stumbling upon facts about artists that make me rediscover them and consider
their process in a whole new light. That's the kind of moment I had when I
discovered that Roy Lichtenstein, the king of Benday dots and comic-book
narratives, loved sketching. He started almost every day drawing sketches, and
almost all of his paintings started out as quick pencil sketches.
|Preliminary sketches for the painting As I Opened Fire by Roy Lichtenstein, 1964.
process was, in fact, heavy on drawing. He would do preliminary sketch
drawings, proceed to more fully rendered drawings, and then do collages before
arriving at the paintings and prints he's so well known for. What's unusual
about his sketching techniques is that he was not one to refine or perfect just
one version of a drawing. Instead, with every new colored pencil sketch, he
would drastically change his colors and compositions, exploring several
possible versions for each artwork.
|Collage for Still Life With Reclining Nude
by Roy Lichtenstein, 1997.
He would also
often erase and rework sketches so that the several sketch drawings made in preparation
for one painting would often look drastically different, giving you a sense of
the artist's mindset as he created, discarded, and revised ideas until he was
We are lucky
to know about Lichtenstein's predilection for drawing sketches, because it
isn't something that he publicized. He thought that this part of his process
was strictly for the studio and not one he was entirely comfortable revealing.
"My style is not one of give-and-take," he once said. "I don't want traces of
all that activity going on."
traces give me a greater sense of the artist, and that is precious information
indeed. When I read artist profiles or am taught techniques from an artist, it
gives me a truer sense of where they are coming from in their work, which helps
me figure out how I want my artistic process to evolve. Right now, there are
several top resources available through the Resolve to Save Sale at the North Light Shop that can help you evolve your
artistic process as well, so see what appeals to you and take those oh-so-pivotal