Sketch of Medizin (Hygieia)
Original by Gustav Klimt, 1900-1907, Oil on canvas 430x300cm
Burned in Schloß Immendorf, Austria 1945
Periodically, I like to sketch the work of my favourite artists in order to further understand the depth of their pieces and come to a true appreciation of their craft. In lending itself to the flatness of pencil on paper, a vibrantly coloured painting sketched in black and white can attract a different attention to detail, elevating the awareness of line and form as opposed to the dynamic between texture and saturation. And after spending hours on re-creating every contour and shadow of a piece I particularly like, I’m often accompanied by a pleasantly surprising sense of familiarity when I view the original once again.
This exercise helps to develop my working knowledge of different types of techniques and styles used with conventional materials, which I then apply to computer-aided design. Because I’ve never studied fine art beyond high school level, I find that this is one of the most helpful and convenient ways to improve one’s awareness of space while also adding more layers of complexity and detail to both on-screen and print material. I’ve also found that by doing this alongside learning about the life of the artist in focus, it often has a profound impact on the extent of how I visually interpret pieces beyond the value of their surface aesthetic at first glance.
As I have yet to truly master the skill of drawing original sketches from a design envisioned in mind, the best ones so far have often come from transferring what I see directly in front of me onto paper, usually creating a large-scale image from smaller ones or vice-versa. For this I depend on books (the Taschen Basic Art Series is indispensable), and galleries and museums in London. I’m currently working out of a hard-backed Seawhite of Brighton sketchbook, with decent quality paper and binding that seems to be withstanding the wear and tear of frequent use more than the one I used before it. And I can often be seen sitting on a bench somewhere trying not to over-smudge my shading and lose texture (a fixative definitely comes in handy).
Above and below are two sketches of paintings amongst my favourites by Austrian Art Nouveau painter Gustav Klimt.
See also: ‘All art is erotic’ (pieces at random)
Sketch of Danae
Original by Gustav Klimt, 1907-1908, Oil on canvas 77x83cm
Graz, Private collection
Sarah Badr © MMVI