Urban Sketching like… Veronica Lawlor

August 13, 2012

A typical calle in Santo Domingo. Half an A4, Artline200 Fine 0.4 black pen on photocopy paper; added coloured pencil. Took no longer to sketch this compared to doing it on location.

I’m deep into Veronica Lawlor’s book, One Drawing A Day. I’m also looking at buildings sketched by Ian Simpson. More on Ian Simpson later, but sooner or later, I have to stop being overawed by work of those urban sketchers whose output I love and start working out the ‘why’.

Things to try out (which I’m either not doing much of or have never done) inspired by Veronica Lawlor:

* work to the edge of the page (or at least one edge);

* the visual direction must be a curve and be a diagonal lead-in to the focal point (don’t – or rarely – address objects head-on);

* be sure to identify the focal point with a spot of black (if line drawing) OR to make the sketch vibrate withtwo focal points (each defined as black on the page, either as dots or as reinforced line);

* be very deliberate about taking the viewer’s eye around the sketch (leave nothing to chance – the sketches might look spontaneous and free but are actually heavily-engineered);

* have large, defined areas of white space (i.e. outlined) contrasting with very busy detail (lots of lines) near the focal point;

* when adding colour to a black-and-white sketch, demonstrate the nature of the medium (if a water-soluble crayon, show it’s a water-soluble crayon).

Obviously I don’t intend to copy or even draw like Veronica Lawlor, but hopefully twisting my own style about with some aspects of her work will reveal new insights into the art of observation. Following on straight after the one above, mixing pastel pencil and fountain pen ink (something I’ve never done before):

Half an A4 photocopy paper, Derwent pastel pencil overlaid with black fountain pen ink via Lamy Safari fountain pen.

References

Gabriel Campanario, The Art of Urban Sketching. Beverly, Mass.: Quarry, 2012.

Veronica Lawlor, One Drawing A Day. Beverly, Mass.: Quarry, 2011.

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