|Taking just a few minutes to survey a scene and sketch it can help work out any
challenges you might come across with the orientation of objects, color, and more.
Okay, it isn't a he or a she, but an 'it': composition! I know, not the handsome hunk you were hoping for, but composition is the crucial part of any painting or drawing that I don't think ever gets enough attention.
I was talking recently to a friend about how using the "rules" of composition—the Golden Section and the Rule of Thirds—can often backfire for artists because they think these are a cure-all. But they aren't. In fact, my friend joked that you should learn these rules and then instantly try to forget them, and to a certain extent it's true.
When you try too hard to adhere to the rules of composition, an artwork can look formulaic and a bit boring. But on the other hand, you want your painting or drawing to have structure and a way for the eye to go in and around it.
|Here, the artist used sketching time
to develop the colors that would be
used throughout the entire work.
That's where sketching comes in handy. Spending just 15 minutes or so making several pencil sketches of different compositional arrangements makes all the difference in taking a work to the next level with confidence. A pencil sketch or watercolor sketch is an ideal way of figuring out compositional questions because they are so quick to do. Plus, you can explore possibilities that you might not try if you were jumping right into the work without doing any sketch drawing first.
That's where Drawing 365 comes in for me. There are lessons in the book devoted entirely to composing a drawing and how to sketch while honing your selective composition skills. Selective being the key word here because an artist needs to know how to choose objects and arrangements to good effect for a successful finished painting or drawing.
That lesson was especially important for me to learn because in the past I've felt almost obligated to depict everything I see, to the detriment of my work. But no more! Drawing 365 was just what I needed to realize that drawing practices aren't just for doing quick sketches. They are building blocks for working in a way that make a difference for me no matter what I'm painting, drawing, or designing. I think it would prove the same for you. Enjoy!
P.S. Do you have any sketching ideas that I should be using? Leave a comment and let me know. Thanks!