When attempting to put the impression of real life objects onto paper, the task may seem a bit overwhelming. This need not be the case if approached with the simple view of an artist. Not an artist? No problem. Learning to sketch like one is easy.
What is a Sketch?
A sketch is not a finished piece or drawing. It is the basic form, shape, and placement of objects rendered in such a way that a finished drawing can be created from it at a later time. Sketches often show minimal detail; however, indication of lights and darks can be a great assistance to you when it comes time to create the final piece. Adding simple details such as hints of texture will allow the artist to add great detail later as well.
Seeing With an Artist's Eye
First, consider the basic shapes and lines of objects. Are the underlying shapes rectangles, triangles, or circles or a combination of these? For example, a lampshade's basic shape would be that of a cone or a triangle. A person's head would be an oval (almost egg shaped). Reduce anything desired to be sketched to the most basic of shapes before you begin.
What is the size relationship between the objects in the sketch? Remember the basic rule of perspective: the closer the object is to the artist, the larger it appears. Items that are in the distance appear to be smaller, and will often seem tiny if they are on the horizon line. Once these issues have been taken into consideration, it is time to begin.
Sketch Placement and Size
When you are sketching brief outlines or thumbnail sketches on scratch paper as reference points for later works, the size and placement of the sketch on the paper does not matter so much. However, when the sketch itself is to be turned into a polished work of art, placement and size can be everything. Bigger is better when sketching or drawing a finished piece. Negative space (space that is not included as an important part of the drawing) should be at a minimum when creating your sketch. The item desired to be the main focus of the drawing should usually not be in the dead center of the page, but offset either to the right or left. You should also "ground" it on either the bottom or top third of the page. This draws the focus to your main subject.
Every artist has his or her own style of sketching. The desired effect of a sketch is unpolished and rough. So, if a circle is desired for a ball or orange, one might make several lines around to create the image of a circle, which will have a result thath is imperfect at best. Some like this method because it allows the mind to think more on the basics of the objects rather than setting that item perfectly on the paper. Other sketch artists tend to be more precise, even in preliminary sketches. As you gain experience, you'll quickly learn which style works best for you.