What comes first: Line or color?

It’s a question I get asked often : what comes first? Line or color? The short answer is: it depends.

Here are three sketches I did from the same spot at Sather Gate on the UC Berkeley campus. Posted in the order in which I sketched them.



And here are very rough shots of two of them in progress (with apologies for the super-fuzzy images.I wasn’t planning on posting them, I sometimes take in-between images as I work, just to recall what I was trying to do as I progressed through the piece.)

For this first one, I did a quick pencil drawing, then color and then back in with ink line. The pencil drawing was really light, just so I could compose my sketch. ( I bumped up the line in this image so you can see it)Berkeley_sathergate_c2l

In this next one, I had sketched the structure twice before, and didn’t care if I capture the whole arch or not, so it was straight to a few bold lines, then color, then back with more line. Those figures you see in the last sketch, posing for a photograph? Freshly minted graduates. Berkeley_sathergate_l2c

So is there a method to the randomness of my process? Not much, but generally,for a super-quick capture, I go straight to ink line, with no pencil work. Over the years, I’ve seen my process change from being all-line first to being much more varied, with a lot more back and firth between line and color.

And I’m liking it this way. Mixing it up and approaching it differently each time is a fun way to surprise myself, get different results and to keep me from getting too stuck in doing it one way.


About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
This entry was posted in california and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to What comes first: Line or color?

  1. Andrea R Huelsenbeck says:

    Thanks for explaining about your process. I find it fascinating.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. MAGNY TJELTA says:

    Great post, it is very interesting, I always been wondering about that too. I love all of them!


  3. Sue Pownall says:

    Lovely sketches and great post. I think since Urban Sketchers I’ve varied my approaches as per the situation or people I’m with. See you in Manchester?


  4. Dina says:

    Great! thanks for sharing. I’m still working with pencil. Not confident to go straight in with the pen.


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