Sunday, November 30, 2014

Saturday Sketchwalk at Intramuros And Life Drawing Session

     One of the admins of USk Philippines was invited to sketch with CSB  Architecture students yesterday and she's invited other members to tag along. I still haven't gotten enough sleep from the night before and I have an scheduled life drawing session with another fellow USk member in the afternoon. Still, I decided to attend both. :D
    We were supposed to make eight 10minute sketches around Intramuros but the weather is really bad. So, we were only able to make three.

Sketching the sketchers
The second stop.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

November Sketchwalk at the Ayala Triangle Gardens

      For a different experience, Urban Sketchers Philippines decided to do a night sketching at the Ayala Triangle. It would also be my first time sketching/painting a night scene and I wasn't really sure how things would work out. As much as I tried to mentally prepare myself for the challenges ahead, there were still a lot of surprises. First, there was this issue of insects being attracted to the portable lights and landing on our faces! Fortunately, my sketch mate brought some insect repellent lotion. Second, there was also this case of a group of curious passersby asking so many questions. I never thought there would be so much onlookers and some even decided to sit beside us until we were finished. Thirdly, I found out that the gear I brought for the night's session, was too heavy that when I started drawing or painting a stroke, my hands were shaking that I couldn't draw/paint a decent line. But I finished nonetheless and enjoyed the experience.

Everyone else gathering for a group shot of all the works

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Five Ways to Sustain the Sketching Habit

Make it easy for you to sketch 
     Always have all the sketching tools within easy reach. For some people, it is a challenge to pick up and set up the tools from whatever storage it is kept in. By the time you have taken them out, you might have just lost the energy. If it within easy reach, it is just easy to sketch or paint on a whim much as like picking up your mobile phone.

Make a portable sketching kit and carry it everywhere
     "An artist is a sketchbook with a person attached to it." I'll never forget this line I have picked up from an article in Artist's Magazine a few years ago. It took me a while though to practice it. Once I have assembled my sketching kit, it is always with me wherever I go. Now I have different configurations for my sketching kit from just pencil and sketchbook combo to a full watercolor sketch kit with an easel to match.

Join a local community such as Urban sketchers or online like Wetcanvas
     I have often heard remarks like "I'm not that good, its embarrassing" whenever encourage them to join Urban Sketchers, or make a post of their works. As always, I would give them a reply "It is fine, it's not a competition, it is a community of friendly people willing to help each other. Everybody has to start from somewhere so no one is judging anybody."
     Participating with a community gives you a sense of commitment to nurture your skill as well as give feedback to others. Regularly posting  your work may give you feedback on areas you need to improve. Just remember to keep an open mind.

Find a friend with the same interest and sketch together

     If it really feels inconvenient to join a community why not sketch with a friend? Sometimes what we need is a little nudge to make our first step. Sketching with a friend could help sustain those steps.

Create a blog
     Blogging would be a nice way to document your progress. You might think it is time consuming but it's not. If you have a Google account, it is as simple as signing up with and choosing a template. You can even choose to make your blog private until you are ready to show your work.
     Looking back, these are the things I did to be on track. Just pick one and keep adding to the list.
     Happy sketching!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What to Sketch?

     Before I started out  with the habit of sketching, I always asked myself what should I sketch? The lack of experience and confidence limited the things or subjects I was willing to sketch for fear that if I didn't like the outcome, I would just be discouraged, yet I knew I had to start somewhere.

     Suggestion: I realized that if you are new to sketching, you can use things that interest you as your subjects. But if these prove to be challenging, you can begin with simpler objects first like a mug, spoon, or a vase.  

     Listed below are some of the things that I started with as my subjects in honing my skills in sketching. I also added other things I am interested to sketch in the future.

  • Things at your work table
  • Your shoes
  • Your pet
  • Food: breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack
  • The view at your window
  • Your hand
  • Your Bag
  • Your seatmate at school or the office
  • Plants inside your house
  • The kitchen sink still with the dirty dishes
  • Groceries
  • That junk food you brought at the convenience store.
  • A tree
  • That post at the street corner
  • Most people take a selfie using their mobile phones, why not make a sketch of yourself?
  • Pinterest images(just be careful that you don't end up spending your time pinning instead of sketching. It is easy to get distracted  with all the images.)

     The more you sketch the more you'll get better (true story!), the more you will enjoy sketching, and the more you will gain confidence.

     At that stage you'll never run out of ideas what to sketch.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

First Life Drawing Session

     Yesterday, friend from Urban Sketchers invited me to her group's life drawing session. I've never been in one, so I don't know what to expect. I forgot to take note of the time, but I think it is less than 2 hours. Time flies when you are concentrating, and  that two hours seems just like 30 minutes. It was a free session, nobody gets to pay anything, but you have to give the model at least one of your drawings from the session. Having the lights turned off gave me headaches, so I was only able to make two drawings from the two poses.

The model liked and chose this drawing.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Pen and Ink Sketch Dump

     Sketching people is a great challenge, they rarely remain still. Worse of all, in the middle of the sketch, they leave. Oh well! For free model references, we really cannot complain. On the positive side, it forces you to sketch fast which helps improve your memory by performing mental snapshots of people's pose and features as you lay your marks on the paper. 
     Here are some of the Pen and Ink sketches I've done during the last few weeks:

Drinking buddies seem like good models. They don't move as much. or maybe they are just too drunk.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Urban Sketchers at Fountain Pen Day 2014, SM Aura

     I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the first ever celebration of Fountain Pen Day in the Philippines. I've only used fountain pens recently so, I never knew anything about fountain pens nor the fact that there is special day for it. Now most of my sketching is done using a fountain pen and I love it. If not for the other art materials I have to buy, I would have been collecting pens. :)

USk members' sketches for the Fountain Pen Day event

Monday, November 3, 2014

Learning to Control Watercolor

     I'm trying to do understand the relationship between the amount of water on the paper, on the brush, the amount of paint and the different stages of dryness of the paper. Its easy to understand in theory, but in actual practice, there's a lot of things going on. I find it overwhelming.

Painted using 4 colors : Madder lake, Cad Red, Cad Yellow D, Cad Yellow Lemon on Arches 7' x 10' CP

     This leads me to another basic idea that I must be familiar with the behavior of the paints I'm using and how they react to paper. Is the paint transparent, staining, or granulating? How strong is the chroma? Does the color have a warm or cool bias? With these thoughts, I think I understand why we have to make color charts and why they are important.

Winsor  & Newton paints on Saunders Waterford. The black vertical bar on each swatch is a tool to determine the transparency of the pigment. The top swatch is painted with a thickest mixture possible(pan watercolor), the bottom swatch has been diluted with more water.

Different brands of paints on Arches CP 300gsm. The swatches are painted  from masstone (dense form of the paint from the tube) to a very thin wash. After all swatches have dried, I tried to lift the color completely by slightly wetting the area(see the horizontal fade). and scrubbing with a damp nylon flat brush. Notice that some pigments does not completely lift out.

    For those who are beginning to paint that doesn't have an idea of what to paint, or doesn't have have the confidence and is intimidated by a blank page or paper, try making color charts for an exercise. It will give you a head start. Did I say it's fun ?

There is a follow up post on this here