On those busy days where commitments distract you from your passion, I always like to find time for at least one small sketch. Urban sketches never used to appeal to myself, but then I had a disdain of cities before Paris changed my persuasion. Part of the appeal of sketching the city is that rather than focus on a subject close up, you can encapsulate an entire environment from street alley to panoramic view. It combines figures with landscape and architecture, bringing each into a balance and harmony.
Click to Englarge: Sketches of Paris.
When pressed for time I tend to base my sketches from old oil paintings, although occasionally I will sketch from photographs in the evenings before I hit the pillow. The Paris sketches are done on A4 copy paper folded in half (17cm by 12cm or approximately 7in by 5in) – working small means you can draw more quickly.
I usually start by establishing the horizon line and vanishing points first, then sketch freehand, mostly with the edge of a pencil (a Mars Lumograph or Koh-i-noor, sharpened with a craft knife, but a point that is not overly sharp). If I am not too tired, some rough values can be ‘scrubbed’ in with an overhand grip.