For a lot of us, a detailed reference photo can be overwhelming sometimes, which is why many teachers advise you to squint your eyes. That way, you can see basic shapes instead of focussing on detail right away. Even though I try to do this as often as I can, most of the time I can’t resist taking a peek at all the details. So I made it a habit to do basic (max. 5-10 minutes) sketches and then throw out the reference photo. This allows your mind to focus on what you want to see, instead of what you think you see. You’d be surprised how differently you can paint when you work off a sketch instead of the actual reference! To get you inspired I’ve created a series of dynamic sketches for you to use.
As much as I am a supporter of practicing sketching as much as you can, I’m an even bigger supporter of art being fun and free of ‘having to do’ things or judgement. So use these files any way you want: make your own sketch, trace them, transfer them with gel or paint straight over the print. Because sometimes you’ve had a long day and just want to get painting and messing around in the limited time you have, without having to do a sketch. I’d love to see what you come up with using these, so make sure to tag me on Facebook (Sabra Awlad Issa) or Instagram (@dearjools) if you post your work!
Here are the three images you can use, choose one that suits your mood and/or style. I’ve put them all in a .zip file for you to download.