Still life sketch with mark making exploration

I feel like after a few weeks of focusing on value, I’ve learned how to look for values much better and how each value relates in the subject overall. Now I’d like to start working on bringing some skills together and getting more accurate and quick with sketches. When I open a page in my sketchbook it’s hard for me to get started laying in the subject and I’d love to feel more confident about that. It’s time for another focused practice assignment!

On that note, I’m inspired by the sketches of Sarah Sedwick, an oil painter who sells her paintings on Daily Paintworks. I love the way her sketches are loose and unfussy, but also accurate and very descriptive of values. They’re just as interesting for me to look at as a painting completed from the sketch would be.

Today I set up a simple still life on a white surface with a single direct light to get some strong shadows. I selected a basic HB pencil and a square format and paid attention to proportion, value, opportunities for lost edges, and line quality. To help me get things in the right place, I blocked them in roughly and then went back to refine the shape. This was so hard for me! I get in a hurry to define the shapes quickly, and I know that’s one of the things that causes overall proportion difficulties for me.

One of my goals is to be able to make marks that describe the form with ease, and that look like they belong together without being conscientiously consistent if that makes sense. Hopefully doing daily studies with this approach will allow me to develop my style with this.

Daily Art 11-8-17 still life sketch in graphite

I sketched from life, but here’s a photo of the setup for reference (the angle doesn’t match up exactly with what I was seeing while standing next to the still life):

still life reference photo of knife bowl apple

This sketchbook (a Canson XL Mix Media book) is almost filled, and I’m excited to be able to switch to a different book. The Mix Media paper is good for a variety of things, but for drawing with graphite I enjoy using a paper that’s meant more for drawing and not just “whatever”. I have a little square HandBook Travelogue sketchbook that I’m going to try out — I like the tooth and soft white color of the paper.

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