Russell Stutler's Book About Sketching

page contents
1 Introduction (you are here)
2 Tools and Materials: pencils, pen and ink
3 Tools and Materials: brush and ink
4 Tools and Materials: waterbrushes, watercolors, sketch kits
5 Tools and Materials: making a plastic palette
6 Tools and Materials: sketchbooks, postcards, ATC and ACEO, Mini Organizer Notebooks
7 Tools and Materials: Moleskines, digital sketching, tablets, stools, hats
8 Where, when and what to sketch: sitting or standing, the weather
9 Where, when and what to sketch: spectators, family trips, public transportation
10 Where, when and what to sketch: subject matter, famous landmarks, mountain and valley subjects
11 How to sketch: jump right in or preliminary sketch
12 How to sketch: fill your sketchbook
13 How to sketch: continuous line drawing, squinting, beauty of line
14 How to sketch: using a waterbrush, imagination, coloring later
15 How to sketch: lighting, adding text, failures
16 A sketch demonstration
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First published on the web in February, 2008
Last revised in December, 2018

Page 1. Introduction

This is by no means the definitive book on sketching. It's only 16 pages long, but those are 16 web pages, which can go on forever.

This book presents my ideas on sketching, how to sketch, my preferred tools and materials, and my particular sketching style, so feel free to embrace or reject anything you read here.

The subject matter for these sketches reflects my world; I live in Tokyo.

Some of the material here can be found scattered throughout my online sketchbook: I have brought them together here, and have added new material. If you like my sketches then you will probably enjoy this book.

Reasons for sketching

Sketching is a worthy goal in itself, and not just a means to an end. The activity of sketching can be very gratifying, and the results can be more thrilling than anything you will see hanging in a gallery.

Statue of Saigo Takamori in Ueno Park. Statues are a great way to combine figure drawing with fresh air enjoyment. And the model never moves!

Some people are obsessed with sketching, and can think of nothing else. They don't need a list of reasons for sketching. But for the rest of us, here are a few possible reasons why we like to sketch:

    Very quick sketch done on a pocket size sketchbook with pencil and watercolor. Size, 3 3/4 X 5 inches (9.5 X 12.8 centimeters)
  • Sketching is a luxury. Most people cannot draw (or at least are convinced they cannot draw). We do it because we can.

  • Sketching is a great way to use time normally wasted waiting in lines or on public transportation or even meetings or lectures.

  • Sketching gives you a reason to get out of the house on weekends or days off and visit places around town.

  • Finished sketches give you a personal sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, especially when you have filled an entire sketch book. Its a way to bring a little joy into your life.

  • Sketching is a great way to get recognition and praise -- hey, we all need it!

  • Sketching is a way to give expression to the artist within. Perhaps you decided long ago not to pursue a career in art, and yet don't want to see your art ability go wasted.

  • Sketching helps you to really see the world around you, and remember it in detail. It even helps you to redefine the world.

Sketch of a shrine in Shinjuku (in Tokyo) not far from the south exit of Shinjuku station. Brush and ink sketch with watercolor in an F1 size sketchbook.

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