Sketch Books – Learning Step by Step


I have been reading books by Clare Walker Leslie to learn how to do field sketching.  This is the book that I checked out from the Driftwood Library, The Art of Field Sketching, by Clare Walker Leslie. This evening I was reading about the steps of sketching, the differences between sketching and drawing, and the importance of observation.

I tend to want to draw out the entire scene before me. Instead, she says, to pick one object, twisting it back and forth, memorizing it, sketch from memory, draw it without looking at your paper,  sketch the outline contours, sketch with more details, and finally draw a field study piece. My other bad habit is I seem to want to take great pains in drawing and object one time and erasing something several times til I feel like I’ve gotten close enough to what is seen on paper reflects the real life object.  And yet, her advice is different, having me quickly sketch out poor sketches several times, helping me to observe, memorize document the object. The best advice I read this evening was to never draw a subject that doesn’t interest me, or my attitude will be reflected in my work.  How many times have I seen that in my boy’s drawings?


Tonight we read Henry’s Night by D.B. Johnson and Linda Michelin.  Jon picked it out from the Driftwood Library for his night time story.  This one drew the attention of both boys ages 12 and 9, to the full attention of the text, the illustrations and the puzzles on each page.  Inspired by Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, Henry is off in the night to find the Whippoorwill. Beautifully written, and yet, what connects tonight’s story to the above thought, were the illustration.  Each page has a full illustration, and the text is written on a torn piece of paper sitting on top. On that torn piece of paper are 2-3 sketch drawings of something in the landscape of the page or words of the poem.  I was going to talk tomorrow of what  I learned about picking one object, no more than 8 inches large, to focus a sketch on. Here in the pages of this book – were perfect examples of that, some with details depicted, information tagged on size, sometimes just a feather or a star constellation.  PERFECT timing!

If you are working on Field Sketching for any of the Outdoor Nature Challenges, or just for your own enjoyment, I recommend both of these books! 

About +Angie Wright

The Transparent Thoughts of an Unschooling Family of Boys - Answering the question - What DO you DO all day?
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2 Responses to Sketch Books – Learning Step by Step

  1. Pingback: Thank You Handbook Of Nature Study! | Petra School

  2. Tonya says:

    I have a couple of books by Clare Leslie Walker and keep thinking I need to pull them off the shelf and actually put them to use! The Henry book looks really intrigueing. I think I’d enjoy reading that one myself. Thanks for sharing!:)

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