Draw What Interests You: Sketching at the Minnesota State Fair

September 3, 2009


Above: My fourth journal card from my first visit to the 2009 Minnesota State Fair. Here I caught a black-faced ewe sitting in a protective canvas jacket with a large green collar. (Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Watercolor Pencils used dry on a 9 x 7 inch card of Fabriano Artistico 300 lb. hot press watercolor paper. Notes were written with a 0.3 Staedtler Pigment Liner.)

The eye and aspect of this ewe, sitting in her protective coat with its high green collar attracted my attention. First she was sitting still and "promised" to do so for a few minutes more. Second there was something lovely about her eye. Third there was the delightful shading of black on black across her face. And then there was the crispness of the collar against her shorn beige neck.

It wasn't important to me to get the entire jacket, just the impression—in fact I didn't know that I would have time because she started to move around. Since I started with the eye and worked out quickly from there I as able to go back in and do more shading around the eye and ear to capture some of the lumpiness of her head. I was also able to go back in at the end and put in a very light layer of beige on the neck. There is just enough of the jacket to remind me of it. That it isn't sharp, or colored in (I didn't even have a green pencil in my pocket and wasn't going to waste valuable "steady model" time fishing it out of the pack) doesn't matter to me. I have what interested me.

It is important to me to note things down about what is happening around me, hence the comment about the voice of the judge I heard throughout my sketching time. (I was still in the Swine barn where some sheep and goats are also housed—check your schedule!)

Note: for the most part on Friday I wrote notes using one of my Staedtler Pigment Liners. I did this because I prefer to write in ink, I can write more quickly and legibly than with a pencil that is wearing down at the tip. Also, I was trying to keep my pencils sharp while drawing and stopping to write with them would wear them down. I tried to keep sharpening episodes to breaks between drawings in an effort to work efficiently and save time, and not lose a model!

090828DSheepDetail Left: Detail of the ewe's head. You can see the outline of the vet tag on the ear, but it isn't developed. What interested me about the ear was the attachment to the head, and the curve.

Remember—when you're out sketching, only you will know what interests you and when you have enough of it down on the page. Have fun exploring those interests. That's part of the fun of visual journaling—to learn about yourself and your interests.

    • Zom
    • September 4, 2009

    Is that a sheep? It looks just like a nubian goat I used to have.

    I love this post. Such a good reminder how our visual journals are for US. Thanks also for the detail about what you used and why, and the decisions you made. I find it really interesting.

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