View Full Version : Newbie ?: How much time on you sketch?

04-07-2002, 08:55 PM
When I painted my first painting in acrylic, I did quite a detailed drawing. Then when I started painting it, I began to lose my detail! In watercolor everything is transparent enough that you still see the lines. I tried to keep my drawing details as much as I could but the nature of acrylics being what they are covered alot up despite my effort.

Tell me what you do? Do you not spend much time on detail - just do a quick sketch, or are you very careful as you apply the paint on your detailed drawing? Just curious what other artistfolk do!


04-07-2002, 09:05 PM
Right now, since my watercolor teacher won't let us use a pencil, I'm not doing any preliminary sketching at all!

But before that, it would vary. I'd do a detailed sketch if there was something about my subject that I'd need to work out but I'd found that type of sketching is better done as a separate work. Most of the time, though, I would just block the major shapes in.

04-09-2002, 11:16 PM

You are right... you will lose the drawing very quickly. Usually I just do a very simple sketch to get proportions and large shapes correct at the beginning. However, if you know you will need a lot of detail, I would suggest doing your drawing on another piece of paper, then transferring the broad shapes to the canvas using graphite paper or something similar. After you paint the first layer, you can go back later and re-establish your drawing as many times as you want.

04-09-2002, 11:46 PM
Hi Cathy, nice to see you trying your hand at acrylic! There are several ways about it and it depends on what is most comfortable with you. You can do a detailed drawing, seal it with a base glaze so you can still see it and block in the colours for the specific areas. You can then go back over this layer and blend your areas together and apply your detailing then. Or you can do as Luci suggests. This is the way I generally do my painting. I establish the shape of my subject and any notable features including strips, spots, hairlines(chin to neck), hard shadows, etc. I then do my base blocking and refer back to my reference photo to help from there. Here is a step by step I did for one of the cats in the cat project if it will help.. http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/Projects/browse_progress2.php?userid=6331&proj_id=44

04-10-2002, 03:28 PM
Thank you Dana, Luci and Caron! This is really helpful... Caron I appreciate the link. Last night I did a second painting, and I just sketched the general shapes. Then I painted in all my darks and so on. It worked really well. It was a floral, and so no great detail was needed. Boy this is very liberating after doing watercolors for so long! I like acrylics alot!

04-10-2002, 03:47 PM
wow, so you're using a new medium and painting loosely all in one go! Way to go!

I start by blocking in general areas too, this also helps keep the composition balanced since you're just seeing overall tonal areas to start. Tiniest details would be the last things I put in, like thin lines. The other option is to work on both levels at once - block in some areas, do detail in another. Switch every so often in different areas all over the canvas. This method also helps you stay balanced because you don't get too focused and still stand back to do big brushstrokes once in a while.

Would love to see the floral if you have a chance to post an image.


04-10-2002, 08:29 PM
Hi, another newbie here;) . I have to draw everything out before I start painting. I then transfer it to canvas via graphite paper. It is an extra step, but I tend to to things with a lot of detail, so it seems to work best for me. I did cheat a bit with my latest, Ivy,
as I only drew one leaf, and just kept repositioning it...lol

04-11-2002, 01:08 AM
Hi Tina! Yes a new medium! I don't know what has come over me, I am really detailed with the watercolor, but I just can't do it in acrylic..... I don't WANT to be detailed. I feel really free with this medium. Currently on the painting I am working on I am just blocking in the shapes and then the main colors. In a minute I will grab my camera and take a picture of what I started tonight, so you can see the first step. I will post the floral on another thread, it ended up being a painting of hollyhocks.

Faded Shadow, I have done that with my watercolors. I didn't think it would work with acrylics. I will give it a go. What I like best about drawing on something else besides the canvas is that if I want to do that painting again ~ only with different colors or some changes~ the drawing is already done!

I am going to check out your ivy!

Thanks helpful people!

04-11-2002, 02:05 AM
Here is a painting I am working on, using minimal sketching and blocking in the colors. Not even finished doing that yet. I haven't decided yet if I will go in and draw some more detail. We shall see.... I will probably finish this tomorrow night and post the results! It's a little girl sitting by a fountain in a garden called The Secret Garden.

04-12-2002, 09:54 PM
Good start and excellent color contrast.

04-13-2002, 11:25 AM
Wow...great start! You block your colors in much tidier then I ...LOL...

Cant wiat to see this piece when you get it farther along, will you post your progress?

Faded shadow...I am doing a 2 x 3 foot painting that involves a 3-D looking door and the ivy and brickwork...the ivy has driven me crazy as I decided to do every leaf , layering etc....arrrghhhh!!!!:D

04-26-2002, 03:03 AM
Well, I have been pretty pokey getting this done! I lost my reference photo just after I blocked in the color and finally decided to just finish it without. This is a bold step for me as I hang on to a reference picture like it was a seat belt!

Anyway here is pretty much the finished painting.... I am sure tomorrow I will see things that need some more work on it. But for now....

04-26-2002, 08:38 AM
Cathy, this is wonderful! You have done a spendid job here without a reference pic!! Is this one going up on Ebay?
One thing I noticed is the level of the water. I realized when looking back on your progress shot that the pool she is by has a shape to it but that shape is not as apparent in the final version making the water level look off. The 2 seperate levels really stood out to me. If you stand out the inner lining (oh the pics gone..) up beside her more or bring the lower waterlevel up it might balance out more? Other then that, I find is superb!!!

04-26-2002, 11:16 AM
I sure like the colors you went with here, awesome job of proceeding ahead without the reference picture too!!! I like that pot of flowers, adds a nice touch without intruding,it is also a subtle gage to the child's size without even realizing it. What size did you do this painting Cathy?

Im with Caron about the water level and the rim of the fountain by the child's feet. Sometimes when working from a photo I find I need to edit minor things to make them "make sense" in a painting.

Really great painting Cathy! I am looking forward to more! :clap:

04-26-2002, 05:46 PM
Colours are deep, thick and rich, especially the center and top. Good composition and tones.

Would it help if you take it on in layers? I mean, start with light washes like you would with watercolour, so that if you do block in details by mistake, you can always re-establish them in your next layer, which would be slightly thicker than your last (it's still visible being thinned down). Maybe go slowly with the gradual thickness of the layers for the first 2-3 layers, then start getting it much thicker. Keep at it until you've blocked in all your forms and shapes, and until you've gotten your desired depth.

Takes a bit longer, but often worth it. If you use earth colours at first, then switch to your regular rainbow palette of colours in the last several layers, it would give your painting even more depth and the colours richer.

04-26-2002, 08:41 PM
Caron and paintergirl, you are right about that water..... I was going by the lines I had drawn in and now that I am away from it for awhile, it really sticks out! I am finally breaking away from painting what's in the photo and doing what makes sense for the composition.... but still let the photo rule most the time! Even when I've lost the photo! lol.

Thanks hlee, I think that is a splendid idea! I am working on another painting of a cat and have done layers. The cat will be black but I painted it cobalt blue for the first layer, for blue undertones. This is my 5th painting, and I not detailing my drawing so much and just painting the detail in later. I am really liking this!

Caron.... everything goes up on ebay!:p This is my 2nd job-wish it were my only one! Have you been putting your painting up on ebay lately?

I appreciate all your tips everyone, it has helped immensly!

04-26-2002, 09:40 PM
Hi Cathy, Im working a couple of originals now for Ebay. Hope fully I will have them up here soon. Been busy with commissions! Have seen yours and congrats on a fine ebay page and bids on your iris! You must be just tickled...
The blue undertone for the black cat is right on! Cant wait to see it...:D

05-02-2002, 04:20 AM
Hi Cathy.

Like you, my first 'orientation' in art is with watercolours and pencils. That's why my first instinct is to sketch and draw as detailed as possible. Lately, I've been loosening up --- especially since I 'discovered' acrylics and oils.

When working with acrylics or oils, I would often just draw (block) the major shapes of my picture with my brush and paint. Then, I would paint-in the details later (as needed). Sometimes, I would make thumbnail sketches first or make a detailed (or a simple line) drawing in my sketchbook/paper to refer to later.

BTW, I've been checking out your eBay listings for some time now (since you started, actually; ;)) and I admire your progress. Great work!:clap: