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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Fast, or Slow?

I was at our old cabin for the afternoon, and decided to take my time with an ink sketch of the wood stove as it tried to warm the space...

(Yep, this one again!) And of course, I sketched FAST so my breakfast didn't get cold!
Do you feel comfortable taking however much time you need, or have?  In the sketch at top, I had all afternoon, with nothing pressing, so I decided to put my new/old Esterbrook 9128 through its paces.  It was running out of ink, so I got some very fine lines...which I restated when I refilled it.  It was a contemplative exercise and I very much enjoyed it.  Very peaceful!

I chose not to add color to that one--it stands on its own.

Breakfast was a whole other matter!  I didn't want it to get cold, so just did a very simple outline, with that same pen.  THEN I ate, then added color from memory!  I think the color defines and explains the shapes, pulling everything together, don't you?

I teach quick-sketching techniques in my mini-classes (Quick Sketching 1 and 2, and Quick Sketching in Color), and do truly enjoy that discipline for any number of reasons...but there are times when I just want to take as long as it takes.

I took my time here...

And hurried to capture the action here...

What do YOU enjoy most?


  1. You've touched on a subject that has been weighing heavily on me. I want to be able to sketch fast. That is when I really enjoy it. I don't have the patience to draw slowly unless I am working on a larger project at home. If I could draw faster I would be more likely to sketch away from home, but my skills are rusty and limited. Will I ever reach the point when I sketch without forethought... kind of like writing?

  2. I like the freshness of quick sketches, so I am working towards being able to sketch quickly (I took your quick sketches class, Cathy). Hopefully with lots of practise, my quick sketches will be more presentable than they are now. At the moment, the results of my slow drawings are much better since I have more time to think and really observe. Quick sketching leave me breathless!

  3. What do YOU enjoy most?

    Both, although I would like to get better at the fast sketching.

  4. I love that first kitty picture, the coloured one.
    But the sausages look great done in a hurry as well.

    I think it's very individual. I've noticed that when I just empty my head and do a quick sketch of something without thinking, then I often get better results. I have the tendency to overthink when I have to chance, and then it can all get messy!

  5. I personally enjoy taking my time, as I try and make my sketches look as realistic as possible. I often, however, don't HAVE time, being a full-time Mom. I remember in college, there was life drawing classes that were 6-hours long, and I remember thinking... how can I sit still for 6 hours? Sorrily, I didn't stick with the class. But the interesting thing is? As much as I like the detail and realism in your first drawing, I thoroughly enjoy the breakfast one better :) Go figure!

  6. I definitely enjoy taking my time the most but like Aloquin in the above comment, I very rarely get it! I do quick sketches when the kids are around (and even quick sketching is a luxury I don't often have!) but I do make time to take the odd excursion so I can sketch uninterrupted. I think both approaches have their merits and you learn a lot either way.

  7. So good to know that you still go out to the old cabin, Kate... It latched onto my heart, years ago. But I realize that it is difficult to reach it, these days. It lifts my heart whenever you share some of your moments there.


  8. Each type of sketching holds charm for me. It really depends on what conditions are at the time. Actually, sometimes when sketching is quick and sketchy, it captures more emotion.

  9. I love the sleeping cat! What you can do with watercolor!! But then again, I am totally impressed and love the liveliness of the moving cat and I love the stove drawing (I've been working on one similar, and it ain't easy). Sometimes I love the quick sketches, the ones where I manage to capture something in a short span. And I often use these small cracks of time. Other times I love taking my time. There is a lot of "love" here - that is because it is art!!

  10. The first sleeping kitty is what I want to be able to do someday in both composition and technique. Probably the most perfect watercolor I have seen. Studying this one, and would love a step-by-step mini class at some point.

  11. Rebecca, I do have a couple of CDs and downloads on watercolor, and thank you...ALL! I don't know how I missed all the comments. You can find the info at the link here. http://cathyjohnson.info/cds.html


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