The Rest of the Dirty Bits from the Zequenz Sketchbook

I’m finished with the Zequenz m sketchbook I have used for most of my public transport sketches yet this year, and in which I’ve both discovered the fun in making a mess and been driven to make real clean black lines with a pen on its smooth paper. Here are the last rather messy and experimental bits from it.

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I tested painting over my drawings with gouache once I got home, but also covering the pages in gouache first, in order to be able to achieve greater depth with pencil strokes and shading.

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…or to cover up stuff I didn’t like and draw over.
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(You can see some of the drawings showing through the layer of paint, and it can be a bit confusing, but I’m surprised how much this reads as the last drawing when you take a step back.)

Mostly, though, I continued to play around with adding washes to my pen lines, and combining pen, pencil and brush pen.
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Some details:

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There are also lots of rather random drawings in it that I don’t know what to say about:
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I’ve realized that I seem to use some sort of automatic (but diminished) sight-sizing in sketching, which means that I seem to have a fixed ratio of the size of the object or person I see to the size at which I reproduce it, and I find it very hard to consciously draw things bigger or smaller than this. This is unfortunate because it means that I will always draw people nearer to me bigger, and those sitting far away rather tiny, no matter how much space I have. It also means that I don’t draw bigger in a bigger sketchbook, but rather more complete figures. I know that I do not have this problem under the controlled circumstances of a life drawing room, and it irks me to be so restricted in my sketching, so I’m working on actually choosing the dimensions of my sketch instead of just following my automatic tendencies.

At the end of this sketchbook, which is much better for ink than pencil if you don’t prepare the pages, I was desperately missing my pencil. I’m also actually missing my favourite propeller pencil, so for now I’m testing a range of different pencils and dry media in a Hahnemühle sketchbook. First scans coming soon. Right now i’m taking a break with all this laying in of washes, painting over and prepainting, collage etc. It is a lot of fun, but it is also a lot of work, and, more importantly, homework. It means I’m never finished with a sketch; there’s always something left to do when I get home. I want to get back to simply sketching, and to think about the drawing itself more than about the layout of the page, or what to do with a sketch later.

I’m also thinking about and starting to make a couple of more finished works I’ll be exhibiting at the Open Air Gallery on 3 July, so there is still a lot of homework to do.

60 days left till the Open Air Gallery.
78 days till the Urban Sketchers Symposium.

2 Responses to “The Rest of the Dirty Bits from the Zequenz Sketchbook”

  1. I’m seriously in awe of your sketches. You should do a comic book!

    Oh, and automatic sight-sizing isn’t a problem if it enables you to make accurate and realistic sketches.

    Keep up the great work!

  2. Whoa, thank you very much!

    I would love to make a comic book, but I’m not much of a story teller that way myself, and so far none of the writers I have bullied have coughed up even a teeny tiny script for me. Also, comics are a hell of a lot of work, and all that drawing from the imagination is quite a different beast than my humble sketches. But one day I’ll figure out a good way to do it…

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