This is the way that I tend to sketch:

  • A sketch every day, no matter how meagre (a habit I’ve kept up for nine years so far…).
  • Usually ‘from life’, looking at something in front of me, translating 3D to 2D.
  • Usually 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 years of just ink I 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…).
  • 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.”

8 Responses to How?

  1. Tina Koyama says:

    I just found your blog via Nina Johansson’s. I appreciate the “how” and “why” of your sketching philosophy — very similar to mine. From looking at your work, I can hardly believe you’ve been drawing for only two years! I started a year and a half ago, so I’m not too far behind you. I have bookmarked your blog and will visit again soon — happy sketching! Here’s my blog, when you have a minute:

    — Tina

  2. Phil says:

    Hi stumbled across your site whilst looking for a pen whose ink will bleed and spread when given a water wash,. the old Berol ones used to, but not any more.
    Any ideas please

    • Ed Mostly says:

      Hi Phil, I’ve always tended to look for the opposite quality in pens, ink able to take a watercolour wash. Do you want the resulting picture to be lightfast? A flexible way to experiment would be to get a fountain pen and then try out different inks. I think Goulet Pens sell small samples of ink. Below there’s a link to a relevant discussion at ‘The Sketching Forum’. Have fun experimenting! Ed

  3. Cathy says:

    I tried to sign up for your blog but it won’t accept my email address. Any suggestions? I really like your limited palette! Do you still use just 6 paints?

    • Ed Mostly says:

      Hi Cathy, not sure why the ‘follow’ won’t work. I don’t think there’s much I can do at this end to help. Do try again! I’ve been using the 6 colour palette for a couple of years now and highly recommend it. It’s far simpler and more satisfying to mix your own colours, rather than rely on a large palette of premixed pigments. The six I use are all single pigments, so no muddy mixes, and they’re all translucent so glow on white paper. Ed

  4. Cathy says:

    Thanks! Great blog, I will certainly try again!

  5. Alison Whitham says:

    Hi. My so found a piece of abandoned art with your Web site on back at Llantwit Major beach. Is it one of yours?

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