As part of the current Group Run-through of Foundations we have just finished looking at setup – whether to start our sketches with some pencil guidelines or not and how to sight measure.
There are a lot of people who are against using pencil guidelines and believe that you should only draw directly in ink. Whilst I think that working ‘direct to ink’ is a great skill to have, I don’t believe it is the only way to sketch.
My preference is what I call gestural setup – a quick loose outline of the main elements of my subject that enables me to explore my subject (feeling its edges), work out what I want to record on the page and map out the overall composition on the page. I like the fact that this initial response is visible in the final sketch (as a record of my process of observation) so I often do this setup in a coloured pencil (normally a watercolour pencil). The above sketchof my palette I did during last night’s livestream to demonstrate this approach and you can see how I adjusted the position and shape of my water container when I drew in ink.
Earlier in the week I sketched the brand new Village Green in my local area – starting with a few yellow watercolour pencil lines. I then made a few adjustments when drawing in ink. Just for the record, I was sitting in the full sun (middle of the day), looking into the sun while doing this and I was really struggling to see what I was doing. Sigh, I know better than to attempt this without a hat and/or sunglasses!
Last week we looked at sight measuring. Over the years I have met many sketchers who have never learnt how to do this and as a result, they often don’t know how to improve the accuracy of their sketches. So I firmly believe it’s an essential skill to develop and it was wonderful to be teaching it again. It was also fun to do measured version of the green door of St Albans (something I do a lot of sketches of) and actually get all the door panels in the right place.
I’m not sure that I have ever come across this rule before and it was fun to share this with the group last week. If you have signed up for Foundations at any time you might want to check out my video explanation – the replay of the livestream can be found in part 5.13.
Ah! it’s been so wonderful to go through the Foundations lessons again. I’m getting so much out of it and the community energy makes it even more special. A huge thanks to everyone who is part of it!