From My Sketchbook: 001

Part of holding myself accountable to the goal of drawing more is sharing my efforts with you. I admit, I’m a bit uncomfortable sharing what I know isn’t great work, but it helps me keep track of what I’ve done and motivates me to keep improving. After all, I have to start somewhere and it’s the nature of new beginnings to be a little rough.

Though I’m fairly comfortable with form, getting the shape on the page to look pretty close to what I see, I am not confident at all in color rendering. I’ve been practicing with watercolors and feel better with the medium each time I sit down to work with it, but today I think I let it get away from me a tad.

watercolor, pencil, pastel shoes & flowers
reference images (shoe) and (flowers)

For the first time I used water brushes and I’m on the steep side of the learning curve. Though I felt totally out of control with them,` as the painting progressed I started to understand how to use them. Perhaps my next go will be a more successful in that I won’t be as disappointed with the end result as I am with this piece.

Things I’d like to change
  1. I wish I left the flowers as a suggestion and keeping the wash light. That’s how it started, but my layers got away from me and I had a hard time controlling where the pigment was going and how much water to use. I’m still working on rendering flowers and I think this sketch would be nicer if I could have some detail without it being harsh.
  2. I would not outline the flower petals and hadn’t planned to but I panicked. Now, it looks cartoonish instead of soft and ethereal. Especially since the line isn’t ultra fine. Though, I left the unopened flowers unlined to remind myself that it’d be better without.
  3. Using ink instead of pencil to outline. I don’t have brown ink so I used what I had. I think it looks fine on the shoe but could be sharper.
  4. Watching the wet areas. You can’t see it in the image above, but I had a very bad bleed at the heel of the shoe. Not sure how it happened but most likely my hand bumped the wet page. I ended up ripping the paper trying to salvage it. ( I know better than to use an eraser on wet paper yet here we are.) Eventually I painted over it in white acrylic to hide it.
Things that I like
  1. I think I got the green pretty close to the source and feel fairly good about my eye when it comes to color I see even if I don’t have the skill yet to put on the paper how I’d like.
  2. I like where the details of the crystals on the shoe are heading.
  3. The concept is fun and feminine and I think using complimentary colors helps keep things cohesive without being too overbearing
  4. That despite this not being watercolor paper (Canson Mixed Media) I could tell which results were strictly my lack of ability and which were from the paper. This helped me be less frustrated with the process.
  5. That I stopped working when I realized I was at my limits. Primarily, once I got to the flowers and the stamens weren’t vibrant… and doing anything more wasn’t going to make it better. Knowing when to stop is an important thing I think.

I’d like to share something from my sketchbook each week and do a bit of constructive analysis like this. Then maybe, after a time, I can compare where I started with where I end up in a few months. Feel free to leave any helpful feedback you may have in the comments and let me know if you ever have any questions about my work.



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