Digital Compositional Sketches

I’m working on compositional sketches today, aiming for three final compositions which I’ll use as reference for the final drawings. The process goes back and forth between drawing and digital images in Photoshop.  I shoot digital images of my gesture drawings and then place them in Photoshop where I’m able to quickly experiment with opacity, placement, and scale in the figures. Once a composition is set, I print out a hard copy and draw on the print.

Perhaps it’s the traditionalist in me, but I always feel like I’m “cheating” when I use digital images and Photoshop for compositional sketches.  Then I have to remind myself that one of the major concepts in executing these drawings is layers, which is an inherent part of using Photoshop. On top of that, it’s such an enormous time saver that it’s hard for me to not use Photoshop in this process. My view on technology is that if it’s there, and it serves as a vehicle to faciliate (as opposed to replace or compensate) a creative endeavor then it’s worth taking advantage of.

Compositional Sketch

Digital compositional sketch created from gesture drawings.

Compositional Sketch

Digital print with crayon drawn directly on the print.

2 thoughts on “Digital Compositional Sketches

  1. I completely agree that it’s only sensible to use the computer, if it functions as a tool rather than a crutch. But I also feel like a cheat when I use Photoshop to compose. I can hear artists of the pre-computer era yelling “we had to compose by hand backwards and blindfolded and it was uphill both ways!”

  2. Although there are clearly so many benefits to using a computer in many cases, I’m not sure I’ll ever get over the guilt complex that I feel when I sit at a computer all day making compositional sketches.

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