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Sketching the Sketchers

February 23, 2016

Here’s some little portrait sketches from our last USK:MTL dim sum lunch.

There’s a style right now for brightly colored eyeglass frames that makes for fun drawings. My feeling on drawing eyeglasses is – don’t draw the entire frame. Leave some of it to the imagination to avoid overpowering the face.

I suppose that is weird advice – because I can say that about absolutely anything. Don’t draw everything you see :) Less is more. Make the viewer interact with the sketch. Make the brain interpret the lines. It’s more fun for everyone.

I still had my small vial of diluted ink to draw with. I think it really works for these little portraits. They’re in a 6×9″ pad of Strathmore 400 watercolor paper. I had thought these were cheap little pads (I bought them in a Michaels in some small town, as emergency back up on a trip). But it’s actually very nice paper. I finally realized, when it comes to Strathmore paper, the higher the number the better  (300,400,500).

15 Comments leave one →
  1. February 23, 2016 12:00 PM

    There’s a lot of realism and light in these portraits … excellent how you also leave something to the imagination. Great technique!

  2. February 23, 2016 12:25 PM

    Good info.! Thanks.

  3. gsutter permalink
    February 23, 2016 12:28 PM

    Love the light in these portraits. It’s such a balancing act between the lights and little hits of dark that give these faces (and anything else we draw) depth and realism.

  4. February 23, 2016 12:35 PM

    I really enjoy seeing your work. These portraits have life! . There is more energy or movement in a sketch when lines are missing or open. I have a question on the diluted ink…are you using it with a dip pen or fountain pen?

  5. February 23, 2016 2:03 PM

    Great work, Marc, as always. You say so much with so few strok

  6. February 23, 2016 2:39 PM

    Really nice loose work – well done!

  7. James permalink
    February 23, 2016 6:52 PM

    Nice work, Marc. Looking at your line width variation– if I may ask, what kind of nib are you using? I can’t get that kind of line variety with my typical dip pen nibs.

    • February 24, 2016 10:31 AM

      I have a kind of grab bag of hand-me-down nibs. I’m not even sure what they all are. The two I like, that are most commonly in shops around here: a Japanese crowquill called a Zebra “G” nib (used for fine lines), and a bigger, more flexible Brause 361 Steno also known as The Blue Pumpkin for its round ink reservoir and gunmetal blue finish. I also use Brause 0.75 and 2.5mm Chisel Tips for bolder accents. (These are the kind with the the little reservoir clipped on top).

  8. February 26, 2016 4:28 AM

    These are great – lovely work as always, :-)

  9. Elo permalink
    February 26, 2016 1:32 PM

    I love the skin tones and your limited pallet. Beautiful

  10. February 27, 2016 9:33 AM

    Nice sketches and I appreciate your explanations as well. I’ve been using the Strathmore 500 paper in a sketchbook and am very happy with its quality and durability- it can take a lot of heavy washes without any damage. I also like to see you working almost in monochrome with spectacular results.

  11. Larry G permalink
    February 27, 2016 10:16 AM

    Crazy place for this question, but..some months ago you wrote something about your PShop process for processing scanned images before printing on watercolor paper. I’d appreciate your directing me to the blog I’m referring too. Thanks, Larry

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