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One More Loose Sketch: Grabbing the Impulse To Sketch

October 17, 2014

140930_Scott_BakulaLeft: Another A3 sheet of the Fabriano ecological drawing paper. Pentel Brush Pen with Golden QOR watercolors (Burnt Sienna and Indanthrene Blue) with Montana Marker for background. An 8-minute sketch made while watching the new NCIS with Scott Bakula. (I won't be cutting this piece up for collage as I discuss below. I like it this way.)

Today I've posted another sketch I made on that large Fabriano paper I wrote about on Monday.

On this day I worked a little differently—I kept the marker outside of the figure. Inside the face I used a 2-inch wide flat brush with a little bit of water squeezed from my Niji waterbrush onto two dry pats of watercolor.

I just didn't want to get up and get "proper" materials. So be sure to click on this image and see the enlargement because the strokes across the paper are fun to look at. Sometimes I made strokes with the brush held so that it made a thin line that bulged out now and then with pressure. Other times I used its full flat width to cover an area. I even just patted it over an area at times, based on what color was on the brush and how much water was on the brush.

Why work this way? Because its fun of course. But more importantly sometimes we just want to make one more sketch for the day and it's late, and if we get up and gather our materials, or go to where our materials might be waiting (if we have a studio or designated work area), we might lose the impulse to work.

I think we should grab the impulse to sketch whenever it comes to us. Of course we temper our goals and expectations—we aren't looking for something smooth, refined, or perhaps even recognizable. 

When we work in this manner a couple things happen—experiments yield the types of new approaches I wrote about on Tuesday; we have happy accidents we can repeat in the future; we may learn never, ever to do a particular thing again. We also get to play.

I believe all of this is important.

This weekend I hope you'll grab a sheet of paper and recognize the impulse to sketch whenever it comes to you. 

Don't judge the works that you accomplish in a few minutes, just do them. Put your full attention into them while you are working on them and put them aside in a pile (or turn the page/close the journal) and don't look at them until Sunday night when you can review your weekend's work with a fresh eye.

Look for what worked and what didn't.

Look for which techniques you really enjoyed and hope to use again (and then plan to use them in a future sketching session).  

Look for portions of a sketch you might want to save by cropping or by cutting and pasting into a collage. (See my Weirdo Journal and the Collage category for examples of how you can experiment and play in this fashion.) Cut out all the bits you want to use and let the pile build for a week. Then schedule a couple sessions of "collage and sketch" where you use those pieces you saved to create new pieces, using additional drawing and collage as you feel is waranted.

Allow yourself the freedom to work quickly and see what happens. It isn't necessary to work this way—quickly—all the time, but if you do experiment with it now and then you will find that even in those moments when you are sitting down to do something more "studied" you will have a greater ease and facility with your materials and your decision making process.

I also believe you will be making a greater space for happy accidents—and increase your ability to recognize them and deconstruct the process so that you can repeat them at will—for when you need them or want them as part of your approach.

You will be fighting against the stagnation of perfectionism. You will be increasing your productivity and creating momentum for yourself.

And yes, you'll be having fun.

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