I was asked whether or not I do sketches for a composition before I hire a model or go looking for additional reference material. The answer is, yes. Lots of sketches. Usually, in the process, one idea will fracture into several related ideas that might not all work in one composition. This is exactly what is happening with the ‘How Far We Can Go’ idea, and why I think it would make a fun series.

When I do hire a model, I find it incredibly useful to have some sketches on hand to help communicate the mood and attitude I am hoping to get from the photo shoot. Once in a while, the pose I have drawn works out just right and the composition ends up reflecting the quick sketch pretty closely. Most of the time, having a real person in front of me with the lighting set up leads to improvements in the pose or a complete rethinking of the idea.

Here is a selection of sketches I had on hand during the photo shoot for this current project:

I suspect a lot of these ideas will eventually find their way into paintings in some way. Some of these sketches are a year or two old…and you might be able to see early concepts for paintings already in my portfolio.