Sketch Process

I mentioned elsewhere on this site a measurement/planning process I’ve used when drawing. Basically, it amounts to drawing a grid and using those uniform squares to more accurately sketch subjects. I used to rely on this heavily, but since getting back into drawing again, I actually stopped utilizing it. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to put aside this crutch, but to my surprise, all the practice I’ve gotten over the last few months has really helped.

Many of the pictures on the Drawing Archive page used some aspects of this grid system, as well as a few of my sketches after the “Getting Back into Art” post from early September.  I think my “Dark Tower Campfire Outside the City of Lud” sketch was the last one I actually used a grid for, and my Dirk Nowitzki sketch may have been the start of my going grid-less.

Anywho, here are the basics on the grid process:

Step 1

Step 1:  First, I measure the grid lines.  In this drawing, I used a 1″ x 1″ grid.  After the grid is in place, I start filling in the outlines of the figures.  Realistic proportion is very important to me, especially if the subjects are real people.

Step 2

Step 2:  I start to fill in the details.  I almost always start with faces, since I think it’s the most interesting part of a drawing.

Step 3

Step 3:  I continue to fill in more details.  I usually take a break from body details every so often to revisit facial features.  In this case, I was somewhat unsatisfied with the first few incarnations.

Step 4

Step 4:  Details are pretty much complete at this point, and I usually spend a bit of time making sure the final product matches the subjects. I think it’s important to think about this from a broad, overall perspective first. Then, consider individual features that might not be accurate, especially the eyes, nose, and mouth.

This is odd and possibly of questionable merit, but I sometimes view “finished” art through a mirror. I think you can become sort of desensitized to your own work if you’ve spent enough time on one subject.  A mirror’s reflected image seems to give a fresh perspective on something.

Also, I usually have some background or additional stuff in mind that should be added, but I rarely actually include those things.  I think it’s because I don’t really enjoy drawing scenery.  Once the subjects are fully realized, I guess I become bored with the project.  I mean, if I’m going to continue drawing, why bother drawing a wall or a table?  Why not just draw more people?


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