On Deciding Which Version of a Sketch You Like Best…

May 20, 2021

Here’s the final version I did of this brush pen and watercolor sketch on toned (tan paper); with a little bit of white gouache for the highlights. (The cheek is actually the paper color.)

Sometimes when I’m sketching I enjoy the plain sketch, or some early version of the sketch so much, that I stop and scan the version so I can look at them all later and decide which I like best.

That allows me to sit down and aim for a particular look in the next round.

Here are the other sequential versions I made of this particular sketch, in order.

You can click on them and see enlargements.

First is the brush pen sketch and just the red on the face. I liked that a lot and almost stopped. There is something so fun about brush pen marks on great paper (Strathmore Toned Mixed Media Paper, tan.)

The next photo is a detail showing the stubble marks.

Then I added white to that sketch in the mustache and beard, and some other highlights. That’s the third image below, and the detail from that version is the fourth image below. 

Finally there is a detail image from the full color version. 

Sometimes you push and get to a point that’s clearly beyond where you needed to stop. Sometimes you get to a whole new, fun place to be. 

Next time you think it’s time to stop sketching, take a quick photo (or if you’re at home, scan) and then continue on. See where the pushing takes you.

    • Karen Engelbretson
    • May 21, 2021

    The eyeballs are awesome!

    1. Reply

      Thanks Karen, they were a lot of fun to do. I really like using Azure Cobalt with Quin pink, to make a lovely lavender.

    • Paul
    • May 21, 2021

    For what it’s worth, I think it was TOTALLY the right decision to add paint👍. The eyes, facial expression, AND bright red/orange just exudes fear or eminent danger😱. Another one of your top portraits,Roz!!! BTW, if you ever assembled a book of your top 100 portraits I would definitely buy a copy👍👍.

      • Paul
      • May 21, 2021

      …”imminent” danger! (“darn auto correct🤔).

    1. Reply

      I’m having deja vu! (I thought I answered this.) Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed this one. I would have trouble picking my top portraits. The portraits I post and think I’ll get lots of hits on Instagram never seem popular, and the ones I least expect to be interesting are. Sigh. But they are all fun and that’s what I like.

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