Sketches for the Week of July 12, 2021

Sketches for the Week of July 12, 2021

The weekly sketch along continues. I didn’t get quite as much sketching time in this week, but I still finished several sketches for the week of July 12.

My Sketches for the Week of July 12, 2021

Stone Hitching Post

We live across from a historic home that has become a local museum. The house was built by a prosperous business man in the 1800s, and it has two stone hitching posts at the curb. One on each side of the front walk.

I’ve sketched them more than once and have referred to them many more times. The most recent appearance of them here on this blog was as the subject for a tutorial on using GIMP to create digital line drawings.

I started the sketching week by sketching one of the posts with the evening sunlight striking it.

I believe the paper is Strathmore Artagain. It’s too smooth to be Canson Mi-Teintes, and too “hard” to be Stonehenge. It also has a faint fiber-like pattern embedded in the paper. That’s standard with Artagain.

I used Blick Studio White for most of the sketching and I sketched the highlights first. It was my intention to use just white, but the paper really wasn’t dark enough for that, so I used Blick Studio Black in the shadows.

Red Flower

Blick Studio Scarlet Red, Vermillion, and Dark Grass Green on Bristol vellum.

This one is from my imagination. It’s also a lesson in discipline.

I didn’t feel like sketching all day and it was evening before I picked up a pencil and piece of paper. I’d had a headache all day, and just wanted to quit for the day.

But I sat down in the window seat in the room that used to be my studio, looked up at the White pine I sketched so many times last week, and decided to draw a flower instead.

I don’t know if there’s a real flower that looks like this, but that doesn’t matter.

What does matter is that the day didn’t end without a sketch of some type.

Knot Hole #1

One thing I’m learning is that when I sketch something that isn’t a tree, I have a difficult time placing it on the piece of paper.

The first two sketches above would have easily fit on a 4-inch square piece of paper. I didn’t size them properly or place them very well.

Actually, I didn’t do that with this sketch, either. But that was easy to compensate for with a little background shading.

This is part of a dried up tree branch that I brought into the house in 2018 for the cats to claw and play on. It’s really served it’s purpose well.

It’s also a great subject for sketching!

I used Blick Studio Brown to draw this on Bristol vellum.

I must confess that I really like the Blick Studio pencils on more textured paper. They’re an absolute delight on sanded art papers and they work pretty well on Canson Mi-Teintes and even Stonehenge.

But they are a struggle on Bristol Vellum. On a smoother paper like this, I got the best results drawing with heavier pressure. That’s what I did in the background. It worked well, but it feels so unnatural.


This is another sketch using Blick Studio on Bristol Vellum. This time, I used medium heavy pressure and bold strokes to draw a tree branch by shading the negative spaces.

This piece was inspired by a view of tree branches against a night sky late one night. At that time, I thought about drawing the branches on black paper by shading the night sky. This experiment on white paper proved one thing: It can be done.

sketches for the week of July 12

Rain Storm

On Thursday, we drove to El Dorado, Kansas. It rained part way there and all the way back. Sometimes the rain was quite heavy.

One of the things I like about the Flint Hills is the vastness. All that space and distance is a delight to behold and something I really think about drawing a lot.

Throw in gray light, rain, and mist and the vastness takes on a totally different appearance.

When we got home again, I tried to capture what I’d seen with pencil and paper. Bristol Vellum and Blick Studio again. Cold Grey this time.

This isn’t very dark and it isn’t as complete as I’d hoped, but one of my rules for this sketch habit is to never return to a sketch once I set it aside.


One of the neatest things about sketching like this is trying new pencils and paper. This sketch was drawn with the only Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor pencil I own. True Blue. I used it on Bristol Vellum to draw these trees from imagination.

I wanted to see how I liked the Polycolor. It was a delight to use.

I also wanted to see if I could shade by using nothing but lines. So I used different types of lines from very thick to very thin, different values, and overlapping lines to draw these trees.

Yes, I did catch myself shading once or twice, but for the most part, the illusion of space in this sketch was done with nothing but lines.

Even the light, broad strokes in the background are lines drawn with the side of the pencil and light pressure.

Knot Hole #2

Back to the cat’s scratching branch!

This time, I paired Canson Mi-Teintes Pearl Grey paper with a Caran d’Ache Pablo pencil (Flame Red.) This is another type of pencil I’ve not used before. I have only one or two colors.

I’ve heard that Pablos are to Luminance with Verithins are to Prismacolor. A harder, thinner form of the same basic pencil.

But I found this Pablo pencil to be much softer than the Verithin. It was very easy to get nice, dark values even with this color.

Once again, I failed to place this sketch very well on the paper. I really need to work on that. But I kept drawing until it looked pretty good.

At least to me.

sketches for the week of July 12

Dead Elm Branches

The last two sketches are Saturday sketches. Both are based on a towering elm in front of our house.

This one is of a group of dead branches several feet up. I used Derwent Lightfast on white Stonehenge.

I like the Derwent Lightfast pencils. I’ve sketched with them quite a bit this year. But they’re quite soft and aren’t a very good pencil for drawing crisp lines unless you keep a sharpener handy.

I don’t sharpen pencils when I sketch. I try to start with sharp pencils, then work with what I have until I finish. Since most sketches are 30 minutes or less, that works fine.

Unless I’m using a very soft pencil.

Stump Study #1

The last sketch for this week is also based on that elm tree, but at some point in the future. I simply drew the bottom of the trunk, then turned it into a stump.

I’m not sure why other than the fact that stumps are part of the legacy of trees that fascinate me.

This sketch is on Stonehenge White and I used Derwent Drawing Sanquine.

sketches for the week of July 12

Those are My Sketches for the Week of July 12

Despite what seemed to me like a slow start, I ended up with nine sketches.

What’s even more impressive to me is that I now have a collection of 27 4×6 inch sketches when I include the five I did early this year.

I’m really liking this new sketching habit!

I hope you’ll join me in developing your own sketching habit.

And if you’ve created some sketches during the week of July 12, I invite you to share them. I’ll be happy to add them as a reader’s sketch gallery to this post!

Reader Gallery Slide Show

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