Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sketching the University of Santo Tomas Fountains and Arch

I use a brown lead pencil
Just sketch light relating each form and proportion
I don't really layout, just imagine where things will fall.
I was standing for 3 hours on the same spot.

I used both pages for a long panoramic in this case
You can get clues of where lines start and end by relating to forms you have already created.
Background penciling has the lightest tone.
It's important for me to have warm underwash for a glow later, especially for shadows.
Since I used yellow, I then used it complimentary color - purple to  have this balance temperature.
I then start to color materials after the two pigment washes.
Start shaping the plant more vividly.
Contrast the little areas to differentiate of planes with more darker blues or purples for the final. 
I've grown to love the medium, watercolor. It has this reputation of being the hardest medium. I sucked when I first tried it in college. At the time, we were brainwashed that airbrush was more superior and easier. I discovered however that watercolor was rich and eloquent. It existed centuries before airbrush. Airbrush died out a natural death with the introduction of photoshop and the usher of 3D perspectives. Watercolor however offered the possibility of sketching on-the-spot. I started out practicing the medium in studio, and eventually only started out on location sketches only 5 years ago... sketching the very arch I am showing here.

Sketching on location has trained me to better see things than photograph referenced illustrating. The time to finish is actually shorter, more vivid, and you see everything that your eyes can see. Nothing can substitute that. Sometimes a picture, since it's tiny when printed cannot "capture" certain details or perhaps your eyes cannot fully pick up those details properly. On location eliminates this problem.

The point of sketching on location is the process of your eyes and your mind relates to the place being observed. It's not all about it being picture like or else you just use your camera within seconds and you move on to other places. The very idea is to take in the place's very essence of one's perception. The marks on the sketchbook to accommodate this process is the evidence, the product. The quality can be of your level, of course. It's not a question of how artistic it is.

Machines can never compensate for better perception and understanding of things, people and places. Sketching help us to better think, see and feel. Don't get me wrong. I love using digital cameras, and computers. I love the fact that they have changed the world by defying time and space. Bringing people closer and sharing our worlds instantaneously. No doubt.


  1. i sooo agree about the perception issue. fantastic finish.

  2. Excellent work as usual. Thanks for going into the process as well, I've defintiely picked up a few things because of it.