This was such a fun sketch to do, with no real pressure of time. Approximately 30 minutes in real time. Sadly the video cut out two thirds into painting. I was so engrossed in it, I didn’t even notice until I went to edit it. So here is the final sketch below.
When I look at this charcoal drawing of my son, I’m floored. Two years ago, I couldn’t imagine drawing anything like this. Two years ago, I was a frustrated crafter-wanna-be-fine-artist. I could do basic technical drawing, cut and paste, sew a bit, construct 3D things, splash acrylic paint in the semblance of an abstract graphic, or repaint the one oil painting I learned as a child – and that was it. I felt I had hit an artistic ceiling. I couldn’t draw anything from my imagination, and I couldn’t draw anything from a picture or real life. In fact, I felt like I just couldn’t SEE what I was trying to draw.
And then I saw a sketchbook on Kickstarter that looked amazing (which by the way, never was received). That and an upcoming trip back to the USA gave me the impetus to learn as much as I could because I wanted to journal in pictures on our trip. This lead me to borrowing every drawing, sketching, painting book and magazine from my local library, and after that, I bought too many e-books and physical books to count. I scoured the internet for lessons, blogs, and forums soaking up everything I could. I got to a point where I was able to find styles that resonated with me and slowly honed in on specific lessons, not trying to learn everything that was available.
When people see me sketching on location, I inevitably have someone sigh, “I wish I could do that”. To their surprise, I share that I couldn’t draw two years ago, but I have found some amazing resources that helped me more than others and I will share them here.
When time is of the essence, a quick sketch with a thick pigment brush pen is a great way to document reportage-style. The varied brush strokes give it a painterly look. The permanent ink also lends itself to being washed over with watercolour at a later stage. The trick to using the Pentel Pigment Ink Brush Pen – Extra Fine is to prime it a little by squeezing the barrel to get the ink flowing and make a nice point with the bristles. It has a tendency to get dry when not in use and the bristles splay. A juicy flowing pen helps with the speed of the sketch and gives you the ability to get a very fine line with the pointed tip. Holding the pen far away from the tip creates a calligraphy-type stroke with lots of fluid and lively movement.