My friend complimented me on this sketch of the Arch in Washington Square Park yesterday. I shrugged and said, “it’s just a sketch.” But then I realized that I’ve probably drawn the thing about a dozen times, and each time I’ve captured it a little bit better. A dozen sketches from now, I’ll be embarrassed about this one. Progress is always good.
Aside from practice, which I don’t do often enough, credit is due to Marc Taro Holmes’ awesome book, The Urban Sketcher, as well as his video course on Craftsy. (Note: I do not make any money off these links, mostly because I have no idea how to set that up.) He gives you some great techniques for keeping your sketches loose and impressionistic. I feel that applying them has made my lines less hesitant, people more alive, and structures and scenery less bogged down in needless detail. One of my favorite ideas from him is outlining shadow shapes as you sketch, and filling them in later (you can see a bit of this on the Arch). I don’t know why it works, but it does.