Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sketching Like a Photographer

6/21/12, F-C Pitt Artists Pen

Everything I’ve ever read or heard about improving one’s photos includes this advice: Move in close and fill the frame with the subject.

It turns out that this advice is worth heeding when sketching, too.

On a sunny afternoon, the playground at Green Lake was a popular place for the stroller set. I started sketching a swing set that proved to be a miserable challenge – difficult perspective, both parents and kids moving too quickly, lots of action but no focal point.

6/21/12, F-C Pitt Artists Pen, watercolor
While seated on the same bench, I “zoomed in” closer with my eyes to pick out one toddler with her mom. I’m not sure if the sketch is any better, but at least the composition is.

I zoomed in on the boy on the slide too, but he posed an additional challenge. Unlike adults in coffee shops working on their laptops, kids never stay still (a startling discovery!). I used the same strategy I learned from trying to sketch a restless bear at the zoo: Sooner or later, the pacing animal will reappear in the same location with the same gesture, probably many times. So the first time the boy sat at the top of the slide, I caught the position of his head and shoulders. He was having a great time, so I knew he’d reappear. The second time down, I managed to get his torso. And so on, until I finished the sketch.
6/21/12, F-C Pitt Artists Pen, watercolor

1 comment:

  1. I think you did a great job of capturing the moving figues!!! I especially like the boy on the slide. When I do sketches like these I do the same thing you did, or I start with the head and shoulders of one figure and continue with the next figure that comes along.


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