Mastering Composition: Unveiling the Artistry of Black and White Sketching

Black and white sketching has been a total game-changer for my compositions.

Most people are surprised to find out that all of my designs start out as black and white sketches considering how little I actually use the color black in my art. 

Picture this: I'm sitting with my trusty sketchbooks ready to start a new collection - my team thinks it's hilarious that I use multiple different sketchbooks at the same time. (Here are my favorite sketchbooks if you were curious.)

But here's the twist – I'm all about the black and white groove at this stage.

Black and White Composition Sketches by Adam Trest

By focusing solely on tones and values, I can explore the play of light and shadow, nail down forms, and set up the composition's rhythm without the color distraction.

Typically, it takes about 10 rounds of sketching before I'm ready to start painting. 

At this point in my process, I'm juggling multiple versions of my initial sketch, each a step closer to nailing the final product. 

Black and white still takes center stage here, helping me fine-tune the arrangement of elements, the visual flow, and the overall impact.

And now, it's time to bring in color. Those black and white sketches weren't just a warm-up act. They're my secret weapon. They lay the groundwork. 

The depth and dimension I achieve during the monochrome phase serve as the solid foundation for the color story. 

Black and White Composition Sketches by Adam Trest

When I was working on the pieces for Melody, I heavily relied on the black and white sketching process. 

After painting the first 4 pieces, something was off.

They weren't sitting right with me.

So I painted over the canvases, went back to my sketchbooks and pulled an all nigthter.  

I heavily relied on the black and white compositions to finally nail down what i wanted to create. 

Let this be a testament to the art of black and white sketching – a journey from sketchbook dreams to iterative tinkering and finally, a vibrant explosion of color.

When it comes to painting and creating original art, it's all about embracing the process, navigating the twists, and finding your rhythm. 

Prints of this collection are available for purchase. Click here to shop. 

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