It’s actually a good idea and a good habit to create a few sketches before you commit to a drawing and actually draw it. Why? There is nothing more aggravating than spending time on the details or the shading or the textures or whatever, only to find you don’t really like the overall “look” once you are done. Maybe you don’t like the pose? The costume? The facial expression? Who knows? My point is, you may spend a lot of time on something you may not actually like! So what can you do to fix it? SKETCH IT FIRST!
I’m an art teacher. I’ve been an art teacher for 20 years and one thing I see time and time again is impatient artists. They draw things they know they are unhappy with but continue doing it anyway. It’s crazy. Then, once they’ve finished, they throw it away because they didn’t like it! Why not fix mistakes or make alterations in a few sketches before you actually commit to inking or coloring with markers? The time you save with the sketches is better than having to re-do your art entirely because you’ve thrown it in the trash.
Two useful tools I use for sketching are a blue and red lead. I generally sketch my image using basic shapes and fleshing out the figure with a non-photo blue pencil. If I see anything that needs correction, I use the red pencil and go over it. I don’t erase! The reason I don’t erase is so I can see where the incorrect line is and correct it. If I erase it, I may draw that same line again and again.
If you look at the new Star Wars art of Rey that I’m working on you can see the initial sketching of the figure in blue. Then I decided I needed to change the positioning of the cinture, the jawline, and the right foot (her right). Afterwards, I went over it again with an F lead pencil. This is a good pose and I like it after all of the alterations. I’m going to re-sketch it again with the changes. I may draw a few sketches with different expressions too. I’m not sure I like the current expression. All of these changes I’m going to make BEFORE I actually ink it and make another coloring page.
Here is another potential Thanos artwork and soon-to-be coloring page. I made the basic shape of the pose and anatomy using the blue lead and added the details of his costume in red. It’s easier for me to see how the costume works with the pose of the figure because the two different colors highlight different aspects of the drawing. This is also helpful for determining how I want my final “look” to be realized.
For this artwork, I’m going to draw a few more sketches with different expressions.
So what is the moral of today’s lesson?
It is infinitely easier to change a sketch than to redo a completed artwork. A sketch is just a few lines whereas an artwork is colored, inked, and takes a lot more time. Since you’re spending time on the artwork anyway, why not do a few preliminary sketches and work out your overall concept? The time you take during the sketches will save you the time it would take to create re-do.
Go forth and SKETCH!