What becomes of all those sketches?


I sketch a lot, as often as I can find time for it, which means I have a lot of sketches and filled sketchbooks lying about. Mostly, that´s enough for me. The experience of making those sketches, and knowing that I have them in my sketchbooks generally makes my life a lot richer.

But sometimes I do use the sketches for continued work, and I thought I´d show an example. This above page, made with a carpenter´s pencil on very cheap paper at Slussen in Stockholm, was the start of my 2012 Christmas cards (top sketch) and a watercolour painting I finished today (bottom sketch).


I made the Christmas card by scanning the sketch, changing the pencil greyscale into three levels of grey in Photoshop, printed them out and cut stencils from them. Then I sprayed through the stencils with Copic airbrush, scanned the image, and sent it to a photo print shop to make cards.  (For you Photoshop afficionados out there, there are many ways to do this, and I know some people like Posterize – I don´t. I like the control that Threshold gives for this, making four different copies with different amounts of black, then put them all into layers in one image. I change the black of each layer into the shade of grey I want, then set the layer blending mode to multiply to see the result. I might tweak each layer a little, before printing them out on paper.)


The bottom sketch caught my attention yesterday when I flipped through some sketchbooks to find material for watercolour paintings. I put the sketch in front of me on the table where I paint, made a light pencil sketch before wetting the paper, and then started painting. I´m trying to flex my watercolour muscles to get in shape for an exhibition this summer, and since I have been sketching a lot around Slussen lately, I thought I´d use those sketches for some of the paintings. Don´t know if I have found my peak yet, but I´ll keep at it for a while and see where it all lands.

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