Tuesday, July 3, 2012

What's the point of sketching?

 Playing is the point.
This fellow started out as a simple patch of Burnt Sienna watercolor. I then drew the outlines with a fountain pen, and lifted the highlights with water. I darkened up some parts with the fountain pen, then used water to drag some of the ink out for shadows. The addition of white gouache perked up several highlights and lightened the sky.

Since I get to lead a class in sketchbook/journals this month, drawing in the sketchbook--non-stop lately-- has not only been my traditionally genial pastime, but it has a different focus as well.  Non-thinking sketchbook work's always a direct pipeline to my imagination, but lately I've been trying to think a bit about how to present it to folks who may be unused to playing this way. 

 This little portrait of my dog was done using a fountain pen and clear water.

Goofing around in a sketchbook has been part of my life since I was a little kid. I'd make my own books from the paper my aunt would smuggle home from her office. Nothing frees my creativity like blank paper (or stacks of blank sketchbooks), so I keep them at the ready. I think about pictures and drawing even as I'm falling asleep, and can hardly wait to scratch out lines on a surface when I wake up in the morning. The more I draw, the more ideas come into my head.

The best thing about a sketchbook is the lack of pressure and the absence of self-editing. So what if the pics aren't perfect--or even good? 
The point of sketching is to have no point--to be like a little kid and just play.

Sure, the time will come again when I'll put some ideas onto a canvas or a serious watercolor sheet, but when I'm in sketchbook-only-mode, like now, I just relax and enjoy it.


  1. Thanks! I've been getting pretty lazy with the sketching... this will help me get into the groove again.

    One question... do you fill sketchbooks with figure studies, gesture drawings, still lifes as well or is it usually focused on this imaginative stuff? If you do id love to hear your thoughts on that!

    Thanks Tom for the post! :)

    1. Hey Marshall-I am VERY lazy when it comes to drawing from life--that's not my favorite thing, and I don't like to ruin my sketchbook time. I do force myself to occasionally do it tho--sorta like taking medicine--because somebody once said it's good for me :)
      Maybe 3% that and 97% imaginative stuff?

      Thanks for checking out the blog!

  2. Yay for sketchbooks! And glad you have a place to take time off (imagination Land)!!!!

    1. As you well know, Miss Gladys--everyone needs to have some place/thing in which to relax. Sketching is like fishing, meditating, gardening. Shutting off the intellect and letting the spirit take over =]

  3. This may be a rabbit trail of interest: http://www.pixel77.com/ideas-happen-sketching/

    1. Most interesting process--I'll only know if it works if I try it. So I will. Soon! Thanks Miss Gladys!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...