Monthly Archives: March 2013

Sketching “for the Absolute and Utter Beginner”

Last Saturday at Silvermine, a wonderful bunch of new students came in the studio door for an introduction to sketching. These “absolute and utter beginners” started with scribbling exercises, adding skills until they could sketch a small still life with confidence. We learned that the loose, spontaneous sketched line can create drawings that stand on their own as works of art, and that paradoxically, it’s also is a great tool for adding accuracy to drawings.

students share their sketches on the studio wall

Sketching can form a safety net for a more developed drawing. First, a lightly sketched underdrawing is created to make sure that the subject matter is accurate in proportion, placement, symmetry etc, and then more specific features of the subject matter can be drawn on top of that. Students then add pencil values-gray tones created by scribbling- to fill in the sketch, making it look more dimensional, and closer to the subject matter they’re looking at.

here you can see the pencil value scales upper left. these grays are applied to a sketched framework to create a more representational look to this still life sketch

underneath this still life drawing the student had sketched a light armature to make sure the bottle was symmetrical and vertical before developing it further with pencil values

More information about how to sketch can be found in my book, “Drawing for the Absolute and Utter Beginner” Watson-Guptill, publisher.

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