Friday, April 5, 2013

Sketches in progress

I rarely take pictures of sketches as they're progressing, mostly because I can never remember to, but also because I don't like to stop working to take a photo.  However, long-term projects like the Main Street Bozeman sketchbook or the San Antonio panorama are easier to document as they progress, and I have scanned a few in progress before.  But I also recently documented the step-by-step process of a few drawings in the field for a project by a fellow sketcher that I'm contributing to.


Here's a set of steps I think I can share:

The location to be sketched.


In this case, as with many other larger sketches, I used a pencil first before going in with a pen. I start with a few basic lines that establish the overall shape of the composition.  These lines will serve as a rough guide for the curved perspective I plan to use in the drawing.

After that, basic shapes are blocked in, as well as the location of certain foreground elements, like trees.

I add more interior details as the sketch progresses, and more foreground elements.

When I'm satisfied with the amount of pencil-work, I start with ink.  I tackle the cars first, as they have the potential to leave without warning!

From the cars I move backward through trees, signs, trash cans and parking meters before I get to the building.

I start in with value right away, rather than finishing the entire sketch as a contour line drawing before putting in the darks.  
Getting there...






































































































































































broadway panorama
The final product.



I've also just started working (okay, a month ago) on a long-term Denver project in a folding Moleskine that Linda gave me.  I intend for it to be a full 360° panorama this time.  I found a round concrete bench that circles a small flowerbed outside of the Brown Palace hotel which has great view in all directions.  

Here's the scanned progress on that project, 4 days in:

 


14 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your process . . . what do mean by "cleaned up in Photoshop?"

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  2. Thanks for the detail description. Looks great.

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  3. Thanks both of you! Mark, that's a good question. When I scan a drawing into photoshop, often times the paper has too much texture or has uneven spots of light and dark. So I do a few things. I adjust the contrast and lightness so the white of the paper becomes pure white. However, this can sometimes thin the black lines, so before I do this I go over the whole drawing with the paintbrush set to "hard mix" and set at about 11% opacity. This thickens up the lines enough that they won't disappear when the lightness/contrast is adjusted.

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  4. I've spent the last 20 minutes looking through this blog, and it's reduced me to tears, twice. I'm an art student and I struggle EVERY DAY with not being good enough. I want to draw this well... with all this detail... but I'm so impatient. All your work is so incredibly lovely.

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  5. You're very kind. It makes my day when someone likes my work. As far as being frustrated/impatient, the only advice I can give is to keep at it. It's a cliche, and it will definitely try your patience, but keep on going. I try to draw every day. When I was an art student I felt the same kind of frustration you do, but I stuck with it, even when I didn't want to. I still get to the point where I feel something isn't working, but I've learned that it passes.

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    1. One of my teachers told me that your mind is always five years ahead what your hand is capable of, and it kills me a little. I think before I was a student of art, I was a parishioner of beauty... and so when I see or feel all these beautiful things it actually hurts my heart when I can't get it on the page. I think about it too much. Practiced and skilled people often tell me that I'm putting too much pressure on myself... and maybe I am, but it feels like it's so much easier said than done. I'm continuing to try to be patient, and to continue to hone my skills, but I think on some level it hurts me far more than it does the average student, and it's crippling. I'll keep checking out your blog. You're a huge inspiration! Thanks so much for replying to me!

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  6. very well documented, simple, pertinent , generous, as your drawing, am too deeply moved by your art.

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  7. Love your work, and it's fascinating to see your process. Any particular reason you start with value rather than finishing the contour first?

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    1. In this case I wanted to capture the shadows on the buildings before the light changed. The buildings face west, so at a point in the late afternoon they'd be illuminated too flatly, and features like the window casings and vestibules wouldn't cast very strong shadows. In other situations I might do the contour first, before the shadows get interesting, then do them all at once a little later.

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  8. Paul, thanks for sharing your works in progress. It's very inspiring and it helps alot! As a sketching beginner, I always feel sorry for taken too long to finsih a sketch, do you limit the time you spend on a sketch? What advice can you suggest on using the time wisely on the drawing. Thanks Master!

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    1. Hi Alvin, that's a good question. I usually take as much time as I need. Sometimes I know I don't have much time, so I have to think about that when I start. But there's nothing wrong with taking as much time as you need. I'm slow compared to others, but I think it's okay.

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  9. Thanks for sharing your process, it is incredible work, I really like your style!

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  10. Interesting story in fact and we have a lot to get from it. I was expecting for this type of post. Thanks for this brilliant addition. I hope you will provide next post soon.

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