It’s Fun To Change Media Now And Then

September 14, 2018
Magenta color pencil sketch in a Shinola Sketchbook.

Sometimes if you’ve been working steadily in one medium it’s good to take a break and do some sketching with a totally different medium.

I’d been sketching so much with pen and watercolor before the Minnesota State Fair that I decided to start a sketchbook for color pencil quick sketches. (I say quick sketches because I know I’ll never have the patience again for the detailed, layered color pencil works I did in the 1980s and 1990s. I know you’re never supposed to say never, but I feel sure this is the case!)

For me quick sketching with a pencil allows me to feel around some shapes and play with looseness.

If you are already working loose your medium might be one which you can use more tightly. 

I find these types of breaks useful because it helps clear my mind when deciding which materials to take to an event like the Minnesota State Fair. 

These breaks (which can last for one sketch, 10 sketches, or a week or more) also allow me to bring new enthusiasm back to my favorite media. You also might find new combinations of media to go forward with.

    • Tina Koyama
    • September 15, 2018

    I love all of your paint and brush pen works, but this is really special! I’m a big fan of using colored pencil and graphite pencil, but I sometimes get bogged down in detail (which is when I switch to brush pens), so I would like to learn to use colored pencil in a looser, more fluid way. This magenta sketch is inspiring.

    1. Reply

      Thanks so much Tina, I’m glad you enjoyed this color pencil sketch. I think it’s difficult to not get bogged down in detail; a brush pen is a great tonic to that. I think one of the ways to think about being looser in color pencil for me has been to work very quickly and to “feel my way” around the subject. Not just in the sense of a contour drawing, but a feeling around for shape and softness and quick shading. It is something that I practiced when I started drawing Dottie on a daily basis. Before that I had a hyper realistic approach to color pencil drawing and as the years of the Daily Dots progressed you can actually see me move away from that to something looser.

      So get a magenta pencil (they are my favorite, though orange is also fun) and take one out the next time you go to a zoo (or FAIR, because of course you’re coming to the Fair next year right???) and then set some sort of mental time limit before you start sketching one of the animals, and feel your way around the sketch quickly. It will be very loose indeed and you can tighten it up or not as you wish.

      Someone who works in a really lovely style with color pencils, more detailed and less loose, but still loose, is Lynn Chapman and I think you know her through Urban Sketchers?

      I hope you have fun with the magenta pencil!

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