A color sketch for me is a preparatory study for a finished painting. Creating a color sketch can be one of the best ways to approach a painting weather it be a large or modest size work. I always do a color sketch before I do my more finished paintings.
My criteria for the sketch :
—It has to be done somewhat quickly. (if there is too much thinking involved your spending too much time on it)
—Has to be “mostly” accurate in values, color, drawing and composition but there can’t be any details. No faces fingers or toes.
—It can’t be bigger then 10×8 or so.
(These are my basic guidelines, you will develop your own after you do a few.)
The advantages are numerous!
Relaxation —- After I do the sketch and I can see my color and value choices and how they are or aren’t working together. This allows me to “relax” and work on my drawing in the larger work knowing the color and compositional direction I am heading. It takes a lot of the guessing out.
Choices-– it also allows me a sneak peak, if you will, at how my painting will look as a finished work. Allowing me to push or pull colors, values, or drawing a little more or less.
Problems— doing the comp allows me to take on any of the problems that might raise their ugly head. These are usually things you didn’t anticipate after looking at your reference. It can be anything: a difficult drawing issue, color harmony, or a compositional problem. Sometimes you just have to go through the motions and do the study to really understand what you are getting your self into.
Below are a few of my color sketches next to the finished paintings. Notice how close or what I changed compared to the finished works. ( Note these color sketches are small, 4×5 inches )