One of the primary skills that every artist uses is sketching. Most art classes begin by teaching beginners how to sketch. One of my first life drawing teachers emphasized the importance of sketching every day without any goal and without critiquing our work. One of the things I do to refine and enhance my sketching skill is what I call 'the two minute sketch'. I try to commit the line and shadow to paper in under two minutes. These are usually loose sketches with pencil, charcoal, pen or brush. The most important thing is to relax and keep moving. They won't be perfect and I seldom make any corrections. I particularly like doing these two minute sketches when I'm on vacation. I'll do a two minute sketch sitting on beach or at a museum and then color them in on the flight home. Here are a few examples of two minute sketches using different media. Some of these sketches I use for larger pieces and some I reproduce. You can see an example of the raven cards I had printed by my friend Teresa Tonai of Little Trees Studio using the two minute brush and ink sketches of ravens in my shop. For more of Teresa's letterpress cards visit her site.
One of my favorite two minute sketch is one I call 'Leaving Maui' which I did while looking out the window of the plane. I drew the basic shape of the coast line when we took off and then spent the an hour or so of the flight coloring it in from memory.