Monday, January 24, 2011

Sketches and drawings

I have several sketchbooks.  A big one, for use in the studio.  A REALLY big one, for life drawing sessions.  A small one, that I swore I would only use for drawings done out of my head.  Another small one, for travel, and for my haiku poems.  I think I have one or two others, each with its own purpose.  This excessiveness is because I am always trying to get myself to draw more.  I think there is a difference between a drawing and a sketch.  A sketch is quick, done to capture as much information as possible in a short amount of time.  It is not something you would necessarily use an eraser on.  It is loose and full of energy.  A drawing is something where you are trying to work out problems - whether they be composition problems, proportion, or a value study.  I usually spend more time on a drawing, and some of my drawings I consider finished works of art.  But that's just me.  I am sure others have their own definition of the difference between a sketch and a drawing. 

My studio sketchbook is filling up with one-line drawings done to help me loosen up and practice my hand-eye coordination.  Since I have been painting rabbits, many of the pages are filled with little rabbits.
These one-liners are done quickly, with a ball point pen.  I do not lift my pen, and I try to spend more time looking at the rabbit than at my paper.  You can see the distortions that are a result of this approach.  Speed is the key, with these little one line sketches, because I want to stay loose.  I often remind myself to breathe.  My favorite medium for these quick little sketches is a ball point pen.  For drawings, I prefer charcoal, which feels more like paint to me. 

Morning Joshua Tree.  Approx. 4 x 3 inches, charcoal.
The above charcoal study I consider a drawing.  Even though it is small, I worked out the values and composition.   This was not actually done in a sketchbook, but on a small piece of leftover printmaking paper. 

Usually, I safeguard my sketches and drawings.  I think there should be something that I do as an artist that doesn't have to be put on display for the public eye.  That way, I don't feel pressure to produce a beautiful sketch or drawing every time.  For every successful drawing, there are a pile of unsuccessful ones, and those can stay hidden in the sketchbook, or be crumpled and thrown in the trash.  (the REALLY bad ones might even be torn into shreds before I throw them, satisfyingly, in the garbage.)  Every now and again something good comes from all of this scribbling.  I don't mind showing the good ones.   The rest of them will live their lives in secret.


pRiyA said...

at first glance, i thought the charcoal one was a BW photograph.

Cynthia Schelzig,Cynnie said...

Great post! Love the rabbits and your Joshua tree too......

Patty said...

Love the new blog look, and love LOVE the drawings! Thanks for the insight into your sketching. I appreciate the idea of keeping these drawings private. Makes me want to grab a shiney new sketchbook and put pencil to paper.

Hannah said...

The rabbit sketches are wonderful Karina! And lovely for their distortions. I'm reminded of the illustrations of William Steig. I like the way you make a distinction between sketching and drawing. I tend to think of everything where I'm moving quickly as a sketch--but when I set my intention to render--whatever it is--I've moved into the category of drawing. I look forward to following your winter of sketchbooks.