Friday, September 24, 2010

More Trip Preparations

In less than three days we're getting on a plane for Hawaii!! It's very exciting and I’m considering carefully what I want to bring with me for the sketching and painting extravaganza I’m planning while away. I’ve already decided on my moleskin sketchbook and a particular watercolor palette. But there’s more to consider, what about sketching tools…?

I have been aware for quite some time that I have the very problem that David Rankin describes in his book “Fast Sketching Techniques.” My drawing style is just too slow when sketching. In fact, he says, I’m drawing when I should be sketching! There is a difference and he describes it quite aptly in his book. In a nutshell, you take time with a drawing, hours, days, etc. Drawings are carefully rendered and the amount of detail is substantial. I can do this, quite well. I can also work quite ably from photographs. He talks about this too. When you pick up your camera BEFORE your pencil to make visual notes, you are preparing to draw on site and not sketch.

So what then is sketching? It’s a visual shorthand that, when done well, gives you time (ironically because it’s done quickly) to explore many aspects of a scene in a very short period of time. I have been frustrated by trying to draw on site (instead of sketching) for some time now.

In Hawaii, I want to sketch A LOT and that means fast. So the other day, while searching high and low for his book “Fast Sketching Techniques,” I pulled an article of his off the web called, “David Rankin’s 5-minute Sketching Recipes for Faces of All Kinds.”

Here are some fast practice sketches based from photographs. These are much more simple drawings than I would normally do. They're also much faster. They were all done in under 10 minutes with most done in 5-8 minutes. I started with soft graphite pencil and a stomp as was his suggestion.

Then I moved to simple pen line.

I like what was happening with these sketches. I'm looking forward to developing these techniques further. I will be posting lots of stuff from my trip here. My plan is to blog the trip so please stay tuned. I'll try not to disappoint!


  1. Very cool sketches, and lucky you getting to go to Hawaii! Enjoy every minute of it and we'll all be looking forward to seeing your posts! nancy

  2. I have that book! I have the opposite problem though...I sketch, but have problems drawing for whatever reason. Mostly it's patience!

    Have a great time and happy anniversary!!

  3. Thank you both! See you back here soon with who knows what...! :-)