Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sketching for Sketching's Sake

Sketching is sometimes described as an incomplete drawing that can be done in a matter of seconds or minutes. Drawings however are more complete and can take hours, days, months and even years.
Sketching the new students help me associate their names. I have 40 of them to know and sketching helps a lot.

Observing people through sketching is like jotting notes about them
Sketching, and other critical skills like reflecting, reading, enables you to innovate, not imitate. Instead of mere imitating work of others, the on-the-spot observer is forced to rely of himself/herself illustrating in his/her own style. It offers an unpretentious style of your own skill level. It does not matter if it’s a bad drawing. Never mind proportion, scale, number, completeness, properness – not till you get to an eventual clear picture for others to see. It is for your private work process. To entertain, engage, educate, provoke, and inspire you first than anyone else. The craft of drawing will be more refined as the illustrator does more drawings without the constant pressures of impressing others first. The precondition of creativity is the art of forgetting at the proper moment what we know.

Model studies with Agos Kulay watercolor group
The sketchbook is the place where illustrators play with ideas, record what they notice, and capture a little of what they feel. It is a personal space for exploring, collating, recording, juxtaposing images, for reflecting and evaluating. It can build visual intelligence through habitual use. It can clear a difficult problem through images that help stimulate solutions.

The process of drawing includes: looking, seeing, responding, improvising, feeling, discovering, negotiating, designing, reasoning, enquiring, translating, scrutinizing, ordering, mapping, objectifying, exploring, measuring, documenting, and communicating. It helps you pay attention to things a whole lot better what is presented in front of you or an idea your mind is processing. It has the most direct and fundamental connection between what your consciousness being recorded tangibly on paper.

Keep in mind that the process (the act of sketching) is more important than the product (what is sketched on the paper).


  1. I like the way you used the frame to 'block in' your students' sketch studies, and also letting our eyes fill in some of their outlines as "implied lines" - nice studies!
    The Augos Kulay watercolors are good too - I'll come to the Museum & join you for their next session.

  2. I was expecting you to, but I forgot to text you we had a session. I gave your number to Jonah yesterday to remind you about the next session in 2 weeks. I was inspired by what Barbara Weeks of USk was blocking her tiny sketches. Her work reminds me to go back to simplified drawings and got back to doing caricatures again.

  3. the process you cited sometimes happens in a few minutes. for me it's getting lost in the process that's exciting sometimes. there are times when it's installment.