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Guest Posting a new Sketching Exercise at

May 2, 2016

16Apr28_Three Times Fast_All Three

I’ve done a little Q&A with Charlie O’Shields at where we chat about how I came to urban sketching, and a drawing exercise I’m working on called Three Times Fast. Click on over to find out more :)


10 Comments leave one →
  1. May 2, 2016 5:31 PM

    Love this style!

  2. May 2, 2016 8:57 PM

    Hi Marc, I like this idea of reducing pressure to be “good”.

  3. May 2, 2016 10:25 PM

    Thanks so much for appearing on Doodlewash, Marc! So thrilled to feature you! 😃

  4. Chris permalink
    May 3, 2016 6:47 AM

    I tend to spend to much time on details, getting everything right. The three times fast exercise is a great way for me to start drawing instead of thinking it through.

  5. May 4, 2016 10:45 AM

    I have been using your idea of Three Times Fast-it is great. My question is how many colors of ink (in bottles) do you take with you as you paint or sketch outdoors? Assuming you limit this, what colors do you take at one time? There are so many on the market. Thanks.

    • May 4, 2016 10:56 AM

      Hey Judy – well, it varies of course day to day – but I have a collection of small bottles (5ml HDPE threaded jars from Nalgene) so I can bring a range of colours.

      These bottles are so small, I can bring four or five colors, no problem. I often have a black water proof, AND a water soluble, so I can juggle what lines will stay,and what will flow.

      And then I just know I like a variety. A mix I like is a red, a sepia/brown and a yellow/gold. (Noodlers Fox, Higgins sepia, and Rome Burning are good choices). That way I have color variation, but they’re all in harmony. So you can’t go wrong!

      I’ve got Lexington Grey that I’m using as a half tone (1/2 water 1/2 ink) – and that Higgins sepia is also nice diluted.

      For contrast I like an electric blue. I have an R&K Blue Mare, and previous have liked Sonic Blue from Private Reserve.

      I also like a deep red, almost black. Vampire Red from Private Reserve is a nice choice. I have a huge bottle of Red/Black from Noodlers – but after it’s gone I’m not replacing it – it’s too slow to dry.

      Hope that helps!

      Oh also – did you know you can get sample vials of ink? (For a small fee – about 1$ each?) Little tiny tubes of testers. Try Goulet pens for this – maybe jet pens too? This is really what I should have said up front. You can just get a zillion little samples and try them all :) It’s enough for a few drawings of each – enough to help choose.

      • May 4, 2016 12:40 PM

        Thanks so much. Love the names–Vampire red? Wow. Will print this and see what I can find. Appreciate the quick reply.

  6. May 4, 2016 4:30 PM

    Love the 3 times fast exercise..thanks for even more great inspiring info to take to the watercolour paper on location!

  7. Rae Ecklund permalink
    September 22, 2016 11:12 AM

    Can you summarize 3 times fast for those of us that missed it or offer a reference?

    • September 22, 2016 8:54 PM

      Well, you can still read the post up here:

      But it is really silly-simple.

      Version one: Just draw something (or someone) three times fast. Do a 1 min, a 3 min and a 10 min. Don’t even try to do a good job, just see what you learn each time. Learn the proportions, spot a detail, then do it ‘for real’. Your final 10 will be much better than if you did one drawing and spent a whole half hour on it! (well, that’s how it works for me).

      Version Two: Just draw the same thing three times fast – in 3×5 min sketches or 3×10 min – -and each time you draw it, consciously try to draw it differently. Focus on on a different area each time. Make one super dark, and one super light, or draw the eye to the top in one, or the inside in the other. You might be surprised which one of these test runs rises to the top. Or you might like them all!

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