Hold the pencil across the hand (Fig. VIII-2), not between the fingers as in writing. Use a broad edge on the pencil rather than a fine point, or flatten lead on a small stone for a wedge-shaped point. (Fig. VIII-3).
Helps on Indicating Outdoor Subjects
Practice making strokes to get the feel of what can be done. Do not try to reproduce each part, as each tree, or each leaf, but rather give an impression of leaves, clouds, branches, trees, etc. Here are some suggestions:
For evergreens: use a tall, narrow triangular shape (Fig. VIII-4).
For elms, oaks, maples, etc.; show general shape, and trunk, noting how branches grow out of the trunk (Fig. VIII-5).
For bushes: show general shape (Fig. VIII-6).
For water: indicate with horizontal strokes, with light between (Fig. VIII-7).
For clouds: use light areas against darker sky (Fig. VIII-8).
For grass.- use vertical strokes for high grass, horizontal strokes for close clipped grass (Fig. VIII-9).
For stones: show general shape, with dark sections to indicate three dimensions (Fig. VIII-9).
For bark; follow contour of tree, noticing general characteristics of the bark (Fig. VIII-10).
For fur: make lines follow contours of animal's shape; make pencil stroke go the way the fur grows (Fig. VIII-11).
Do not try to make a portrait. Just indicate shape, height, and some characteristics that identify each person. Start by making figures that do not need features at first, then begin to add details as you gain confidence.
People may be made by a formula. Look at other campers and notice how their legs and arms are "hung" on their bodies. Notice that elbows come opposite the waist; hands reach almost to knees; side view, sitting, distances from shoulder to waist, from center of hip to knee, from knee to ground, are almost equal; children have larger heads than young adults or adults in proportion to rest of bodies, their legs are straighter; adults are roughly 71/2 to 8 heads high. (Fig. VIII-12)
Make a finder or window through which to look; curl fist (Fig. VIII-13a) or make a square or rectangle of thumbs and forefingers (Fig. VIII-13 b). This will limit your outlook and help you select a view that you like. Turn your head a little one way and another, to help choose the picture that pleases you and that you want to sketch. What is selected should have something of interest in the center, something to keep the eye from running out of the picture, and some background. Try to avoid having something that cuts the picture in half, either vertically or horizontally-the horizon or a single tree or post.
For example, in Figure 14, the boat is to be the center of interest, the tree stops the eye from running out of the picture, the background is the other side of the picture, and the tree is off center one way, the edge of the pond is higher than the center the other way. The rock in the foreground may or may not be included in the final sketch, depending on the size and shape of the sketch and the desire of the artist.
For group action, catch what you want to portray as the center of interest. In Figure 15, the group is laying a fire; all faces are turned toward the fire, so the viewer finds himself looking toward the fire, too. In making the sketch, one person may be made to stand out, or each member of the group may have equal value.
Translate what you want of what you saw in the finder; keep it simple, and do not try to put in each little detail. Decide whether the picture will be better if placed horizontally or vertically. Then quickly sketch in a few light lines, locating the various parts of the picture. This is called blocking-in (time limit-two minutes). Starting with just a few lines makes it possible to revamp the sketch as you progress, eliminating or adding as you like (Figs. VIII-16 and 17).
Adding value to the sketch: when the sketch has been blocked in, look at the scene and decide which parts are light, which are dark. Indicate this on the sketch by adding some dark strokes to give contrast, as well as to heighten interest. Use varying degrees of shading to produce the variation of lights you wish (Figs. VIII-18, 19, 20).
Using Crayons-Wax Crayons, Pastel Crayons, or Colored Chalk
Using color requires more thought than using black and white. Colors like those in the objects being sketched should be used. Shadows are made with blue, purple, or green (known as "cool" colors). Black should be used sparingly when making an outdoor sketch. Shadows should be made on the sides of people or objects that are away from the sun; a shadow on the ground, known as a "cast-shadow," needs to be dark also (Fig. VIII-20).
Use crayons lightly at first, covering part of the color with more of the same to deepen color; to give the sketch depth, do not completely cover first color. From a distance the eye will see both colors side by side, and mix them visually.
In using pastel crayons or colored chalk: choose colors nearest like the subject matter, applying one on top of the other, or side by side. Color may be blended by rubbing with finger. Lighten colors by adding white. Colors seem truer on gray paper. Colored charcoal paper is good for a picture which is "vignetted" or blurred on edges, leaving paper color around edges.
Charcoal, being black, reduces a picture to black, white, and grays. After sketch is blocked in, put in lightest spot and darkest black (usually these are close together). Then limit rest of picture to three values of gray, making five values in the picture. This simplifies the picture and eliminates unimportant details.
How to "Fix" Charcoal and Pastel Sketches: To preserve the picture, charcoal fixative is used for charcoal, pastel fixative for pastel or colored chalk. The fixative is applied from a pressure can, or with an atomizer; either spray is held two feet from the picture and sprayed in even sweeps across the picture and back.