I have been wanting a sketchbook with black paper for a while. I finally purchased one in early January along with a 3 pack of white Sakura Gelly Roll pens in white. The pens came in 3 weights 10, 08, & 05. The portrait below was sketched with the 05 and 10 weight pens.
The sketchbook is a Canson 7″ x 10″ (17.8 cm x 25.4 cm). It’s 40 pages of 92 lb. (150 g) paper. The pages are perforated so drawings can easily be removed (if worthy, haha).
This was a fun sketch but, you have to remember to focus on sketching the highlights, instead of the shadows. I had to constantly remind myself of this fact. I am so used to sketching the shadows. Starting off light and working my way into the darkest areas of the subject is my usual approach. This sketch was the complete opposite of that usual technique, plus I was using the Gelly Pens which is a very opaque medium so I had to be very conscious of my strokes.
Still, it was a good exercise and I look forward to creating more sketches within the covers of this book.
I started out sketching a Gorilla portrait, but…I’m not sure if that’s what I ended with?
I just don’t feel that I really captured the gorilla the way I intended to. Something seems a little off to me. Perhaps the lower portion of the face it a bit too narrow or the jawline is too square. I’m not sure what it is…
None the less, he was fun to draw. He kept my pen moving and my mind focused for a while.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this sketch.
My sketching habit is becoming more integrated into my daily routine. Quite often I not only sketch in the early morning hours but try to sneak a little time in the evenings as well.
Putting the pen or pencil to paper is such a therapeutic experience. It’s so calming for me, to focus purely on the creation of a sketch. To see a sketch take form beneath the pen is a satisfying and pure experience that serves to ground me and allow me to let go of the outside world, if only for a short period of time. This exercise is now becoming an essential part of my day.
For this sketch, I started with a light pencil outline to get the proportions correct. Once I was satisfied, I began laying down the ink with a Micron 005 and continued with ink until all the base linework and hatching was established. Then I used Copic markers to add color and some amount of shadow. Lastly, I use a white colored pencil and a white gel pen to create limited highlights.
I am remaining dedicated to my daily sketching routine. I believe I have been focusing on faces simply because it’s so easy to find reference images and the fact that it is somewhat familiar territory for me.
However, in the future, I would like to start sketching more from life. I typically work using a reference image. I think I need to begin sketching in nature or in public places in order to capture the environment I find myself in.
Of course, I think given my work hours and other weekday responsibilities this opportunity for Plein Air sketching would only present itself on the weekends.
I’m not making any promises I am only saying that this is something I am working towards and something that I need.
Anyway, enough rambling, time to get to the sketches!
I decided to try a new sketching tool this past week. I purchased a water brush and filled it with Higgins Eternal Ink. The ink is diluted with water to create a wash. This is a totally new tool for me. I think my ink to water ratio may need to be adjusted to create a more diluted effect.
The sketch below is my first attempt to use the ink wash. My original intention was to use a pen for the necessary linework only and then use the wash to convey all of the shadows. I quickly realized that this wasn’t going to work (at least not this time). So I began to build up the darker areas with hatching and then tried to soften those areas using the wash. It seems to me that I went a little overboard with the inks and ended up with a sketch that is dark and splotchy.
The portraits below were sketched this past weekend. You will find that these are not as carefully drawn as some of my previous work. Truth is, all 3 were rushed just a bit. I’m not sure why I think it may be somewhat due to being created on a weekend and being outside of my usual early morning zen routine.
In the end, it really doesn’t matter. When I decided to start sketching again I promised myself that I would not overvalue my sketchbook. I’ll allow myself the freedom to create as I see fit in the moment, and that is exactly what I am doing. So some of my sketches may turn out a bit rough and some may be wonderful. I think it is all part of the creative process.
Giving yourself the freedom to experiment, the freedom to create a mess, I think this will lead to greater creativity and skill.
This is another drawing from my morning sketch practice. This time I chose to create a sketch of a pine comb using a photo reference.
I am certainly enjoying my new found dedication to sketching. It is amazing how much calmer and focused my mornings are now that I have began sketching again.
Once I am awake, showered, and dressed I take a seat at my drawing table with a fresh cup of coffee next to me. I open Pandora and select my favorite classical station, then turn the volume down so it is just loud enough to provide some low background music. I then pick up my pen and sketch for 30-40 mins. The act of “no pressure” casual sketching relaxes me and calms my mood. This seems to set the tone for the remainder of the morning and gets me off to a good start.
Thanks for stopping by!
PS, I managed to squeeze in a bit of photography during an ice storm this past weekend. I hope to publish those photos in a day or two.
One of my goals for 2019 is to sketch each day. So far, I have been choosing to sketch in the early morning hours prior to leaving for work. This seems to work well with my natural ebb & flow of energy. My mind is the sharpest and most focused during the morning hours.
My weekdays are full of both professional and family responsibilities, so free time can be limited. However, I am dedicated to making sketching a normal part of my daily routine.
I started taking drawing seriously in the fall of 2016 and continued to draw all of 2017. However, I moved away from drawing in 2018 to pursue other interest and looking back on it I feel that it was a poor decision.
In the past I have treated my sketchbooks as though they were precious items that can only contain “good” drawings. I am realizing that this leads to a fear of experimentation. This year I intend to make a habit of being free within my sketchbook. Free to experiment, free to make mistakes, this will ultimately lead to growth in my drawing abilities and creativity.
So in 2019 expect to see more drawings and sketches on this blog. Today, I am sharing a couple of pages from my sketchbook / journal that I carry with me daily.
This is Ale, I found inspiration for this portrait on Sktchy. This sketch was created using Micron pens, Copic markers, and white colored pencil on toned paper. The bulk of the work was done with Micron pens. I used Copic markers for the background, hat, and shadow on his neck and clothing. A white colored pencil was used on the highlighted areas of his face and clothing.
I was drawn to his photo because of the dramatic lighting and strong contrasting shadows. There are a few elements within the sketch that I am not completely satisfied with but I like to challenge myself and I think a person grows when they attempt things that may be slightly beyond their skill level. You have to keep trying to improve.
I think I will put my pens away for a short time and pick up my pencils again. I am missing the subtle tones and transitions that can be achieved with graphite. I may bounce back and forth between the two mediums for a while. I don’t want to loose the ink skills I gained by participating in Inktober.
Anyway, thanks for stopping by and I hope you like this sketch.
I’m still enjoying this app, below is my latest sketch. I was a touch disappointed with this one. Something seems off but I can’t quite figure out what. Perhaps it was rushed a bit. I think the hair and the beard should have been rendered with more care.
This time I thought I would also provide a photo of the graphite under-drawing that I typically produce for an ink portrait. For this particular sketch I did get a bit carried away with the under-drawing and produced more of a finished sketch than I typically would. For this piece I almost prefer the graphite version over the ink. My usual process is to do a fairly detailed graphite sketch including the shading and then ink over the top of it.
You will notice in the sketch below that I have not placed any shading within the iris of the eyes. This sketch was created using an 0.5mm mechanical pencil.
I’m curious to know what you guys think. Which do you prefer, the finished ink sketch or the rougher graphite sketch? Please let me know in the comments.