9 April, 2017. I make no secret of my disdain for “preciousness” with my students. I feel like it’s a death knell for an artist to think of their sketches as “too precious” to make mistakes or to draw over and over and over again. I don’t care who you are as an art maker, no one is perfect. (Think: da Vinci or Michelangelo, and go back and look at their sketches…great stuff, but even they found room to make revisions as the sketch progressed.)

Frankly, I think there’s a lot of charm in the imperfections of a hand drawn work.

I like scribbling and correcting as I draw. Sometimes my sketches come out looking a bit cartoonish, and other times they are happily convincing.

Today I met up with a couple of Urban Sketchers from Minneapolis and enjoyed a short, impromptu sketch out in the River Market. On this particular Sunday, tables were set up for a busy flea market. Hot dogs sizzled on grills, and an overwhelming variety of food smells wafted across the rather brisk winds that buffeted the area. I enjoy the opportunity to draw people in places, and today provided ample subject matter for my pen.

A post shared by Amber Sausen (@ambersausen) on Apr 9, 2017 at 3:47pm PDT


I’m not sure why, but I’ve been taking some of my recent black and white sketches and touching them up with gouache. One of my new acquaintances from Minneapolis told me that there seems to be a gouache fad among urban sketchers at the moment. Am I riding the wave of a fad? Or simply using a medium to keep things fresh? I don’t really know for sure, but it does give me the chance to add color to a sketchbook that otherwise doesn’t lend itself to doing so. Watercolor doesn’t react as I’d like and dries too fast. Gouache, on the other hand, can be built up and painted over on this paper.

On the other hand, I’m not tossing my watercolors into a drawer anytime soon. I like using it on Strathmore Aquarius watercolor paper for quick sketching. Sometimes, when I’ve run dry of sketch time, I’ll do as I did this week and draw my students drawing. Take what you can get when you can get it!



  1. 28pwilson · April 10, 2017

    So glad you had the opportunity to sketch with the out of town folks. Anxious to hear what they said about the new chapter. You’ve almost talked me into digging out the gouache. Why not pull up another area OUT of my comfort zone?

  2. azorch · April 10, 2017

    Very cool, Peg! Next, we’ll make our own brushes and grind our own pigment for a little egg tempera, huh?

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