Sunday, June 16, 2013

Sketching for Commision

I have recently responded to a call for artist to a local publication. I got a call back and a project!  I don't want to say who yet out of superstition...

I am comfortable in a lot of mediums.  However, given the potential exposure of this project I thought I would do an iPad sketch because of its uniqueness.  My comfort zone is satisfied because of the ability to undo and really tweak things.  I can also use this for future classes.  My big picture reason for choosing this medium is because it is still somewhat rare to see published digital sketching.  

Others have taken watercolor and graphite to unbelievable heights, but I feel like a pioneer in the tablet sketching arena. I have said before, there is no digital versus traditional.  My iPad drawing makes me better with pencil.  The ability to put color on a separate layer and undo makes me more confident in decision making which makes my watercolor better.  My watercolor color studies make me better at selecting digital colors. So on and so forth...

The following images are in reverse order from finished product all the way to warm up sketch. The "how do you do it" crowd may prefer this order. The linear minded may want to start from the bottom and come back to here. (actually, that may be the best way to read it and I will reverse it later from a proper computer))

I have used the Procreate app for this drawing. A white background layer, a blue initial layout and proportion layer (later turned off), a border layer, a sketch layer, color layer, and a building texture layer.

The image below is "finished" or at least submitted.  Looking at it today I needed a little red/orange somewhere. 

Not a huge difference, but a little better. 

The almost final. I will look again tomorrow for a final proof before I send. 

Smaller tweaks,fading  out the background and thinking how to warm up the foreground colors.

I have the color on a separate layer. I should have taken more progress shots during this process. The whole thing is a little flat at this point. 

Tweaks and tweaks

Checking without underlay again.

More sketching and fleshing out.  Notice the cathedral. This can be seen from the other side of the street.  I wanted to include it as part of the collage even though  geographically it is incorrect . I later erased it  because I thought being in the wrong place might bother folks and I really didn't have much negative space for the eye. It really wasn't a part of this story anyway. 

To test the theory I turned the underlay sketch off

I had an idea for the border and where to lead the eye.  I like to start from very big picture decision solidification and let smaller and smaller decisions land from there. Place the big rocks, then the medium rocks, and the little ones always fit correctly with the space left over. Everything from here was done on Sunday night from 9pm to 11:30pm.

Note the over use of the golden section for big picture layout. This always works for me and is how I start 70% of the time. Procreate gives you a default cinema option that I am in love with lately.  This sketch was done at the coffee shop on Saturday.  While I did think about it a lot, I didn't touch this again until Sunday night. 

Photo underlay trace is a great option with this format, but I decided to skip that.  Feeling and proportion were more important to the story than accuracy. Plus, honestly...this is a pretty boring building from the outside.  Memories and purpose are what drive this building and not its architecture.

The gig was to sketch a location and make it relevant to a provided story.  My story was a guy who directed activities and "owned" the gym for his time. He remarked on what the kids eventually became.  The site was a little recreation center.  There was no real vantage point that could tell the whole story so this is a collage. I drove around and took several pictures...and yes people were looking at me with suspicion. 

I believe you should always start with a small warm up sketch. This sketch was done on Father's Day weekend right before the massage appointment my wife surprised me with. I had about 30 minutes and produced this sketch and the composition for the finished sketch. 


  1. Thank you for the step by step. I did get Procreate & I like it but I haven't mastered the layers yet. Still drawing one or two layers & that is all. I see that more extensive practice is needed. I love your work. Appreciate your talent.

  2. Thank you very much! Everyone should hear something like that from time to time.