.
However I also will do some work without a sketch (or with just a minimal one) when I feel I am getting to tight with my painting. I often also do a color thumbnail when I want to see how all the colors will fit.