Foundations Friday 7: Putting it all Together

March 11, 2016 | 5 Comments


Next in my Foundations Friday series where I am revisiting the lessons from my SketchingNow Foundations online sketching course is Lesson 7: Putting it all together.

When I first ran the course, this lesson went live on Christmas Eve so it was more of recap week than new content. It was a chance to see how edges, shapes and volumes can be used within the one sketch and also how to decide on the best setup approach.

I have a big book deadline looming over me at the moment so haven’t had a lot of time to do sketching, therefore this week’s example is just simply my morning latte. But as we have seen before, my morning latte is a challenge to draw – not only is it a challenging subject but I am often still half asleep when I sketch it! It has become my ‘get-the-hand-moving-and-visual-thinking-working’ morning routine! This week my coffee sketches have certainly been that – a means to an end (getting into gear) rather than an end in themselves.

When I put the Foundations Course together I was transitioning out of a traditional way of working (minimal setup – ink lines – watercolour) into a more experimental approach (alternating between line and colour). So this week I was thinking about how my preferred method these days relates back to my earlier sketching. And surprisingly there is a connection!

Basically, I still like the chance to respond quickly and instinctively to my subject in a way that is not as permanent as a solid black line. But these days instead of doing a few quick pencil lines I am doing the first marks with paint. I’m painting the top of my coffee first as it is the important shape that sets out the whole composition. I can move the water and pigment around on my page a little (not too much though!) so I have a little adjustment possible.

As for adding ink, sometimes I add it and sometimes I don’t! But when I do add lines I am am mostly feeling edges instinctively. What about Constructing Volumes? Well, although I am relying totally on my eye-hand coordination I am always thinking about the underlying volumes.

And are you wondering about the pen? It is my Noodlers Konrad with Noodlers Bulletproof Black ink. Shock Horror! Going back to Noodlers at times as it is much better for drawing into wet washes!

And did I do any Measured Setup? No! I did that a few weeks ago on a different sketch. That sounds like a crazy thing to say, but the laboured measuring I did back then helped me see better and this means I can sketch much more instinctively now.

But honestly, accuracy is not a big priority for these morning sketches. I don’t really like having sketches that are out of whack but I am much more interested in simply playing with paint with these latte sketches, so something has to give.

“Embrace the wonkiness”

(My infamous quotable quote from my Sketchbook Skool Klass is certainly the name of the game here)

Talking of paint – here are two other sketches this week that are just paint. The cappuccino sketch was posted on Instagram with this description:

I prefer lattes to drink but there is no doubt that a #cappuccino is much more fun to sketch. I now have a dilemma – should I change what I order based on my sketching preferences? #coffeeart

Note: The Foundations Course is available now as a Self-Directed Course – Find out more here.


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