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Sketching Outdoors

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Sketching Outdoors

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  1. OUTDOORS Brenda Hoddinott F-06 BEGINNER: HATCHING Sketching is an action word, and you can only learn this skill by actually sketching. In this lesson, I first offer suggestions for putting together a portable studio for your outings. I then take you step-by -step through the process of rendering a sketch of an outdoor scene. The style you choose for sketching is a matter of personal choice. Some artists prefer lines, more prefer only shading, and others (like me) prefer a combination of values and lines. INTRODUCTION: Outdoor enthusiasts often enjoy making art while enjoying their surroundings A quick sketch done on location from a portable studio provides an excellent reference for a more detailed drawing when you return to your home studio. PACKING UP YOUR PORTABLE STUDIO: Sometimes, you may want to draw outdoors, and it’s convenient to have a set of drawing materials packed and ready to travel. In this section you explore various suggestions for planning your portable studio. SETTING UP YOUR PLAN OF ACTION: The instructions in this lesson offer suggestions for rendering a sketch in three simple stages: sketch the overall composition of the scene proportionately correct; outline the shapes of important objects in the scene; and add values. SKETCH PROPORTIONS: The first goal of sketching is to sketch a proportionately correct map of where the different parts of the scene are in relation to one another. OUTLINE SHAPES: You focus on outlining the shapes of your subjects by implementing perspective, adding more details, and refining your drawing! DEFINE VALUES: You implement your strategies, planning, and creative ideas into a completed sketch! Light affects the placement and value of every section of shading. A full range of values gives contrast between the light and the shadow areas. 14 PAGES – 27 ILLUSTRATIONS This project is recommended for artists from age 10 to adult, as well as home schooling, academic and recreational fine art educators. Published by Hoddinott Fine Art Publishers, Halifax, NS, Canada – 2004 (Revised 2006)
  2. -2- INTRODUCTION Outdoor enthusiasts often enjoy making art while enjoying their surroundings A quick sketch done on location from a portable studio provides an excellent reference for a more detailed drawing when you return to your home studio. A sketch is a quick, rough representation or outline of a planned drawing subject. A sketch can also be a completed work of art. Only a few simple lines can quickly and efficiently illustrate the important shapes and values of any scene. The language of sketching can also serve to faithfully documents your formative years of artistic development. Sketching refers to the method used for creating a quick, rough representation or outline of a planned drawing subject. The instructions provided in this lesson can apply to any sketching style. However, to help prepare you for sketching on your own, I have provided step-by-step illustrations of one of my own sketches. If you have little or no sketching experience, you are wise to draw along with my project. It’s easier to draw from another sketch than an actual scene. PACKING UP YOUR PORTABLE STUDIO Sometimes, you may want to draw outdoors, and it’s convenient to have a set of drawing materials packed and ready to travel. In this section you explore various suggestions for planning your portable studio. DRAWING SURFACE: Unless you have a really big knapsack, your kitchen table just won’t fit inside! Nonetheless, a lightweight portable surface, on which to draw when you’re out and about, is an integral part of your portable studio. If you prefer sheets of paper rather than a sketchbook, a drawing board is a wonderful portable surface. You can buy very reasonably priced boards in most art supply stores. If you (or someone you know) are handy with tools, you can make your own; just cut a lightweight smooth material (such as plywood or Plexiglas) to any size you prefer, and sand it until it's smooth. Drawing paper then needs to be taped or clamped to the drawing board. At most art supply stores you can find special tapes, specifically designed for this purpose, or clamps which come in various sizes. Sketching on large sheets of paper enhances your skills by allowing you the freedom of drawing from your shoulder rather than your wrist. Keep your wrist fairly still, and move your entire arm from your shoulder, to sketch long flowing marks in one continuous movement. A large hardcover sketchbook is a great alternative to carrying a drawing board in that it comes with its own drawing surface, and depending on the size, may fit inside a brief case or knapsack. Copyright to all articles, images, text, projects, lessons and exercises within this drawing class belong to Brenda Hoddinott and may not be reproduced or used for any commercial purposes whatsoever without the written permission of Brenda Hoddinott. E-mail bhoddinott@hoddinott.com Web site http://www.finearteducation.com or http://www.drawspace.com
  3. -3- PORTABLE EASEL: While many artists are comfortable in simply propping up their drawing surface; others like to use an easel. A sketchbook or drawing board can easily be set up on an easel, but you have to use your creativity to make sure it stays in place as you draw. A gust of wind or even the drawing process itself can easily tip an unsecured easel onto the ground and (gasp!) deposit the drawing into a big puddle of mud. DRAWING MATERIALS: Fill up your pencil case with pencils, erasers, pencil sharpener, sandpaper blocks, and anything else you think you may need. Soft media, such as graphite, conté, or charcoal works best for sketching. CARRYING CASE: You need something in which to carry your drawing materials. An old briefcase, knapsack, or a fabric bag with handles is great for holding supplies, including a small sketchbook and some paper. EXTRAS FOR THE PORTABLE ARTIST: Consider the following for customizing your portable drawing studio to suit your own individual needs: You may want to carry an old blanket to sit on. A viewfinder frame may come in very handy! If you use large sheets of drawing paper, you need to bring your portfolio in which to store and protect your completed drawings and drawing paper. A portable music player with headphones is helpful for blocking distracting noises. It also helps keep spectators from interrupting! Plastic bags can protect your drawings (or you) in case of rain, and are great for sitting on if the ground is damp. Bring along some beverages, snacks, and/or a lunch as well as some wipes or paper towels for clean-up. You can also bring along a small camera to take photos of inspirational scenes and objects. Depending on where you go, you may need bug repellant, and don’t forget your sunscreen! SETTING UP YOUR PLAN OF ACTION Ok, so setting up and getting organized isn’t the most exciting element of anything. But as with most activities and projects, it’s a necessary evil! First of all, when planning to draw outdoors you need to take into consideration such factors as weather, lighting conditions, time of day, and the angle from which you wish to capture your subject. Then make your plans accordingly. When you arrive at your destination, stroll around until you find the best location from which to draw. Look around and decide on a subject that you find incredibly intriguing; otherwise you may get bored before you’re halfway done. Make sure your proposed project isn’t more than you can handle. If you’re a beginner to drawing, choose something very simple. You set yourself up for a frustrating experience by taking on a project beyond your current skill level. Copyright to all articles, images, text, projects, lessons and exercises within this drawing class belong to Brenda Hoddinott and may not be reproduced or used for any commercial purposes whatsoever without the written permission of Brenda Hoddinott. E-mail bhoddinott@hoddinott.com Web site http://www.finearteducation.com or http://www.drawspace.com
  4. -4- Place yourself in a comfortable standing or seated position where the scene you plan to draw presents the best compositional options. Composition refers to the arrangement of the various facets of a drawing subject within the borders of a drawing space. A strong composition brings the eyes of the viewer into what the artist considers the most important elements. Set up your drawing materials and relax. Before putting your pencil into motion, you need to work out the following: Decide which medium and type of paper best suits your subject. Try using your viewfinder frame to help you choose an ideal composition (Check out Lesson A-07: Making and Using a Viewfinder Frame in the Beginner section of my website). Plan your drawing space. Drawing space (sometimes called a drawing format) refers to the area of a drawing surface within a specific perimeter. Choose an approximate size. Decide if your completed drawing should be horizontal or vertical, and whether a rectangular, square, oval, circular or another shaped format is more appropriate for your subject. Look closely at your subject. Sketches are based on careful observation, and with practice they become quick and easy. A thorough visual examination of your subject is the most important ingredient for making great sketches. Note the light source and pinpoint the highlights and shadows. Light source is the direction from which a dominant light originates. The placement of this light source affects every aspect of a drawing. The light source tells you where to draw all the light values and shadows. Squinting, to see the different values, often provides you with a map for sketching the shapes you see. Values are the different shades of gray created when you draw by varying both the density of the shading lines, and the pressure used in holding various pencils. The method you choose for sketching is completely a matter of personal choice. Some artists prefer lines, more prefer only shading, and others (like me) prefer a combination of values and lines. Take time to experiment with different sketching methods. Your sketching style develops over time. Whatever method you prefer, is right for you. Begin your sketch with very light simple lines to simply establish the scene on the drawing paper. Don’t erase any of these initial sketch lines. They show the actual drawing process and give character to the sketch. Simply make your final lines darker so they stand out more. Practice sketching with a pen so you won’t be tempted to erase any lines as you work. Working efficiently is more important than working fast. Continue looking at your subject, as you sketch. Identify specific shapes and visually measure the proportions. Shape refers to the outward outline of a form. Basic shapes include circles, squares and triangles. Proportion is the relationship in size of one component of a drawing to another or others. The instructions in this lesson offer suggestions for rendering a sketch in three simple stages, based on my personal favorite style: ¾ Sketch proportions: sketching the overall composition of the scene proportionately correct ¾ Outline shapes: outlining the shapes of important objects in the scene ¾ Define values: adding simple hatching lines to shade in the values Copyright to all articles, images, text, projects, lessons and exercises within this drawing class belong to Brenda Hoddinott and may not be reproduced or used for any commercial purposes whatsoever without the written permission of Brenda Hoddinott. E-mail bhoddinott@hoddinott.com Web site http://www.finearteducation.com or http://www.drawspace.com
  5. -5- SKETCH PROPORTIONS The first goal of sketching is to very lightly sketch a proportionately correct map of where the different parts of the scene are in relation to one another. 1. Study your subject. Look at the contours and the proportions. Observe how all the parts in your scene interact with one another. Take note of the areas that you consider important. 2. Now look at your drawing paper and imagine this subject on your paper. 3. Observe which objects are in the foreground, middle ground and distant space, and note objects that overlap others. The foreground is the part of the scene that is closest to you. The middle ground is the space or section of the scene beyond the subjects in the foreground. Distant space refers to the components of the scene that are farthest away such as a distant mountain range and/or the clouds in the sky. 4. Use loose sketch lines to draw the outlines of the shapes in the foreground. I have started by sketching a section of land and the trunk of the trees in the foreground of this scene. Visually break the subject down into shapes and measure the proportions. Draw slowly. Accuracy is more important than speed. Your speed will automatically improve the more you practice. Copyright to all articles, images, text, projects, lessons and exercises within this drawing class belong to Brenda Hoddinott and may not be reproduced or used for any commercial purposes whatsoever without the written permission of Brenda Hoddinott. E-mail bhoddinott@hoddinott.com Web site http://www.finearteducation.com or http://www.drawspace.com
  6. -6- 5. Choose what you consider to be the most important element(s) of the scene (focal point), and decide how to emphasize it within the composition. I have chosen the three trees in the foreground and the section of land from which they are growing. I’ll add extra detail to this section to emphasize it. 6. With simple sketch lines, indicate the basic shapes and outlines of the objects in your scene in proper proportion to one another. A few simple lines, along with careful observation of your drawing subject, can visually describe anything. For example, sometimes one curved line is all you need to record the curve of a section of land. Look for ways to define depth with overlapping and perspective. Fine detail isn’t as important as capturing the overall essence of your subject. 7. Continue adjusting your drawing until you are happy. Confirm that objects, spaces, and perspective elements are drawn correctly. Pay close attention to the shapes created by the negative space. Check the relationships of objects to one another, observe that angles, sizes, and proportions are accurate, and adjust as needed. Copyright to all articles, images, text, projects, lessons and exercises within this drawing class belong to Brenda Hoddinott and may not be reproduced or used for any commercial purposes whatsoever without the written permission of Brenda Hoddinott. E-mail bhoddinott@hoddinott.com Web site http://www.finearteducation.com or http://www.drawspace.com
  7. -7- OUTLINE SHAPES Your preliminary sketch is complete, everything is where it should be, and you’re happy with your composition. Time to focus on outlining the shapes of your subjects by implementing geometric perspective, adding more details, and refining your drawing! 8. Look at the objects in your composition and decide which would benefit from geometric perspective, such as buildings, fences, paths, or roads. Choose a viewpoint for the viewer of your drawing and work out the position of the horizon line. Plot the vanishing points, and draw objects according to the rules of perspective. No objects requiring geometric perspective are in my sketch. 9. Beginning with the foreground sketch the shapes of the various aspects of the scene, such as trees and foliage. The following illustrations take you through each step of my sketching process. Keep in mind that this is my personal favorite process for sketching. You are a unique individual with your own preferences. Experiment with various sketching techniques until you find the style that works best for you! Copyright to all articles, images, text, projects, lessons and exercises within this drawing class belong to Brenda Hoddinott and may not be reproduced or used for any commercial purposes whatsoever without the written permission of Brenda Hoddinott. E-mail bhoddinott@hoddinott.com Web site http://www.finearteducation.com or http://www.drawspace.com
  8. -8- 10. Sketch in the shapes of the various sections of your scene that are in the middle ground and distant space. A wide open space representing a lake is in the middle ground of this sketch. In the distant space you see the outlines of two hills, and above the hills is the sky. Before you get into the really fun stuff, you now have one last chance to make any drastic changes. First, take a short break and then come back and have a fresh look at your drawing. Copyright to all articles, images, text, projects, lessons and exercises within this drawing class belong to Brenda Hoddinott and may not be reproduced or used for any commercial purposes whatsoever without the written permission of Brenda Hoddinott. E-mail bhoddinott@hoddinott.com Web site http://www.finearteducation.com or http://www.drawspace.com
  9. -9- DEFINE VALUES This is it! The moment (or hour) you’ve been waiting for! Time to implement all your strategies, planning, and creative ideas into a completed sketch! When you sketch values, your eyes are your most important drawing tools. Remember, light affects the placement and value of every section of shading. Keep in mind that a full range of values gives contrast between the light and the shadow areas. You can achieve different values by using various pencils, varying the density of the lines, and varying the pressure used in holding your pencils 11. Sit back (or step back) from your scene, relax and take a few moments to examine the section of your scene in the foreground. In addition to simply drawing what you see, you need to spend a few moments planning how you want your shading to look. Decide what types of shading, such as hatching, squirkling, or crosshatching, best represent the subjects in your scene. In the interest of speed and simplicity, I prefer to use only hatching. Take note of your dominant light source, and look for the brightest and darkest values. Identify cast shadows in foreground objects, as potentially having the darkest values. Choose the areas you want to draw in detail, such as your focal point, and plan strategies to best represent their various textures with shading Experiment, with drawing the different types of textures you plan to use in your drawing, on a piece of scrap paper, before incorporating them into your actual drawing. 12. Beginning with the objects closest to you in the foreground section, use a full range of values to add shading. Begin to add shading to define the forms of the objects in your drawing. Form, as applied to drawing, is the illusion of the three- dimensional structure of a shape, such as a circle, square or triangle, created in a drawing with shading and/or perspective. The light is coming from the upper left in my sketch. Note the various values used to shade the leaves. Copyright to all articles, images, text, projects, lessons and exercises within this drawing class belong to Brenda Hoddinott and may not be reproduced or used for any commercial purposes whatsoever without the written permission of Brenda Hoddinott. E-mail bhoddinott@hoddinott.com Web site http://www.finearteducation.com or http://www.drawspace.com
  10. - 10 - Remember to use various pencils to help you with the shading. I have used a 2B for the foreground sections. Add stronger lines for some areas of the contour of the various components of your subject. Note how the shading of the section of land graduates from light at the top to dark in the lower sections. Take your time. If you begin to tire or feel frustrated, take a break. When you return have a fresh look at your drawing and touch up anything you’re not happy with. Have a peek at the shading I’ve added to the undersides of the foliage on the tree branches. Step back from your drawing from time to time and have a look at the overall values. You may need to make some areas lighter and others darker. Examine how the shading of the tree trunks is darker on the right sides, which are in shadow and farther away from the light source. Copyright to all articles, images, text, projects, lessons and exercises within this drawing class belong to Brenda Hoddinott and may not be reproduced or used for any commercial purposes whatsoever without the written permission of Brenda Hoddinott. E-mail bhoddinott@hoddinott.com Web site http://www.finearteducation.com or http://www.drawspace.com
  11. - 11 - With only a few simple hatching lines, I have indicated the values of the other sections of land in the foreground. Copyright to all articles, images, text, projects, lessons and exercises within this drawing class belong to Brenda Hoddinott and may not be reproduced or used for any commercial purposes whatsoever without the written permission of Brenda Hoddinott. E-mail bhoddinott@hoddinott.com Web site http://www.finearteducation.com or http://www.drawspace.com
  12. - 12 - 13. Add shading to the middle ground and distant space. Keep in mind that objects and spaces become lighter in value the farther they are away from you. Therefore, use lighter pencils to add shading to these sections. Don’t be afraid to try different shading techniques. Drawings you don’t like, present opportunities to spot problems, and seek new ways of doing things. Even a totally disastrous drawing can teach you not to try that particular approach again! Take note of the adorable little tree in the foreground created with only a few simple lines and shapes. A few horizontal hatching lines define the reflection of the trees and a few gentle ripples in the lake. Vertical hatching lines work better to sketch the values of the trees on the distant shoreline. Save your sketches for later reflection. Your confidence grows when you reflect back on your drawings. The more you practice - the faster your skills improve! Doing sketches on a regular basis trains your brain to see as an artist, which can be a lot of fun!. The process of sketching quickly simply isn’t conducive to allowing your analytical left brain to kick in and begin analyzing what you are doing. You may even find that your imaginative right brain likes to exercise its creative license and exaggerate certain areas of your subject. You may not even notice this is happening until you later examine your sketches. Copyright to all articles, images, text, projects, lessons and exercises within this drawing class belong to Brenda Hoddinott and may not be reproduced or used for any commercial purposes whatsoever without the written permission of Brenda Hoddinott. E-mail bhoddinott@hoddinott.com Web site http://www.finearteducation.com or http://www.drawspace.com
  13. - 13 - Give some thought to what you wish to do with your completed drawing. You may wish to have it framed or simply store it away in a safe place for future reference and reflection. Keep in mind that the more you practice sketching the better and faster you become. On a good day, you may be creating several different and wonderful sketches within an hour! Sign your name, write today’s date on the back, and put a smile on your face. Copyright to all articles, images, text, projects, lessons and exercises within this drawing class belong to Brenda Hoddinott and may not be reproduced or used for any commercial purposes whatsoever without the written permission of Brenda Hoddinott. E-mail bhoddinott@hoddinott.com Web site http://www.finearteducation.com or http://www.drawspace.com
  14. - 14 - BRENDA HODDINOTT - BIOGRAPHY As a self-educated teacher, visual artist, portraitist, forensic artist, and illustrator, Brenda Hoddinott utilizes diverse art media including graphite, technical pen, colored pencil, chalk pastel, charcoal, conté crayon, and oil paints. My philosophy on teaching art is to focus primarily on the enjoyment aspects while gently introducing the technical and academic. Hence, in creating a passion for the subject matter, the quest for knowledge also becomes enjoyable. >Brenda Hoddinott< Born in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Brenda grew up in the small town of Corner Brook. She developed strong technical competencies with a personal commitment to self directed learning, and the aid of assorted “Learn to Draw” books. During Brenda’s twenty-five year career as a self-educated civilian forensic artist, numerous criminal investigation departments have employed Brenda’s skills, including Royal Canadian Mounted Police and municipal police departments. In 1992, Brenda was honored with a commendation from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and in 1994, she was awarded a Certificate of Membership from “Forensic Artists International”. Her home-based art career included graphic design, and teaching recreational drawing and painting classes. As supervisor of her community’s recreational art department, Brenda hired and trained teachers, and designed curriculum for several children’s art programs. In 1998, Brenda chose to end her eighteen-year career as an art educator in order to devote more time to writing, drawing, painting, and developing her websites. Drawspace http://www.drawspace.com incorporates her unique style and innovative approach to curriculum development. This site offers downloadable and printable drawing classes for students of all abilities from the age of eight through adult. Students of all ages, levels and abilities have praised the simple step-by-step instructional approach. This site is respected as a resource for fine art educators, home schooling programs, and educational facilities throughout the world. LEARN-TO-DRAW BOOKS BY BRENDA HODDINOTT Drawing for Dummies (2003): Wiley Publishing, Inc., New, York, NY, this 336 page book is available on various websites and in major bookstores internationally. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Drawing People (2004): Winner of the Alpha-Penguin Book of the Year Award 2004, Alpha - Pearson Education – Macmillan, Indianapolis, IN, this 360 page book is available on various websites and in major bookstores internationally. Copyright to all articles, images, text, projects, lessons and exercises within this drawing class belong to Brenda Hoddinott and may not be reproduced or used for any commercial purposes whatsoever without the written permission of Brenda Hoddinott. E-mail bhoddinott@hoddinott.com Web site http://www.finearteducation.com or http://www.drawspace.com
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