By now you've worked on the other two Project Friday posts relating to the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen. You've carried the pen about with you for a weekend or week, sketching all your favorite stuff, experimenting with the lines and marks it can make, and worked on your control. You've also spent a week or weekend squinting at everything and trying to capture shadow shapes.
This weekend (or week) I'd like to suggest that you use the pen to develop your "editing" eye further by working on stylizing how you protray your subject. Use as few lines as possible and when you make a line go in and do so boldly, with conviction. Really carve the line out and enjoy the possibilities of moving the brush beneath your hand to vary the line.
At the top of this post you'll see a quick sketch I did of the owner of the "Obscura" the store featured on "Oddities."
I was just trying to capture the main features and really edit down my lines. (I'm working as I always do, directly with ink.)
For comparison you can look at another sketch I did of this man in which I was trying to be more "accurate." (Don't add paint to your sketches yet, that's for another day; right now we are focusing on your lines.)
Pick a subject that will either stay still (plants, sleeping animals, life drawing models) or use a photograph for these experiments. Focus on what are the essential lines of your subject. Which lines describe the shape, silhouette, or main features? Which lines can you leave out? Which lines define a form and give dimension? Look for areas of strongest contrast where light and dark areas meet—how essential is a line there? Or would a line there mess things up? Keep asking yourself these types of questions. In general you want to leave out any shading of the shadow areas. We're going for a stylized impression of something.
Something to think about as you do this week's assignment:
While I'm suggesting that you leave off using watercolor, gouache, or acrylics this week and still focus on your lines, I'm including this sketch to give you a preview of how you'll aim to edit your lines later when you are adding watercolor.
There are times when you'll need the hard black line of the PPBP and other times when it is better to describe those areas with your wash of color (see inside the mass of the gargoyle). Note that not all of these lines are necessary (or even wanted) in this example, but it was the first one I could think of to illustrate this point. Some lines are added here because I have to "remember" where the shape of the subject is and where I'm going to add the wash. If I were to refine this sketch into another version I would paint the background behind the wings and thus eliminate the need for any black ink on the wings. Inside the body as well there are areas where I could remove the lines.
Think about all that as you work this week focusing on editing out lines—while still making something recognizable. At least part of your work this week should be fast—very fast, so fast you hardly get to think, you just get to respond.
The reason for this is that if you work fast you can always slow down for accuracy, but you can't speed up easily when under pressure if you haven't been practicing that way (and here I'm assuming that you're going to go sketch in public and feel just a little pressure to get something down on paper so that your group of friends can move along). If you always run a slow couple miles for your workout you are never going to be able to race.
If one fast sketch doesn't work the remedy is simple. Take the information on what did and didn't work and immediately do another one using that information.
Sketch directly with your pen—I felt I had to say that because some of you might still be holding on to your pencil. Let it go. (If you were in class with me I would throw it on the ground and break the lead—I'm that serious about this.)