Not Quick Sketching, But Quicker Sketching

I’ve been following Marc Taro Holmes’ new Craftsy course and as a result of that I’ve been doing a lot of his ‘single-line drawing’ sketches.  This is an exercise with two purposes – to get your hand to loosen up and to simplify what you are drawing.  It’s like doing push ups so you can hit a baseball.  It’s not the way to do most drawings.  It’s also not the equivalent of a blind contour drawing as you’re looking at what you’re drawing.

Canson watercolor paper (6x9), Namiki Falcon, DeAtramentis Document Black

Canson watercolor paper (6×9), Namiki Falcon, DeAtramentis Document Black

It’s taking me a while to get so I could do it, and I’m far from doing it well, but this exercise is really opening doors for me.  I struggle with the fact that my typical “style” is rather tight and SLOW.  Sometimes I want to capture something without spending a lot of time.  Sometimes I want to capture a LOT, and don’t have the time given my style.  So developing an alternative is useful to me.  Note that I didn’t say replacement.

Anyways, I’m starting to try to bring some of that more loose, quicker approach into my sketching and here’s an example.  Not a single-line drawing by any means but one done more loosely and more quickly than is my norm.  New adventures.

It was done on the same 6×9 sheets of cheap watercolor paper that I’ve been using for my single-line exercises.  BTW, Marc’s course is spectacular, providing more bang for the buck than most courses.  I highly recommend it.

Some Random Sketches

2015-09-02NotreDameI mentioned that I’m behind in my blogging.  I guess I’m sufficiently behind that I can’t even remember which sketches were done on which days.  The sketch I said I did of City Hall when with my daughter wasn’t done when she was there at all, but rather a day or so earlier (along with a bunch of other ones).  This was the sketch I did while my daughter and I sat near City Hall.  I was experimenting with a washable, red ink and my brush pen got the better of me.  I really think washable inks are better utilized with an actual brush where you can better control the water.

At another time I was waiting for a friend to come by to pick me up and so I doodled a couple sketches like this one.  Same red ink (J.Herbin 1670 Hematite).

2015-09-02FLowerWe’ve been having great summer evening weather lately so there’s been considerable porch sitting.  On one of those occasions I grabbed some veggies and did this quick sketch.  The “mustache book” paper doesn’t handle watercolors very well (it is afterall a 4×6 el cheapo [$2] book from the dollarstore) but such sketches are lots of fun and good practice.  Goodness knows I need all the practice I can get.

2015-09-02StillLifeI do a lot of these kinds of sketches but don’t scan all of them.  I’m just sharing them to illustrate what I do with my little bits of time.

A Day With My Daughter

My daughter returned to school last week but before she did we spent one morning wandering around old Quebec City,  enjoying an unseasonably warm day.  We sat down near City Hall in the new fountain area south of the building and while we chatted, I did this quick sketch.

2015-08-31CityHall2015-08-31pitcherWe continued walking, talking and generally wasting time until hunger took hold.  We decided to head to one of my favorite spots for lunch, McDonalds.  Not any old McDonalds as I’m not particularly fond of the food, but rather the McDonalds on St. Jean street, where you can sit in a window on the 2nd floor and look out at great scenes and down on lots of tourists.  I’ve done a lot of sketches from this perch (their coffee ain’t bad).  On this day, since I didn’t want to spend a lot of time ignoring my daughter, I did a simple sketch of the window contents across the street.  The pitcher was tall and very striking.  I doubt I did it justice in the few minutes I spent on it.

My daughter was supposed to meet someone downtown in the afternoon and so eventually we split up and I headed home.  On my way I found that the Levis Marathon, an annual event, was finishing up.  I decided to quickly sketch some of the spectators lined up along the receiving path the runners took to the finish line, along with the proverbial guy who feels the need to climb up on the fence to be above everyone else.

2015-08-31spectatorsIt was a good day.  Not a lot of sketching but just enough.  In writing this I’m realizing just how far behind I am in blog posting as this day took place more than a week ago.  I’ll try to get caught up ‘real soon.’


Jupon Presse On Rue St. Jean

We’re getting bonus summer here.  Maybe it’s payback for the lousy June and July we had 🙂  In any case, I’ve been taking advantage of it and doing a lot of walking and sketching.

I found myself on Rue St. Jean, one of the iconic streets that lead from the old city through, coincidentally, the St. Jean Gate.  A few blocks from the old city is an old church and an accompanying cemetery with headstones that date back into the 1700s.  This was the ‘edge of town’ cemetery back then, I suppose.

It has become a park, as the graves were all moved at some point, though many of the original gravestones remain, it’s where downtown people go to eat lunch and enjoy the trees and park benches.  I was going to draw some of the old head stones, but as I rounded the end of the church I saw this store across the street from the church.  I’m sure I’ve walked under those awnings a bunch of times but I’ve never noticed them.  From the cemetery the store was hard to miss and I found the place really cute.  So I drew it.

ps – I was asked the other day what watercolors I use.  I use Daniel Smith and love them.  I wish they’d pay me to say that but they don’t.  You can get their color chart here.

Stillman & Birn Beta (6x9), Namiki Falcon, De Atramentis Document Black

Stillman & Birn Beta (6×9), Namiki Falcon, De Atramentis Document Black

Sketchcrawl At Bois Du Coulonge

This month’s Croquistes de Quebec sketchcrawl will be held at Bois du Coulonge.   If you’re unfamiliar with the park, it’s a gorgeous piece of land with trails through the forest, large gardens, a few buildings and bridges, and views of the St. Lawrence River.  In short, it’s a fantastic place for a sketchcrawl.

Bois du Coulonge

We’ll be there on Sunday, Sept 13th, starting at 9:30.  We should eat lunch together (bring your lunch) around 12:00 and then sketch again in the afternoon. Hope you can be there.  For more info, go to the Croquistes de Quebec website.