If art was a place on the map, pencil sketching would be its somewhat lawless backcountry. Sketching is all about freedom from rules and learning how to sketch what's in front of you no matter how unexpected. That's why sketching seem like the perfect method for depicting landscapes that are a little wild and untamed.
|Sandpit near Abinger, Surrey by George Price Boyce,
watercolor painting, 1866-7.
I grew up in the South. Kudzu and creeping vines covered almost everything if you let it. And while I've left home, my mind–and hand–still love to imitate the curling, meandering line of those vines. I think it is probably the same for a lot of the places we know–for every nice and tidy lawn there is also a landscape not so manicured and well tended just begging for your sketching time.
If you are interested in furthering your experience with pen or pencil and paper, seek out those wild places. They will be a sketching tutorial in themselves!
A) The lines you see will be varied, testing your eye to really "see."
B) The large shapes you make out won't fit into conventional molds–calling on your skills with composition to accentuate them to the best effect.
C) You will also learn how to sketch in ways that will show you what hatching, cross-hatching, and simple line can really do.
|Thistles Along the Roadside
by Vincent van Gogh, drawing, 1888.
This kind of exploration isn't about playing by the rules. It is about using your artistic muscles in new ways that will make them grow stronger, just like a hike that goes off the trail has you using muscles you might not have worked if you had stayed on the path.
I've come to realize what a changeling sketching can be by using it to draw those "lawless" places I've discovered–as well as seeing the works of other draftsmen in the resources in the Urban Sketcher Kit of the Month. Each guide shows artists working in different ways, and yet they are all connected because of the respect they give to mark making and using it to further their art, not keep them in the same comfortable place. I hope it is the same for you. Enjoy!
P.S. Tell me what wild places you've sketched or painted. Thanks!