or: Sketching does not help your tableau (too much).
As an absolute beginner in painting, I have to rely on good sketches to get somewhere near the result I want, or so I thought. Last week I was doing a few sketches of one of Franz Franzetta's excellent paintings in "Rough Work". Starting from a basic line sketch
to sketches with shading
which took me all week. On Saturday I finally felt I was ready to paint - so I did, with results I feel very ambivalent about:
There is something wrong with the poor girl's shoulder and hand, not to mention her face, as my mother was quick to point out (thanks mum ;). Also, I might have bungled the proportions a bit - her head does look a bit too big in comparison with her torso, I think.
But I did learn a couple of new things: First of all, when shading with the pencil you have to pay (nearly) as much attention as when you do line-work. I still tend to be too hasty, and it shows. Second, sketching a difficult position a couple of times really helps - the girls head is inclined slightly downwards (at least in the sketches, didn't manage that in the painting), which looks cute but is a bitch to do right. Much better to do a few studies of that position than to keep at one until it looks right by accident, and you don't have any idea why.
And last but not least, the way to get better at painting is to paint. Astounding conclusion, isn't it? If I'd painted the girl four times during the week I spent sketching, the end result might have been much better.
5 hours ago