Over the last few weeks I have started to think more about quick capture and how best to produce the best sketches when I have limited time. Of course I am thinking about my forthcoming role as correspondent at the 7Th Urban Sketchers Symposium (#USkManchester2016) here in Manchester in the summer and wondering how I best adapt my current approaches to be able to deliver! With this in mind I have been trying a few sketches using watercolour first and here are the results.
A while ago I tried painting on the paper and then going out to sketch but I didn’t necessarily think that worked that well for me, it felt a bit too random! What I have done in these current sketches is stand in front of my chosen view and very loosely apply colour in blocks. I try to limit the colour selection and not be too precious but also to be quite bold with the intensity of colour. I then let it dry before going in directly with ink pen. The interesting thing I find is that the act of adding colour makes me less precious or worried about the line and pen than I usually am on blank paper. Hard to know why but it is almost as if, the paint somehow acts as an outline in pencil would do: it somehow gives permission. Who knows, but in any event I seem to be able to get on with the line work, and perhaps have a lesser tendency to over elaborate with the pen work, than I would without it. It also gives a looser, less precious overall sketch at the end. In two of the 4 sketches I used watercolour pencil too, on areas where I wanted a lighter touch or to test out a line, but if I did this, I tried not to be too precious. Confidence is key to success with this approach.
One potential problem is that you have to wait for the paint to dry before going in with pen although I guess the warmer and more into summer we go, the quicker this will be (hopefully!). On the sketch below, I remembered to take a picture before adding the line work so you can see the paint looseness prior to line.
I shall continue to dip into this approach and see where it takes me. At the moment I am enjoying the process and the results. Watch this space!