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Old 06-13-2005, 12:12 AM
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Basic 101: Class 21 - Sketching

Basic 101: Class 21
Sketching

Before I start, our guest Subbie for this two-week session will be CJ. She was recently off on a jaunt and had the opportunity to do some “on the fly” sketching. She will be showing us how she approaches the subject of sketching. What attracts her to the subject and how she decides what is the best composition for her. Lets all take the time to look, listen and learn. CJ—thank you for doing this. The 101ers and I appreciate you and your willingness to share your time and your talents.

Introduction:

To sketch is to create a memo to you for later reference. It is a moment caught between your pencil and the paper and a time that you will later—one-day—one-month—one-year want to relive.

Artists and non-artists have been sketching since the dawn of time. Non-artists doodle and become great statesmen and write great books like Profiles in Courage while artists doodle and splash a masterpiece single handedly across someone’s church ceiling.

Rex Harrison complains to Charlton Heston “When will you be finished” and Charlton Heston retorts “When it is finished!” With a sketch, the drawing is finished but not finished—it can stand alone as its own tome to the mind and talent of its creator or it can morph at the hands of the artist into something more detailed, something less evanescent and certainly into a work far more substantial.

Sketching is a signpost on the road ahead of your own zone. A moment caught like a mosquito suspended in amber.

Welcome to the sketching edition of Basic 101. Try to enjoy this section, as you will never find a more relaxing way to spend your time. You can sketch quickly or you can work methodically. Make your own pace and space your own time. After all, the moment that you are creating is yours.

Materials

What do you need to sketch? Well, that is entirely up to you. I hope that you will take the time in this class to explore various ways to handle a sketch. Here are some suggested materials and assorted this and thats:

1. Graphite Pencils—they are easy to get. Gosh, everybody everywhere has a pencil. I prefer to work with a 2b but that, again, is entirely up to you.

2. Charcoal Sticks—I don’t sketch in charcoal because I don’t like the sometimes potential mess that I can make with these. If you DO choose charcoal, make sure that you get a mixed box so that you can apply a little variety to your paper.

3. Conte’—You can get this in both pencil and in sticks. It is certainly a happy mix between graphite and pencil.

4. Pastel Pencils—you can get these in pencil form as well, which I think are more ideally suited for sketch but I know a lot of people who use the sticks.

5. Colored Pencils—these are clean and portable and you can also get them in “Stix” which are excellent for broad sketching.

6. Water Color Pencils—these are excellent for sketching as well.
You can draw solid sketches or you can create beautiful translucent washes.

7. Pens—I use Micron pens for most of my sketching. They are water fast and archival so you can mix them comfortable from colored washes using watercolor or watercolor pencil.

8. A sketchbook—I preferred a spiral bound time but this is totally up to you.

9. An eraser—I carry a kneaded eraser and a firmer eraser.

10 A craft knife or a sharpener for sharpening your pencils.

11. Fixative—to keep your sketched masterpiece from smudging…

12. Clips if you are not working in a book. Some people do sketch with loose paper.

13. Tortillions, cloths or your favorite smudgely tool.

14. Sandpaper—for sharpening your tortillions or your pencils.



15. Easel—if you are not working from a sketchbook, it is a good idea to take along an easel.

16. A small stool if you remember.

17. A viewfinder or a stick used for measuring distances

18. A bag. Get a bag. You’re going to need one.


Composition

The key to sketching a moment is to quickly decide what is going to be the best composition. The best way to accomplish this feat while out in the field is with a view finder. A viewfinder is simple to take a stiff piece of cardboard and cut out and make two “L” shaped strips that you can put together in a frame. When you look through this type of viewfinder you will see that you can move the two “L” shapes around until you can find the picture that you want. This is sort of like cropping.

Whenever you start to sketch, look for a focal point. This is the point of interest for your sketch. Try to keep the focal point off center. Your composition should lead the viewer to the point of interest.


By using strong dramatic contrasts (lights against darks) you can emphasize the importance of your focal point. For example, draw detailed tree in the foreground with a silhouetted building in background. Sketching is an excellent way to practice value quick value studies.

Here are some good compositional tips:

1. Don’t center your focal point—this creates a stagnant, uninteresting picture.

2. Watch the corners and edges—placing your focal points in these areas will lead the view AWAY from you focal point and away from the picture.

3. When you have “like objects”, vary the sizes to create interest. Otherwise you will have bookends and, again, another uninteresting sketch.

4. Don’t butt the objects together. Go for something more interesting. For example, try overlapping the images.


Here are some general sketching tips:

1. Work loosely—do NOT worry about detail.

2. Work broadly—work from your elbow as much as possible and not from your wrist. It will show in your drawings.

3. Keep your sketches quick and short. Try to just go for the moment. Later come back and see if you can add detail based upon your “notes”.

Sketching is a relatively simple thing—you are already doing it or have done it. I have included some of my sketches here for you to see. They are varied in approach and complexity. I don’t normally show my sketches to anyone because most of them are straight out of my head—musings—vents of the imagination—a cold scoop of ice cream on a daydream cone. Some are a combination of reality and imagination. I sketched my privacy fence at my house for later use in some drawing and there are sketches that are plans for larger works later one. Enjoy.
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Old 06-13-2005, 12:13 AM
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Re: Basic 101: Class 21

Here are some more:
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Old 06-13-2005, 12:15 AM
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Re: Basic 101: Class 21

Assignments:

1. Do a sketch of a single object.

2. Do sketch of multiple objects

3. Do a landscape sketch

4. Do a people sketch indoors

5. Do a people sketch outdoors

6. Finally, pick the best of your sketches and do a “finished” piece in your favorite medium.


Here are some reference links that you should definitely check out:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=259237

The above link is Artdude’s sketch thread. There are links here of sketches that go all the way back to 2003—this is a MUST SEE!!!

http://www.awn.com/mag/issue6.01/6.0....01vilppu.php3

The above is an article on sketching on location.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=275205

The above is Soren’s Angel studies. Some really neat sketches. Check it out!

[ Broken link ]Here is how Leonardo does it. Here are his sketches:

http://www.visi.com/~reuteler/leonardo.html

[ Broken link ]Here are some sketches by John Waterhouse. Note the decided lack of detail. He is just working out the plan:

http://www.johnwilliamwaterhouse.com/sketches.aspx


Over at watercolor.com you will find a sketch of a bird wing by Albrect Durer:

http://www.watercolorpainting.com/fa...tist/durer.htm

[ Broken link ] Here are some sketches by Michelangelo:

http://www.casabuonarroti.it/english/draw.htm

[ Broken link ] This one is the Edward Hopper Scrapbook. You will find it very interesting:

http://americanart.si.edu/collection...per/index.html

Here are some Picasso sketches of Max Jacob:

http://communitas.princeton.edu/blog...es/001940.html

This one is by John Singer Sargent
http://www.jssgallery.org/Paintings/..._Male_Nude.htm

Last edited by arnoud3272 : 09-05-2011 at 07:12 AM.
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Old 06-13-2005, 12:28 AM
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Anita Murphy Anita Murphy is offline
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Re: Basic 101: Class 21

Woooohoooo sketching!
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Old 06-13-2005, 07:38 AM
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Re: Basic 101: Class 21

Hi JayD and Anita. I am really going to like this class and need it. I don't think I know how to sketch.
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Old 06-13-2005, 07:47 AM
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Re: Basic 101: Class 21

Hi Jay, Anita & Mary,
Jay great explanation on sketching. I have a few scraps of doodling around I did while in bed recently I am not sure if I can post them because they are imagative, I did not look at anything to sketch them.
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Old 06-13-2005, 07:57 AM
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Re: Basic 101: Class 21

Oh, yeah, Sults--I did my sketch of the witches one night on Big Walker Mountain in SW Virginia. That sketch is based on a poem I wrote a long, long time ago called "Witch Night on Walker Mountain" about two boys who sneak out one night and go up the mountain on their bike to "see the witches". Much to their boyish disappointment and dismay--the witches are little girls. Unfortunately, I have since lost the poem so I have been trying to reconstruct it though sketches for some time now.

A lot of my sketches are from my imagination--musings over a cup of tea or thoughts of new projects. Dont forget that the sketch allows you to get an idea out on paper and break a potential mental block.

If you have sketched from your imagination--post it. It needs to be seen.

Mary, I suspect that you DO, in fact know how to sketch--most people do but dont know that they do--many people who try to draw and give up do so not because they cannot draw but simply because they dont know where to go from that point. They think their drawings are bad when, in fact, all the artist may need is advice and encouragement.

Last edited by JayD : 06-13-2005 at 08:00 AM.
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Old 06-13-2005, 08:30 AM
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Re: Basic 101: Class 21

LOL I sketched a witch too, was even trying to add cp to it. I also have a doodle of a cat and a study of a cube next to it I did in the waiting room at one of my Dr. visits. Also, the hand study before I did it. I find with my anxiety of going to public places, sketching calms me down and helps me to be able to go there and withstand the time. I am making my mind concentrate on my sketching and not on what is around me, that scares me. lol I know I am wierd.
Hey Blah you should post your newspaper sketches here too.

Sorry Jay I am still on class 18 and have 19 to do yet. Hope this counts for 21.
edited....sorry my scanner is dirty again oops
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Old 06-13-2005, 08:57 AM
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Re: Basic 101: Class 21

This looks like so much fun, JayD! Thanks for the instructions. I don't have time to post the Tahiti sketches this morning, but here's one I did from our hotel window in Monterey a few months ago. There was a trendy little shopping street below and I wanted to capture the street light and a store window for a future watercolor.

Edit: Forgot to say I've only used mechanical pencils for sketching. Difficult to do any real shading, but so much easier to travel with!!
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Old 06-13-2005, 09:56 AM
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Re: Basic 101: Class 21

Hi Jay, Anita, Mary, Sultry, Cathie and the rest who are yet to come in

Sultry...instead of the newspaper sketches I would like to post a sketch I did in preparation for the whodunit thread. Unfortunately I could not meet the deadline and I never got down to developing this theme.

Blah

Edit: I forgot to add.....liked all the sketches posted so far and in particular Jay's sketch2 and Sultry's sktch3.
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Old 06-13-2005, 10:01 AM
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Re: Basic 101: Class 21

This is the first Basic 101 class I've joined, but the topic is most timely for me. I do almost no freehand drawing, having never really taken a drawing class, but I am starting to really make an effort to do more. This class looks like just the ticket! I really enjoyed Stoy's drawing of the week topic this past week - the hand. I had found another hand reference image in the reference library that I planned to attempt starting today. When I saw the assignments for this class, I thought it might be good for me to attempt a 15 minute sketch from this reference image (alright, it's not exactly sketching from life, but it's a first step). It was actually sort of fun to do. Now to go off and find some real life subjects to sketch.

Micki
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Old 06-13-2005, 10:06 AM
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Re: Basic 101: Class 21

Micki...welcome to the class

For someone who has not been drawing freehand your sketch is awfully good

Blah
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Old 06-13-2005, 01:04 PM
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Re: Basic 101: Class 21

Hi everyone!

I'm with Mary in that I'm really looking forward to this class because I don't know if I know how to sketch. To me sketching seems like a quick thing and my art is never quick. I am sooooooo sloooooooow at drawing and painting. It's a good thing that cameras were invented, because if I had to rely on a sketch to capture an idea I would never have anything to paint.

JayD, thanks for the great intro as always. I loved your page of little red dogs! And is that tree the one from lesson 8?

Hi Anita!

Sults - your sketches are great, especially if they are from your imagination. I never draw from my imagination. I don't think I am a very visual person. Most of my memories are feeling rather than images. I couldn't draw anything even half way realistic from my memory or imagination. And yet I want to be an artist...go figure!

CJ - love the street light and can't wait to see those Tahiti sketches!

Blah - what a spooky sketch! Maybe you can still develop it some day. But not for a whodunit or we will know it is yours.

Hi Micki! Welcome to 101 fun. That is a very good sketch for 15 minutes. Like I said, I draw slow so after 15 minutes I don't think I'd even have anything recognizable.

Well, the girls are hungry so I have to go make them lunch. Be back later.
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Old 06-13-2005, 01:06 PM
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Re: Basic 101: Class 21

Blah, I had to go back and see which one was sketch too. That's blind bunny and his big tree. One of my many character jumping around inside my head. By the way, the paper I used on these sketches is a thin handmade paper that I made myself and then crudely bound into a sketchbook. Fun stuff! Will never do that again!
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Old 06-13-2005, 03:12 PM
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Re: Basic 101: Class 21

Micki, I have to agree with Blah. It looks like you've been sketching for years, judging by that hand. Glad you're joining us . . . feel free to go back through the previous lessons. JayD and the subbies are watching for new postings there, so there's no time-table for starting the lessons.

Stacy, I wouldn't get too excited about the Tahiti sketches. Remember, I joined this class last year specifically to learn how to sketch for that trip . . . and find myself in this lesson long after we returned. So my sketches look like they were done by someone who didn't know what she was doing!!!

We have more trips coming up . . . Mammoth Lakes in July and Montana (Glacier Park) in October to name just a couple . . . so I'm as anxious as everyone else to learn this.

Now, I have an admission. As much as I didn't want to learn to draw people, I do want to sketch them. What a dilema . . .
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