Monday, September 30, 2013

Sketching at Karehana Bay, Plimmerton

We went to Karehana Bay in Plimmerton today and my kids built a sandcastle long enough for me to sketch Plimmerton Boating Club across the beach. I have looked longingly at this vista for several years now, wondering when I will ever be able to take my eyes of my kids long enough to sketch it. Today was ¨that day¨. In the background is Mana Island, and even further back is part of the South Island (probably the hills of the Marlborough Sounds?). We could still see snow on the Seaward Kaikoura Mountain Range on the South Island, and I was not at all surprised because the water was jolly cold. But we enjoyed wading up to our knees anyway, of course. I saw a surprisingly large crab pincer poking out from under a rock but when I looked closer it wasn't there any more. Mmmm. I do love the fact that the water here is so clear that you can see everything so well. Although I have an irrational fear of having my toes nipped by crabs (which I am sure is nothing compared to the fear that the crab has of me stepping on it), I am always really happy to spot one of these little fellows in the sand beneath the waves. We built more sandcastles together and had fish and chips on the beach. A perfect spring day.

I enjoyed sketching this, and I think this is due to having read Eckard Funck's book Richtig Sehen, Locker Skizzieren. It is in german, but I speak german. One of his techniques is to figure out which are the 4 or 5 major lines in the picture (you imagine them drawn in big black marker pen in your mind), and if these get drawn first, everything else can fall into place properly with the right perspective.

Rockpools south of Karehana Bay, Plimmerton.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

A face a day again

Some more sketches of faces as part of the ¨Draw a Face a Day¨ exercise to practice, well, drawing faces... These are just from photos, not from real life.

In retrospect, I can see with the above sketch, that the way to make the subject look like they are nestled into the sofa is with the angle if the head / torso. She is sitting too upright. Anyway, it's just a sketch...

I recently ordered a great book called Zeichnen in der Landscaft by Albrecht Rissler (it is in german, but I speak german). One of the really important things he demonstrates is just how dark sections of a sketch need to be to make the light bits (like water) stand out. I would normally have stopped the background shading much earlier in the sketch above, but I am glad I kept at it for a long time (and it was a long time, since I was using a 0.05 technical pen for this sketch). I think it makes the sea stand out and helps define the main figure at the front.

Miraculously, this morning my youngest son stayed still long enough for me to sketch him from real life (not from a photo). He did move, but returned to the original position frequently enough for me to sketch him. 0.05 technical Staedler black pen. 1-2 mins.

A gratuitous photo of the driveway to a friend's farm.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Sketching at Queens Wharf

I went to the Wellington Sketchers meetup at Queens Wharf yesterday. We met outside Fergs Kayaks and I sketched the building. We used to kayak a lot on Wellington Harbour from Fergs when we lived in the city but have slowed down now we have kids. I coloured it later with watercolour pencils at home.

Below: the original, without the colour.

The wind started getting too strong so we went and sketched indoors in the Wellington Museum of the City and Sea. I can still remember this museum being designed. One of the museum's trustees often went hiking with us and told us a lot about how it was being started up. It is in a beautiful old restored building.

There is a room on the ground floor which is for temporary exhibits and the current one is about collecting the stories of Wellington. They have a wall where people can write (or draw!) a story about Wellington, and then they will upload them all online. People really related to it, and stopped and read the stories with their kids. Sitting sketching in the museum, you can hear the floorboards creaking above and it almost sounds like you are in an old ship.

I did this with my cheap black biro, which I think was quite helpful in loosening up to just simply sketch and not try to sketch anything ¨good¨. 

Here is a photo of the door with the stories from another angle.

Below: Queens Wharf is also a kind of open air museum and they have left a few of the old cranes up for people to look at. I wish I had taken more photos of the other ones!

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

More cheap biro sketches

Some more quick biro sketches, just done on cheap lined paper, as I try to return to the habit of sketching almost every day, if possible. These are done with a Pilot BPS-GP (B) biro (1.2), bought from the local newspaper shop, which can do a really thin line and quite a thick dark one. Probably exactly what I am looking for. I am tempted to add this to my regular sketching bag of pens. Although I do miss the random splotchiness and variable thickness of the cheapest biros in the last post.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Notepaper sketch # 2

Another sketch on notepaper...

A gratuitous photo of dragon boats getting ready to race on Wellington Harbour, NZ. 
I can't remember which boat I am in.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Sketching with biros

I'm still feeling my sketching mojo is at a low point, and I am trying to figure out what it is that stops me from sketching spontaneously everyday. I think it is the desire to produce something ¨good¨, and the sense that I don't have enough time or headspace to do that. Ironically, I think the answer is to start sketching on really bad paper with really bad pens for a while. So I am using my shopping list and cheap biros and my kids glitter pens etc. I actually even like how the biros blot ink at unexpected moments. I'm finding that I am able to sketch more quickly and loosely, and just sketch what I see, without thinking about how it will turn out or what it ¨should¨ look like. I don't intend to do this forever, but I'm keen to see where this will take me for a while.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Some pencil sketches

I've been doing a lot of pen and ink sketching this year and thought I might return to pencil for a while.(5B Staedler)

The one below was done with a Derwent Onyx pencil (Med). As usual, I really like how it holds it sharpness throughout the whole sketch, so I can sketch quickly without having to stop and sharpen it, but it does feel like I am sketching with an HB pencil.