Ever since we started toddling around the house, our moms started giving us a pencil and a paper and that awakened the artist in us! We would scribble something mercilessly on the poor paper and mom would love our ‘art’. And then we grew up into school-kids and even took drawing lessons after school and loved playing with colors. And then we grew up even more, each one of us with a few hobbies and interests with very few, yet substantial number of us developed the hobby of sketching.
A sketch is a quick freehand drawing which is used to record an idea for further use.
— Pencil Roll (@pencil_roll) January 11, 2016
//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsIt is not considered as a finished work; it has to be painted to be complete. Graphite pencils, modern sketch pencils, or charcoal pencils are usually used for sketching today.
Sketching Techniques For Beginners
For beginners, these also involve lessons on how to hold a pencil. Well, there is no single perfect way of holding a pencil and probably whatever works for you will give you the best results. There are also many myths on how a sketcher should hold a pencil and if you are buying those myths and trying to hold a pencil artificially, you are probably doing a harmful thing for your art.
The tripod grip is the most common way to hold a pencil which is also used for writing. This is when your forefinger and your thumb form a triangle with your middle finger and is supported by your ring finger and little finger. It allows the fingers to have a fine control over the pencil. If you hold the pencil in its upright position in a tripod grip, it will allow the most accurate shading with the tip. In tripod grip, your thumb and fingers can control the pencil and for fine work, you can rest your hand on the paper sheet. Always use a spare paper sheet to keep your sketch away from smudging that occurs due to skin oils and sweat.
Extended Tripod Grip
The way you hold a pencil in this grip is the same as in the basic tripod grip, just the location of the hold changes, this time being on the upper side of the pencil. Since its grip is the same as in the basic tripod, it is an easier way of practicing sketching, especially for amateurs as it allows more liberty. This grip allows small movements of your fingers to produce larger movement of the pencil which makes it an efficient grip for sketching. Always keep a relaxed grip on the pencil, it will yield the best results. A tight grip is restrictive and tiring.
Most of the artists use the overhand grip to hold a pencil. It is often recommended for sketching because of its easy way to use the side of a pencil. The pencil is lightly positioned against the fingers with the flat of the thumb. The exact position of an overhand grip will vary from hand to hand, depending on the proportions of your hand. One thing that should be remembered is to have a relaxed grip on the pencil. This grip is best suited for vertical drawing surfaces like an upright tripod canvas. For obtaining the best results with overhand grip, you should either sit or stand so that the arm gets a wider space to allow free and expressive mark-making process.
The under hand grip is, in fact a loose and relaxed way if holding a pencil for sketching. It can be explained as a tipped-over tripod grip although you can move your thumb higher or you can allow the pencil to pose in a V-shape of the thumb and the palm, with your middle and index fingers, slightly controlling the pencil-tip. The underhand grip is used for a more casual and broad sketch.
Basic Sketching Techniques
Basic techniques is something that cannot be given lessons of in an article. It needs a passion to sketch and experiment with freehand drawings. It requires observation, patience and practice of self-expression. The entire art of sketching can be practiced in two different ways. The first way is to sketch as a primary step for painting later and the second way is to sketch just for the art and for the fun of sketching, which can more specifically be called casual sketching. If this is done with perfection, it might turn into a magnificent piece of art itself! Let’s take a look at few basic sketching techniques that can be used by sketchers, artists and even professionals.
Pure Contour Sketching and Blind Contour Sketching
The technique of blind contour drawing is intended to enhance your hand-eye coordination. Blind contouring means drawing a primary outline of your sketch without looking at the paper. This technique needs superlative levels of observation. Blind contour sketching will improve your ability to coordinate the observation with your hand movements on the paper, both simultaneously. Pure contouring involves sketching the perfect clearly defined edges while looking at the paper. Even a shade of a line drawn holds a meaning in pure contouring. It also involves cross-contouring which deals with vertical and horizontal lines that help us form a visual two-dimensional effect of a 3D object.
Texturing and Shading
Shading and texturing can be started once you gain expertise in sketching an outline of your drawing. You will require kneaded erasers in shading. Erasers help in giving lighter tones to your sketches. The first step is to find highlighted spots on your sketch. Then, take a pencil which has a medium tone (between dark and light), and start shading with the pencil in angle strokes. Move towards the darkest spots on your sketch and then shade those spots with dark pencils. Always remember to first observe and then start shading. You can also use different textures for your sketch like hatching, cross-hatching or you can create your own texture with a combination of these along with smudging. Smudging is a simple way of adding a soft and blurred texture to your sketch. It can be done simply by smudging your sketch with fingertips.
Other Useful Tips
Draw straight lines quickly by marking the end-points first. A wrist movement is not enough for drawing straight lines, allow an arm movement. Always have a continuous movement or a series of strokes that overlap. Your pencil should point at fixing your eye on the second point, that will draw the pencil towards the second point. Usually, the same technique is used to draw a diagonal line, but a simple add on would be turning the paper so that it appears horizontal. Start with sketching of the general contours of big shapes. Keep them angular and avoid sketching the details of the drawing so soon. As far as shading goes, highlight the large portions first in simple and light shades. Avoid using half-tones at the initial stage of shading. Watch your source of light and relate it with your shades in the sketch. Then start putting the halftones after which you can furnish the details and all the necessary finishing touches and accents in the final stage to complete a sketch. It is a fact that you wouldn’t become a great sketching artist after reading these sketching techniques. Art is not something that you can read about. As it has been rightly said, it takes a long time for a man to look like his sketches. Practicing your art with these techniques is what you should be trying. Reading information on techniques and tips about sketching will just be an experience of confirmation of what you, as a sketcher, already know! So, grab that sheet of paper and a sketching pencil and get going; rather, get sketching!