When people look at my art, one of the things they sometimes say is “I love your sketches.”  This statement never fails to baffle me, not because I find it insulting — it is clearly meant as a compliment, and I take it as such — but to me, sketching is a very different artistic process from what I do.

I draw. My art is very much planned and deliberate, and each of my pieces involves many hours of work. But while I am confident in my drawing skills, I would never call myself particularly competent when it comes to sketching. To catch the essence of an object or impression in a few quick strokes takes a different eye, and a sureness of hand that is rarely called for in my style of drawing. Getting good at it takes practice, so for this particular piece, I decided to start out with some sketches.

I reinforced the lines I liked with a softer pencil, so maybe I cheated. But they did come out better than I had expected.

These moonsnails came from a box in my store room, along with a treasure trove of other snails and shells. There is stuff there for quite a few artistic adventures, but for now, I kept it simple.

For a more detailed study, I chose an extra fine ink pen. So here are some lines and lots and lots of little dots.

Drawing under natural light, a definite disadvantage of taking your time is that the light will change. At one point, my two snails were lit from different directions. I think I managed to mostly correct this, but it is definitely a thing to be wary of.