Lover of nature, color, art, life, adventure. Choosing to find beauty. I hope you can find inspiration and joy while you're here.


4 Ways to Sketch, Part II (Continuous)

On Instagram, I showed a sketch I had done of the same flower using four different techniques. I thought it would be helpful to dive into the types of sketching since each technique is used to hone in on different illustration skillz.

The second sketching method is what I like to call a continuous line drawing. It can have some silly results at first, but with more practice, the better things will look. The purpose behind this exercise is to help you learn how to gauge space and relative line placement. This isn't a timed exercise, and I like to do this slowly as I continually reference my subject and the nuances that my line quality is developing. I'd love it if you joined, so grab a pen and a paper and let's get started:

This exercise is a single continuous line, so pick a focal point on your subject and begin there. Since this technique doesn't lend itself to easy correction, plan out your space usage before laying your pen to paper. I started at the top of the tomato where the stem meets the fruit because everything seemed to radiate from that point for me. I used it to gauge how much space the sketch would take up and the relative placement of the features. Using that as my reference point, I drew the right side, paying attention to my subject for subtle dips and ridges so that I could reflect those nuances in my sketch:

Then I swooped around, making sure to represent indentations with loops. It's important to keep your entire arm and shoulder loose when you draw a continuous line. If you're only using your wrist, you're going to get little saw-toothed sketch marks. That is not what we are after. To keep the line as smooth as possible, you should use your entire arm in a slow and controlled manner. I like to imagine the movement originating from my shoulder or even my chest. It's not unusual for your upper body to move around in support of your pen, but the results can be unique and beautiful:

Loops and overlapping is totally cool and expected because this is a single line. This is an exercise in self-control, in achieving a smooth line quality, and in predicting the results of where you started with your scaling. Sometimes you'll realize immediately that your spacing is off, and sometimes you think it will work out until you get to the end and your lines don't match up as planned.

(A fun variation of this exercise is to draw your subject using a continuous line without looking at your paper at all. As soon as your pen touches the paper, you can only look at the subject. It helps you realize the difference between what the subject actually looks like and what you think it looks like.)

Have you done this exercise before? I love how effortless the final result can look, but it takes lots of self control to get to that point. It can be pretty funny if you're with friends drawing one another, but it also helps develop essential artist skillz. If you try this out, I'd love to hear how it went!

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