Final step: I adjust the color to give the presentation a little more snap.
I guess what I like is the energy, motion, and spirit of the sketch image. I like it when the mark making does not get bogged down. It is cool to see that fresh, lively quaiity in the drawing. I like the feel of light rushing in, sort of popping and flairing, I'm not saying this is the greatest example ever, but here and there, the drama in this one works for me - even though the subject matter is a dead and decaying tadpole at the edge of the river. A little morbid, I know, but finding a "crashsite" like this one at the bottom of the river - well - that absolutely makes my day.
Here the attention is on the pattern of highlights. Not a watercolor layout exactly, but more of a loose contour / gesture drawing trying to get a general feeling for the splash and play of the lighter tones on the largest shapes of the layout. So right away I am thinking in abstract terms and creating a flat notation map of the areas I want to reserve and protect.
This is a spontaneous doodle yet I still think in terms of light tone shapes - How many? How big? How are they attached to the large shapes? Is the pattern and rhythm interesting? At this point, I usually have strong feelings for whether or not it has possibilities. if the drawing does not stir my imagination, I move on. However, I always save my work and revisit a few months later. On a different day, in a different mood, suddenly the scribble that held no promise jumps out at me screaming with all the potential in the world.
Here is a group of bottles and jars. The highlights are completely disconnected from any suggestion of the larger shapes that they are part of. Highlights all by themselves do not necessarily define the direction of light. Very often it is the absence of light that informs us where light is coming from.
In roughing in some surrounding ambient mid tones, the highlight notes that I reserved suggest leaves in the wind and a fluttering butterfly or two. Without core shading and cast shadows, the forms remain invisible.
The lightest tones are dramatic and add a great deal of interest in a drawing. It is a good place to begin. I want to get started by thinking in visual terms. I want to define figure/ground at the end, not in the beginning.
BEHIND GRANDMA'S HOUSE
This is a memory drawing from when I was a kid playing near Cedar Brook behind my grandmother's house.
There is a lot of action and shifting direction and I love the vitality and energy. The dynamics reflect the vigorous way in which the ballpoint pen was used to make the drawing. The lines seem to spill and rush onto the page and it is a lot of fun to draw with abandonment and a carefree attitude.
You may note that there are some light touches of haze sort of beaming across. This was done digitally.