To join me on a virtual sketching trip, download a travel sketch-journal here.
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My former workshop students asked me to upload my workshop workbooks to make them available to everyone. So you can also download a workbook and give yourself a workshop! Enjoy!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Kenya Journal, First Steps

I've begun my Kenya Sketch Journal Remake

Materials I'm working from: here's my original sketchbook, at right, which was pretty unwieldy to use, being so large, but it was what I was used to at that time and I didn't even consider sketching smaller.  Now I use a sketchbook a little less than half this size, and I feel my results are quite nice ~ and a whole lot easier to carry!

My original journal, below, was a "Record" book I bought in a stationery store (do stationery stores still exist?).   I would have chosen an unlined book for my journal had they been available back in 1977.  
This one had blue lines which, while they kept my writing tidy, wreaked havoc with sketches, as you can see.  If I want to use one of these sketches I drew in the lined journal, it will be a major job to get rid of the horizontal lines without messing up the drawing.  In the end, I'd rather have tilty text than damaged drawings.

Additionally, the text and drawings are in two separate places, which doth not a sketch/journal make.

So here's the plan:  I scanned all of the drawings into my computer, then pulled up each image and cleaned it up. The drawings were mostly very lightly sketched in pencil. Some of them scanned poorly and needed to have the yellowed paper calmed down and the drawing amped up (the quail, at right, was properly contrasty, but most weren't). 

Originally, I'd planned to color my sketches with colored pencils, but I hadn't practiced beforehand and my on-location colored pencil skills produced pretty disappointing results, so I dropped that idea and penciled in color notes all over the place.  

Results: the drawings are mostly in faint pencil, in a vertical format, on yellowed paper, with many scribbly color notes and other written details.

Fixing things:  So I cleaned up all the drawings, removed all the written notes, and started moving things around to adjust them to a horizontal format.  This was a formidable job, as you can see from looking at the original Harlequin Quail and Tree Hyrax sketch pages above.  

Results: When I had finished, my twenty-four vertical sketch pages had turned into twenty-eight or more horizontal pages with things rearranged and the drawings sometimes split out onto two pages to fit the new format. 
You can see here how the Tree Hyrax pages were split up and rearranged to put all the foot and scent gland details on one sketch page and the two portraits together on a second page for a more effective grouping. All the stuff is there, exactly as it was drawn, but rearranged to look better.
Now I have printed out all the rearranged pages, two per 8½" x 11" page, onto the heavy paper I make my 8½" x 5½" journals out of.  You can see the pile of printed pages in the photo with the lined journal, above.

That's the point I am at right now.  Next time I go to town, I'm going to take the loose printed pages to a copy shop and get them coil bound into a little sketchbook which I can write in. 

The next step will be to start fishing in the original journal and sketchbook for good journaling information. In my new little sketchbook I'll rewrite the journal in ballpoint pen, re-label the sketches and add notes about the critters in the present tense as though it were happening at this very moment.  All the notes will be true to the original journal and sketchbook ~ I won't fake anything ~ so in the end it will be a reincarnation of the journal as I would do it if I were sketching today.

I MAY decide to use my watercolor pencils and add color to the drawings, as well. It would make the sketch journal much more attractive, I know, and that HAD been my original plan.  But I'd use watercolor pencils, not colored pencils, since that's what I'm most familiar with at this point.

An interesting note: My pleine air sketching skills half a lifetime ago were about the same as they are now, so the art accurately represents my current sketching style and level.  Huh.  I woulda thought I'd have improved a bit in thirty-four years!!!!!

As soon as I get a couple of pages done, I'll bring them to the blog and give you a preview. I'm finding this a fascinating process, and I'm really interested to find out if I can totally immerse myself into the project so that the journaling rings true.  Stay tuned!

1 comment:

Iris said...

Hi Ms. Brady! I was wondering. Rather than scan and clean up with Photoshop, why not just re-draw the sketches? Seems like this would have been less time consuming

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