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Sketching Quickly
May 21, 2008

I'm so happy to learn that a lot of you have taken my advice and you're carrying around a small, convenient sketchbook.

This is just fantastic news!

I thought it appropriate to give some hints on how to sketch momentary glimpses.

Let's say you've set out to sketch people. You don't have time to do complex drawings. You will need to adopt an approach that suits you.

This is where contour lines and hatching come in handy and you acquire a drawing "shorthand." Contour lines would quickly capture your subject and you can use cross-hatching to indicate shadows.

With practice, you'll be able to depict movement and posture with the use of contour lines.

You have to learn to spot what features dominate your subject. If you think about it, this is similar to what a cartoonist practices, he simplifies the form he sees before him.

To refresh your memory on contour lines:
Contour lines include the outline plus basic forms of one or more objects. Basic forms would be things like joints or seams, texture or expression.

Sketching quickly is a skill that you need to practice. Don't be deterred by your first attempts. You don't need to show anyone your sketchbook. Keep it private until you are comfortable and confident.

Drawing is an ongoing learning process, accept your mistakes as another lesson and move on to your next drawing.

You need to draw a subject again and again. That is the only way you will get to know your subject well.

Once you work out what is necessary in a sketch and what can be left out, most of your work is done!

Next month, I'll tell you what else I am doing towards improving my skills with my sketchbook.

Tip of the Month

Did you know that the size of your sketchpad can change your drawing style?

A large pad gives you the freedom to use your whole arm. You can produce wide, sweeping lines.

A small pad restricts you to drawing from the wrist. Your pencil strokes are kept within certain limits.

Thank you,, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to read this issue.

You can simply reply to this email if you have anything you'd like to share with me.

I do get a few emails each month and it's really lovely to hear from you. Thanks for taking the time to write to me and give me feedback. I appreciate it.

Please take care,


The important thing is to keep on drawing when you start to paint. Never graduate from drawing. (John Sloan)

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