Warm Ups Matter—Continued

November 12, 2014


Left: Pentel Pocket Brush Pen sketch of Dick as he watched Ken Burns' "Mark Twain." With Montana acrylic markers. (The light green background is Golden Green Gold High Flow Acrylic. And I did throw on a light watery wash of Indanthrone blue watercolor in a couple places at the end.) Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media Wirebound 9 x 12 inch journal.


I'm rather fond of this sketch of Dick. I wanted to post it today because I'm preposting posts to buy myself time during a really packed three weeks of obligations AND because I wanted to show you the verso page in this journal.

In an earlier post about these sketches with the markers I've been making of Dick, I wrote that I scribble on the opposite page to clean off the tips if they pick up other not-yet-dry paint. But I also sometimes warm up on the other sheet and I think the warm up opposite this sketch is really useful to look at.

141028_DickWarmUpLeft: Verso page where I did a quick warm up sketch and then cleaned off my markers while working on the sketch on the recto page. Click on the the image to view an enlargement.

We all have days when we don't feel the sharpest, or when for whatever reason we don't feel our eyes and hand are connecting. The past several months have been difficult ones for me because I've been struggling to find eye glasses that WORK. My eyes are changing because of a large range of factors (age, hormones, stress, previous accidents, overuse, and strain), and understanding all the factors involved, and even managing them doesn't really resolve the issue and leads to frustration. 

I find it is now even more important than ever that I do warm ups to make a shift from not sketching mode to sketching mode.

I like to experiment with different media and I have become even more ruthless in deciding if I'll stick with an approach or leave it and try something else. In general I think warm ups are great to get you working in a particular medium, but I think you also need to be alert to switching to a different medium if things aren't working. Time spent warming up with any particular medium will help you make the decision to switch media. You don't want to throw in the towel too early, because sometimes an awful warm up in one medium will lead to better work in the next drawing, and the next, with the same medium.

On this particular day I started sketching with a brush and blue watercolor. You can see this on the left page in the full-page-spread view. It didn't work for me. Also the black brush pen wasn't working when I went in with it as a follow up. But I decided to start again in the same pose with the black brush pen. You see the final result on the right.

If you look at these two drawings I think it's important to see how similar they are. What has improved in the second drawing is that I have slowed down, I am making deliberate choices, and I've adjusted the angle, especially of they eyes and the hairline. Once I have had a good go at those in my warm up and see that it isn't working I know what to watch for in the second drawing.

Don't give up after one drawing. The next drawing might be exactly what you are looking for—and you only get there after making the warm up.

  1. Reply

    Thank you for showing your recto page. That is quite fun. I use a clean up page too but on a separate piece of paper, that gave me an idea to try to encorporate it in my sketchbook as well. I always end up doing something with it at some point (images start to immerge in the chaos) but having them together would give it a more interesting point of reference. I also wanted to comment on your approach of the actual sketch. Your use of colors in dabs and contrasting warm/cool reminded me of a painter who is a friend of my daughter. She lives in Bend, Oregon and thought you might enjoy her work. Her blog is always interresting and reflective too. Her Name is Sheila Dunn. Here is the link.

  2. Reply

    Thanks Roxanne, I’m glad you enjoyed this. And thanks for the link to Sheila Dunn, I’ve not seen her work before and I really enjoyed seeing her short video describing her life and seeing her paintings. They are lovely!

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