The Joy of Sketch

I’ve been drawing again a lot lately.  When I need to make order out of chaos, I pick up my pad and pen and start to draw.  Because drawing doesn’t need to make sense either but after a while it does.  And the coherency that appears before you lends coherency to your thoughts.

I’ve opted for the usual biro with the addition of other media; I find I’m really liking oil bars at the moment, basically oil paint in chunky stick form.  Whilst rooting through a box during a recent clear out, I was delighted to discover them having purchased them from a Chelsea art store in New York about eight years ago.  I’ve broken them in now, especially the white.  They’re great on a wood surface, they blend and dry out much quicker than on paper, they can be translucent or opaque.  I love them.

Sketch 1

Sketch 2. Untitled, pencil and oil bar on watercolour paper, 2018

The thing about drawing though is that it isn’t relaxing.  Not at first, anyway.  At first, it’s frustration and scratching out and starting again and huffing and puffing and taking a break and making a cup of tea and then coming back and squinting and changing your technique and application and starting again again.

Sketch Side 2

Sketch 1. Untitled, biro and oil bar on watercolour paper, 2018

Then you get to a point when your approximate measurements are more or less accurate and you can cross hatch some definition, take a breather, look at it from different angles and distances, keep looking, that’s the key, keep adding, removing, honing, until the form slowly but surely appears like an image in a tray of developing fluid.  And the frustration leaves because the vexing bit is done with, you’ve got your measurements right, now it’s time for resolving and perfecting and that’s when you reach a point of happiness.  Because by then your drawing starts to look good and it’s all about making it look better still until it’s as good as it can get.

Forest 2

Sketch 3. Untitled, biro and food colouring on watercolour paper, 2017

That doesn’t mean it has to be complete.  For me, the strongest work is incomplete, unresolved, still becoming.  Some days, it may mean fragile delicate marks, a thing still in flux, not quite there, a blind urge visible.  It depends on what’s going on, what the moment calls for, what your soul calls for, and whatever is the result of that.  Drawing is the frustration of beginning and the happiness of arriving.

Surfer 1

Sketch 4. Untitled, biro and pencil on watercolour paper, 2018

There are some days that ask you to draw.  When you forget what you were supposed to be doing because the light is perfect and comes through the window in a cool morning and gives you clear vision and the paper and materials are there within reach, so why on earth wouldn’t you?  Scrap what you were doing before.  The conditions are perfect for you to draw.  All you need then is time to soak up that good cool light and make marks.

Black woman 2

Sketch 5. Untitled, biro and pencil on watercolour paper, 2018


(c) N Nazir 2018


16 thoughts on “The Joy of Sketch

  1. Great stuff–and I love hearing about your process, in a way that I (someone who doesn’t draw) can appreciate. It reminds me of my writing process–frustration at the start and opening up to appreciation of the journey and happiness at arriving at some destination.


    1. Sunra Rainz

      Thanks Rebecca. Yes, it’s very similar, because even when you think you’ve reached that final destination, if you leave the piece you’ve written/created for a few years, you can come back to it and decide to rewrite/redo it. Same process, different medium. Hope you’re well 🙂


  2. booknook867

    Wow, those are beautiful pieces of art! It’s fascinating listening to an artist talk so lovingly of their work, and to hear your technique. I absolutely LOVE the way you captured such joy in your 5th sketch…pure talent! Love the post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sunra Rainz

      Thank you! That’s very kind. Oh, don’t get me wrong, there’s always room for improvement! But some days you do enjoy the process. Thanks for your comments 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Sunra Rainz

      Hi! Thank you so much, that’s very kind. Some are just works in progress or warm-ups, but yes I try and exhibit them if I can and always try and sell them if I do. Over the years, I’ve sold a few pieces. Appreciate your comments 🙂


  3. Super excellent work. I like how you said this: “That doesn’t mean it has to be complete. For me, the strongest work is incomplete, unresolved, still becoming.” I feel this way, because I actually prefer writing sometimes with less revision. Sometimes the more you revise something the less true reality it has. Like a picture, not everyone needs to be in a perfect pose. There is something for the more candid picture, or the one taken in the spur of the moment. It’s exciting to see your talent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sunra Rainz

      Aah, thank you, Benjamin, for sharing your thoughts and your kind comments, it’s very heartwarming to hear 🙂

      I absolutely agree, certainly with poems and with art. You can sometimes lose that raw freshness you captured in the first draft with too many rewrites. I couldn’t say for sure with longer pieces of writing as it seems they benefit from more revisions, sometimes. Perhaps not in your case (apologies I have yet to check out your work properly).

      Likewise, with the image, I also enjoy a candid shot as there’s more truth to it and a sense of being in the moment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, that “raw freshness”: exactly that! I have heard of artists that don’t really like to do too many takes on songs because each one loses a bit of the emotion perhaps. But then of course you have artists who can display that in there voice no matter how many times they sing a song, so it’s all very relative. And yes, for novels and longer pieces you need a little more care. That is true. Revision is important, but there is something to be said about over-revision. Something can be written too many times. I like how you stated everything above. That’s very thoughtful!

        Liked by 1 person

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