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¡Hola desde Puerto Rico!

Hello everyone!  My name is Luis E. Aparicio and I am from San Juan, Puerto Rico.  I’m new to this community, and to this point I have been enjoying it very much.  This blog will be about one of my passions, sketching.  Please join me even if you’ve never picked up a pencil in 30 years.  When you learn to relax while sketching you will find that it is a wonderful therapy.  You will find that time flies by and you will appreciate your world much more.

When I started studying architecture some years ago I immediately knew that I had to learn to graphically communicate my design ideas.  I had never formally taken art lessons, and besides the few projects we did in high school, I felt a huge void regarding drawing.  So I  watched what other students were doing, and learned a lot from them.  I also was awed by the books by Francis D.K. Ching and imagined my hand actually doing those impressive drawings.  I learned a lot, and so my interest in architectural representation grew as well.

I believe that sketching is a fundamental design skill, not only for representation purposes, but as an integral part of the creative process.  With all the powerful software and hardware tools available to designers today we tend to sketch less and depend on the computer more and more.  I have taken the challenge of sketching on a daily basis once again, as in my student years.  Although I very much enjoy sketching en plen air interesting spaces or buildings, it is not practical to try to go out every day.  So at least I draw whatever comes to mind, be it some basic geometric shapes or volumes or the soda can I just had at lunch.  The important part is to keep the eye-brain-hand connection active, ready for the moment when we really need to put it to work.

This blog originates from the urge I have to keep learning and getting better as well as sharing with others whatever I can offer.  Although my preferred medium has always been graphite (my favorite is the traditional school pencil, Berol Mirado #2, now extinct), I am learning or re-learning other media, as are the ink, markers and watercolor.  So please feel free to  give me some pointers in how to get better.  In fact, I tell my students that I haven’t still done the perfect drawing, as I always will find things I need to practice a lot more.  One thing I have been doing is that I actually do with them the exercises I assign them, and tell them to give me critique.  At first they are a little intimidated, but I tell them that I have found way too many flaws in my drawing, so they better find what these are.  I have learned a lot from what they see, so I would love for everyone out there to help me then as well.

The thing I’ve been working very hard lately is to sketch much more loosely; I had for years drawn very precisely, as I thought the results would be better.  Well, yes, sometimes the drawing turns out really nice, but you’ve spent two hours in front of one subject and have probably missed a lot of other interesting stuff happening around you.  The only time I’ve been to Paris I only did one sketch.  I spent two hours in front of the Louvre.  The drawing was quite nice, but I had drained my energy.  So I lost interest and lost the opportunity to sketch and appreciate one of the most impressive places I’ve been.

I have recently been practicing sketching in watercolor with a 20 to 30-minute time limit.  It has been very challenging, mostly because I’m new to watercolors, but I see a lot of potential in sketching with them directly instead of drawing in pencil and then watercoloring it.  Also, I’m sketching way too small in order to achieve the looseness I’m looking for, but nonetheless I’ve had a lot of fun.  Here are a couple of these:

The first two were first sketched with pencil and then used Sennelier watercolors in pans on a “Pen and Ink” watercolor sketchbook.  In the last two I sketched the profile with a cheap watercolor pencil and then used Yarka watercolors in pans on a 5″ x 8″ Moleskine watercolor sketchbook.

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