Sketch gym

notes - studies

2013-2015

Sketch hand all warmed up -- at this point, I recognised I have a problem with mileage.

A steep learning curve comes naturally with technical, mechanical stuff that involves my hand holding a pen and moving it in just the right direction and amount of pressure to produce a quick sketch. Learning to draw comics however requires that I get familiarised with drawing a variety of stuff that make up a world. Sounded like I needed to hit the sketch gym.

Below is a selection of studies that worked to train my eyes to communicate better with my drawing hand.


Sketching from life

A tip I hear a lot -- pay attention.
It would be ideal in good company to compare sketches of the same subjects.

cafe | pencil sketch studies by Cat S.

Shying away from comparison is where the road ends for me.

Looking at other people's works against mine is the only way to burst my perceptive bubble. I get to discover how else to interpret what's in front of me -- learn other drawing techniques. That eventually inspires me to improve on their approach and get the discipline moving forward.

This drawing exercise is also a way of streamlining that connection between processing what I see and using my hands to reduce it down to its essence.

cafe | pencil sketch studies by Cat S.

I just find this rather limited in subject matter -- for which I turn to photos.


Sketching from a photo

There's an inexhaustable library of photo references on the web. Finding, coming up with, and stumbling upon a variety of keywords can be its own little game.

Faced with too many choices, it would be a mistake to use keywords that describe my interests -- that's not going to work I thought. I need to look up words that describe deficiencies in my sketch mileage.

Scenes that I would be incapable of imagining up from scratch.

buildings perspective | pencil sketch studies by Cat S.

Imagery that hasn't yet been stored in my memory.

buildings perspective | pencil sketch studies by Cat S.

Real objects that I would likely not see in person.

tree house | pencil sketch studies by Cat S.

Scenes I have no way to see in person...

cars | pencil sketch studies by Cat S.

...because I was born in a different time and place.

cars | pencil sketch studies by Cat S.

Subjects that don't have similar facial features.

old man | pencil sketch studies by Cat S.

Or same body language.

animals | pencil sketch studies by Cat S.

Or the same anatomy.

animals shoebill | pencil sketch studies by Cat S.

nude man | pencil sketch studies by Cat S.

animals | pencil sketch studies by Cat S.

This drawing exercise is also a way to transition from technical proficiency towards visual storytelling. Something I cannot do sketching from life.

Or can do,

teenagers | pencil sketch studies by Cat S.

if I can sit through the awkwardness of being in the same room.
It is basically an exercise on drawing from memory...

action | pencil sketch studies by Cat S.

...in this case, stolen memories.

action | pencil sketch studies by Cat S.

At this point -- in 2015 -- I felt I had just enough sketch mileage.
Ready for the next exercise.

Chopping up my larger goal of drawing comics into manageable systems...

Materials used:
Coloured pencils, A5 sketchbook 110 gsm