Skip to content

A Simple Trick for Planning a Sketch : Connect the Dots

June 22, 2014

14June22_USK MTL Botanical_01

Just back from sketching with Urban Sketchers Montreal. Here’s my morning drawing from the Chinese pavilion at the Jardin Botanique.

This one turned out to be a useful example of what I call “Marking Extents”. How to design the page with small dots measuring the height and width of key objects, and their internal landmarks (doors, windows, floors, etc).

After the break – A few process shots that might explain:

14June22_USK MTL Botanical Process Shot 01

This is not a blank page. Zoom in and have a look.

All those small dots and dashes? These are measurements describing the two Chinese gazebos.

14June22_USK MTL Botanical Process Shot 01_annotated

I spent about 10 minutes making these small marks, so that when I begin drawing, I have a mental map to work from. My main goal – to avoid going off the top of the page. And you can see I’ve barely succeeded. The taller of the towers is going to get uncomfortably close to the top. But! This is an honest example of me sketching. I like to be reasonably accurate – but I’m not the type to allow measuring to slow me down. You can use this tactic with much more discipline – it’s possible to be perfect. Mostly I’m just ‘eyeballing’ so it’s close enough to keep me happy.

14June22_USK MTL Botanical Process Shot 03

Once I begin actually drawing – I can put it down very quickly – taking maybe another 10  minutes to finish the whole drawing. Maybe less – sorry, didn’t time myself this time 🙂

14June22_USK MTL Botanical Process Shot 05

So this is the ‘final’ drawing – just enough to begin with the color.  In the past I might have wanted to do a very precise under drawing in pencil. These days, I’m feeling I don’t need that support structure. I still recommend students try to get the best drawing possible – but when I’m having fun, drawing for enjoyment, this is how it’s turning out these days.

14June22_USK MTL Botanical_01



3 Comments leave one →
  1. croquedessin permalink
    June 23, 2014 4:24 am

    Thanks for sharing this trick ! It’s helpfull.

  2. Nathalie Z permalink
    June 23, 2014 5:59 am

    Thanks Marc, réally great tips and advices, not to forget a great sketch.

  3. June 23, 2014 8:47 am

    Reblogged this on La Tua Mente.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: