The Joys of Quick Sketching

Last week I launched a project called 'Places and Things'. Mainly because with my upcoming Iceland trip, I want to start creating work which is more observational and images that record places and moments in time so I can refer to them later on for inspiration. I'm certainly no photographer, so sketching is my main method of record-keeping.

With this in mind I realised that a lot of these illustrations will probably be off the cuff and spontaneous ones - maybe whilst sitting in a cafe or on a train - and I needed to speed things up big time. 

Usually I think of a concept or idea for a piece, sketch out the basic design in pencil, then add colour and possibly also a black ink outline. I thought this meant that my work would become inherently 'better', as I could rub out any part of the pencil drawing and carry on mistake free. However, I would often get bogged down by intricate designs and the tedious three-step process. My sketches weren't as dynamic or fluid as I wanted.

So, reserving plenty of sketchbook pages for potential gaffs, I started drawing straight onto the page with my black fine liner - no pencil outlines allowed. I soon discovered that drawing faces relatively mistake free is extremely hard and I had to draw about eight before I got something that looked vaguely human. Perhaps I'll revisit that skill at a later date..

However, I did feel like I started to make some headway with the drawing of mountain landscapes. The lines looked so much sharper without a palimpsest of pencil underneath, and I got a real confidence boost from drawing some decent landscapes free-hand. You could be reading this and thinking that going from pencil to pen is the most boring/trivial thing for a person to ever experience.. but it's a big deal to me!

I often watch fellow artists' Instagram videos of them diving into a painting with permanent ink, letting the design just flow and styling out any mistakes - and I'm a combination of amazed and jealous! I wish I had that level of confidence and trust in my painting, and I'm getting there slowly but surely!