It’s been a really fun and busy week filming a heap of new videos and then a livestream to wrap up the SketchingNow Watercolour Group Run-through. This has been happening at the same time as we have been going through Foundations! It’s been great to work through the two courses at once and to be reminded of core drawing skills as well as exploring pigments and creating the right consistency of watercolour washes.
Over the last few weeks we’ve been looking at different approaches to setup – whether to draw an outline in pencil before ink or whether to just ‘go for it’ from the start with pen. There are a lot of people who are passionately against the use of pencil, and I totally understand why they feel that way. But personally I think that a few pencil lines can help a lot, especially if it’s a complex subject (such as a highly decorative building) and if you limit the number of lines you draw in pencil. Used in the right way, pencil setup lines can actually make sketching faster. The problem is that often people draw more pencil lines than they need and easily fuss about getting them perfect before moving to ink.
My rule of thumb when it comes to setup is to do the minimum you need and I use what I call ‘gestural setup.’ In the old days I used watercolour pencil a lot, but now I mainly use paint in a similar way.
And that leads on to the next issue…
The fact that so many sketchers I come across have never probably understood how to sight measure and how to scale what they measure to suit the size they want for their sketch. This is a fundamental sketching skill which takes a little concentrating! As for how much measuring you need to do – only enough to get the important edges in place.
Anyway, these are just a few of the things we have looked at in Foundations in the last few weeks and the images included are from the bonus videos I’ve filmed recently. Including this teacup sketch done while drinking my tea (of course!)
All these videos are found in the bonus sections for Lessons 5-7 inside the classroom and are available to anyone who has purchased Foundations at any time. To find out more about the course click here – there are a few free intro lessons which you can signup for.
I’d love to hear what your thoughts are on setup (using pencil) and sight measuring. Do you do either?