Category: Sketching

Looking Back at a Summer Spent Sketching

Looking Back at a Summer Spent Sketching

The summer I spent abroad in Italy is what kick-started my love of sketching. The trip was, hands-down, the move influential and transformative experience I’ve had in my life.

These sketches were all done over an 8 week period during the summer of 2011. Looking back at them now, I’ve fallen in love, and almost long to return to my early style of sketching. Little vignettes all over the page, running into each other, interacting in interesting ways, and with little notes as to what I found interesting.

I also can’t believe I spent an entire summer using almost nothing but pencil! I rarely use pencil in my sketching now, preferring to move quickly onto ink. But I am focusing on pencil, at least for the time being, in my #The100DayProject, so it’s nice to return to the medium.

On the first page above, you can see I made a note to “Read Mannerism” which was a passing comment/critique from my professor. A comment which I promptly forgot about for the rest of the summer and that I literally didn’t follow up on until I was writing this 7 years later. OH MY GOD HOW HAS IT BEEN 7 YEARS SINCE I WAS IN ITALY HAVING THE TIME OF MY LIFE JESUS CHRIST WHERE DOES THE TIME GO PLEASE STOP I WANT TO GET OFF.

…Anyway, mannerism was an art style “that emerged in the later years of the Italian High Renaissance around 1520 and lasted until about end of the 16th century in Italy. Mannerism exaggerates such qualities, often resulting in compositions that are asymmetrical or unnaturally elegant.”

After reading about Mannerism, all the rest of my sketches seem so obviously in that style. Even to this day, I find myself exaggerating perspectives or certain features of a scene. I would rather a sketch convey the feeling of a space, rather than be an accurate depiction, which all feels totally in line with the style. 

The first 3 pages are sketches I did on site early in the trip. I went back at the end of the semester and collected these sketches into one, more cohesive composition, above.

It was during this sketch that our professor walked past me, stopped, and remarked that I had made some serious progress. So while this sketch is simple and slightly boorish compared to later sketches and my current work, it’s a sign of progress, and for that I will always adore it. 

Trying to be a bit more realistic for the fountain above, but I always love a good diagram!

Getting towards the end of the semester. This was the first day of sketching that I really loved once it was finished. I adore all the little pieces, exaggerated perspectives, notes, and diagrams, that make up this page.

My very last sketch of the semester, and my absolute favorite! We were somewhat guided for this one, with my professor suggesting about halfway through the session, to try drawing a “worm’s eye view”. I love how all these little pieces come together to create a single understanding of the space.

That principle is something I want to more actively adapt to my sketching today.

#The100DayProject – Sketching Plants

#The100DayProject – Sketching Plants

After seeing instagram friends of mine participate in #the100dayproject, I decided this year to jump on the bandwagon and work on my sketching. The challenge runs from April 3rd to July 11th.

I chose to focus on “plant sketching” for a few reasons: I perceive it as a week spot in my sketching ability, and they add so much depth and energy to a scene, I want to be able to do them justice. 

If you’ve never heard of #the100dayproject, it’s simple, make art (though I’ve had friends practice writing and meditating) for 100 days and post it on instagram with the tags #the100dayproject, and a tag you make up that is unique to your challenge. I’m using the tag #elisketches100days for mine.

I want to focus on drawing plants realistically. Even when doing abstract sketching, you have to use a basic framework, and I believe knowing and understanding the framework only comes from drawing realistically first. It’s like how knowing the basic proportions and joints of the human body can help us draw a belivable person, even if the style is abstract. 

favorite Sketches (so far):