Watercolor Wednesday: Sketching from Life Tips & Hints

I continue to flex my sketching muscles in my current "daily diary" journal and for today's Watercolor Wednesday, I thought I'd pass along some things that I've realized since beginning:
  • Before tackling large, complicated, intimidating scenes, begin with familiar everyday objects.
  • If necessary, prop the item up in front of you on a slanted surface so you don't have to cope with foreshortened perspective.  I put a little sticky poster putty under the object as well so it doesn't slide off.  I do this with objects that normally lay flat on the table.
  • Edit out small details that are too difficult to draw/paint and that are not essential to understanding with object you are trying to render.  For example, in reality, my glue bottle is covered in dried glue fingerprints but I didn't think I needed to show those hard-to-paint bits of glue to create a painting that screamed "Glue bottle!"
  • Try outlining your object two times with a loose line.  This can give a sketch energy and interest as well as distract from any perceived imperfections.  (Remember that imperfect sketches are almost what define this style of journaling.)
  • Distinguish between primary and secondary lines by using different line weights.  For example, for the outline of an object (a primary line), I use a .05 Micron pen and for smaller interior, or secondary lines, I use a .01 Micron.
  •  Include your own handwriting and lettering.  Both complement this style nicely.
  • If your object seems like it is floating on the page, try stamping lightly in the space surrounding your painting.  My favorite color of stamp ink for this purpose is Staz-On's Dove Gray.  In addition, frames around the page can help enclose a painting; cast shadows also help the object look as if it is sitting, rather than floating, on the paper.
  • Most importantly, relax, have fun, don't give up, and stay loose!


Anonymous said…
great pointers. thanks
Unknown said…
These are some great tips! :) Thank you for sharing!
Heather said…
Thanks for these tips, Michelle! I'm still getting started with sketching, so these will definitely help me out.
Marjie said…
I've just started sketching in the past year and have had more than my share of floating objects! So I found the last tip especially helpful. BTW, I found your blog through artsyville's "glue it Tuesday" links
Carolyn said…
Thank you o much for these tips! I love the look of art supply sketches but haven't been brave enough to try them. You might have just given me the push I need!