February 27, 2013

What becomes of all those sketches?

Slussen Stockholm 
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 richer.

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 (bottom sketch).

Slussen Christmas card 2012 
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.)

Norra Järngraven, Slussen, Stockholm 
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.

13 comments :

Dave Weitzman said...

Nice. I love the versatility your work shows. Seems like you are completely comfortable with any medium you chose to work in. That's inspirational!

marctaro said...

This is excellent. I think it's great to see how Urban Sketching in the field is integrated with our larger art practice.

Suhita said...

Lovely, Nina, I like how you combine digital media with more traditional stuff like stencils and even airbrush. Such a wonderful mix of digital and tactile, no wonder you end up with beautiful, layered artwork. Very inspiring for someone like me that amasses sketches but has no idea what do do with them!

John Wright said...

I'm afraid you lost me with the highly technical description Nina, I'm still working on rubbing sewer covers and making paint splatters that I learned from you in Santo Domingo!

Shari Blaukopf said...

Nina, it is great to see the evolution of two sketches that start out basically the same and end in such different results. I love the Christmas card and your description of the process.

Joel Barnes said...

I don't understand all the photoshop and stencil technique, but the finished images look great! Your work is always first class!

Marina Grechanik said...

Thank you for sharing this with us! I feel the same way, sketching is so fun just for sake of sketching, but also, all these sketches are a huge personal image bank, that we can use and develop, if we want.
I don't know what I love more - your original sketches or two different art work that you've developed from them.

kumi matsukawa said...

So brilliant! I love your unique process done for the Christmas card. Old masters also made tons of sketches and by utilizing them, they created their original master pieces. You did with Urban way/ tool.

Nina Johansson said...

Thanks for your comments, folks! I´m glad you enjoyed seeing the process. I wouldn´t mind seeing how others end up using their sketches. *hint, hint*
@John: I keep splashing paint and rubbing sketchbooks against manhole covers too, one method does not exclude the other. ;)

Murray Dewhurst said...

Great to see what you get up to with your sketches Nina! I like that stencil technique, might have to try it. I've been experimenting with some 'trace monoprint' versions of my sketches to try to keep that lively sketchy feeling that seems to get killed when I try to turn them into paintings.

Sigrid Albert said...

Incredibly inspiring. I hope I get to take another workshop with you one day. Lisbon 2011 was great, unfortunately I can't come to Barcelona this year.

Laureline said...

Brilliant! I like everything you did here, from start to finish.

Cristina said...

Three different styles and I couldn't say which one I like more :)