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The really danng step comes next, which is to venture out of the front door and into the street. Most people are a little shy of drawing in public but, if you want to get going, it is something you will have to conquer.

What you will see rather depends on where you are living, but I've chosen to rework a street scene by Hiroshige, the famous Japanese master of the nineteenth-century woodcut, where he depicts a very ordinary Japanese street that has no remarkable architectural features, rather like any suburban high street or a plain terraced street in a medium-sized town.

I have eliminated all the figures of passing people in order to show an absolutely simple view of the street and, with the exotic touch of a full moon, it becomes a very effective picture. The lit-up windows help, something that ordinarily you might not notice, but I am sure Hiroshige could have created just as brilliant a piece of art with any suburban road at midday. This example was done in coloured pencil and a few lines of ink.

Somewhere near your home will be some sort of open space such as a recreation ground, a field, a park or even a common. This will take a little more planning than you have so far required but, as it is local, carrying your drawing equipment and a portable stool should not create too many problems and you can easily retire if the weather turns against you. Also, because of its proximity, you can easily go back and look again if your first efforts don't satisfy.

There is a common near Guildford, in Surrey, where my sister lives. This is an ink-drawn version of one of the painted sketches I did during a morning expedition there with her. It is essentially a very simple view, looking across the common to houses on the other side, with a row of large trees to the left and a park bench immediately in front of me. When you can show things simply but drawn well, you have gone further into the learning process towards tackling more complex situations.

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Freehand Sketching An Introduction

Freehand Sketching An Introduction

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