Useful Little Gems
I just love my little 4"x4" pen and ink minis! They're quick, loose, and simple. If you follow me on social media you have seen them occasionally in my posts.
I do them as part of my planning process for my larger oils. They help me to define the values of the painting, the areas of light and dark that will create the overall design. To make them, I think in terms reducing everything to only three values–dark, medium, and light–and of having uneven amounts of each. For instance. the one above has more medium value, less light value, and a smidgen of dark value.
The Big Shapes
Another advantage to making these little sketches before I paint is that they force me to identify the larger shapes in my image and not get bogged down with the distracting details. It's the big shapes and values that create the impact of the painting and that plan the movement of the viewer's eye across the canvas. By working on a small sketch with large shapes I have an opportunity to easily play around with the design before I put paint to canvas.
Fast and Loose
Since I'm not trying to create a perfect drawing, I can sketch very freely using only a few lines to indicate figures, buildings, etch. When drawing people, however, I do pay attention to where the head is over the feet, the body proportions, and the line of the shoulders. These little things often indicate posture and mood.
Love Those Sharpies
I work with three different thickness of markers to add texture. My favorite pens are Sharpies because they give a rich dark line. I don't, however, like how they bleed through the back of the paper. But they make such a nice line, I forgive them.
This viewpoint of this sketch is unusual for me, as it's from above. I liked the strong angles of the stairs against the water's edge, and the big repeated shapes of the umbrellas.
In this sketch the placement of the darks draws your eye around the painting. You enter the painting in front of the figures, travel left to the water, and then follow the line of the trees to the right and then left up the hill.
Here your eye starts with the large church against the water, then moves downwards and right following the trees to finally focus on the foreground figures.
I hope you enjoy my little sketches. Please let me know what you think!
I'm Linda Hugues and I paint cityscapes from my travels in Europe and my home in Florida. Here on my monthly blog I write about everything related to my art life, in and out of the studio. Enjoy!