I have always stressed the importance of keeping a sketchbook. My studio at home is jam-packed full of sketchbooks – big ones, small ones, skinny ones, fat ones, (yes, this is sounding like a Dr. Seuss book…)
Karen Elaine’s idea of nano sketching, though. I admit I fell in love with this idea as soon as I read about it! Sketchbooks, minified! Sort of like flash fiction, only for art. And like flash fiction does for writing, nano sketching condenses your art into a small, confined area, which helps to tighten skills and sharpen focus.
So, what is a nano sketch?
Nano sketches are quick gesture drawings done with a pencil (no erasing) keeping the lines loose light and free.
Sounds pretty simple. We used to do exercises like this in art school. Sometimes we would have to look only at the subject and never down at the paper – you know, if you want to take this to an even more advanced level. Or are a bit of a masochist. Either way.
Nano sketches are quick and usually done in a public place.
Since the journals themselves tend to be so small, this makes sense. Think of the possibilities! I would love to take one of these on vacation with me and do sort of a sketch-journal about my experiences!
A real useful trick is to photograph your subject first so you have an image to refer to when things change (and they always do) and if you want to complete the sketch at a later time.
I love the above piece of advice. I almost never finish a sketch in time — and when I am drawing active scenes, it’s great to grab a shot of the instance for future reference. I don’t know about you, but it’s kind of difficult for me to sketch someone jumping in mid-air in the nanosecond it takes them to jump up and then hit the ground again.
If you can do that, you must be some sort of superhero, and you should be out fighting crime instead of sketching.
Making time for nano sketches every day is a quick and easy way to practice drawing and painting skills and to observe the world in an entirely different way.
Seriously, though, I have been trying to make it a goal to draw something daily. Even more so, to draw things I actually see (as opposed to things from my crazy ADHD mind) to help hone and refine my skills. Art is kind of like riding a bike. If you stop riding, you start to lose the basics and you don’t ride nearly as well as if you had ridden daily.
Or something like that. I’m bad at metaphors.
Anyway, I highly recommend you check this guest post out at Doodlewash! Karen goes into much more detail, and her sketches are lovely! (I mean, just look at that cat. So adorable!)
Scroll down to the end of the post for the link to the full article. And, enjoy!
Greetings, my name is Karen Elaine and I am an artist, author and teacher living in the mountains near Sedona, Arizona living with my husband and cat (follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and visit my website!). I’m the author of Origami Card Craft and The Art of Kumomi as well as other books on paper crafting […]
via GUEST DOODLEWASH: Nano-Sketching by Karen Elaine — Doodlewash
With countless numbers of talent all over the world, it’s hard to narrow the list to just the ones below. However, I wanted to focus on my personal favorites because they have influenced my own art and writing in more ways than I could even know.
I hope that you enjoy the list and, with luck, you’ll find a new favorite or two. 🙂
W: writer, A: artist
Aimee Major (A) | I have been a follower of Aimee Major for years. I started sometime in high school (which is well over ten years ago… Yikes!) She inspired me with her impressive portfolio, and she’s worked on some really awesome animation projects. In fact, I was thisclose to moving to California to attend the California Institute of Art because of her. (I desperately wanted to be an animator. Funny how life doesn’t always work out as expected…)
CJ Archer (W) | This author is a new favorite of mine. I did a review (& illustration) of her most recent book, “The Watchmaker’s Daughter” that you can check out here. When I saw that she had a whole series of books called the Ministry of Curiosities, I went out and devoured them all! (Not literally. Sheesh.)
Dani Jones (W, A) | I have been a fan of Dani Jones for a few years now. Her work is charming and engaging. The rich colors and detailed scenes she creates draws you in, and I really enjoy reading her web comics.
Danny Beck(A) | I just discovered this man’s amazing talent, and I have to say: I am completely hooked! His mastery of watercolor is jaw-dropping and I adore his monster and hamster compilations. Cute plus scary? What’s not to love?
David SanAngel (A) | David SanAngel works as a Disney storyboard artist (win!) and has a resume as long as my arm. It’s impressive, and I am jealous. I found him on the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) Illustrators Gallery, and fell in love with his style. Especially the composition of his pieces, unique viewpoints and creative crops. (They make me realize how very much I still have to learn…)
Gayle Forman (W) | I’m a huge, huge fan of Gayle Forman’s work. I started reading with “If I Stay,” and I have been hooked ever since. She puts a lot of emotion into her stories, and the writing is smooth and borders on prose at times.
Guy Gilchrist (W, A) | My favorite childhood picture book is “Just Imagine: a Book of Fairyland Rhymes” by Guy Gilchrist; to this day, it has a place of honor on my bookshelves. When I found out all that Mr. Gilchrist has been involved in, well, it’s no surprise. The man is a fountain of talent.
Heather Theurer (A) | Well known for her amazing renditions of Disney characters as oil portraits – well, where do I start? The paintings are absolutely beautiful (Random aside: I would LOVE the Lilo and Stitch one…) and, not only that, but she captures their essence and emotion in each piece.
James Hance (A) | I have been a fan of James Hance for years. I am a lifelong Winnie-the-Pooh fanatic, and also a huge Star Wars geek so naturally his “Wookie the Chew” creations excite me to no end. His creative mashups of pop culture with geek culture also make my nerdy heart flutter. In other words – he’s brilliant!
Laure Halse Anderson (W) | This young adult author is another of my absolute favorites! She hits on the hard issues, and her writing is downright poetic. “Speak” will always hold a very special place in my heart.
Mary Uhles (A) | I met Mary at an illustrator’s intensive during an SCBWI conference. Her art is fun, full of soft colors, and very expressive. Her pieces really draw me in.
Neil Gaiman (W, A) | His books are an obsession of mine. I’m not ashamed to admit that. The man is absolutely brilliant! His work is breathtaking and amazing, full of magic and wonder. The worlds he creates — I want to live in them. And many of his works are on the dark side, which I really, really love. (American Gods or The Graveyard Book, anyone? Coraline?) Okay. I’m done gushing.
Robin Preiss Glasser (A) | Illustrator of the popular “Fancy Nancy” series. I just love her wild, whimsical art! It makes me happy, and I am forever trying to channel her talent for amazing costumes.
Susan Eaddy (A) | Susan is a fellow SCBWI member and an amazing, amazing artist. She creates eye-catching pieces with clay in vibrant 3-dimensional scenes that have a lot of depth and richness.
Tim Burton (W, A) | I’ve mentioned before that I love dark, twisted, and fantastical. Alice in Wonderland, Grimm’s Fairy Tales (the REAL ones), that sort of thing. Naturally, Tim Burton falls in that list. The man is a genius with his creepy dark worlds and whimsical characters, and he’s one of my top favorites.
I am a professional artist who specializes in pop art, illustration, and graphic design. My work includes both digital and a mix of traditional wet media. (Check out my art gallery to view my work!) I find inspiration from animation (e.g. Disney and Japanese anime), fantasy, fairy tales, and those magical little moments in everyday life.