Hi! I was just wondering what your process is for quick sketches...whenever I try to do something quick I always harp on details
Asked by Anonymous
Do you mean like in these ballpoint sketches? Or these ink wash ones? Or these digital warm up ones?
I’ve found that whatever medium you use for sketching usually dictates how caught up you get in the details. So, for example it’s easy for me to get sucked up into linework with the ballpoint pen, while when I’m doing ink wash stuff, I can lay in big swaths of value. One answer is if you find yourself getting too caught up in little details, simply switch to a larger brush/pen/stylus whatever.
The correct answer, however, is to switch up how you’re thinking about sketching. When you’re sketching from observation and you have limited time, remember that you’re trying to capture the overall suggestion of a thing, not render completely as if you had a camera behind your eyes. Remember the old Cezanne maxim: “I have not tried to reproduce nature, I have represented it.”
So generally that means you have to be kind of smart to capture a scene efficiently and quickly. One illustration truism stands above all others here: larger statements are more effective than smaller ones.
So whether that means you simplify and group values, and consolidate your objects into larger shapes…
…or distill poses and gestures down to a few simple lines, either on the outside contours or within a figure’s main path of action, always try to pare down what you’re seeing and translate that into the most efficient expression.
I’m a firm believer in taking a second or two to process what you’re actually seeing in a scene before sketching it. Pay attention to the nature and quality of light, as well as the emotions and gestures of the people you’re drawing. These will dictate your drawing decisions.
For more examples by artists who do it way better than me, see James Gurney and James Jean.