Sketching Practice

I've been looking for a difficult subject for my sketching practice.

I had settled on some shaggy mane mushrooms: yesterday I noticed that the recent rains have brought them out, and I was going to go and pick some today, but first I was going to sketch them.

Shaggy Mane Mushrooms
This is what they looked like last year.

Their scientific name is coprinus comatus; they are sometimes referred to as "inky caps".

They grow in the same spot every year, and luckily nobody is interested in them, so I get to pick as many as I want to eat.

The mycologist who guided the mushroom hunt that I wrote up earlier gave me a good recipe for shaggy mane mushrooms: (1) Pick them very small; (2) Cut them in two lengthwise and freeze them on a cookie sheet; (3) Bag them and store them in the freezer. OR: Cut them in two and sauté them fresh. P.S. Never mix shaggy manes with alcohol; that's a toxic combination.

However, it's been raining all day, and the rain is no good for either occupation.

Camera Bag. Pen and Watercolor on Moleskine Sketchbook
So I looked around and settled on my camera bag.

I sketched it directly in ink in my Moleskine Notebook. There's something liberating about drawing in ink; knowing you can't erase forces you to really concentrate, which helps to turn on the "R Mode" that Betty Edwards describes in her book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.

I applied watercolour (Maimeri Payne's Grey). The white dotted lines are from a white gel pen. I worked quickly.

It's a bit off, and the camera didn't render the grey well (it's kind of bluish in reality), but it was very good practice and I like how it turned out -- free and loose, as un-photorealistic as possible. I like the way drawing in ink forces you to leave your corrections there, for all to see.

Click to enlarge, if you like.

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