Monday, August 29, 2022

Getting Sketchy Again

 I've been really, really lax about my sketching practice for a while now, I've decided to get back into it and in a bigger way.

My primary sketching medium before was mostly line and wash or just pen, before then just graphite.  I've decided I'd like to move in a somewhat different direction yet still keep it simple.  I want my sketches to be more free, more loose, more suggestive and I figured charcoal is the place to start with that.  But what about color? That's usually where things get complicated and where it's easy to create a chaotic, disharmonious mess so again, I wanted to keep things simple.

pastel charcoal watercolor pencil paint

My goal with this is also to come up with a simple, yet functional kit for plein air (outdoors on location) sketching.  While the photo shows my full watercolor palette I decided to try using only three colors to keep things also and maintain color harmony.  I used yellow ochre, burnt sienna, and paynes gray and just one brush, a large round. I used only one charcoal pencil and one piece of compressed charcoal. I also picked out a selection of lighter pastel pencils and hard pastels.  I knew I wouldn't use all of those colors but I wanted a selection to chose from. 

landscape sketch art nature
Studio Sketchbook 1 Sketch 1

I used a 9x12 Strathmore cold press watercolor sketchbook for my first.  The rough texture was a bit much, I'll probably use hot press or multimedia paper next time. I laid down all of the charcoal defining the entire composition making sure to work quickly and loosely.  Then I watered down the entire paper and applied loose and heavy washes of color.  After the paint had dried I went into it with the pastels to add brighter color and lighter areas but being mindful to not get too carried away and keep the colors harmonious.  The composition is straight from my imagination.

landscape rural art sketch
Studio Sketchbook 1 Sketch 2

I used the same process for this scene based on a photograph I took on the outside edges of the small rural Utah town of Fountain Green in Sanpete County.  This sketch will most likely soon will be used as a reference to make a painting.  Besides the good drawing practice that's another good use for a sketchbook, to test composition ideas for painting.

Now I need to start a plein air sketchbook and I'm also considering making a painting sketchbook, in which I'll actually paint with acrylics in the sketchbook, something I've never done before but after watching some YouTube videos I can see the value of doing that. Stay tuned!

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