Where Words and Pictures Party

Sketch More

Added on by Jonathan O'Briant.

My brother and I were recently having a conversation about our unique styles and the growth we've seen over the past several years. Timothy, interestingly and obviously, pointed out that he's been able to see such growth through constant sketching.  He goes through sketch books at least three times as fast as I do, and each page is filled with tiny studies in whatever he thinks he should be working on.This is brilliant, while I spend a lot of time making comics I don't sit down to sketch nearly enough.

This is by no means my best page, just the most recent. I thought I would dissect these sketches to help me learn from them. Ideally, articulating critiques of my own work will help others evaluate their own sketch books.


The dinosaurs front and center are me attempting to grow comfortable with an important character in the next MAPS volume. Timothy and I have both been drawing him a lot, and the back and forth between us has been really helpful. Timothy has a better handle on the character than I do right now, and I need to play a little catch up.

The kitten is a quick sketch I did of my 8 week old cat.  He doesn't sit still much, so that was as much of him as I could get before he was off on a new adventure. I've heard David Mack talk a lot about these quick, in the moment sketches, and rapid visualization is a trick that all artists need to hone.

The man on the side was trying to realistically portray someone in profile. It was done in ballpoint pen with no way to erase mistakes. Making every line count is a good way to practice being mindful of every line you put on the page.

A friend on the 11 O'Clock forums suggested that I would do a good job on a Peanuts comic. I tried to draw Charlie Brown from memory. When I realized he was coming off a little stiff, I exaggerated the effect and made my Charlie Brobot. Lessons to be learned are use reference when necessary, and don't be afraid to improvise. Robot Charlie is funny, poorly drawn Charlie would be wack.

The asian girl was done without picking my pen up off the page. Picasso did cool things like this, and it reminds me of some of the wire art I've been looking at lately.

Finally the negative space left behind on the page looked like a reclining woman to me.  I added a few little pen marks to share that idea and then left the rest to the imagination.

Thank you Timothy for the sketching advice. I'm going to be a better draftsman in no time.