I sketch a lot, as often as I can find time for it, which means I
have a lot of sketches and filled sketchbooks lying about. Mostly,
that´s enough for me. The experience of making those sketches, and
knowing that I have them in my sketchbooks generally makes my life a lot
But sometimes I do use the sketches for continued work, and I thought
I´d show an example. This above page, made with a carpenter´s pencil on
very cheap paper at Slussen in Stockholm, was the start of my 2012
Christmas cards (top sketch) and a watercolour painting I finished today
I made the Christmas card by scanning the sketch, changing the pencil
greyscale into three levels of grey in Photoshop, printed them out and
cut stencils from them. Then I sprayed through the stencils with Copic
airbrush, scanned the image, and sent it to a photo print shop to make
cards. (For you Photoshop afficionados out there, there are many ways
to do this, and I know some people like Posterize – I don´t. I like the
control that Threshold gives for this, making four different copies with
different amounts of black, then put them all into layers in one image.
I change the black of each layer into the shade of grey I want, then
set the layer blending mode to multiply to see the result. I might tweak
each layer a little, before printing them out on paper.)
The bottom sketch caught my attention yesterday when I flipped through
some sketchbooks to find material for watercolour paintings. I put the
sketch in front of me on the table where I paint, made a light pencil
sketch before wetting the paper, and then started painting. I´m trying
to flex my watercolour muscles to get in shape for an exhibition this
summer, and since I have been sketching a lot around Slussen lately, I
thought I´d use those sketches for some of the paintings. Don´t know if I
have found my peak yet, but I´ll keep at it for a while and see where
it all lands.
On the flag: Johannesburg sketcher Cathy Gatland sketching outside Kippies Jazz Club in Newtown.
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