What becomes of all those sketches?


I sketch a lot, as often as I can find time for it, which means I have a lot of sketches and filled sketchbooks lying about. Mostly, that´s enough for me. The experience of making those sketches, and knowing that I have them in my sketchbooks generally makes my life a lot richer.

But sometimes I do use the sketches for continued work, and I thought I´d show an example. This above page, made with a carpenter´s pencil on very cheap paper at Slussen in Stockholm, was the start of my 2012 Christmas cards (top sketch) and a watercolour painting I finished today (bottom sketch).


I made the Christmas card by scanning the sketch, changing the pencil greyscale into three levels of grey in Photoshop, printed them out and cut stencils from them. Then I sprayed through the stencils with Copic airbrush, scanned the image, and sent it to a photo print shop to make cards.  (For you Photoshop afficionados out there, there are many ways to do this, and I know some people like Posterize – I don´t. I like the control that Threshold gives for this, making four different copies with different amounts of black, then put them all into layers in one image. I change the black of each layer into the shade of grey I want, then set the layer blending mode to multiply to see the result. I might tweak each layer a little, before printing them out on paper.)


The bottom sketch caught my attention yesterday when I flipped through some sketchbooks to find material for watercolour paintings. I put the sketch in front of me on the table where I paint, made a light pencil sketch before wetting the paper, and then started painting. I´m trying to flex my watercolour muscles to get in shape for an exhibition this summer, and since I have been sketching a lot around Slussen lately, I thought I´d use those sketches for some of the paintings. Don´t know if I have found my peak yet, but I´ll keep at it for a while and see where it all lands.

6 Responses to “What becomes of all those sketches?”

  1. Dan Kent says:

    I just love the bottom painting! Wow. Love the freeness and creativity (as always) of the watercolor. The sketches are great. (As is the card.) But going from the sketches to the painting — it just shows that it is true what they say, it is all values. Get those right, and you can use any color you want. Loved seeing the way you used your sketches. Thanks!

  2. wow thanks for sharing this Nina.

  3. Melliott says:

    Wow, the process for that Christmas card is crazy complicated! You had me until you started cutting stencils and then I thought, Nuh-uh! It’s gorgeous, though. As is the watercolor–and I love what you do with borders and signage/lettering to make your paintings your own.

    • Thank Melliot. Well, it´s not too complicated to make a three-value stencil image, as long as you know how to cut stencils. Maybe it sounds worse than it is when you get into details in Photoshop? Anyway, glad you like the results.

  4. isa says:

    Je n’ai pas tout compris Nina, mais c’est vraiment original et le rendu est beau.

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