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  • Writer's pictureEllen Fisch

Sketching With Instagram

For a number of years I painted portraits of dogs. During that time, I sketched dogs at every opportunity. There were many. Living in New York, I could travel the tri-state area, New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut, to go to various dog shows, which always had many beautiful breeds available to observe and sketch. Show dogs also have a talent for sitting for their watchers, so I garnered much valuable information for my portraits. Then, too, there are the dog friendly areas in Central Park, such as Strawberry Fields, and numerous shelters in my area that lend themselves to dog-watching of a more spontaneous nature. I was able to capture poses of dogs in daily activities and also see numerous mixed breeds. Sketching always laid the groundwork for my oil and pastel portraits. Sketching not only saved me time and error in portrait painting but as well, it was a highly enjoyable way to increase my skills as an artist.

Sketching with the camera is also a way to prepare for serious commissioned images or commercial photography. I always have a point-and-shoot camera with me. For the last few years I have been using a Lumix, which is a great camera to walk around with. I shoot dozens of sketch-like photos during the course of a week with the Lumix, which are very useful indeed. For example, I'll photograph textures whenever I see something that may come in handy for an image with blown out highlights that I'd like to "restore" in Photoshop. Since my photography is mainly architectural, these textures will be of stucco, brick, stone, wood and the like. I also "photo sketch" for values, composition and subjects to which I'd like to return.

Instagram is a much simpler way to photo sketch than using the point and shoot camera. For one thing, the iPhone is a very accessible device with which to do very quick impressions. Using Instagram as a method to both immediately capture an image/idea and communicate to others is a great platform. Of course, for me, personally, the photographs are rarely usable for my clients or for art photography because of several reasons: low resolution, limited focusing and small shooting range of images, to name a few. If I were photographing with the cameras that I would ordinarily use on a photography shoot, I would have many more options to work with. However Instagraming on my iPhone is a very enjoyable way to sketch and to share with others some of the marvelous architecture I love.

Below are several Instagram sketches from last week.

Black and White Architectural Photography

Black and White Architectural Photography

NYC Architectural Photography

Black and White Architectural Photography

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