It doesn’t always have to be a good image to be a good sketch

  

I am not very good about using my sketchbooks. They mostly get filled with random color experiments and half-starts of pictures that I don’t really structure–usually when I just feel like using the brush but not actually making an image. I prefer to try for finished images on proper paper, but then I go too long without painting because of te burden of picking the right thing to paint. 

I should be using the sketchbook for in-between work–just to look at something and paint it, to practice structure, mixing, whatever, or just have fun, whether or not it makes a decent image. 

I did the above sketch this morning. It’s a grey day, and there isn’t much interesting going on with the light, but I wanted to do something. At least I can get some practice in. This is in a strathmore 500 series mixed media paper sketchbook. I’d recommend these for watercolor. The paper is 100% cotton, takes the paint well, and the books are thinner than Stillman and Birn so they feel a little more portable.

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Trying out a new sketchbook

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I am trying out a new sketchbook (Strathmore mixed media with the brown cover). This is my first real attempt at a sketch in it. There was an interesting cerulean tint coming though so I tried to capture that. The light on the Corbu love seat in the background was the more interesting thing. So far so good. With any of my sketches, I have to remind myself to stay patient and don’t get too ambitious and try to make a full painting. Painting in any sketchbook is very different. I think a little pen is important so the painting has structure (something important for me because I’ve been getting away from structured paintings, which is fine, but then I lose practice in drawing). It’s hard to build up too many washes and have the paint take care of everything. Anyway, if I want to do a proper painting, I should use proper watercolor paper. I need to remind myself of that. This simple sketch turned out okay, and I like the sketchbook so far. The paper is a little better than the Stillman and Birn Alpha, I think.

Thanks for reading.