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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Gesture Drawing at Sea ... How I Made Sketching Fun

A Page of My Cruise Sketchbook

It's all about the tools! I don't know how many times I have started a sketchbook only to abandon it after a few pages. I know that it is important to my growth as an artist to work on my drawing skills. I know that keeping a sketchbook is a great way to practice drawing but I just haven't been able to stick with it. I think I finally figured out how to make it fun. I found the right tools!
Here is my wonderful little sketchbook and pen. We were inseparable on my cruise last week and I managed to fill the book up with gesture drawings of the people on the ship. So what is so great about these tools? Let me say they worked well for me. Everyone has to experiment and find the right combination of sketchbook and drawing tools.
  • I found that I prefer sketching with a pen on a slightly rough paper. The pen I used is a Staedtler triplus fineliner in black. I liked the fine lines and it was very responsive.
  • My sketchbook was a find at TJ Maxx (need to find more!) It is a purple leather bound book that can open flat if needed. I love the rough paper that has a handmade feel to it.
  • The book is small 5x7 and very flexible making it easy to stick in my purse of beach bag. All I did was clip the pen on the cover and I could carry it everywhere. But 5x7 is big enough to do several quick sketches on one page or use the entire page for something larger. I like this flexibility. I've tried the smaller moleskine books but they were a bit too small and the paper too smooth.

A few more pages from my cruise sketchbook

As you can see I concentrated on doing quick gesture drawings of the people on the ship. I did this for a couple of reasons. First of all the people watching on a cruise ship is second to none! It was fun to try to capture the may moods and body shapes I saw. Second, In a couple of weeks I will be taking an eight week course on painting the figure in pastel with Margaret Dyer. See Margaret's work HERE. I don't usually paint the figure so I wanted to practice so I am not totally lost in the class. I discovered that I loved sketching people! Now I cannot wait for the class to begin. In my sketchbook I concentrated on doing quick studies of the people. I used a pen so no erasing. I mostly looked at the person and not the paper and I didn't do any shading. If you want to read more about how to do gesture drawings check out this WikiHow article.

I am encouraged now to keep at my daily sketching. Now I have to find more of these great little sketchbooks!


Michelle Wells Grant said...

Love this post, Karen! Thank you! I also have several abandoned sketch books and have been thinking lately how I really should be drawing/sketching more. I tend to want to jump right in on a pastel painting and forget about the important practice of regular sketching. And my husband and I will be going to Costa Rica next month ... yes, sketchbook and pen are on the packing list!

Karen said...

Thanks Michelle! I am hoping I can stick with the sketching. I really did enjoy it!