A tale of two sketches

14 February, 2016. Sometimes when I try a new drawing tool I find that at first I work overly cautiously as I acquire facility and grow familiar with its mark making characteristics. With familiarity comes a change in confidence, and the marks become looser and more fluid. It’s funny how the pendulum swings from one extreme to another, because that very success renders me just the tiniest bit paralyzed. I don’t want to make mistakes and attempt to mimic those drawings that made me happiest only a few days earlier. And when that happens I find that my marks become too precious, too contrived. So it has been with the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen. Case in point: the two sketches I share this morning.

Consider first the sketch at the top of the page. This comes close to the gestural line I prefer. Although it’s observational, I kind of like the flirtation with drawing an exaggeration of “type” rather than likeness. The marks are casual, almost to the point of carelessness. They feel as though they fell from the brush tip; rather than the more “accurately drawn” example below, the lines are gestural. (Pentel Pocket Brush Pen in 5.5 x 8.5 Canson 180 sketchbook.)

When I made the pencil sketch last summer, I’d originally planned to finish this as a watercolor. The inked lines are too cautious and a little too tight for my tastes. The detail is not as restrained as I would prefer. As much as I have enjoyed working with brush pen recently, this sketch would benefit from a little lighter touch using a fountain pen instead. Right now it feels too much like a coloring book.

Compositionally, I rather like the layering of people, so my original plan still stands, and I plan to rework this in a slightly larger format using my Lamy Safari fountain pen and a loose watercolor wash. (Pentel Pocket Brush Pen in 5.5 x 8.5 Canson 180 sketchbook; pencil was made last summer, inking done out of boredom yesterday.)

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