I’m usually advising my students: if you ever would like to learn drawing for real, do not use photos, grids and other tools, but only your eyes in addition to paper and pencil. That provides with a huge artistic freedom and allows not to depend on camera, printer, computer and photo editing software. That also saves a lot of time. It is more difficult for some people to draw and paint from a real object initially, but it is like everything else: once you’ve understood how it’s done, the improvement is continuous and inevitable.
I grew up and learned painting without any cameras and photos. There was no internet, there were no computers. I suppose, that’s why the number of artists was noticeably smaller, too: in order to paint or draw something, you simply had to employ your visual abilities and imagination. I am disagreeing with those who are trying to convince us that everybody in the past was using some kind of camera obscura in order to capture accurate details, proportions and perspective. It’s believed, mostly amateur artists were using it since they did not have the knowledge and capability of producing good drawings. I know, everybody has heard about Canaletto whose drawings were created that way. Well, there a few others, too. However, majority of artists were using THEIR OWN visual perception and THEIR OWN drawing ability.
I find that most people cannot draw not because of inability to handle pencil and create the image, but because they don’t know what to look for when they are seeing something and would like to re-create it on a paper or canvas. That takes practice and work, that’s all.
I love doing drawings or sketches just for my own pleasure. It’s so great to see some stuff evolving on a sheet of a blank paper. Nothing really compares to this fantastic feeling! That always excited me, and I could spend hours drawing alone while other kids were playing in the yard. I would draw anything in the garden, on the street, I used to do lots of portraits of my sister, other kids and later my daughter and my group-mates at the University.
Paintings are sometimes bothersome, especially the large and very large ones because that simply is a lot of work, it can be hard physical work, as well, when handling huge canvasses.
Sketching with pencil, watercolor, pen, ink or with watercolor and ink is a quick way of capturing the desired scenery of object. I cannot draw recently anything tiny because my eyes are getting worse and am trying not to use glasses. Well, my sketches are between 10 x 12 to 12 x 16 in, but done quite fast.
There are many advantages of sketching with pencil, watercolor, ink and pen or some of these together. First of all, sketching allows to stay focused. It’s like a daily exercise which keeps us in a good shape. Our senses stay sharp and fresh, and it’s easier to get back to larger artwork after a break when one has been often sketching.
Sketching does not take much time, it is very relaxing. Many artists and people who are doing art for pleasure know that lack of time is an ongoing problem.
Sketching is a good thing when one wants to experience another medium, try another subject or style. There are millions of different ways of sketching, meaning, there is something for everybody.
Finally, sketching is crucial for those who want to master drawing for real and from live objects, or to capture a plein-air scenery. We can learn writing when we read a lot, we can learn many things just reading about them, but drawing is something which we can only learn by doing it. The more we draw, the more we sketch, the more artistic options we get. We might get this way a new idea, a new approach and we might find a completely new style which works for us. I always have something on my studio tables: flowers, cups, jugs (my favorites, I have a large collection of them!), fruits, berries, room plants, books, painting supplies and so on. I’m already waiting for springtime because that’s when the true sketching starts as the nature wakes up and takes us outdoors.
It is also possible to frame sketches and use them as beautiful art for decorating your space. Sketches can make great illustrations and sometimes serve as a standalone artwork.
Happy sketching! Please share your experiences with different media and subjects if you have time.