Sunday, April 13, 2014

Take five


Every day I sketch something - anything.  Drawing and sketching are the keys to keeping those hand/eye/brain skills sharp and I can't recommend it enough.  With  a laptop, tablet or smartphone there is no shortage of opportunities to capture and share sketches, no matter where you are, like this sketch I did on a plane, then captured on a webcam in my hotel room.

I had to travel to Ottawa this week for a few days on business. Travelling gives me a chance to study people in airports and on planes and see how many faces I can capture on a page before they move on.

No time?  For those who say they don't have time - you do have time, you just need to make the decision and grab it. Many of my sketches take five minutes or less.  This little sketch of the rabbit top on a sugar bowl took less time to draw than it took for my coffee pod to process.

  • Sketches are ideas, snapshots of a shape or movement, not finished drawings.  Let them be rough, show the construction lines and rethinking that goes on.
  • If you spend hours on a sketch, its not a sketch.  Don't try to make it perfect.
  • Sketches are usually from an object in front of you, not a photograph.  Drawing from life lets you see shapes and values more accurately and gives you a wide range of opportunities to capture subjects that you never would be able to otherwise.
  • When drawing people be aware that they move all the time.  That's ok, they'll always go back to a similar pose and you can start where you left off.  Simply start on another person while you wait.
  • You can sketch with any marking tool.  Pencil, pen, crayon, twig, whatever you like- and on any support.  Some of my best sketches are on the back of envelopes or brown wrapping paper scraps.
  • If you sketch daily, I can guarantee that your drawing skills will improve immensely.  As drawing is the backbone of all art, its a skill that is essential for all artists.
  • Look carefully, focus on negative shapes and values.  Fill in the broadest shapes and values then work on detail.


theartistsday said...

I like the phrase " drawing is the backbone of all art". Couldn't have put it better myself. Thank you Jeanette. It's something that can't be emphasised too much.

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

I should do some more people watching and some sketching. have had to learn to sketch fast because of life drawing classes, because once a model takes a break, you can't really guarantee they will get back into pose the same all the time so having to get the basic pose in 20 mins or less is something you have to be quick at

Jeanette Jobson said...

Mary, drawing is, in my opinion, an essential skill for an artist and I will never stop pushing people to do more.

Jen it is fun to draw people in a cafe or elsewhere. Yes, life drawing has its challenges indeed. I haven't done any for ages and miss it.

laura said...

Nice post, Jeannette, and great advice. I actually enjoy sketching ... but hardly ever do it (how dumb is that).
Love your pages of people.

Jeanette Jobson said...

Hi Laura. I think its easy to get out of the habit of sketching. I know if I've missed a few days for any reason, there is always a level of comfort and relief when I can do so again.

Sue Pownall said...

Great post. Love the paw at the end.

Jeanette Jobson said...

Thank you Sue. Paws are such fun to draw aren't they?

Michael said...

You are so right. Sketching is essential to all art. But this fact is often, and I have to admit also by myself, ignored. I pledge improvement.