When I am completing a sketch, I am evaluating many things— composition, values (how light or dark things are), color, story line, title, etc… I also evaluate the amount of white space, whether to color everything in, and how the eye flows around the sketch. There are times when I think a border will enhance a sketch… somehow a border ties everything together. Here are a few recent and older sketches to illustrate that idea…
This fuel station sketch was done while sitting in a coffee shop looking out the window at the airport gate area. Though most of the page is filled by the sketch itself, I added a border around a portion of it. I liked how it contained the text as part of the drawing.
This sketch is really busy, with a ton of things going on… Although it also filled up the page, I decided to add a border while letting the plants and flowers and text ooze out of it. I felt it pulled all these random sketches together.
“Remi” is an example of me working on a much larger sketch page and liking all the elements. However, I determined that there was just too much white space for my liking, so a border helped make the sketch seem smaller and the space along the edge felt more manageable to me. I allowed Remi’s nose and the backpack to seep out of the border too.
This recent sketch from Friday is a two-page sketch. I started drawing the plant and decided to let the flower stems meander across the “gutter” (middle of the page), but then didn’t know how else to fill the space. I let it sit a day. Sometimes I dream up a theme before I start to sketch, other times, I have part of a sketch and have to decide what to add to complete it. So I chose some Valentine’s candy. I tried to balance out the sketch by placing elements in diagonal corners and with some spattering of watercolors and a border, I think it ties it together. I could have written more text (under the plant pot), but decided to let the sketch “breathe” by keeping more space open.
Finally, I did a sketch of some snow shoes a few days ago. I chose to add a border at the end of the sketch, as I felt like the snowshoes needed showcasing in some way. I allowed some text and the enlarged area to peep out of the border.
When do you like to use borders in your sketches? What are some things you have tried? I find that borders can enhance a sketch, although it does take courage to draw them. Many times I try to imagine what the page will look like if I put a border around everything, wondering what will happen if I don’t like it. You can’t get rid of it. But I just trust my instinct and find that usually I am happy with the results. And if you don’t like it, you can turn the page and move on. The beauty of sketching!