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Practicing Sketching Techniques

April 18, 2008

Yesterday I received a book called the Art of Sketching, which was recommended by Wendy on her website a few weeks ago. I doesn’t take much more than that for me to order a book, especially an art book. Reading through it got me all excited about sketching, so today I decided to try out a couple of techniques (plus an old standby).

I chose a statue for my model. First I tried somehing completely new to me, and it didn’t really work out very well. In the book, they suggest doing a preliminary drawing with red ballpoint, then adding water at which point the color is supposed to run a bit, for a watercolor effect, and then you add shadow with blue ballpoint. I don’t know what kind of ballpoint they use, but Bic doesn’t work that way. I even wonder if it’s a translation error, as the original text was in Spanish, I think.

Here’s mine. There was a tiny bit of bleeding, but barely enough to show, and I used a lot of water.

Next I did the same subject by painting on yellow ink, and adding line with my trusty pilot rollerball (.07 point) and adding water on that. I know that ink runs. I wasn’t thrilled with that result either, so I added some cerulean ink (I just love that color!) and then tried to lighten up some areas with white watercolor crayon. Here’s that one :

For the last one I just used good old 4B graphite. I found it dull, though, so I added some color with watercolor crayon.

Et voila! The most disappointing is the ballpoint pen – I so wanted that to work. Anyone ever use that? What kind of pens do you think would bleed correctly without leaving a definite line like the rollerball?

16 Comments leave one →
  1. April 18, 2008 5:01 pm

    You know, I really like the ball point drawing. It’s nice to see your actual strokes without any bleeding (as much as I love the work you do with bleeding). I also like the cerulean ink version – that came out very nicely. I, personally, don’t like ball point pens because of the way the ink does not flow easily and globs up which makes me think that whatever fixative that’s used for ball point ink might not be conducive to bleeding. Also, traditional ball points were designed for an earlier time and usage when people were clipping them inside pockets and such. I wonder if the ink was designed to keep them from leaking, hence no bleed. That’s a long response from someone who has no facts on hand!

  2. April 18, 2008 5:59 pm

    Casey, I think your ballpoint pen drawing is brilliant, even if it didn’t run. Very, very good sketching!!!!!! Love it!

    Never heard of a ballpoint pen one could put a wash over – I think the sense was lost in translation. I’m very envious of you having that book though.

  3. April 18, 2008 6:41 pm

    I thank you for trying these different techniques and the book. I am like you, a good art book? I need to get it. I am holding myself back at this point and will be watching to see what you do.

  4. April 18, 2008 10:19 pm

    Hi, loved the sketches. I played with pens just the other night and you might try using rubbing alcohol of various dilutions to get the bleed effect you want. Your results inspire me to buy the book. Regards!

  5. April 19, 2008 4:11 am

    Hi Casey! I’m so sorry I haven’t written to you in such a long time though I’ve been seeing your works, I use a feed reader, also in the superblog I notice your updates. these sketches are wonderful as all your previous works i’ve seen. you’re a master!
    hugs and more hugs, Martin.

  6. April 19, 2008 4:18 pm

    Oh, this is lovely! I especially like the one with the blue washes. Thanks too for all your kind comments..

  7. April 19, 2008 5:13 pm

    Hi, I’ve been following your blog for a week or so… I don’t remember where I got the link. Regarding ballpoint pens, I can remember using them a long time ago and doing the water-wash thing and I liked the results. I think the ballpoint pens of today have been “improved” to where they are more waterproof. You keep your eyes open for some cheap pens (really really cheap). Maybe they will work better. (I wonder how a felt tip pen would work?)

    I enjoy your blog.

  8. Sarah permalink
    April 19, 2008 5:52 pm

    I’ve never tried using water with a ballpoint so no suggestions, but I like your ball point sketch the most out of all these – the red and blue look good together and it’s lively, fresh and appealing to my eyes.

  9. April 20, 2008 8:26 am

    I really like the ballpoint pen one as it is. All of them are very well observed sketches – great cherubic figures!

    I also wondered what felt tip pen would look like – it would definitely bleed.

  10. April 20, 2008 10:59 am

    Most interesting post Casey with fabulous results.

  11. April 20, 2008 3:36 pm

    Great to see all of the techniques – I’m impressed that you could sketch the same fountain 3 times! I have so much trouble redoing anything! I was intrigued by that book when mentioned. But I don’t need another book that I don’t use – so I’ll be happy to see what you think after you use it a little longer. Please report back to us.

  12. Sarah permalink
    April 20, 2008 4:16 pm

    you’ve been tagged

  13. April 22, 2008 5:38 am

    Great sketches Casey, I alos like the line work in the first one and no, I’ve not seen ball points bleed either? I love the deliciousness of the second one ewith the ceurlean wash…lovely statue!

  14. April 25, 2008 6:40 pm

    I really like the ballpoint one (despite it not being quite what you were expecting). The only ink that I know that is definitely water soluble is Parker’s Quink ink, usually used for their fountain pens. YOu can get funky effects with bleach on Quink too.

  15. April 27, 2008 7:31 am

    I plan to try that technique also. It’s one that stood out for me in that book. I just got a set of Tombow pens, and I think they are just the thing to do it with. I like the red & blue drawing very much – even if it didn’t run.

  16. May 7, 2008 6:30 pm

    Nice sketching. With regards to the ball point pen, I really love to sketch with them, they are so direct, it’s a real challenge to make your mark in the right place… Personally, I don’t really mind the indent the roller leaves behind, but there are a few ways to minimize it. The first is having less paper under the paper you are presently drawing on. If you’re drawing in a sketch pad with attached paper, you might try slipping a hard surface under the piece you’re working on. Also SRX Quest or RoseArt makes a ball point that flows so beautifully it eliminates the need to press so hard. I used them for a while, but I’m on the fence about it. it acts almost like a marker and the line has less character.

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