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How much to sketch

I have found my self drawing out paintings more and more and more lately, for a while when I was doing a portrait I would literately just draw a few guidelines for eyes and proportions and that was is, the rest would come with the paint. But the last few dozen I have been setting up I am lacking the confidence? in my self to do that, I have been fully rendering the face, shadows and even tones as well, which is a bad thing I guess, it takes a lot of the "guess" work out of the painting, yet it does give way more issues with covering the drawing, I seal it with a sealer but having a fully rendered drawing on canvas can be hard to cover. So when is enough enough and do you start painting. I think for me, I started out drawing portraits and then got in to painting, so I am by far a better draftsman then a painter, I feel I need the more elaborate sketch.

Comments

  • edited May 2013
    For still lifes, I stop when I have the larger dark and light masses blocked in, but I do a rough underpainting that is not a part of Mark's method. I do it primarily to see if the composition is balanced. Mark's penciling in method is less detailed and really is just an outline of the objects in the setup - not detailed at all.

    For portraits, Mark stresses in his video the importance of plotting all of the key facial landmarks in your drawing, and making sure not to lose them in the painting process. Its well worth watching his portrait video to see which landmarks are important and how he does it. Easy, but very accurate.
    Amrittjs
  • For still lifes, I stop when I have the larger dark and light masses blocked in, but I do a rough underpainting that is not a part of Mark's method. I do it primarily to see if the composition is balanced. Mark's penciling in method is less detailed and really is just an outline of the objects in the setup - not detailed at all.

    For portraits, Mark stresses in his video the importance of plotting all of the key facial landmarks in your drawing, and making sure not to lose them in the painting process. Its well worth watching his portrait video to see which landmarks are important and how he does it. Easy, but very accurate.

    Thanks, I would love to see his Portrait video, but now Pay Pal on my side. It is good to know tho that its no issues to draw things out a bit extra.

  • Rarely do charcoal or pencil of any kind go on my canvas's. I do preliminaries for design (composition), seeing where my lights and darks are going. This is just a compositional and value study. Then if needed I will do a scaled drawing on paper and then I'm pretty much ready to go to the canvas. For landscapes I usually have a plein air painting for color and photos for detail reference. For a still life, or using a model I paint from life. I draw on my canvas with a #8 hog bristle filbert and very thinned, water consistency, of either burnt umber or Transparent red oxide ( a very transparent form of Burnt sienna, basically. My canvas has had a wash fitting the painting cover it before I begin drawing. The wash is dry so this drawing with paint and thinner is easy to wipe off with a lint free paper towel (I use Scott Shop Towels). I establish my scale, major shapes, light and dark areas. Once done, I allow the thinners to dry out, usually 15 to 20 minutes, in the summer here and a fan blowing across the canvas, maybe five minutes. Enough time to clean my palette of the wash used for drying and I start pre mixing my major color and value groups. When this is done I start painting. I put down my lightest light and my darkest dark, then I really get with the program. :D

    I find doing a compositional value sketch, then doing a drawing on paper is like imprinting what I am going to do on the canvas in my mind. If you count the plein air painting (landscapes) the comp, and the drawing when I go to the canvas this is either the third or fourth time I have drawn the subject. As you know the more times you draw the same object it gets easier and more accurate each time. An extreme example of this, and I emphasize extreme, is I can draw any number of views of the Grand Canyon for you and make you believe it is accurate. If is for major shapes of and placement of formations, but the thing is I have painted the Canyon so many times from so many different perspectives, it is like it is imprinted forever on my brain and my muscle memory is programed to draw it. Sounds crazy, but try drawing the same object many times from all angles, pretty soon you can draw it in your sleep. Martin has told us he draws people when on public transportation. I'll bet he can draw a convincing human face with no reference at all and pretty accurately. I'm not saying a specific portrait of someone, but a believable face. Drawing a likeness without reference is also possible. Political cartoonists develop a caricature of a President or other politicians and movers and shakers. They can draw this, as I said, in their sleep.

    The point is practice does make perfect or damn close to it, but draw on something other than your canvas unless using paint or some easily removable medium. Don't use graphite pencils, though. I hope this is of some help.
    rgrtjs
  • Kingston said:

    Draw but don't sketch on your canvas. If you are uncertain when you start the canvas go back and resolve the issue before you start painting. This manner of direct painting doesn't hold up well to fussing with the image on the final. If you have the compositional and tonal issues resolved and enough color mixed and are confident when you start painting it should go well.

    So direct painting on canvas might be better then?

    AZPainter said:

    Rarely do charcoal or pencil of any kind go on my canvas's. I do preliminaries for design (composition), seeing where my lights and darks are going. This is just a compositional and value study. Then if needed I will do a scaled drawing on paper and then I'm pretty much ready to go to the canvas. For landscapes I usually have a plein air painting for color and photos for detail reference. For a still life, or using a model I paint from life. I draw on my canvas with a #8 hog bristle filbert and very thinned, water consistency, of either burnt umber or Transparent red oxide ( a very transparent form of Burnt sienna, basically. My canvas has had a wash fitting the painting cover it before I begin drawing. The wash is dry so this drawing with paint and thinner is easy to wipe off with a lint free paper towel (I use Scott Shop Towels). I establish my scale, major shapes, light and dark areas. Once done, I allow the thinners to dry out, usually 15 to 20 minutes, in the summer here and a fan blowing across the canvas, maybe five minutes. Enough time to clean my palette of the wash used for drying and I start pre mixing my major color and value groups. When this is done I start painting. I put down my lightest light and my darkest dark, then I really get with the program. :D

    I find doing a compositional value sketch, then doing a drawing on paper is like imprinting what I am going to do on the canvas in my mind. If you count the plein air painting (landscapes) the comp, and the drawing when I go to the canvas this is either the third or fourth time I have drawn the subject. As you know the more times you draw the same object it gets easier and more accurate each time. An extreme example of this, and I emphasize extreme, is I can draw any number of views of the Grand Canyon for you and make you believe it is accurate. If is for major shapes of and placement of formations, but the thing is I have painted the Canyon so many times from so many different perspectives, it is like it is imprinted forever on my brain and my muscle memory is programed to draw it. Sounds crazy, but try drawing the same object many times from all angles, pretty soon you can draw it in your sleep. Martin has told us he draws people when on public transportation. I'll bet he can draw a convincing human face with no reference at all and pretty accurately. I'm not saying a specific portrait of someone, but a believable face. Drawing a likeness without reference is also possible. Political cartoonists develop a caricature of a President or other politicians and movers and shakers. They can draw this, as I said, in their sleep.

    The point is practice does make perfect or damn close to it, but draw on something other than your canvas unless using paint or some easily removable medium. Don't use graphite pencils, though. I hope this is of some help.

    ok no more pencils and more practise..

    " Do ur finished portraits look more 2 ur liking with more drawing than they did with less drawing?"
    Yes I think I like the once that are drawn out more better seeing it takes the edge off while painting seeing that is still not really my strong point.

    thank u all for the help...
  • Hi Jay, I think it's a great idea drawing it out first. I would recommend drawing it on paper first though. Then when you're happy with the drawing you can photocopy it, then rub a dark crayon on the back and then trace over the drawing using a pen onto the canvas. At his stage you can paint a thin layer over the traced object to seal it in place ready for you to begin painting it.

    If the initial drawing is too detailed then keep things simple to 2 values, dark and light. Mark in the widths and heights of the eyes, the nose, the mouth and the head.

  • Kingston said:

    Watch Mark s portrait video. He shows how to draw in the key details using a pastel pencil. The pastel is not messy like charcoal. On the supply list you'll find the color pencil he recommends. All of the canvas is painted with a ground. Also in the video or on one of the free ones. Im a watercolor painter and following his procedure and it had me doing oils in a flash. The approach is very similar to the old workflow used by illustrators which was my early training. I spent years away from painting and I'm back up to speed in a few months. It works.
    Now if Mark could only figure a way for my house to get painted quickly.

    I will def try to get the DVD it sounds really good. I'll try a pastel pencil next, Ive been using a standard hb pencil now.
    Amrit said:

    Hi Jay, I think it's a great idea drawing it out first. I would recommend drawing it on paper first though. Then when you're happy with the drawing you can photocopy it, then rub a dark crayon on the back and then trace over the drawing using a pen onto the canvas. At his stage you can paint a thin layer over the traced object to seal it in place ready for you to begin painting it.

    If the initial drawing is too detailed then keep things simple to 2 values, dark and light. Mark in the widths and heights of the eyes, the nose, the mouth and the head.

    I'll try that to..thanks
  • GaryGary -
    edited May 2013
    Jay, you've gotten great suggestions from folks who draw/sketch extremely well. I'm the opposite - minimal drawing skills. I draw just enough to get me started on a new painting. In the early days of using Mark's method I did exactly as he describes it in the videos. With time I found I could sketch in with a very thin paint on the canvas where different objects in the painting were going to be placed. If I need a slightly better general shape or edge, I would simply take a cotton swab and use it to draw into the thin wet paint. Most of the time I find I can bump the thin paint around with just the brush until I get enough to see where everything is going, general areas of light, medium and dark values, general shape/proportions of things, etc. With the thin paint, it is so easy to 'correct' something and move on. If it really gets to be a mess, just a rag with some thinner can be used to wipe off the surface and then start again. Having seen the sketches you've posted, I'll bet if you get just get enough on your canvas to see where to place things, your talent will take over and you'll not need all the details drawn out on the canvas before you begin. Trust your talent and current skill level, it's excellent! :)

    ps. I'm speaking of still life and landscape paintings specifically. I haven't done enough portraits to really make a constructive comment. When I have done portraits, I've used the position of the critical points Mark identifies in his dvd as my foundation and it works great!
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