Cathy Johnson’s Mini-class // Quick Sketching 1 – Lesson 3

It took a bit more time to go through lesson 3, compared to the previous lessons.
The first part focused on sketching from memory, which can be a good exercise as it makes you look harder at your subject and with practice you can learn what to look for, what is essential when trying to do a quick sketch. I must confess I didn’t practice enough on this subject as I was more interested on what was following, meaning thumbnail sketches, visual symbols and big shapes. I think these last three points are the key to quick sketching, and also the points where I lack confidence. I’ve always used thumbnail sketches as a preparatory exercise before tackling a painting. But never realised they can actually be quick sketches on their own. I also learned that it’s a very good exercise copying visual symbols from somebody else’s work. I’ve been recently obsessed with John Lidzey sketches, and looking at the way he drew things, and copying it, made it easier for me to reach a similar effect in my sketches.
Working from a big shapes and adding more details later as time allows has also proven to be a very good tip. When I’m out sketching I don’t always know how much time I’m going to have. Most of the time a big shape is good enough to suggest a view or a movement.
The winter robins demo was an enjoyable exercise, and adding colours to it was for me the most rewarding part!
Sketches from Lesson 1 and 2 can be found here.
More info about Cathy Johnson’s online classes can be found here.

A few holiday’s sketches

Rimessa barche – fine lungomare lato Corace

Quadrivio Nalini

Golfo di Squillace

Tetti – Catanzaro Lido zona Corace

We spent the past week in Catanzaro Lido (Southern Italy), my hometown. The weather was great, sunny and warm, but not too much you get sunburned and your watercolours dry while still on the brush!
Because we went visiting my family, we had baby sitters for my little Miss O basically all day long and that gave me the chance to go out by myself and do some en-plain-air sketching. I had planned to bring with me an A4 Moleskine watercolour pad I bought a few years ago with the plan to fill it in with sketches of my hometown. However, the pressure I felt when thinking about the size and the commitment required made me decided to bring my usual large moleskine pad. It was a good choice, but now I feel I’ve gained enough confidence to bring my larger pad next time. I was hoping to be able to draw a bit more, but feel quite happy with the overall results. All drawings and watercolours were done on location, with only a few touches added later on.  

Cathy Johnson’s Mini-class // Quick Sketching 1 – Lesson 2

Can’t really see much here!

Lesson 2 has been all about sketching a moving object and capturing the essence of it (it’s called gesture sketching, something I didn’t know). I was a bit afraid to start with the exercises. People and animals are not really my favourite subjects, let alone if they are moving. But after watching some of the demo videos included in the class, I geared myself up to the challenge and with some courage I gave it a go.
Drawing using a kitchen timer was one of the many tips given in the lesson. I have done this type of exercise before, but I had forgotten how useful it is to know how much time you have before you start drawing. It helps to decide if focusing on the big picture or looking at details. And this is a problem I always have. I tend to focus on the details when I sketch, and that sometimes overwhelms me, especially when I suddenly realise that I don’t have enough time to draw everything (which happens very often if you try to sketch when out and about with a 16 month old!).
Seeing an object as a number of basic shapes (circles, triangles, etc.) also helped quite a lot, especially when drawing animals. I had learned this technique at one of my botanical art classes, but never really put it into use.    
The results are far from great, but I’m hoping that with practice, and a lot of it, my drawing skills will improve.
My sketches from Lesson 1 can be found here.
More info about Cathy Johnson’s online classes can be found here.

Unfinished sketches

My desk @ work

 Kingston library – detail

 A3 to Woking

I have been trying to sketch whenever possible lately, but that means that I don’t always have enough time to finish what I started. But that’s ok; a little, unfinished drawing is better than no drawing at all in my opinion.

Cathy Johnson’s Mini-class // Quick Sketching 1 – Lesson 1

I have been meaning to try out one of Cathy Johnson’s art workshops since I discovered her work a few years ago, but never really found the right time for it. Then a few months back I found myself going through her online art classes and getting more and more excited at the thought of signing up for one. I talked about it for a good couple of months and finally on March 31stI signed up.
The format of these mini-classes is quite simple. Each class costs $30 (which is less than £20) and consists of 4 weekly lessons. Once you’ve signed up, an email containing a link to the lesson (in pdf format) is sent to your address every 7 days. It is up to you to do the rest; the reading, the exercises, the more practicing.
I have been a bit geeky about this mini course and, although I have been sketching for years now, I decided to sign up for the first of the online mini-classes: Quick Sketching 1.
The first lesson included some very basic info and tips, and my first thought was that maybe I should have enrolled for a more advanced class. Much to my surprise I found the lesson very useful to help me get into the idea of what really a quick sketch should be about and also to re-discover some of my old tools.
Here is my sketchbook after week one.
More info about Cathy Johnson’s online classes can be found here.