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Introduction to Sketching

Sketching, whether rendered with pencil or brush, is an essential skill in the learning development of any artist.

All the equipment you need to carry, aside from a pencil or a pen, is a sketch pad.

For general landscape sketching a medium-soft pencil can be used. All the necessary shading can be accomplished by using the pencil on a fairly smooth paper.

I suggest that you work on a 9-x-12-inch pad. This size will allow you to produce anything from a small 2-x-3-inch compositional note to a detailed study on the full sheet.

By using a smooth paper you can work faster, delineate fine details, and obtain broad, velvety black effects.

In addition, you will find the smooth-surfaced paper more receptive to pen and ink.

The 9-x-12 pad is recommended for recording landscape compositions, impressions, and studies, and a smaller pad that can be conveniently slipped into the pocket and carried at all times is useful for sketching figures.

By figures I mean people at work, at play, walking, sitting, and so on. This type of sketching serves two purposes: first, the constant practice will improve your drawing; second, the figures can often be incorporated into your paintings.

However incidental they may be in your painting, they will lend an authoritative note if they were originally sketched from life.

For drawing the figure in the classroom or studio, charcoal is undoubtedly the best medium for serious study.

However, the fact that charcoal has to be sprayed with a fixatif to keep it from smearing does not make it as satisfactory a sketching medium as pencil or pen.

Sketching with Pen and Ink will come later on. But if you can't wait, you should read the articles entitled "Should You Sketch with a Brush?" and "Sketching with a Brush in 3 Simple Steps", which I've included in this site for you.

Rokeby Venus, by Velazquez


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