I did a blog post a while ago about what I called “extreme sketching.” It was an idea that originated from Marc Taro Holmes. We were going out, in mid-winter Quebec temperatures and doing five minute sketches in a small format. Marc is quite good at it. Me, not so much.
But it was a great exercise. I struggle to hold a small sketchbook in one hand, while drawing with the other. For some reason I just can’t slow the sketchbook down and the results are impacted a lot by both the sketchbook and the pen moving at the same time. I was hoping to practice that enough to eliminate the problem. I did not.
I also wanted more time quick-sketching. I do a lot of quick people sketches but I don’t quick-sketch buildings or street scenes. To get a good drawing I have to look at my subject for the better part of five minutes, thinking only about the proportions and relative locations of things before I start drawing. All of those processes must be abandoned if I’m going to do the entire sketch in five minutes. I do think I improved upon this because of this exercise, but I’m not sure how much. I also haven’t figured out how to draw snow with a pen and so I ended up with lots of cottonballs in front of my buildings.
The other thing I wanted to do was to just get outside sketching. This I accomplished. I ran this experiment down to -20C (-5F). When it got colder than that, I gave up. I’m a sissy when it comes to cold. But I did manage to do fifty of these sketches, nearly filling a small Stillman & Birn Epsilon softcover book. I’ll probably do some more this summer, when it’s not so cold. Here are a few of the sketches I did beyond the ones I posted previously.