Sketching Tips & Techniques


  • Squint to see 'values' ie the very dark and very light parts of a scene
  • Draw through an object, ie the side you can't see as well as the side you can. (Frank Ching)
  • Keep an eye on the model more than the sketch - (Brooke Temple)


  • Think of the overall shape of a group of people not just individual people shapes. (Veronica Lawlor)
  • Get the volume of the people, not the details. Record their position. When there are no people in the space, fill in the background and leave space for people for when they arrive. You can overlay people to suggest them coming and going. (Isobelle Fiadeiro)


  • Paint splashing adds an interesting dimension to sketches. You can put them on at home in advance. (Tia Boon Sim)
  • It doesn't really matter what color you use. (Jason Das)
  • Add font to balance certain areas of your sketch.

Fountain Pens

  • To get a finer line you can draw with the back of your fountain pen nib. (Frank Ching)


  • A scanner is better than a camera to upload pictures. Crop out any backround or sketchbook before you edit. Adjust the levels to improve the look of the image.  (Jason Das). Some suggest a tif is better than a jpg.
  • Sunglasses can interfere with seeing the values (and colours)
  • If windy, use a clip to stop the corner of your page flicking over

Types of sketchers

  • architect
  • artist
  • journalist (record the moment - reportage)
(Alwyn Cranshaw)

Types of sketches

  • Enjoyment
  • Infomational (something for later at home)
  • Atmosphere (mood for later work)
(Gabi Campanario)

Sketching vs Drawing

Sketching: when our subject tends to move, or when we are working fast to develop an idea.  Sketching is more like taking shorthand - quick, loose, impresionistic and limited to a few values.  Sketching is fast

Drawing: is what we normally do when our subject doesn't move around and we have lots of time. Drawing is like writing in longhand.  Drawings can be very realistic, detailed, elaborate and complet in every value.  Drawing is 'slow'.
(David Rankin)

Priorities for drawing:

  1. character (what drew you to the scene, leave out the rest) 
  2. scale
  3. proportion perspective
(Frank Ching)

Self Publishing

One example is
  1. Download their bookmaking software 'Blurb BookSmart'
  2. Add your sketches, text, layouts, background etc
  3. Click the order button. 
(Alternatively use your own software and upload as a PDF)

What sizes?

 Small Square 7" X 7" 18 X 18cm (180 pages soft cover, approx $NZ29 plus$NZ10 shipping)
Standard Portrait 8" X 10" 20 X 25 cm
Standard Landscape 10" X 8" 25 X 20 cm (the one above on it's side)
Large Format Landscape 13" X 11" 33 X 28 cm (180 pgs hard printed image cover, $NZ115 plus $NZ10 shipping)
Large Square 12" X 12" 30 X 30 cm

How much? and don't forget you'll need to add shipping from the US
...and yes you can order just one copy

Some examples

Roger De Muth's 'Nantucket Sketchbook'

Liz Steele's 'My Sketchbook 2006 - 2009'

Paul Wang's Singapore Sketches

Check out their public prices to get a feel - they have added a small mark-up for their content

Book Preview

 You can switch on Book Preview, to give readers a sneak peek. You can choose to show just the cover, or some pages or all pages. You can open 'commenting' if you are OK with allowing the public to comment.

They also have 'Book Show' which allows you to embed your Book Preview on Facebook or other webpages.

How do you get paid?

You get paid every month your book reaches a certain profit. eg if you have opted for $US then the threshold is $25.. If less than that it is rolled over to next month. If you are paid via Pay Pal, they will deduct a US$1 processing fee.
You will have already set your price bearing in mind the base processing costs for the size you have chosen.

Blurb User Comments
  • Before you order your book, export a PDF, print it out, and review it closely. I didn't (against my better judgment), and a few of my "full bleed" photos didn't bleed the whole way to the edge of their boxes because I did not place the photo properly. When you are looking at the preview on-screen, you can't see those kinds of details.
  • The printing is very professional, and the binding is high quality

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