Collage as a Sketch

When I get into the studio first thing in the morning I like to take a bit of time to wake up, drink my coffee and check -in with my plans for the day. During this time I usually doodle on spare paper, make a few quick thumbnails or throw together a collage really quick. Nothing that requires any significant thought, just a little exercise to start moving the day in the right direction.

Collage materials!

Collage materials!

I keep a box of pre-cut, (or ready-to-be-cut) things next to my desk for specifically these times. Paint chips, magazines, old photos, print-outs, old sketches.... anything goes! I look for pattern, form, movement, anything that catches my eye or begs further exploration and cut those moments out. Once I've assembled those I start cutting further, grabbing for the essence of what drew me to them.

EH Sherman - cut up paper
I really want to play with the shadows on these pots.

I really want to play with the shadows on these pots.

EH Sherman collage materials

Materials Used:

Head over to my Amazon shop for links to all the materials:

- Canson watercolor sketchbook

-Elmers Adhesive Spray

-Derwent pastel pencils

-Ultramarine Acrylic Paint

EH Sherman collage assembly

At this point I just start playing. Layering color on pattern, adding daubs of paint, pencil lines... all that matters is I'm experimenting and staying curious.

EH Sherman finished sketch

Sometimes I take the finished collage and sketch around it, playing with color and rhythm - just expanding on the shapes found. It's a great exercise before digging into work and other projects!

I'd love to hear about your experiences with collage - how do you find the pieces you use?

Sketching Forms - Runspiration

Running is everything to my art practice.

In Miami, I made a point to get outside every night (or every-other night) and go for a longish, meditative run. Usually I would wait until the sun had dipped behind the taller condos, because, well, Miami… but here in Michigan I’ve been looking for the hottest part of the day to head out, because it’s cold.

And now that I’m running while the sun is still up, I’m finding myself stopping far more frequently to take pictures. Some are just cute (ducks in a pond, flowers pushing through ice...etc) but most of them are images I plan to play with and expand on once I get home. Branches making shadows on the snow, patterns left by melting ice, anything with an interesting composition or color story.

I am loving all the shades of blues and greens I’m finding up here.

I am loving all the shades of blues and greens I’m finding up here.

EH Sherman sketch

I’m not sure if this habit is so great for developing as a runner, but it’s been a wonderful tool to get my brain in gear to paint for the day.

With that being said, the trails are calling my name.


Sketching in South Pointe Park

I'm in the middle of a few ongoing projects, and have been feeling a little bit out-of-whack recently. Just a bit unorganized, a bit cluttered in my headspace, a bit anxious as I make work.

To combat this I decided to take all of today off. I know, it seems totally counter-intuitive to block off an entire day off from making work, when I'm growing increasingly anxious about my timeframe to make said work - but it's exactly what I needed to get back to baseline.

I packed up my usual travel supplies (sketchbook, camera(s), watercolor pencils, graphite sticks and ipod), slathered myself in sunscreen and hopped on my bike. I had no idea where I wanted to go, just that I needed to go somewhere.

Intuitive biking.

I rode over to the beach, taking turns when they felt correct and going straight if I didn't feel like turning, literally no goal in mind and happy as a clam. Eventually I ended up at South Pointe Park before I decided to lock up my bike and walk around. The whole trip out there was mirroring very much how I felt about some of the work I was making: starting out with no clear picture of the end goal. However, on the bike it was freeing and not anxiety-inducing. The moment that analogy popped into my mind I immediately felt a sense of calm return. I could fix this.

Focusing on that, on allowing myself to meander (both in my work and on the beach) I found a nice quiet spot to sit down and sketch. I watched the boats come and go, watched rollerbladers and kite-flyers and soaked in the beach vibes of the park.

EH Sherman Abstract Sketches

I'm not sure if anything could have been as helpful as taking that full day out of the studio. When I returned home I made a nice big slooow dinner, careful to stay mindful of the peace I found while navigating the beach on my bike.

I’m not going to pick up my brushes tonight either, but start fresh in the morning.


EH Sherman Art at South Pointe Park in Miami
Can't be stressed looking at this.

Can't be stressed looking at this.