With summer in full swing, we've been sketching outdoors more and more. Tomorrow (6/10/12, 1 pm) we'll be sketching on the Rooftop Garden at Monona Terrace. The weather will be hot and sunny, but if we get parched we can stop in at the Lakeview Cafe, also located on the roof of Monona Terrace.
I've been inspired by the summer colors to take my watercolor kit along to our outings, and you can see the resulting drawings posted to the right.
I love how much life watercolor adds to a sketch, especially for web viewing. Nothing attracts attention quite like color.
Up until this spring, I had been avoiding sketching with watercolors. I liked the simplicity off just using a pencil or pen and a small sketchpad on our outings. And limiting my materials allowed me to focus on line, composition and value. While I can't say that I've mastered all those things (may be a lifelong project!), I felt like I needed a change, an added element to shake up my drawing style.
After using watercolors at a few sketch sessions, I've realized that they require a more conscious approach to drawing process than my pencil sketches. I'm most pleased with method I used on the Ride the Drive sketch and the Monroe Street sketch. First I used my gray Tombo pens to sketch in basic contours, then I added lighter washes of color and finally a few darker washes and accents in black.
With the Allen Garden and Olbrich Garden sketches, I did the base drawings in graphite and charcoal. I think I added more dark areas earlier with the graphite and charcoal in these drawings than I did on the other two. I think combining charcoal and watercolor might be more effective in a larger format, but in my little sketchbook the result is a little too fuzzy for my taste.
One thing I really like about watercolor is that it lets you cover large areas of paper quickly, so I think it might be a good medium to explore value with. I think I'll try using a limited palate of colors and a greater range of values at our next couple sketching sessions.