Practicing Preliminary Drawing

In my second-semester painting class, I made a remark about not liking my sketch for one of the assignments, immediately, my professor looked me square in the face and said, “how about we look at it as a preliminary drawing, rather than a sketch”. I didn’t think too much of it- I wrote it off as thinking that it didn’t really matter in the end, because I thought it was a poorly executed sketch.

Through my career so far as an artist, I have been told a number of times not to throw out my sketches and to actively look and critique all of my drawings. I used to think that this was a little silly because we all make bad art, and I couldn’t wrap my head around why we would keep things we don’t like.

This week, I was thinking about ‘sketching’ to get back into the flow of things when I found myself having an internal conversation about drawing rather than ‘sketching’. After I decided that I should draw, I started producing sketch level pieces but continuing to work on them rather than just dumping onto the page and moving on.

I finally understood that a preliminary drawing is a rough draft to a final piece, something that is more than a sketch, and respectfully its own piece.

After getting loose and taking the time to actively work on something that I knew had no pressure, I decided to create my ‘finished’ drawing using all the knowledge that I gained after my first drawing. I decided to use this preliminary drawing to work out some color palette issues, figure out the composition of the work, and to see how it could look overall.

I took it easy this week, but after not painting for the majority of the summer, it was nice to start off on such a great foot.

Gouache on watercolor paper

While doing this preliminary drawing, I did a quick ‘sketch’ and loose, non-particular painting to get an idea of how the final painting might look. In doing so, I found that I created a piece that I wasn’t expecting, but is just as much of a piece of art as the final painting.

Gouache on watercolor paper

Though I have decided to show off the last piece, the first painting is its own work that also deserves recognition.

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