This is a double hot shot and I have decided to combine them both because they are related!
It’s all about having your eyes partially closed in order to see the main shapes in whatever you plan to sketch and then using this to quickly get down some basic marks to get going while sketching this is very helpful when approaching complicated subjects.
But before we continue If you missed my last Hot Shot, number 11, on actually sketching what you see and not what you know about what you see. Click HERE
This video is only relevant from 0.19secs to 0.47secs where I actually used this tip to approach this scene while doing a quick oil sketch during my Bath Marathon of paintings in 2010.
You’ll notice me closing my eyes and sketching. I do this just to see the relevant shapes and I put those down very quickly before continuing with the process.
HOT SHOT 12,13
12. Always remember that you want a simpler way to sketch what is in front of you. This is only possible by squinting. With your eyes half open or looking only with your strongest seeing eye, you should always squint to distill all the unnecessary detail into basic shapes.
13. Shape or shapes is a big word in the sketch inspiration. Breaking things down into shapes can be a highly effective way of sketching- this is a very useful when sketching complicated subjects.
An example of how this helps can be seen in the way I approached this complicated scene of a street in San Fransisco, I worked from a very complicated photograph. But the same rule applies.
For me, this hot shot is one of the great secrets of sketching and painting in general. It really helps in sketching- I have developed a constant habit of squinting to see everything around me and even when I am not sketching I often ask myself, “How would I be able to knock that out into simpler shapes ?” or “How would I be able to reduce those tones just down to three?”
The habit of constantly questioning is powerful! It’s the rule of simplification! Always say something like,“I can make this subject I am about to sketch simpler!” It’s about editing out the unnecessary and focusing on the bigger picture when starting off.
When sketching on public transport, If I notice a figure and I really want to sketch fast but still have a degree of accuracy about what I am doing, I use my Tom Bow Dual Felt pen to quickly put down the main shapes. If I was using a pencil, I’ll use broad strokes or chunky graphite to get the broad shapes in first.
Here below is another example of how squinting helps to start off a piece I did of a Berimbau player.
And finally another video where I demonstrate very briefly what I have been talking about.
In the demo I Joshua, my son is the model
I hope you picked up something from this post. Squinting is very powerful. Whenever I get into sketching or painting something and it seems difficult, I remind myself to SQUINT! Once I squint it helps my me sketch or paint “without my brain”.
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