Thursday, May 31, 2018

Yosemite, Part 1: Falling Waters

5/23/18 Upper and lower Yosemite Falls, morning

Inspired initially by the well-known photographs by Ansel Adams, I have been wanting to visit Yosemite National Park for decades. In his documentary series, Ken Burns called the national parks “America’s best idea,” and Yosemite could be among the best of the best. Greg and I marveled many times at how fortunate we are that previous administrations had the foresight to protect and make places like Yosemite accessible to ordinary people like us. (We thank Cathy McAuliffe, a regular park visitor, for many helpful tips, maps and other information. I call her the Rick Steves of Yosemite!)

And by “ordinary,” I mean people without rugged hiking or climbing abilities. Although we are strong and avid level-ground walkers, we don’t call ourselves “hikers” and certainly not “climbers,” and we were pleased by how easy it was to see and experience so much of the beauty of Yosemite without breaking a sweat (or an ankle). Of course, we had to share those experiences with many other people who had also heard that late May was Yosemite’s sweet spot (not yet hot but the waterfalls at their peak). But the park is a big place, and if we walked only a short distance away from the prime selfie spots, it suddenly became quiet, and we often felt we had the place nearly to ourselves.

One of Yosemite’s attractions is its four major waterfalls, two of which we were able to see up close in the Valley – Bridalveil and the upper and lower parts of Yosemite. As an urban sketcher in the Pacific Northwest, I don’t get many opportunities to practice sketching falling water, so I knew these falls would be a challenge. Remembering the small thumbnails I’d seen in Cathy’s Yosemite sketchbook, I made a thumbnail with tonal markers first of each challenging view before tackling it full-size. I know that many urban sketching instructors recommend making thumbnails to explore compositions before taking on a larger sketch, but I rarely do it on familiar territory. I admit, though, that thumbnailing was very helpful at Yosemite.

5/23/18 thumbnail of upper Yosemite
In fact, I found myself making thumbnails more often on this trip than I usually do, even when I didn’t necessarily feel a need to “practice” a composition first. There was so much to see and experience in the concentrated space of Yosemite Valley that I wanted to capture as much as possible. Sometimes I would stop just for a small, three-minute thumbnail, and if I had more time later, I would go back for a full sketch. Sometimes the thumbnail was all I had, but I’m happy that I captured it at all. It taught me that I don’t have to have a full-page sketch with color and details to scratch the itch for a sketch. It was an important learning for future travel.

My hero!
A personal tradition when I travel is to try to use a local natural source of water to fill my waterbrush or spritzing bottle. The first fall we experienced up close was Bridalveil, where we got close enough to the thundering spray that we had to put on our raincoats. I was a bit leery about stepping onto slippery rocks, but my fearless Spouse-Man filled my spray bottle for me. I was then able to sketch Yosemite Falls (and the rest of the park that we saw) with Bridalveil water! Its sketching meta. 

5/24/18 Upper and lower Yosemite Falls with late-afternoon
shadows behind the water.

5/23/18 Bridalveil Fall (inset: thumbnail of nearby river rocks and trees)

5/22/18 Upper Yosemite
5/22/18 thumbnail of upper Yosemite
Upper Yosemite

Bridalveil Fall

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Historic San Jose

5/20/18 vintage streetcar at San Jose History Park

The day after sketching with Cathy in Alameda, we drove down to San Jose to catch Suhita Shirodkar’s exhibit, “Sign of the Times.” On view the rest of the year at San Jose History Park, the show is a collection of sketches of the city’s vintage signage, 30 percent of which have been taken down since Suhita sketched them. It’s a remarkable documentation of rapidly disappearing local history.

5/20/18 Uma and Suhita
Luckily for me, Suhita got away from her busy schedule and logistical complications long enough to sketch with me for an all-too-brief time. Uma Kelkar joined us at History Park’s ice cream shop, where we all scarfed down sundaes as we chatted and sketched (they both painted out the window while I sketched them).

After Suhita and Uma had to go, I sketched an old streetcar that still runs through the park. I wished I had time to sketch more of History Park’s vintage and recreated artifacts, but it was time to go visit with family.

Suhita's show, "Sign of the Times" (photo by Uma)

Uma, Tina and Suhita (photo by Greg)

Suhita, Greg and Tina (photo by Uma)

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Flying Colors

5/28/18 Sunset Hills Memorial Park

My family’s tradition has always been to use Memorial Day weekend as a time to remember all of our lost loved ones as well as to express gratitude to those lost in service to our country. I did both yesterday at Sunset Hills Memorial Park, where several family members are interred.

The long, sloping driveway leading up to the cemetery was flanked by hundreds of flags. They’re beautiful to see; confounding to sketch. (I attempted this same composition a few years ago, and it was no easier this time than it was then.)

Monday, May 28, 2018

Victorian Alameda

5/19/18 Alameda 

I’m back from a week in northern California! The main event of our trip south was to visit Yosemite National Park, but we began with a couple of days in the San Francisco Bay Area visiting family and friends. Thanks to a recommendation from Berkeley sketcher Cathy McAuliffe, we discovered a place to stay that was completely new to us: the island town of Alameda just south of Oakland.

5/19/18 Alameda
Known for its Victorian architecture, Alameda is a sketcher and photographer’s dream. While Greg snapped away, Cathy and I sketched several colorful and intricately detailed houses. Walking around a neighborhood that was particularly rich in historic buildings, we had difficulty choosing from all the eye candy, no matter which way we turned. (Although I hadn’t planned this at all, my current series of Maple Leaf architectural sketches turned out to be ideal practice for Alameda. If I hadn’t done all those houses in my own ‘hood recently, I think I would have been much more intimidated by the Victorians and would have had a harder time getting started.)

On our last morning before packing up for Yosemite, I sketched an oddly pruned tree right outside our Airbnb house that had caught my eye the first moment I spotted it. Although no utility wires were in sight, it looked like it had been cut away for some.

Many thanks to Cathy for sketching with me and giving us a grand tour of Alameda!

5/19/18 Alameda Theatre in downtown Alameda
5/20/18 Not Victorian, but still a very cool house!
5/21/18 An interesting tree near our Airbnb house

Happy sketchers in a dream neighborhood! (Photo by Greg)

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Yosemite Palette

My everyday-carry urban palette

By the time you read this, I will be somewhere in Yosemite National Park! Yosemite has been on my bucket list ever since I first saw Ansel Adams’ Moon and Half Dome decades ago. I don’t know why it took us so long to bring it up to the top of our list, but we’re finally there!

Although I always take a look at my sketch kit before I travel, I didn’t need to make any major changes – my everyday-carry sketch kit has been a lean machine (both at home and away) for quite some time now.

The one thing I seriously reviewed, however, was my colored pencil palette. Going from my typical urban palette to Yosemite’s granite, waterfalls and sequoias took a bit of thinking. As I always do before I travel, I did a little Google image research of the landscape I would be seeing – in this case, the Sierra Nevada. Of course, I couldn’t remove all my usual urban colors, because I was going to spend a couple of days in the Bay Area first. And they all had to fit within the 23 available slots in my Tran Portfolio Pencil Case (two of the 25 slots are permanently assigned to a white pencil and a cheap conventional brush). The exercise required some critical sampling and making judicious choices.

Shown above is my typical urban palette. (All colors are Caran d’Ache Museum Aquarelles except 217, which is Faber-Castell’s Albrecht Durer Middle Cadmium Red. A brick red that I’ve been using frequently on the Tudors in my neighborhood, it is surprisingly lacking in the Museum palette.) This is basically the same palette I’ve been using since February after my minimal sketch kit challenge ended. I finally took out the cherry blossom pink I had optimistically carried for months. Just recently I’ve been carrying a neon orange/neon green bicolored pencil, which is so useful in construction zones (probably less so in Yosemite, but who knows about San Jose?).
My Yosemite palette

I retained all the above and added the carefully selected four shown at right – three earthy tones that were missing from my urban palette, plus indigo, which I thought might come in handy for rocky shadows.

I’ll let you know in a few days whether my selection turned out to be useful! Or you can see for yourself now on Instagram.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Brick and Stucco

5/16/18 Maple Leaf neighborhood

If I had to guess, I’d say that this house on Roosevelt Way is another Tudor, yet it’s unique in one distinct way: The upper part seems to be made of a type of smooth stucco, and the rest is brick.

On this day, the sun was ducking in and out of fast-moving clouds. After doing most of my sketching in the shade, suddenly the sun broke free, so I quickly put in all the shadows just in time for the sun to hide again.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Product Review: Faber-Castell Goldfaber Aqua Colored Pencils (Albrecht Durer Comparison)

Faber-Castell's Goldfaber Aqua pencils

The last time I poked around at the Daniel Smith Seattle store, I spotted a new line of colored pencils from Faber-Castell called Goldfaber (available in both traditional and water-soluble). Based on their pricing, I could see that they were on the low end compared to F-C’s premier pencil lines, oil-based Polychromos and water-soluble Albrecht Durer, but I was curious about how different they might be. Following my own sage wisdom about trying new colored pencils, I resisted buying all the colors and instead got the smallest assortment – 12 colors of water-soluble Goldfaber Aqua Pencils. (Unfortunately, I can’t provide a link to Daniel Smith because the paint manufacturer no longer sells products online except for paints, so the link will take you to I intended to put them head-to-head with Albrecht Durer pencils to see how they compared.

Goldfaber cores and barrels (left) are slightly smaller than Durer's
The Goldfaber pencils come in a typical hinged tin. The standard-diameter hexagonal barrel is a matte-finish gray with a glossy end cap indicating the core’s color. The core is 3.3mm, while Durer’s core is 3.8mm (and the entire Durer barrel is slightly larger). The Goldfaber wood is a lighter color and slightly speckled compared to Durer’s.

Although I tend to use Caran d’Ache Museum Aquarelles more often now than Albrecht Durer, Faber-Castell’s Durer line is still one of my favorites, and I’m familiar with how these excellent pencils apply, blend and activate. When I made swatches of the Goldfaber colors, I was immediately taken by how similar they feel in softness and texture to the Durer pencils. At least these particular 12 hues changed very little when activated with water (some water-soluble pencils change dramatically after water is added).

I decided to swatch the same hues in the Durer line, and Faber-Castell made that task very easy: It uses the same color numbers on both lines. Strangely, one color in the Goldfaber line – 147 (light blue) – is not available in the Durer line. At first I thought I had lost No. 147 in my complete Durer set (and you can imagine how annoyed I became at that possibility!). I even got on my hands and knees to see if that pencil had fallen out of its “vase” and onto the floor behind my desk. But then I checked Blick’s open-stock inventory, and I realized the Durer line simply doesn’t include 147. The other 11 hues, however, match exactly.

I admit I was surprised to see how similar – identical, in fact – all the colors are, including the way they wash. The Goldfabers seemed equally rich in pigment – yet the Durers cost nearly twice as much. Hmmm, now things were getting interesting!   

At this point I checked Goldfaber’s lightfastness to see how it compared to Durer’s (the latter has artist-quality pigments, most of which have a high lightfast rating). According to the Goldfaber insert, the Aqua line “is available in 48 bright and ultra-lightfast colours.” On Blick’s site, the Goldfabers are described as having “a high degree of lightfastness,” but each hue’s lightfast rating is not indicated as it is on the Durers. F-C says Goldfaber is intended for “both aspiring and hobby artists,” and Blick describes the line as “created for students and hobby artists,” which are clues that the pigments aren’t artist quality.

5/16/18 Faber-Castell Goldfaber Aqua pencils, Stillman & Birn Beta
Now it was time for the rubber to hit the road. Using colors 107, 120, 121, 163 and 166, I first made a test sketch of an apple with the Goldfaber Aqua pencils on Stillman & Birn Beta paper. Initially I was impressed that the pigments applied as easily as Durer pencils on toothy Beta paper. I activated the first layer with water and let it dry, and I was pleased by how fully the pigments dissolved. They seemed very similar to Durer in that way, too. I applied a second layer of pigment, and that’s when I started noticing a difference. The pencil application felt a bit “sticky” over the previous layer, and the colors weren’t blending without
5/17/18 Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer pencils, Stillman & Birn Beta
some effort.

Next I sketched the same apple on the same paper using the same color numbers of Albrecht Durer pencils (this is about as apple-to-apple a comparison as I’ve ever made 😉). Making this sketch confirmed that the biggest difference between the two lines of pencils comes with the second and successive applications of pigment. It’s much easier to blend with Durer pencils, they apply more smoothly over previously activated layers, and I was able to achieve richer hues in less time (30 minutes, compared to 45 for the Goldfaber sketch).

Still, if lightfastness isn’t an issue (I haven’t found clear information one way or another as to whether the Goldfabers have the same degree of lightfastness as Durers, though I suspect they don’t), considering the significantly lower cost, I’d say these Goldfaber pencils aren’t too shabby. I am impressed by how closely F-C matched the pigments in these two lines as well as the degree of water-solubility. If Goldfaber is Faber-Castell’s low-end line, it’s pretty darn good.

As I started thinking about this, I recalled another low-end F-C watercolor pencil: the Art Grip Aquarelle line. I don’t have them anymore, so I can’t compare them directly, but I remember them as being much harder and containing less pigment. The grippy, textured surface and triangular barrel seemed to be designed for younger students. Surprisingly, Blick’s price for them is higher than for Goldfabers. I don’t know why Faber-Castell would need two low-end watercolor pencils, but for my money, Goldfabers are far better. I certainly wouldn’t replace my beloved Albrecht Durer collection with them, but I would definitely recommend them to someone who wanted to give watercolor pencils a try without making a huge investment.

Incidentally, the name Goldfaber isn’t new; it turns out to be the name that F-C used for a line of colored pencils at least several decades ago (as noted on a set for sale on eBay). I wonder how they would compare to contemporary Goldfabers . . . ? (You knew I would wonder about that, didn’t you!)

Updated 6/13/18: Wonder no longer! See my review comparing vintage Faber-Castell Goldfaber pencils with these contemporary Goldfabers.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Bell Harbor Pier (Plus Two Bucket List Items Checked)

5/15/18 Space Needle from Bell Harbor

Located on the north end of the waterfront, Bell Harbor Pier might be one of Seattle’s last remaining secrets. Connected to the Bell Harbor Conference Center by a pedestrian bridge, it probably attracts event attendees between seminars and buffet lunches, but it’s also always open to the public. On a gorgeous Tuesday afternoon, the waterfront was crowded with tourists and other pedestrians on the street level, yet just a few flights of stairs up, I had the pier nearly to myself.

I almost sketched the city skyline (see photo at bottom of page), and the moored boats were also tempting. But when I swiveled around to look to the north, I spotted the Space Needle peek-a-booing from behind a stack of buildings. The Needle is still wearing its ugly hat while renovation continues on new features intended to lure more tourists and their money (yawn).

Now that I know how beautiful and undiscovered the Bell Harbor Pier is, I’ll probably be going there more often just to sketch. On that day, however, I had another motive:

The name Aaron Draplin became familiar to me after I started using Field Notes and discovered that he is the designer of the little notebooks that I have grown fond of using as pocket sketchbooks. But it wasn’t until I had viewed several video recordings of the motivational talks he gives to designers that I became a fan – not specifically of his design work but more of his philosophy toward design and freelance business. I’m not a designer nor an entrepreneur (anymore), yet he was inspiring even to me. I imagine that he is very motivating to young people just getting started in their design careers.

Aaron, Aaron and me!
I’d heard that Aaron was coming to town to give a seminar at a Drbbble design conference, which was to be followed by a party that was open to the public. I decided I would go meet him there. After sketching the Space Needle, I waited in a long line of other people for the party to begin. In the distance, I could see Aaron in the middle of a crowd, and he seemed to be waving to me! Although he knew that I followed him on Instagram and hung out in the Field Nuts Facebook group, we’d never met before. . . was he really waving to me? In fact, he was, and came right over to talk to me! Here’s how he described it on Facebook the next day:

A-ha – so my shirt turned out to be a very good investment! 😉 (That’s the same shirt I wore when I made my pilgrimage to Field Notes headquarters in Chicago last year.) He’s a very cool guy, and I was thrilled to meet him.

Even more thrilling than meeting him? Sketching him! So that’s two things I checked off on my life list that day.

Skyline and Elliott Bay from Bell Harbor Pier

Friday, May 18, 2018

Craftsman with Rhodies

5/14/18 Maple Leaf neighborhood

What caught my eye and brought me to an immediate stop in front of this Craftsman was the brilliant rhododendron bush. Seduced by that color, I later kicked myself for choosing a house with all those fussy dormers.

(I’m hardly one to complain, though. We have been having an unbelievably beautiful streak of sunshine and comfortable temperatures! I hope youre having great sketching weather, too!)

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Tudor Shadow Play

5/12/18 Maple Leaf neighborhood

This classic Tudor is another house across the street (it’s just west of the house I showed a couple of days ago). In the early morning and late afternoon, I like watching the interesting shadow play on its rooftop – so much so that a few years ago, I sketched studies of it at both times of day. This time I sketched it around 9:30 a.m., so I missed the illumination on part of the front.

In addition to learning about Maple Leaf’s architectural styles as I sketch this series, I find I’m also becoming familiar with which side of the street to focus on to take advantage of light and shadow patterns.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Junction

5/10/18 West Seattle Junction

Every now and then I tag along with Greg when he has an appointment in West Seattle. I pick a café or corner in the Junction and kill an hour with a sketch. The first time was exactly four years ago today (what weird synchronicity! I had no idea of the date until I searched my blog for that post), when I sketched from an outdoor table at Easy Street.

This time I sat outside Starbucks across the street to sketch the same busy intersection of Southwest Alaska and California Southwest; Easy Street is on the corner. With all the changes going on all over Seattle – new buildings popping up, others crumbling down – it’s comforting to know that four years went by and this building is still the same.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018


5/8/18 Maple Leaf neighborhood

The small house directly across the street from ours is probably a simple Craftsman of the same era as our own. In the three decades that we’ve lived here, we’ve seen several couples move in, start a family, and then move out when they realize they’ve outgrown it after one or two children. I sympathize with young families who want to stay in the city but eventually have to move to the ‘burbs to find houses that are both affordable and large enough. (It’s a growing problem in these parts, where the Seattle Times just reported that the cost of living is now worse than the traffic.) The family that lives there now just had their second child, and I’m wondering how long they will be there.

I sketched this from our upstairs bedroom window, where the high vantage point gives me an especially difficult perspective challenge. I took on this same view six years ago (at right) when I was just starting to slay the architectural nemesis. I ended that blog post with this: “Let’s just call this a baseline against which I’ll evaluate my progress.” I hope you can see that I’ve progressed (the trees and shrubs have grown, too!), but I’m not sure it was any easier now than it was then. Practice may have made my results better, but it hasn’t necessarily made the process less challenging.

Rereading that post from 2012 reminded me that I’ve declared several sketching nemeses over time. First it was architecture; then it was cars; and then trees. The only way to conquer any nemesis is to simply practice regularly (avoidance never works; I’ve tried that, too), and I’ve made that effort with both cars and trees. Until I started my current series on neighborhood architectural styles, architecture as subject matter just hasn’t engaged my attention enough to get the practice I need. I’m happy that I finally found an entryway to work on slaying this long-standing nemesis at last.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Vintage Colored Pencils, Part 12: Empire Sunset Dual-Kolor

Sunset Dual-Kolor pencils

I admit I bought these purely for nostalgia.

It had been so many decades since I last saw Dual-Kolor pencils that I didn’t even know they were still part of my psyche. But as soon as I saw the thumbnail image on Etsy of their triple-striped barrels, I instantly recognized them from my childhood. They may very well have been my first colored pencils ever. I was endlessly impressed that each pencil had a different color on either end!

In particular, I remember an orange and green one that had a string tied around the middle; the other end of the string was attached to the kitchen telephone cord. My mom used it to jot notes and grocery lists with some kind of color code (I’m a color-coded notetaker too, so I obviously got that gene from her).

Made by the US pencil manufacturer Empire, Sunset Dual-Kolor pencils were probably considered more of a novelty than a high-quality product even back in the ‘60s. Now, with my vast familiarity with a huge number of colored pencil brands and obvious higher level of sophistication, I can confidently state that these are the coolest colored pencils I have ever owned – at age 6 or nearly 60. They are also among the worst colored pencils I have ever used. Dry, hard, practically unpigmented, they will remain in a vase where I can reminisce about the utter coolness of bicolored pencils.

A bouquet of nostalgia

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Another Storybook Tudor (Plus Grisaille Demo)

5/7/18 Maple Leaf neighborhood

Whenever I’m out walking in the ‘hood, this brick Tudor catches my eye. Although it was too small to show the details, the tiny window in front stands out from the wall in a pyramid shape and has its own little roof. In addition, the brick façade in front of the porch has an interesting stair-stepped shape sloping down from the roof. This house is straight out of a storybook.

Grisaille demo

Recently during lunch with a few other sketchers, I was asked about the shading method I’ve been using on my series of house sketches. As I explained it, I realized it might make an informative demo. While sketching this Tudor, I finally remembered to take a few process photos.

Step 1: I use water-soluble colored pencils to lightly draw the contour of the house. If you look closely, you’ll see that I’ve restated a few lines, but I always leave the wrong ones in, just like I do when I’m sketching with ink. Colored pencil is difficult to erase without damaging the paper’s surface, and it’s easy to cover up any bad lines later. (Look at the finished sketch at the top of the page – the restated lines have disappeared, right?)
Step 1: Draw contour lines lightly with colored pencil.

Step 2: Here’s where the grisaille comes in. I learned this method of developing tone several years ago from Steve Reddy in his workshop on illustrative drawing. He uses diluted India ink, which he paints onto his drawing in one or more layers, building darker and darker values with each layer. While I certainly appreciated learning this eye-opening method (which is apparently a technique used by painters, especially working in oil), I could never get over the mess and fuss of trying to juggle small bottles of liquid ink (a permanently staining one, mind you), which is impossible to do without sitting, so I never used his ink method.

Instead, I started using various gray toned markers for the same effect. Markers do not flow as nicely as liquid ink, so I admit that the result isn’t quite as polished as Steve’s grisaille, but the tradeoff of ease and convenience is worth it to me. In the past, I’ve used Tombow Dual Brush Markers, Kuretake Zig Clean Color Real Brush Markers and many other brush pens and markers for this technique, but my favorite is Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Brush Pens because they’re waterproof after they’ve dried. And just like diluted India ink, Pitt marker ink can be layered to create increasingly darker tones. I’ve used Pitt pens on and off as a primary drawing tool, too (influenced by Pitt master Don Colley), but I get better use of them as a grisaille. I used to prefer the Pitt standard brush pens for portability, but lately I’ve been using the chunky Big Brush version because it’s so much easier to cover a large area. (And portability is less of an issue since I got my new sketch tool organizer with slots that accommodate them!)

So, once I’ve made the contour drawing, I use a relatively dark value (I like cool gray IV in the winter and warm gray IV the rest of the year) to put in all the shadows at the same time before the light shifts (that’s something I learned from Shari Blaukopf).

Step 2: Use Pitt Artist Big Brush Pen to put in shadows that serve as the grisaille.

Step 3: I start putting in color using water-soluble colored pencils (mostly Caran d’Ache Museum Aquarelles), including right over the Pitt marker shading.

Step 3: Start putting in color with water-soluble colored pencils.

Step 4: If I activate the colored pencil with water, I can do it without worrying about inadvertently washing the grisaille because the Pitt ink is waterproof. (I’ve made some muddy messes attempting this with markers containing water-soluble inks.) I usually add another pass of colored pencil for deeper color and details.

Step 4: Activate pencil pigments

Step 5 (finished sketch at top of page): I finish by spritzing the trees and foliage and painting the sky (see how-to on both techniques). The very last thing is something I’ve only started doing with this house series: When I’ve done an entire sketch in nothing but colored pencil, sometimes the main subject seems to get lost in the background. To bring it forward again, I crisp up a few key lines (like the roofline and corners) with a fountain pen.

It’s kind of the reverse of what I’ve done for most of my time as a sketcher, which is to draw the contour lines in ink and then color them in afterwards (what I call the “coloring book” method). That’s a tried-and-true method used by many sketchers, and I still use it most of the time. But when I’m less confident about the linework (as I always am with architecture), it’s a lot easier to hide mistakes (like the ones I pointed out in Step 1) with pale colored pencils than with ink.

Who did I learn that technique from? Kumi Matsukawa, who follows this same principle when sketching with watercolor. She does her initial drawing with a brush and a pale wash of watercolor. She then adds successive passes of paint, and her final touch is to put in selective linework with ink. I had observed her doing this through process steps she had shown on social media, so I asked her why she did the linework last (which seemed “backward” to me). She explained that when she’s unsure of the line, it’s much easier to fudge it with a pale wash of watercolor. By the end of the sketch, she knows clearly where the line should be, so she can confidently put it in with black ink.

Her idea makes so much sense that I had to smack myself upside the head!

Sketching in the 'hood.
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