How to be looser?
I get asked this question frequently and so today in the weekly livestream associated with my Watercolour On Location course we had a fascinating discussion about it. Whilst not everyone wants to work loosely, it does seem that a lot of people are striving after it!
In particular I asked the group two questions:
- Can you define what you mean by looseness? Is it associated with speed, or quality of line or strokes? Or something else?
- Why do you want your work to be looser?
I also shared a number of sketches of mine from 10 years ago – including this one sketched on location in Rome.
Looseness and my work
Working loosely is second nature to me and a lot of this has to do with my background of architectural design sketching. Even when I try to slow down and be neat, the looseness of my lines and brushstrokes just appears.
This is an really old example where I tried to do a sketch in the style of Matthew Rice.
I have a clear idea of what I mean by looseness but I have been wondering if it’s the same for everyone. So it was wonderful to read a variety of different responses in the livestream today and to realise that the term does indeed mean different things for different people.
I also have a very clear ‘why’ and this is related to my goal to be constantly achieving a state of flow in my work. I’m always improving my skills so that I can better capture the essence of a scene in an almost effortless way.
I love the energy and freshness of a sketch and how interpretative it is. It fits in with my desire to use my sketches primarily to document my life, not to create masterpieces to hang on a wall.
But I know that everyone has a slightly different reason why they create art. See here for some amazing comments on this topic.
Looseness and Observation
Regardless of your definition of looseness it’s always important to remember that good observation skills are needed. I firmly believe that ‘good looseness’ should be grounded in good observation, so it’s something that will only come over time when a certain degree of confidence is reached.
If you are a beginner I recommend that you focus on building these core skills and not worry about achieving looseness initially. It comes, but it takes time.
What about you?
Anyway, there is a lot more on this topic which I could share… but today I would really love to hear your thoughts on these two questions about looseness listed above. I truly believe that getting a clearer idea of the what and the why will help you answer the initial question: How can I make my sketches looser?
Thanks in advance!