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One of the (many) projects I’m working on is to make watercolor sketches from the beautiful, mouth-watering photos in the book Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere by Dorie Greenspan.
Since I love baking, and sometimes struggle with deciding on what to sketch, I thought this would be a great subject. There are a few skills I’d like to improve by doing this project:
After just a few sketches, I’m finding that this is also a good opportunity to practice painting highlights and glass.
I’ve noticed that with this sketchbook (a Stillman & Birn Alpha Series book), when I apply watercolor washes to one side of the paper, the other side becomes very difficult to draw on. On one hand, I don’t want to leave pages blank, but on the other hand I don’t want to fight with my pens on the paper. I also find myself wanting to primarily draw on the right page rather than the left. I may try just doing a drawing on the right side of the spread, using the left side for little details or quick sketching.
After watching a recent Draw Tip Tuesday video on pen control, I was inspired to draw a vase of flowers by loosely holding the pen at the end away from the tip.
I started the sketch by roughly doing a single-line contour drawing, lifting the pen only a few times to reset. I knew I was going to go over with a wash of watercolor, so I focused more on suggesting the foliage instead of carefully drawing every item. And instead of obsessing over making the roses look like literal roses, I made swirly ends to suggest the petals.
I’m happily surprised how this loose approach worked! I think the swirly roses read better as roses than when I tried to draw each petal step by step in another sketch.
For the watercolor wash, I also kept it loose and rough. My main goal was to get a good range of greens, from bright yellow-greens to deep brown-greens. I added some splatter to amplify the sketchy quality.