My last post presented an example of one of the experiments I did in my quest for a quicker sketching style. Sometimes I think I’m just not seasoned enough as a sketcher to be searching for different styles but I also wonder whether such a search is the best way to become a seasoned sketcher.
Because it’s been raining, I’ve used the time to think about and try out some different styles and I thought I’d share a few of those experiments, which will surely amuse you. Pratfalls are always popular. Maybe you’ll get some ideas, even if they’re “I’d never do that” ideas.
Sometimes I think about using a washable ink with watercolor on top. Two things limit me with this approach. First, I don’t have much understanding of watercolors. More important, however, is that I don’t like the unpredictability of washable inks. Call me crazy but I’m not one to enjoy the so-called “happy accidents”. But here’s an attempt using Lamy black ink and some perylene green watercolor. It was done quickly on a scrap of watercolor paper.
The results are reasonable but as I mentioned, I’m not a happy accident kind of guy so its fuzzy nature just doesn’t do it for me.
Marc Taro Holmes has blessed us with a recent series of blog posts on how to loosen up your approach and drawing hand. This is one of a bunch of loose, almost scribbly sketches I’ve done as a result of those posts. I was working on a large sheet of paper and doing a bunch of these smallish sketches and this one shows two of them, one drawn on top of the other.
I confess that this sort of thing is a struggle for me as when I start getting loose like this my brain tends to go to sleep and silly little things like angles and proportions start to go haywire. If I can re-engage my brain while making marks like this, I think I could come to like it – a lot.
I went sketching one rainy day and ended up quick-sketching some people. Here are a couple experiments. Both were done in a 4×6 sketchbook. The one on the left was done with a Platinum Carbon pen and PCB ink. The ones on the right were done with a Kuretake brush pen. I still struggle with control with this pen but it’s fun trying to sketch people with very few lines.
One evening I decided to do a sketch with a Pilot Acroball ballpoint pen. I sometimes like ballpoint because I can get nice half-tones with them. But for a hard-line, illustration sketch, I didn’t like it at all. I couldn’t get good line consistency (lack of tooth in paper contributed) and so I think the result suffered. Interesting experience but I doubt that I’ll repeat it.
I was waiting for a lunch date and decided to do a quick, loose interpretation of this light pole while I waited. This was a lot of fun. It felt similar to the loose line drawings I’d been doing but I did think about proportions before I started, marking where the various components were along the axis. The result is far from perfect but a proper depiction of this piece of city paraphenalia and it didn’t rely upon any happy accidents.
I’ll continue doing my slower, detailed illustrations, but my quest for a style that would suit shorter time frames has only just begun. It’s fun to try different approaches but thank goodness I’m not too wrapped up in the results. What style(s) do you prefer in your own sketching and why?
I wonder if that brain going to sleep thing might be the right brain taking over, which would be a good thing with a little more practice. I recently checked Drawing From The Right Side of the Brain out of the library, and that was her theory. Interesting read.
I’m limited somewhat by having small kids (I don’t have time to let wet media dry, for instance) but I’m still experimenting with different pens and types of shading and so on. I also tried a mass-tone drawing after reading that post, and I was quite pleased because it let me sketch a friend who was drumming and therefore moving too much for a normal sketch. It wasn’t especially good art, but I enjoyed it.
Betty Edwards does present some interesting ideas but the brain going to sleep is a bad thing. I get ‘in the zone’ regularly with my sketching, to the point where you have to bonk me on the head to get me to acknowledge your presence, but my brain is still working as it assesses angles, distances, and proportions.
Don’t limit yourself because of your kids. There’s a reason street sketchers use watercolors and watercolor pencils. When used wet on dry, they are dry when you stop making marks with them. There is no waiting. We close the sketchbook and move on. And here’s an opinion about “good art.” Art is good when you have fun doing it.
I love all the experimenting you are doing! I am of the belief that you don’t get to choose your “style”; your style eventually chooses you. But the more you experiment and try different things, the more possibilities for what will eventually be your style. One way that I have taught myself to be a faster sketcher is to be more selective about what’s important in the sketch. I now hardly spend any time on what I consider to be the background (whereas before I gave everything equal time and attention and paint).
I agree about style and certainly there are components of everything I draw, regardless of tool or time frame, that are the same. Possibly ‘style’ is the wrong word. I’m searching for a “way” to capture something quick enough to keep up with the cool kids but also satisfying my own precision needs/desires.
The ‘simple’ way for me to do this is to leave details out. Unfortunately, for me, this also leaves most of the fun out and so I continue my quest for the right set of compromises for me. I really think I’m more of an illustrator than what most people refer to as “artist.”