Saturday, February 18, 2012

Daily sketches

I have always been fascinated by the texture of trees, especially in the medium of pen and ink. There are so many ways to show the play of light and shadow using the pen. The key for trees is to put in the foliage first and then add the “solid” features like the truck and branches. That way you preserve the lightness of the leaf mass.
Bricks can be a big problem until you realize that you don’t need to add every single brick. To do so in an irregular wall is to make the wall uniform and uninteresting. By adding only a few, the play of light and shadow can be highlighted.
The interesting part of this fence drawing is that some of it is defined by dark (left side) and some by light (right). The negative space becomes as important as the positive. How do you show negative space? By defining what’s behind it. In this drawing the plants “create” the fence.

By the way, I am loving my new Stillman and Birn Epsilon sketchbook. Previously, I had been using the Bee Paper Company’s Pen Sketcher’s sketchbooks. Although that paper is good, I am finding the heavier Stillman and Birn paper clearly superior. I also like the heavier cover to protect the drawings inside and the fact that it’s spiral bound for ease of use. These things may sound inconsequential but it’s the details that help make a drawing experience even more pleasant.


  1. Great sketches Sara. I sometimes get too seduced by colour so it's nice to be reminded of how effective solo pen work can be. I really appreciate the tidbits of advice too.

  2. Thank you Ruca. :-) I'm taking a color break at the moment to try and improve my pen & ink skills. It's very tempting to add color, but I'm sticking to my guns for now. ;-)