Friday, July 13, 2012

Sketch - light shadow negative positive

Study sketches help reduce design clutter and create more powerful landscapes, before drawing plan views.

To get inspired when not designing, a few years ago, I decided to carry a 3" x 5" memo pad to sketch on, easily fitting in the pockets of the shorts I wear on hikes or mountain bike rides. I'm finally doing that!

Scene on my Thursday work-out hike. Most are million dollar views.

See the light and shadows?

See the negative spaces and positive spaces? To me they are:
negative = Black Grama grass foreground, polka-dot savanna hills distant, sky
positive = hills in the shade, Threeleaf Sumac left and Tree Cholla center




















It's rough and dirty, but no way around that with a ballpoint pen on a tiny pad.

The scale of some elements is off, like the Sumac and Cholla being too small,
but that's how I saw those with that grand view. And the odd shadow on
the left side is from my scanner. But you get the point.

There were details clearly seen that I sketched, but the camera didn't pick up.






















In the future, I'll sketch architecture, art, and natural areas with appealing combinations of elements. Landscape design is much about informed inspiration, often greatly lacking, so I'll take up that gauntlet. 

I plan on taking 10-15 minutes each. Depending on my mood, I may also use prismacolors, a pencil, or other pen types. My rollerball-type pens stop working once grit gets into the roller part, so no more.

I try to post weekly, but I'm not yet sure on my sketch frequency!

17 comments:

  1. Looks great!!!! Do one every time you go on a hike--and it will soon be a habit.
    I am proud of you. Light and shadows tell so much.

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    1. Thanks - I may alternate a hike sketch, then a bike sketch, since both are from different angles (and different types of physical strain). It's will be a good habit to stimulate my paying work!

      I sent a friend here links to your regular and church sketching blogs - she does water colors, and is a landscape architect and architect. Waiting to see what she does at her church...her wheels were turning at the mention of you doing that...

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  2. Great sketch to capture the important elements you wanted to take away. The focus was on shadows so the mountains and shadows loomed larger than the plants on this day. Sketching requires you to break down the essentials of the scene on the spot instead of "snap" and go.

    The notes on differences between what you sketched and the camera recorded are particularly noteworthy. The camera never seems to see things quite the way I did.

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    1. I like how that wasn't what I had in mind to sketch and take away...it just presented itself. Those mountains loom huge for sure, especially since that's a steep uphill stretch, and the sun was ready to come over a hill in a few minutes!

      I think our eyes are so amazing what they see: 180 degrees+mood+fact, while cameras are more: narrow+fact. Each good for what they are for.

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  3. This is good. The human eye is an amazing machine. It sees things so much better than a camera's eye. Captures the lights and darks without distortion.

    AND, taking the time for sketching makes you really SEE what's there. As Shirley said, not a quick snap and go.

    I'm looking forward to seeing more of your sketches.

    Have a good weekend.

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    1. Thanks...should be fun, especially when I throw some surprise animation in like people or roadrunners!

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  4. I can't say I've ever done that, but I do keep mental notes on things that inspire me.

    However if I see some documentary or I'm somewhere where I have heard some bit of information and scramled around for anything to scribble references on with main points only plus dates and names. Mostly it'll have something to do with science, but that's how I do it.



    -

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    1. That makes sense. Funny, but sketching things in perspective or real-life always intimidates, when it really shouldn't. We learn to design in plan view instead of perspective view, so it is relearning design a better way for me!

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  5. After designing in plan view for 30 years, it is hard to design in 3D. I would like to see software that can replicate plan drawings to 3D.

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    1. Some of the architects I know use Revit (Autode$k 3-D), which converts to plan views. I am going to soon start SketchUp (basic version free off Google), to try it 3-D, then try to import into AutoCAD.

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    2. And I meant the $ in Autode$k...my 2008 seat was not cheap.....

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  6. That is a wonderful sketch and great idea. Its a great way to really stop and take things in. I always find that when sketching, my eyes are attuned to more detail than I might otherwise be conscious of. Thanks for sharing that!

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    1. Thanks...I think part of what I want to do is show people how easy it is to sketch, whether something they see, or something they want to see and design.

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  7. I really like the way you see things - not everyone would have taken that away for sure. It is amazing to me what we can take away and then implement in our own lives with our own take on it. I really like your drawing too!
    oh and LOVE your purple wall on your last post - did you repaint it? Looks so bright and pretty!

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    1. Thanks...some aren't into the process, but I think it explains what motivates the designer. I can't wait to try this sketching with different media.

      Still haven't repainted the purple wall, but in the shade it doesn't look as lavender or splotchy. Soon...

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  8. Sketching definitely helps us see things in more depth and pick out details that we may otherwise overlook. I need to start doing so more sketching, but of course, time always seems to be the issue.

    I'm sure you already know this but when I took the Sketching on Location(graphicsteacher.com), Richard Scott, really emphasized how important squinting is. I noticed that he would barely open his eyes when he was sketching. It does help a lot though! I just have to make sure to wear my sunglasses when I'm sketching in public because I feel like a weirdo, haha. Anyways, I'm glad you posted this. I need to get back out there and start sketching. Maybe I'll try to start posting some sketching more often also!

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    1. Time = "grrr". I hear ya'!

      I didn't know that about squinting at all. I feel like a weirdo with my camera out and there are women present, they probably wondering what I'm doing. Recently at UT in Austin, I was getting some angles of plants (1/2 right into their softer evening sun, of course), and one was telling another woman "he's taking photos of some shrubs, it looks like." Yep - Anisacanthus quadrifidus, actually...

      Must get back to sketches, too. Been a tough few weeks on work, etc.

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