The Travelling Sketchbook: Tips on sketching by Paul Gatenby

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The Travelling Sketchbook by Paul Gatenby

This drawing was completed whilst observing the Govt guidelines for social distancing and quarantine.  In fact, it is the view along the street outside my house.  The drawing was photographed at intervals so you might observe the different stages of drawing.  Total time for the drawing was around 20 minutes.

Stage one, blocking in the basic shapes.

However complex a subject may seem, there are always basic shapes such as cubes, cylinders, cones etc, underpinning it.  Try to identify these and block them in.  Ignore detail and keep a light touch at this stage.

Stage two:

Start to develop the forms by identifying some variations to the basic shapes – such as the porches on the houses in the distance.  Also add some tone, i.e. light and shade; tone starts to create the illusion of three dimensionality.

Stage three: (below)

Give more definition to the forms, for example the trees in the garden and in the distance.  It was a bright sunny day at the time with strong shadows so darken these areas.

Stage four, the completed drawing:

Strong shadows and details such as the telephone wires added.

The drawing was made using a ballpoint pen, which many artists dismiss as a drawing tool on the grounds that it makes a uniform and inexpressive mark.  However, even the humble biro will respond to pressure from the artists hand and is capable of some delicate touches. 

We are, of course, aware of the irony of talking about the Travelling Sketchbook whilst under lockdown yet there many opportunities for sketching around the home.  Views from windows and through doorways provide a natural frame and can be used for some very striking drawing and if you have a garden so much the better.

I do hope you enjoy your drawing and I look forward to seeing you all at Continuing Ed once we have the all clear.

Stay safe

Paul Gatenby