The Urban Sketcher: Techniques for Seeing and Drawing on Location by Marc Taro Holmes

The-Urban-Sketcher-Techniques-for-Seeing-and-Drawing-on-Location-260x342.jpeg Author Marc Taro Holmes
Isbn 978-1440334719
File size 31 Mb
Year 2014
Pages 144
Language English
File format PDF
Category drawing


The Urban Sketcher The Urban Sketcher TECHNIQUES FOR SEEING AND DRAWING ON LOCATION by Marc Taro Holmes Meredith House, Montreal Pen, ink and watercolor on 140-lb. cold-pressed watercolor paper, 16" × 20" (41cm × 51cm) CINCINNATI, OHIO 6 8 10 Introduction: How to Use This Book What Is Urban Sketching? Get Started As a Daily Sketcher Chapter 1 Graphite: Draw Everything You See 12 Graphite Tools • Drawing From the Outside In • Sight Measuring & Angle Checking • Use Simple Measurements to Break Down Complex Shapes • Still Life Cafe Sketching • Sketchbook Treasure Hunt • Shadow Shapes: The Illusion of Depth • Create Bold Shadow Shapes • Composition & the Gradient of Interest • Guide the Eye Through an Object Montage • Strong Focus in a Street View Chapter 2 Pen & Ink: Expressive Lines, Powerful Contrast Chapter 3 Watercolor: Bring Sketches to Life with Color 90 Watercolor Tools • Grow a wash Technique • Charging-In Technique • Edge-Pulling Technique • Splatter Technique • Drybrush Technique • Painted Sketchbook: Line & Wash • Spot Color on Portrait Subjects • Large Washes: The Three Big Shapes • Three-Pass Watercolor Sketch • More Three-Pass Sketching with Color • Tea, Milk & Honey for Still Life Sketches 124 138 139 142 Gallery Conclusion Index About the Author 38 Pen & Ink Tools • Three-Pass Sketching • Progression of a Three-Pass Sketch • Three-Pass Sketching in Action • Minimalist Scribbling • Documentary Sketching Sprint • Mark-Making & Tonal Range: Values in Ink • Straight to Ink! • Drawing People in Motion • Sketch a “Captive” Subject • More Captive Subjects • Sketch Repetitive Motion • En Passant: The Long View • Heads & Hands, Storytelling Portraits • People at Work & Play • Composite Figures: Combine a Crowd Into One Ideal Character • One-Page Graphic Novel • Multitasking • Bringing the Street to Life What You Need Graphite 0.7mm mechanical pencils kneaded eraser sketchbook Pen & Ink ballpoint pens brush pens fountain pens & dipping nibs ink and water bottles smooth surface drawing paper Watercolor artist quality pan watercolor paints natural & synthetic brushes ranging from nos. 0 to 20 textured watercolor paper Santa Domingo, Columbus Pen, ink and watercolor on 140-lb. cold-pressed watercolor paper, 11" × 15" (28cm × 38cm) Introduction: How to Use This Book This book contains a self-directed urban sketching workshop that will take you step-by-step from sketching simple objects to reporting from the streets and alleys of foreign cities. Each step, each lesson, each exercise builds on the one before. Everything you practice will make the next step easier. We’ll start with basic pencil drawing, then progress through pen and ink, and finally, touch on painting in watercolor. We’ll practice first with isolated objects, then move on to street scenes. Before you know it, you’ll be drawing architecture in the city, and eventually, people and events as they happen in real time. The leaning process laid out in this book represents years of my own experimentation, distilled to the very essence of sketching. Artistic skills, like any rewarding activity, take time and practice to develop. It’s much like lifting weights or training for a marathon. You might not notice a change one day to the next; only after weeks or months can you look back and see your progress. The important thing is to enjoy the process. It’s okay to take your time with these projects. If you find yourself becoming frustrated, just go a little slower. You can also repeat the same projects more than once with different subjects. Each time you try it, you’ll improve your skills and learn a bit more. If you work through the exercises and step-by-step demonstrations in order, using places and things found in your daily life, you’ll gradually be introduced to all the essential skills of urban sketching. What’s even better is that you’ll be out in the world sketching from the very first day. You’ll experience your city in a new light, you’ll get better drawings by working first hand, and you’ll bring back stories to go with them. Montreal’s Place d’Armes Pen & ink on Strathmore Series 300 Bristol, 14" × 17" (36cm × 43cm) 6 What Is Urban Sketching? People have been sketching life in the streets since before streets existed. We have artwork recording daily events as far back as prehistoric caves. Drawing our life stories seems to be a universal part of human nature. But, when I talk about urban sketching today, I have a particular thing in mind. While any sketching in any city might be called urban, today the term urban sketching (often shortened to USk), refers to an international artistic movement that was launched in 2007 by artist and journalist Gabriel Campanario. Initially based in the popular photo-sharing service, later expanding to blogs and social networks, the USk movement quickly spread around the world. At the time of writing there are over 60 regional chapters representing most major cities, with more forming every day. There are free sketching outings, organized weekend workshops, and an annual international symposium that brings hundreds of sketchers to a carefully selected host city. Just search online for your town and “urban sketchers” and you stand a good chance of finding someone working in your region. Or, if you live in an out-of-theway area, you can join in just by following our social media. People are posting sketches from every corner of the world, covering every possible subject. The core of this internet-enabled sketching phenomena is the website, This is a collaborative online journal that currently features one hundred hand-picked artist-correspondents. Artists involved are chosen for their passion for sketching, willingness to freely share their work, and to represent the Museum Sketching Try starting at the museum. They have interesting subjects, professionally displayed. Here I’m traveling light, using three drawing boards with paper taped to both sides, a pencil and a kneaded eraser. Museums usually encourage drawing, but generally, no liquid ink or paint is allowed. (I stand to sketch, so I can promptly move out of other patrons’ view.) 8 widest array of cities around the world. That’s the best place to start learning more about us. There’s an archive of thousands of drawings for you to explore. We are best known for one core principle: We draw on location, wherever we live and travel, and we share our sketches and stories freely on the web. For many of our passionate sketchers, it’s a way of living life to the fullest, experiencing it as only an artist can. There is a kind of collective agreement that to be a true urban sketcher you must draw from life, entirely on location. To tell a story in the moment, recording your own unique artistic impression. This is, of course, a strictly self-imposed challenge. Sure, you can go home to a comfortable studio and make wonderful works of art. But if you commit yourself to drawing on the spot, to getting it all done in one session as events are unfolding around you, you can achieve a freshness, a direct impression that can’t be matched in a more relaxed drawing situation. To me, this is the main attraction. Urban sketching gets you out in the world looking for things worth drawing. It puts you into a mindset where daily life is part of a larger artistic adventure. You begin to see things around you in a different way. You’re not simply moving around your city from work to shopping to whatever. There is no driving on autopilot. You’re always on the lookout for drawing opportunities. Be it scenic views, places where people gather, or events that call out to be sketched and shared, I’m always thinking—what goes on in that place? Could I get into this building and sketch? What’s down that alley? What events are happening this weekend? The city becomes your studio. The subjects are out there waiting for you. Casa de les Punxes, Barcelona Sometimes it’s best not to try for the whole thing. Instead focus on the most unique elements, like this building’s towers. In the Gothic Quarter, Barcelona In crowded areas like this, work fast in pencil, just sketching the main structure. Save the shadows for later. 9 Get Started As a Daily Sketcher Just to show you how easy this is, here is how you can get started—without any drawing instruction at all. Part of the reason sketching is such a rewarding art form for so many people is its natural speed and simplicity. You don’t need a lot of equipment and it doesn’t take a great deal of time—just a few minutes each day. (Actually I’m trying to trick you, because once you’ve broken that natural resistance and begun drawing, it’s easy to get lost in your book and end up sketching for ten or twenty minutes.) No matter how busy you are, though, this is an easy way to make art a part of your life. Take Your Supplies Everywhere For an entire month, don’t leave the house without taking along some simple drawing supplies. Commit to having drawing supplies with you every hour of every day. Just the basics—don’t bog yourself down with so much stuff that you’ll start to find the slightest excuse to leave things at home. A tiny 3" × 5" (8cm × 13cm) pocket sketchbook, a pencil and eraser, or maybe a couple pens are all you need. Draw Constantly Start and keep the habit of drawing every time you feel the inclination. Draw in every stolen moment, using all of life’s little delays as bonus time. This is the best and easiest thing you can do to succeed as an urban sketcher. Whenever you’re waiting for something—the bus, friends you’re supposed to meet, whatever it is—just pull out your sketchbook and do a tiny drawing of what’s closest to you. Don’t think about where you have to be, or anything else. Just give yourself five minutes to pull out your book and do a quick sketch. 10 Go Easy on Yourself This is the most important thing. Don’t judge your sketches in any way. Every sketch is a good sketch. Just keep doing them. You don’t even have to show anyone. Judge your progress only by how many pages you fill. The result doesn’t matter—only the act of drawing—the fact you put pen to paper and made a mark that day. If you can turn off your internal critic and judge yourself only by quantity, you will have discovered the true path to mastery. You’ll see your sketchbook filling up very quickly. That’s always a nice reward. In time you’ll feel the drawing comes easier. You’ll feel your artist eye seeing everything. You will start to spot drawing subjects in your neighborhood, your local shops, even your own home—subjects you never noticed before. Find Subjects All Around You Indulge yourself by sketching anything that catches your fancy. If you’re a commuter, take out your sketchbook instead of your phone. If you work in an office, you can probably steal a few minutes to look out of a window and do a quick sketch. If you’re a smoker, well then, you have plenty of opportunity. If you watch TV or play video games, hit pause and sketch what you see on the screen. Fill A Sketchbook in a Month If you can keep this state of mind of recording everything, treating it like a kind of diary, you can finish a small sketchbook in a month. After you fill your first book, congratulate yourself. Then immediately start another. 11 12 Visit to access bonus lessons. CHAPTER ONE Graphite: Draw Everything You See The humble pencil is really a hero in disguise. It’s portable and erasable, as well as being capable of both fine linear draftsmanship and broad areas of tone. Even strong darks can be created with a pencil, if you’re patient enough to work over an area a few times. Challenge yourself to go out and sketch with only a pencil, leaving all your other gear at home. (Yes, without the color we all love, just for now.) It might seem limiting at first, but really, the entire spectrum of art is included in that slender stick of graphite. In this chapter, you’ll use the pencil to teach yourself the foundation techniques of drawing from observation. If you stay away from color in the beginning, you’ll benefit from learning design principles in black and white. You’ll see there is plenty to be learned about line work, light and shadow before we add in the complexity of color. hapter ccukly and a ic u q t c je e any ob asuring n: Describ ette with sight me I Key Co e id ts u eO hou g From th correct sil s. • Drawin arn to establish a ta ior de il illusion rately. Le ting time on inter ating the e r c y b c s ti e v k realis before in things loo e k a M : s stories Shape es to tell g a p • Shadow n ig s est: De of depth. t of Inter n ie it to go. d a r G The you want r & e n v e io r e it s h • Compo the viewer’s eye w and lead n This C ncepts I Receive bonus materials when you sign up for our free newsletter at 13 Graphite Tools It doesn’t take much gear to get started in urban sketching. Often you’ll find you do your best work with just the most basic tools and materials. • Mechanical pencils come in varying degrees of lead thickness. I prefer 0.7mm lead because the line is bolder and it doesn’t break as often as the conventional 0.5mm. Personally, I don’t enjoy wooden pencils because you have to constantly sharpen them and deal with the dust and wood flakes. • Kneaded erasers leave no eraser crumbs. They can be sculpted, or kneaded, to erase small areas and can be blotted to lift tone. • Sketchbooks are available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and range from inexpensive to pricey. The most popular choice still seems to be the classic Moleskine sketchbook. Recently I’ve started using the Stillman & Birn Alpha Series. Hand Book artist journals also come highly recommended by several artists I know. The most important qualities in a sketchbook are a sturdy binding that will withstand being carried around every day and good paper that can take any media and can be trimmed out and framed. Coated Stock for Pencil Drawing I look for sketchbooks with clay coated paper such as this Moleskine. Sometimes I use cut sheets of 100-lb. (210gsm) plate finish Bristol. Avoid rougher paper textures as they make for blurry drawings. You want it smooth for sharp detail and subtle tones, especially when drawing small in a pocket-sized sketchbook. 14 Visit to access bonus lessons. Drawing From the Outside In Urban sketching is about observing the world, witnessing and recording. Thus, we want to be able to draw reasonably accurately. That does not mean photographically real—that kind of drawing is for studio artists who want to spend a great deal of time on a drawing. As urban sketchers, we want to simply sketch in a descriptive way to show people our stories. We want them to not only see what we’ve seen, but also to feel what it was like to be there. To that end, we must be able to draw anything we might encounter. We can’t be good at faces but not at architecture, or avoid cars because the shapes are complex. We need an all-around comfort with drawing, where any subject is equally achievable. Drawing from the outside in is a principle I’ve adopted in approaching all my sketches. The idea is to work larger-to-smaller, establishing the big shapes before investing time on the details. It’s a very fast way to sketch. A lot of problems with these outside shapes can be solved by doing corrections when things are still simple outlines. Try to spot any errors in proportion in the first few minutes of a sketch. There’s nothing more frustrating than drawing in a lot of interesting details, only to realize you’ve drawn an important element out of scale. Or that you haven’t judged the height right, and you’re about to go off the edge of the page. That has happened to me many times, but there are two simple techniques I call “sight measuring” and “angle checking” that can help you spot these issues early on. They are a simplified version of what is taught in fine-art ateliers as sight-size drawing. Sight size, when done in the traditional manner, is a technique for the perfectionist. The artist must stand at a set distance from the subject and draw the subject to the scale it appears from that distance—the exact size that is in sight. The drawing is positioned vertically on an easel, directly parallel to the model. Precise measurements (using calipers and plumb lines) can be accurately checked between the drawing and the subject. It gives you a perfect drawing, but it it’s only for the most patient and determined of artists. Sight Measuring and Angle Checking You are probably familiar with the image of the artist with his arm extended, holding a brush upright, thumb up like a hitchhiker. This is not just a funny stereotype of an artist—it’s a real measuring technique. In this shot I am checking things like the angle of the sloped street, and the height of the windows. Receive bonus materials when you sign up for our free newsletter at 15 Demonstration Sight Measuring & Angle Checking Materials This sake set is a great introductory subject for sketching from the outside in. Get the outside silhouette shape first, spot check your accuracy, and then proceed to subdivide into smaller and smaller details until the whole thing is drawn. My feeling is, you should do whatever measuring you need to do so that you are satisfied with your drawing. You decide how accurate you want it to be. I enjoy it when everyone can easily recognize my subjects, but I don’t want to be doing so much measuring that the drawing feels mechanical. Accuracy is a skill that should allow you to do more challenging things, not slow you down. sketchbook 0.7mm mechanical pencil kneaded eraser 1 Decide roughly how large you want the sketch on the page. Mark a small dash at the top and the bottom of your subject and lightly sketch a scribble of the outside shape. Don’t add internal detail, just focus on the silhouette, as if it was cut out of a piece of paper. This simple outline sketch is all you need to do to ensure accumulating proportional errors don’t expand off the edge of the page. You have a “box” to work within. All future details will fit inside this box. 16 Visit to access bonus lessons. 2 As you look at the subject, extend your arm straight (elbow locked), and line up the tip of your pencil with the top of the subject. Slide your thumb down until it’s lined up with the base. That position you’ve marked on your brush or pencil—that is a unit measure you can use to check against other objects. (Line A).Keep your thumb in position on the pencil to preserve the measurement you have marked. Keep your elbow locked to maintain the same distance from the subject. Don’t move your feet either. If you step back, the scale of everything will change. Look for something you can compare your measurement against. It so happens that the height of the jar is equal to the width across the three cups. (Line A = Line B). This gives us something we can check in our drawing. There won’t always be a perfect match. Sometimes you’ll have to estimate. 3 Now compare the height and width of the sketch—oops! The drawing is not correct. See how we have caught that error with this simple measuring trick? This is a pretty small error, which can be fixed by refining the sketch. Make the fix to the silhouette so that the jar height (A) matches the cup width (B). Sketch in the dividing line between the dark ceramic base and the upper patterned area. This is what is meant by working larger-tosmaller. Once you have the outside shape, what is the next biggest thing you can draw? The waist of the bottle is the next-largest shape, dividing the jar in half. Receive bonus materials when you sign up for our free newsletter at 17 4 The next kind of measurement is what I call an angle check. It’s is ideal for finding roof lines, or checking perspective on narrowing city streets. Measure the slope between two points. Place the base of the pencil on the first point, (the edge of the cup) holding the pencil vertically, then rotate the tip until it lines up with your second point (the lip of the jar). Now lock your wrist. Don’t move the angle of the pencil. Simply place it over your drawing and see how well the angle lines up with what you’ve drawn. It’s looking reasonably close after widening those cups. 5 The blue lines are the original scribble. See how far out it was at first? Now that you’ve confirmed the silhouette, you can kick back and have fun. By starting outside-in, you can see for certain that you have a shape you like before you get into those details. Freely scribble in the pattern. Don’t stiffen up while doing it. You wouldn’t feel as free if you weren’t sure about the underlying structure, and it wouldn’t turn out as loose and sketchy as you want. Oddly, it’s the measuring that allows the sketch to look spontaneous. Many artists use the saying, “Loose is how a drawing looks, not how it’s made.“ The Finished Drawing While the drawing isn’t perfect, it is fairly faithful to reality because the subject was a relatively easy one. As we move on through the book you’ll see I only use as much precision as I need to get the sketch on paper. Those measurements only took seconds to do. In no way should it be hard labor. 18 Visit to access bonus lessons. Demonstration Use Simple Measurements to Break Down Complex Shapes Let’s go through this one more time with a more challenging example— this Garuda figure. It’s a very complicated subject, so don’t hold yourself to too high a standard of accuracy at this point, or you’ll make yourself frustrated. It doesn’t matter if you get every feather in place, or if all the chips and swirls of the relief carvings are perfect. You just want to get the feeling of this fantastic creature into your sketch. The trick is finding what simple measurements can be used to break down this complex shape. Don’t confuse yourself with a lot of geometry homework—just find a few hints as to the height and width. 1 Break down the shapes with measurements. The head, (from beak to crown), and the legs (from feet to beak) are actually the same height. (Line A). This means the very tip of the beak is close to the center of the figure. Also, the whole height of the figure matches the height of the wing. (Line B). You can also see that the Materials sketchbook 0.7mm mechanical pencil kneaded eraser width of the knees (Line C) can be checked against the torso from the tip of the kilt to the center of the forehead. The width of the elbows can be compared to the height from fingernails to the ground under the feet. This gives you a pretty good box to work inside. Receive bonus materials when you sign up for our free newsletter at 19

Author Marc Taro Holmes Isbn 978-1440334719 File size 31 Mb Year 2014 Pages 144 Language English File format PDF Category Drawing Book Description: FacebookTwitterGoogle+TumblrDiggMySpaceShare Capture the bustle and beauty of life in your town. Experience life as only an artist can! Join the rapidly growing, international movement of artists united by a passion for drawing on location in the cities, towns and villages where they live and travel. Packed with art and advice from Marc Taro Holmes, artist and co-founder of , this self-directed workshop shows you how to draw inspiration from real life and bring that same excitement into your sketchbook. Inside you’ll fi nd everything you need to tackle subjects ranging from still lifes and architecture to people and busy street scenes. 15 step-by-step demonstrations cover techniques for creating expressive drawings using pencil, pen and ink, and watercolor. Expert tips for achieving a balance of accuracy, spontaneity and speed. Practical advice for working in the field, choosing subjects, coping with onlookers, capturing people in motion and more. Daily exercises and creative prompts for everything from improving essential skills to diverse approaches, such as montages, storytelling portraits and one-page graphic novels. Whether you are a habitual doodler or a seasoned artist, The Urban Sketcher will have you out in the world sketching from the very first page. By completing drawings on the spot, in one session, you achieve a fresh impression of not just what you see, but also what it feels like to be there . . . visual life stories as only you can experience them.     Download (31 Mb) Art Journey Portraits And Figures: The Best Of Contemporary Drawing In Graphite, Pastel And Colored Pencil Mixed Media Portraits With Pam Carriker: Techniques For Drawing And Painting Faces Strokes of Genius: The Best of Drawing Strokes Of Genius 6: The Best Of Drawing The Artist’s Guide to Human Anatomy Load more posts

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