Good Question of the Week: How do I avoid ‘cartoony’ sketches?

Citizen Sketcher

Post Preamble: This is another in my very irregular series: Good Question of the Week. (which is not weekly by any means).

I have discovered there is a limit to the length of an answer on the website.

Students ask questions in an email-like sidebar and I get notified when there’s something to discuss. Today, I found out the hard way there must be a character limit to the entry field. Because this (long winded) answer simply wouldn’t go through until I broke it into three replies.

Anway, enough inside baseball.

Here’s the question for anyone that might be interested:

Student Question:For sketching I think that line adds a freshness to the drawing but mine always turn out far too cartoony…which I don’t like. I Love the direct approach but I tend to leave that more for “real” paintings. How do I lose the cartoony effect?  (ed. note:…

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Sketchbook Drawing Tip: Soften your Linework with Diluted Ink

A useful tip, and some gorgeous sketches, REBLOGED from Citizen Sketcher

Citizen Sketcher

16Jan10_Dilute Ink (3)

I was out sketching the other day, (at the Montreal Biodome) and wanted to try a slight tweak to my sketchbook drawing method. Nothing too revolutionary – just the simple idea of sketching with diluted ink.

Sometimes I’m in the mood for an aggressive high-contrast drawing. It can be a lot of fun – especially if you’re working quickly (like these 5 min gesture drawings).

But other times I feel like having a black line under a watercolor sketch is a bit overpowering.  Of course you can also sketch directly with watercolor (with no drawing at all).  But that can be a bit nerve wracking. I find it takes a lot of focus. Or a willingness to draw three drawings and keep only the best one 🙂

So – this is a bit of a middle ground. A more relaxing way to draw.

16Jan10_Dilute Ink (1)

I took a small…

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The Day After the Day Before

We make such a fuss over a ‘record’ snowfall… when that record amounts to nothing more than an inch here, an inch there… like this had never happened before.
Now the sun is out. The streets are being plowed. We can get back to the horrors of everyday life, where the water we cannot do without is poisoned to save money for the rich, where we blow children to pieces with remote control flying robots in the name of fighting ‘terror,’ where the willfully stupid frantically work to destroy our schools so children growing up will be as stupid as they are and maybe won’t notice what we’ve done to them… but not to worry. Another generation or two–if that, and the other life forms–those that have managed to survive us–will be able to live when the last human has perished… likely at the hand of the next to the last human, who–even as he dies, his heart stopped…squeezes the trigger of his open carry… will, find themselves

… free at last, free at last… with no need to thank us… or the spooks we invented to justify our destruction of all that might have sustained us.

Let us all count our blessings.



Illocality: Joseph Massey

IllocalityIllocality by Joseph Massey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Massey beautifully erases the distinction between nature, and the random clutter of parking lots… fragments of human artifice. One is never left with the false tranquility of contemplation of the “natural world:” The observing eye in these poems is not passive, or restorative of some lost numinosity of childhood, as in a Wordsworthian sense. Sex shop signs, bricks, asphalt parking lots, broken glass… and the windows themselves, through which the world is perceived, sharpen senses to a cutting point, prick one’s body into a wakeful anxious dream. They pry open the mind to an awareness of things–things… pregnant with ideas that exist beyond words.

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