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The story Behind the Sketch:

When I saw a post which I re-blogged,   http://photographybycjp.wordpress.com/2012/02/19/barns/ , of the twin barns at the Nisqually Refuge in Washington state, I was intrigued by the unusual shape of the buildings. This blogger was kind enough to post more photos & allow me to sketch from them. From the additional material I’ve read, Nisqually was a dairy farm that was rescued from developers. (Although the twin barns are a landmark, for the sake of composition I included only one.)

The experience:

Although my initial interest was in the barns themselves, I found myself drawn to the moody look of what seemed to be a swampy area in the foreground, complete with reflections of the trees. I decided to do an entire scene.

Being detail-oriented, I began to include every bit of shrubbery and plant material , soon realizing that, although all these ingredients had made for a nice photo, they created a drawing that was far too “busy” . There was no place for the eye to rest. I ended up simplifying all the shapes , minimizing the detail, & eventually fading-out quite a bit of detail around the edges to keep the focus in the center.

The technical stuff:

I used a regular school pencil to draw in all the main features, then added some delicate detail with a 2H graphite pencil and the darker areas with a 9B graphite. ( I especially like Derwent Graphic pencils.)  Some of the plant material was done with a Derwent Graphitone pencil. One of the neat things I discovered was that a battery-operated eraser will do a great job of putting soft horizontal highlights in water. Slick as can be! a lot of the “fading out” & minimizing of detail was done simply by rubbing over the existing drawing with a good ol’ dependable kneaded eraser.

Strathmore Rag Mat was the substrate. Not a bad surface to work on.

NOTE: All images and text in this post are Copyright K. A. Renninger 2011. I am happy to have you share them through your own blog, and hope you will do so— but you must give me credit. Anyone who uses them to make money will be prosecuted.