Sketching Drawing

Sketching and drawing are two different things. A sketch is a work in progress. You may sketch to observe your subject matter or to resolve questions regarding a drawing you are working on. A sketch may help you understand the values of a subject, or gain more understanding of the subject's structure, proportions and placement of its compositional elements. Sketches like these may progress toward a more finished drawing. On the other hand, (no pun intended!) drawing is an activity that is begun with the intention of producing a finished piece of art.

With these definitions in mind, recognize that there are times to begin a drawing with a sketch and there are times to begin a sketch without any intention of refining it into a finished drawing. As a beginner, if you are trying to do more drawings than sketches, then you may be putting too much pressure on yourself. Loosen up and enjoy learning four different approaches to sketching and drawing: structural line sketching, value sketching, black-and-white sketching and contour sketching.

Let the Lines Guide You

Line up your drawing board and paper with your subject and lightly sketch horizontal lines. These will guide you as you place your subject's features. Grab a friend and try it yourself!

There are different ways to hold a pencil, depending on what type of strokes and lines you want to achieve. You may start out with loose, sketchy lines and progress to tighter, more controlled lines and shorter strokes. Here are some common hand grips you can try as you sketch and draw. You may find something else that works better for you. You will find that pressure and grip affects the line results of your drawings. Generally, the more pressure you apply, the darker your line will be.

Create Thick, Loose Lines For thick, loose lines, avoid using the point of the pencil. Instead, grip the pencil with your thumb and fingertip so that the pencil lead lies flat against the paper. Your fingertips should be either just above the paper surface or gently resting on it. This may smear your previous pencil lines, so be careful. You will use your entire arm to draw these wide lines.

Create Thick, Tight Lines

Apply more pressure to the point of the pencil by moving your index finger closer to the tip. Your fingertips may rest on the paper, though it isn't necessary that they do so for |his stroke to be successful.

Create Thin, Controlled Lines For lines like these, grip the pencil as in a handwriting position, with the pencil resting between your thumb, middle and index fingers. Your hand rests gently on the paper. For very thin lines, the pencil tip needs to come to a sharp point.

Create Long, Arcing Lines This grip is similar to the handwriting position, except you hold the pencil out at length. Use this grip to achieve wide, straight and arced lines. Let your hand rest gently on the paper.

Using a Frisket

A piece of paper can be used as a frisket to make an even edge for a set of pencil lines. This is also a great technique to use if you want to create a clean margin for your drawing. This method also works well for backgrounds.

Cover the Drawing Place a piece of scrap or copier paper over your drawing. Start the line strokes on the scrap paper and continue onto the drawing paper.

Lift the Frisket

Lift your frisket away. The pencil lines should look as if they start from one invisible line.

Freehand Sketching An Introduction

Freehand Sketching An Introduction

Learn to sketch by working through these quick, simple lessons. This Learn to Sketch course will help you learn to draw what you see and develop your skills.

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