This is the way that I tend to sketch:
- A sketch every day, no matter how meagre.
- Always ‘from life’, looking at something in front of me, even if that’s sometimes another picture.
- Always on the next page in the sketch-book, keeping the narrative going.
- Usually in ink; I like the deliberate commitment to the line you make, no rubbing out as there are no mistakes, just lessons learnt, lines to redraw better. Update: after 2 years of just ink I’ve softened my line (ha ha) on pencils and am now enjoying their unique marks and the ability to correct, sometimes.
- I usually finish the picture there and then (sometimes I add the colour later, after capturing the line and shade on location…).
- I sometimes write a few words alongside the picture, describing what was happening at the time; the sketchbooks are gradually becoming a sort of journal (I don’t keep a diary).
- Aiming for a simple and clear depiction of the subject.
This is the Urban Sketcher’s manifesto:
“1. We draw on location, indoors or out, capturing what we see from direct observation. 2. Our drawings tell the story of our surroundings, the places we live and where we travel. 3. Our drawings are a record of time and place. 4. We are truthful to the scenes we witness. 5. We use any kind of media and cherish our individual styles. 6. We support each other and draw together. 7. We share our drawings online. 8.We show the world, one drawing at a time.”
And here are Danny Gregory’s wise thoughts, shared via Dan Price in ‘How to make a Journal of your life’ (I think):
“Everything I need to know I learned while drawing.
Everyone can do it, except those people who say they can’t. You’ll never get perfect, you’ll just get better. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Don’t do it for fame or money, do it for you. Don’t seek beauty, see it. Everyone’s idea of the perfect pen is different. Learn from others, but don’t be an imitator. No books and no teachers can teach you as much as practise. If you don’t like a drawing, turn the page and do another. Always carry a pen. Know when to stop. Study how kids do it. The best way is to be still. Never be too ashamed of what you draw. Never be too proud either. Avoid erasers. Give your drawings away, but keep a copy. Don’t be judgemental, ugly subjects make beautiful drawings. Concentrate, relax, have fun.”