I’m at a ceramic painting store called Petroglyph with my kids. It’s a summer holiday tradition: we go over at the start of the summer break, they choose a plate, a mug, something small to paint and I draw them painting. This year, I drew (painted?) people at other tables.
Here are two sketches done in pretty different styles.
This first one is line-first. It lets me quickly tell a pretty detailed story: Here, a mom and two little girls all gathered around the piece the mom was putting finishing touches to. Line helps me get quite specific quickly: that hand gesture of the mom holding the little clay fish she painted, the two girls watching intently, the tilt-in of the girls head to look at the piece her mom held up… I couldn’t have got to it quickly with direct watercolor.
This next one is in direct watercolor. I can see how it has a certain feel that’s hard to get to with line, but I struggle to tell particular stories and capture fleeting moments in this method of working. Perhaps because it is the method that comes less intuitively to me.
While the two pieces are quite different in treatment you can see some of the influence of my (now half month) of direct watercolor practice showing up even in the first sketch: You’ll see that while I used line on the figures, the background, which didn’t need as much specificity ( and wasn’t going to get up and walk away on me) is done in no-line, providing contrast and visually pushing it back in the scene.
If you work in both methods, (or in one but have tried learning the other one) I’d love to hear your thoughts on what works and doesn’t work for you. What you see as the pros and cons of each style of working…