Quick sketching is an essential skill to incorporate into your process as an artist. Sketching as a whole, helps to develop compositions and designs. But to unlock the full potential of sketching, it’s vital to know how to make quick sketches.
Translating ideas onto paper, along with capturing the essence of a diverse range of subject matter, is paramount for artists. This practice holds immense potential for enhancing one’s artistry, especially for painters who do not frequently engage in sketching. Here, I present three key focal points to aid you in mastering the art of quick sketching.
#1 Keep Your Tools at the Ready
An artist is as good as their tools. It’s essential to choose the right pencil, sketchbook, and other accessories that fit your style of sketching. If you don’t know what materials you like the most, try out different pencils, brushes, and tools to find the one that fits your style of sketching. Practicing with several options will inform your sketches’ texture, line thickness, and darkness, among other variable features.
Personally, I carry a small sketchbook with me at all times. It fits into my bag and or purse. So, if I ever have a spare moment or notice an interesting motif – then I can make a quick sketch.
Many artists of the past would practice the same. In fact, Leonardo da Vinci was known for carrying paper around with him everywhere so that he could put his ideas down into quick drawings. He made sketching part of his daily habit. Finding the tools that work best for your lifestyle is a great way to build a solid sketching habit for yourself.
#2 Practice the Art of Observation
Observation is the key to the art of quick sketching. It’s vital to take note of the subject’s shapes, tones, and texture, as well as the surrounding environment. This helps to place the object in its correct context, creating a better composition.
In order to master observational skills, it’s helpful to practice sketching while on a walk, observing people or nature, or even in a place of your choice. The more you practice observing, the better you’ll become at it, and the more accurate your sketches will become.
Focusing your quick sketch on a singular element
When making a quick sketch it is best to focus on one element. For example, you could decide to focus primarily on value and create a light and dark value sketch. Or, you could focus on line by creating a quick line drawing. If the colors you are seeing in your subject are most interesting to you, then make a sketch that focuses on the colors of your subject.
When you choose to focus your attention on one element, it helps you to keep your sketch quick and brief. It also helps you to simplify your subject matter as much as possible.
#3 Be Open to Your Subject
The point of making quick sketches is to not overthink what you will sketch. If something catches your eye and stands out to you, then sketch it! Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by subject matter as this will prevent you from even starting.
The subject you choose to sketch could be something you are interested in making into a painting, or simply just wish to make a sketch of for the joy of drawing. You don’t always need a reason to sketch. A big part of being an artist is practicing to sketch out our ideas.
How to simplify while quick sketching
Once you see something that interests you, then simplify it. You will need to break down what you see so that you can sketch it quickly. Begin by placing the big shapes and then focus on the smaller details gradually. If you do struggle with getting caught up in details, then limit the time you spend on it with a stop watch.
The Power of Quick Sketching in Conclusion
Quick sketching is an essential skill for visual artists. It helps them capture the essence of the subject, develop composition and designs.
By applying the three key points of focus outlined above, an artist can learn how to create quick sketches with ease. Always remember to keep your tools with you, practice the art of observation, and be open to new subject inspiration.
A key part of the process as an artist (whether you’re a painter or work with another medium), is to generate a wealth of studies and inspiration that will help you to create your larger body of work. So, work to incorporate quick sketching into your drawing and painting process to achieve the growth in your work you desire!
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