Of sketches and such


I was in a pretty good habit, a couple of years back, of posting the sketches that I do all the time. Posting them is good for me, because I can go back and review the things I’ve done. Posting is good for others, so I’m told by other artists, in that they can get a sense of how another artist approaches sketching.

I’d like to get back to posting about my sketches. Hopefully, each month I can show the latest items in my sketchbook (and Moleskine), and you can tell me what you think.

For me, sketching serves three purposes. It’s naturally the baseline for any larger pieces that I’m doing, a plan of sorts to make sure things will work. That’s what I’m working on this afternoon, sketches for an upcoming cover (no, you can’t see those). I can either start with my own work from those sketches, or I can pass them on to authors and publishers, so that they know what I’m going to create (and, hopefully, they approve it). Here’s a good example of that, some of the original sketch ideas that went into my ink work The Fox, which was the signature sheet in a book:

The second side of it concerns practice. Practice, as they say, makes perfect. Or in my case, practice makes so-so. But it’s important to practice your craft, and I do so in a few ways. I sketch out of art books (right now it’s Loomis), I try to sketch things sitting in my office, and I often just sketch random shapes and shadows to work on techniques.

When I attended the Spectrum convention this May, I was able to practice by sketching a live model. That’s something I’d never had the opportunity to do before, and I learned quite a lot from it. Here’s one of the quick charcoal sketches that I made:

Lastly, I sketch to get the weird things out of my head. Often they don’t go any further, but there are some sketches that become a full painting. Not always, but they happen.

Sometimes the sketch is horror based (natch), but I also do quite a few cartoonish characters as well. I think they all represent a fun sketch time, which is somewhere between five and ten minutes. What comes out of my head, even I don’t know until I start sketching. I just let it flow, let it go wherever it feels like.

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