Monday, 29 August 2011

Another sketch.

As is so often the case, yet again I have found myself without time for any serious drawing or painting. I am not one of those loose painters who can quickly splash some paint onto the paper and create a masterpiece. I so envy artists who can do that. To produce anything even half decent I have to mark out some pencil guidelines first, and then the painting itself takes me ages. And when I am drawing, everything takes so long, especially if it's a tricky subject and I decide to do a grid. I know from the feedback I get in my art forum that I am not alone.

Lindisfarne - Water Soluble Pen - A5
Rather than not do any drawing when time is short, I am pushing myself to sketch. A sketch can be very quick and doesn't require the fiddly precision of a proper drawing. In addition, there is nothing better for building confidence than going straight onto the paper with a pen. When sketching with pencil I can't help but reach for the eraser when I make the smallest slip, yet when working with pen, that is not an option.

A sketch doesn't have to be 'good' to be a worthwhile exercise. Take this sketch of Lindisfarne (Holy Island). Although not a great picture it was superb practice at interpreting perspectives, judging proportions and recording the shapes of the buildings. The pen required a confident approach and by using water soluble ink and a wet brush, it also forced me to study the tones in the scene. The picture took just a little over 15 minutes to do and, best of all, it was FUN!!!


  1. This is a great sketch John and good practice as you say for getting to grips with perspective and tones through monochrome. I love just using ink too. I have very little time between work and home so I get frustrated that I can't sit down and just paint but I find sketching is enjoyable too and often even more so!

  2. It's an excellent sketch and the fact that it's got such good perspective, shadows, and that you can do a believable drawing in such short time..
    I've read many times that this is the best way to improve all your art work.. BJ

  3. Fun is how it should be - and you got a great sketch to boot!

  4. For 15 minutes, this is a great sketch John, and I love the perspective going on in the foreground.
    If I use a pen, I will usually do one or two pencil lines first to get measurements right, from then on I'm OK continuing with pen only.
    You've given me some inspiration here, so I'll have a go - quick sketch, no pencil, just pen! All I need is 15 minutes ...

  5. Michael, since first finding your blog I've always been impressed by your quick sketches. Thanks for the comment.

    Thank you Barbra Joan, sometimes these 'quickies' are the only way we get any art done at all.

    Thank you Pat, I'm glad you like it.

    Frank, with your sketching skills you'll have no problem. I hope you post your picture on your blog. Looking forward to it.

  6. And that is absolutely th most important part - the FUN! I so enjoy your sketches John. I hope there are lots more to come :0)

  7. Thank you Sandra. As you know, sketching is a new avenue for me but I'm enjoying it so much you can be sure of lots more. ;-)

  8. I really must say I like your style!!!

  9. Thank you very much Catharina, you're very kind.