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Sketching on Location with the Pencil

Drawing from observation while sitting outdoors, I created a loose freehand sketch of the landscape near my home. Choose your subject, and think carefully about your composition. What will be your focal point? Where do you see the darker shadows, midtones, and highlights? Design a composition that’s simple but interesting. When you have your composition in mind, practice sketching.

Figure 5 shows the start of my sketch. Notice the asymmetrical composition with the tree off to the right. The tree takes up about two-thirds of the height in the image, and it’s the focal point for my sketch. As the composition develops, the tree will have more contrasting value (highlights and shadows), which will help draw the viewer’s eye to the focal point.

Figure 5

Figure 5 Beginning the pencil sketch. Notice the asymmetrical composition.

If you’re using your finger or a passive stylus to sketch, the opacity and thickness of the strokes will change subtly based on velocity or speed as you draw. When drawing with Adobe Ink, the opacity of the strokes will change with velocity and the pressure that you apply to the pen.

Adobe Photoshop Sketch 2.1 allows you to adjust the size of the Pencil tool. To adjust the size, press and hold on the Pencil icon, and a size slider will appear. The optimum size is marked by a triangle. Move to the right to increase the size, and move to the left to decrease. You can leave the size slider available while you draw. To close it, touch the Pencil icon. Relax and enjoy the sketching process.

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