Sketching

Another Completed Sketchbook.

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I thought about the title of this post for some time. ’Another’ suggested I had completed quite a few sketchbooks, which I haven’t, as I am new to drawing. I have slowly worked my way through a small number with my latest being a blank Baron Fig pocket Confidant. It's the first time I’ve used this brand as a sketchbook.

The sketchbook.

The Baron Fig pocket Confidant made a pretty good sketchbook. I wanted to try a pocket size for its portability and also wanted something with a hard cover. I chose a Baron Fig Notebook as it's a notebook I use for other purposes and therefore one I am familiar with. I was hoping that the familiarity would make my drawing less pressured and more free.

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The pocket Confidant has a hard cover, I chose the darker Charcoal colour as I thought this would wear better. The hard cover meant that the notebook had some stability which I would need for sketching on the go. There are 192 pages of the standard Baron Fig paper with their signature yellow ribbon.

What I have learnt from this sketchbook.

As I am new to sketching it is not something that comes naturally to me. With each sketchbook I work through I am trying consciously to learn in the hope that I improve and that it becomes second nature.

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With this sketchbook I tried to experiment more than I had done in the past. I set out to use this sketchbook with a black ink pen, inspired by Patrick Vales Instagram posts. I wanted keep things simple and just sketch. I stuck to this for a while but after seeing artists sketchbooks online I introduced coloured pencils.

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Coloured pencils felt familiar, from childhood, and easy to use. There are a number of artists that I follow who use coloured pencils as their preferred tools. Like them I wanted to find a small palette that I could use, no matter the subject matter. By not worrying about replicating the colours in front of me and using my imagination, then perhaps my drawing would improve. I couldn’t find a flow with this but it’s something I want to keep coming back to.

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I spent some time using only graphite pencils to try and be fluid with my sketches. The loose style you can achieve with graphite has always been appealing and it was also an excuse to use the softer graphite pencils I have lying around. The only thing that ever really bothers me about graphite is the smudging and the marks left over time that start to blur your drawing.

I returned again to a black pen enjoying the feel of the pen tip on the page. There is something very satisfying about it. Using an ink pen makes me more decisive with my lines. The theory then being that this encourages me to learn from my mistakes, wrong proportions and poor imitations and want to make them better the next time.

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Due to the pocket size of this sketchbook detail wasn’t a luxury I had. Everything had to be simple. In this sketchbook I have drawn a lot of people and I am awful at drawing people. I enjoy watching people, noticing their expressions, the shape of their features and attempt, poorly, to replicate them. Plus there are always people to draw.

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Overall thoughts.

I am starting to understand that the key to my sketching journey is to change things up and to keep finding inspiring artists to learn from. Trying new tools and ideas will open me up to new techniques and styles.

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In this instance the pocket notebook was the perfect companion and the unofficial sketchbook nature helped a lot. My next sketchbook will be different again and hopefully will teach me different things. I feel confidant in saying that for a sketchbook that I carry around I want a simple set up. Sketchbook and black pen seems to work pretty well.

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Mid-Week Mini: My First Inktober Completed.

Today is the last day of Inktober and I have drawn everyday this month. I am really pleased with what I have produced, that I was able to stay focused and to complete a drawing each day.

In this post I have included each drawing I completed, the good, the bad and the ugly.

My Inktober drawings.

Things I have learnt from Inktober.

I have enjoyed drawing with a Tombow brush pen. I like the line width variation from using one pen. It’s handy to just have one pen to use, rather than several drawing pens with different nib sizes. I had never considered using a brush pen to draw with but it works really well.

I restricted myself to using pen and pencil only. I didn’t want to distract myself with anything else. This has made me start venturing into line work but I really have no idea what I am doing. I have looked at a lot of other sketchers trying to see where and how they use their line work to guide my own drawings.

During this challenge I have found that I have no imagination and need to copy or follow something. Finding the time to sketch is tricky and means I am mostly drawing in the evenings. I have found Instagram and Pinterest the best tools and I have been drawing things that I find interesting. I make a note of where the drawing has come from and found this really helpful in developing my skills. Getting my perspectives right is still a major challenge and I just can't seem to wrap my head around this.

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Overall thoughts.

I am really pleased to have taken part in Inktober. I have found drawing extremely calming and a good way to keep myself occupied especially at times where I normally waste time. In some instances my daily drawings have linked back to my day and my Inktober sketchbook has almost become a mini journal. I didn't plan that but I have drawn about things I have on my mind and things I have done. As always the test now is whether I can continue to draw regularly. Every day may be tricky, but finding a balance and routine is where I need to be.

Plus I already have my next sketchbook lined up, so I need to make sure I carry it with my and sketch whenever I can.

Mid-Week Mini: Inktober Progress so far...

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In my previous post I gave a brief sketching update and committed to taking part in Inktober this year. Sketching is something I have flirted with since the beginning of this year and I haven’t really found my groove. So the hope is that Inktober will help make my drawing aspirations a routine and eventually improve my ability. Basically I just want to get better.

My initial thoughts was that I would just draw the everyday and with this I expected to draw physical things around me, but this hasn’t quite panned out that way.

The good news is I have kept to drawing each day. I have enjoyed being limited in my tools and not having distractions. I know what I am using and I just get on with it. Finding things to draw has been the challenge. My thoughts beforehand haven’t panned out because I have to want to draw a thing, there has to be a level of interest there. I have also relied on the work of others and worked towards mimicking and trying to use this as a way to better understand proportions, line work and how to get the pen to move of the page. I have lots of thoughts on this and will share more on this in a future post.

Anyway below are each of my photos with a brief description of each…in case you find that sort of additional information interesting.

Day 1.

I drew the exterior of a new cafe that opened up near me. I am always drawn to buildings but I really don’t think I am very good at drawing them. This would benefit not only from improvement but also from some colour as the exterior is a wonderful bright pink.

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Day 2.

I was in the office, around actual people, and so drew a colleague who I don’t really know very well (slightly awkward) but I just felt compelled to draw him. The other face was taken from instagram by @ojhaderashish.

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Day 3.

I drew over two pages on this day. The first was a lotus flower and the second was a train platform because I was listening to Freya Ridings album and her song Lost Without You was going round and round in my head.

Day 4.

My thoughts on this day were around my body and so I ended up doodling body parts. Sounds a little odd when you write it down. The two head images were mimicked (poorly) from @todoxerrado.

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Day 5.

I drew a few pencil sketches again of a body image, a few flowers but the main one was a chicken, again taken from someone on Instagram @drawings.s.p. The chicken is hilarious and I had a lot of fun with this one.

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Day 6.

I was rushed on day 6 and ended up drawing pylons. I’d spent a lot of time in the car and it was the first thing that came into my head. Not my best day.

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Day 7.

I like drawing little houses. Simple. I found this one through Pinterest by an artist called Chris Lee, who’s work looks wonderful.

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Day 8.

I drew my living room. I was watching TV and hadn’t found anything else to draw. Again not my best.

Day 9.

This is a sketch in progress and I did manage to do another. I found this again through Instagram (@jessicalewerin) and I found it very funny. It seemed to reflect how I was feeling.

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And so we are up to date. Today is day 10. I have no idea what I am drawing but I am sure I will find something. I hope you have enjoyed todays post. I will aim to do another in a week or so sharing the next batch of questionable drawings.

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My Sketching Update

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I wrote a post not too long ago about my experiences sketching while on holiday. Finding the time to sketch, using the scenery and people around me to document our trip gave me ample opportunities and enough inspiration to sketch a lot. I wanted to continue with this when I returned home to normal life and unsurprisingly this proved challenging.

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Taking up any task at home is always hard to do with life and work commitments eating in on your time. Sketching the everyday is tricky and finding something that peaks my interest is difficult.

In the past few months I have found inspiration in some of the old English villages close to where I live. I often take photos when out and then sketch in the evenings. The time and confidence to urban sketch have not fully aligned (yet).

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My sketches are mostly in ink and watercolour. My technique isn’t great and I still can’t quite wrap my head around how watercolours work and the best ways to mimic what I am seeing. My painting feels childlike and simple, but I’m working on it.

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I have been using two sketchbooks, my Moleskine watercolour sketchbook and the new(ish) Field Notes Signature sketchbook. The Field Notes sketchbook worked as something small and lightweight. I drew rough outlines of things, sometimes in person, or just doodled. The Moleskine was where I then put a little more effort in, used my watercolours and took some time to do improve on things.

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Recently I’ve started playing around with coloured pencils as an alternative medium. I can quickly grab a coloured pencil to add some accents to a pencil or ink sketch or to use this as the dominant medium. I try to not be concerned about replicating the same colours and just use the palette of pencils I have with me, but this doesn’t quite feel natural yet.

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Inktober starts tomorrow and I have had floating thoughts about taking part this year. A conversation with an old friend got me thinking about my drawings and gave me some encouragement to re-focus. Inktober is a great opportunity to commit to drawing everyday. There will be an abundance of moral support and ideas. I have a new Field Notes sketchbook ready as I am almost done with the old one, and plan on keeping everything simple, pencil and drawing pen. From there I’ll see where the month takes me.

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I want to focus on the everyday as I think this will help make sketching more of a habit but also make me observe the things around me a lot more. I will try and find the inspiration and beauty in the everyday things.

I will share as much as I can through my Instagram account but also will commit to a follow up post at the end of the month to share my thoughts and learnings from this exercise. A month should be sufficient to make sketching a real habit and help me find a routine.

I’d love to hear about your sketching journey and if you’re taking part in Inktober so please feel free to share.