26 June 2012

Sketch prompts for a rainy day

What is one to do when it rains, rains, rains, and a scheduled sketching session is cancelled?  We are facing just that challenge here in Quebec City today.  I was going to lead a nature drawing session at Parc Samuel Holland, but the weather did not cooperate.  As a close second, here are a few sketching prompts which you could use to make sure you still sketch this evening.  Take a few minutes, or the luxury of an hour or more, and enjoy yourself.
Happy sketching!

To begin, find a comfortable seat near a window.  Identify one or two things (or scenes) which catch your attention.  Then, try one or more of the following exercises:

  • Contour drawing -  Contour drawing encourages us to concentrate on details and the outline of something at the same time. The subject is drawn in one continuous, connected line, just as contours of a landform are represented on a map.  The result is often a little "messy," but also tends to capture the energy or personality of a scene with lots of expression.  Try using this technique to sketch a tree, a vehicle, or someone nearby.

  • Negative space drawing -  Using this technique, we consider not only the space occupied by our subject (positive space), but also the space around it (negative space).  Try using this technique to sketch a tree, or a few buildings, or your patio furniture.

  • Make a field journal entry -   A field journal entry combines words and sketches in a way that records both what you see and your curiosity about your subject.   You can turn any sketch into a field journal entry by including some basic information (time, date, location, weather, etc.), and by making some detailed observations to accompany your sketch.  Read more about field journaling here.

  • Tips for field sketching - I put together a sheet of tips for basic field sketches.  It includes notes about perspective (making things seem closer or farther away), drawing trees, leaves, birds, and animals' eyes, and a couple of different ways of drawing (outline, contour, shading or not, etc.).  Feel free to reference these tips while making your sketch(es).

  • If you are feeling "stuck" try changing something.  Use a different tool (if you always draw in pencil, try using markers or a pen).  Draw something you've never tried to draw before, even if it seems "too hard."  Draw something that seems so ordinary you'd never think of drawing it - your toothbrush, a coffee cup, the backdoor of your home.

  • SHARE YOUR SKETCH(ES)!  Show your sketch to someone, and don't "apologize" for it.  Then, scan it, or take a photo, and send it to drawntoquebec@gmail.com.  We'll share any sketches you make this evening, or this week, in a new post at the end of the week.

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