Planning and doing a quick sketch


I always struggle to make fast sketches. I went again in search of inspiration to the library and find a new book that is friendly for readers and easy to understand. It's 5-minute Sketching Architecture by Liz Steel. It's so inspiring that I could not go further beyond Chapter 1, How to see. I stopped at page 17, See Simple Shapes because I had to practice. I found a photo of a street online. I'll explain how I achieved the sketch above. It's all in her book.

1. First I let go of perfection and my usual approach to go for detail.
2. I made a decision of how long a quick sketch is for me. I decided 10 minutes. So I needed to choose a medium size sketchbook 5.5 in x 8 in. I wrote notes on the same page so the actual sketch ended up like 4 in x 4.5 in.

So based on the 10 minute frame, I decided I would spend 3 minutes to observe and make decisions in my mind, 3 minutes for line work and 3 minutes to watercolor. I time myself to have an idea of how long is 3 minutes when you loose yourself sketching and how much can I accomplish realistically. 

3. The first 3 minutes I studied the scene and decided how many shapes I was going to focus on. At this point I didn't choose a focal point, I just wanted to exercise the big shapes decision making.  I chose three shapes. The purple building on the left, the row of buildings on the right and the post street light in the foreground.
4. The next 3 minutes, I did the lines with graphite. It was enough for the 3 big shapes and very little detail.
5.The next 3 minutes I added watercolor. I this point I let the washes to blend. I didn't have time to let each color to dry.
6. I let the whole sketch to dry.This is dead time.
7. I wanted more detail so I spend 3 minutes extra to add a layer of color pencil line. 

I like the result, spontaneous and colorful. It worked! Thanks Liz! I spend 12 minutes working on the sketch plus 3 minutes to let the watercolor dry. The total time I spent to sketch rapidly was 15 minutes, assuming you have your tools and media already set. Not bad for some who spends an hour or two just in line work and some times no watercolor. Now I need to go outside and do it and continue reading this promising book.

Now share. Here it is.

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