The point of a sketch is to give you an idea of what a finished product will look like. It's a prototype, and all good prototypes leave room for changes. Take this sketch, for instance. It's my first attempt at a detailed sketch of an illustration, because while it has been fine for me to jump in on projects, previously, by just going direct to finished drawing without even a thumbnail sketch (I'll post an example later), those projects have usually involved computer colours (where the original pencils would never be seen), and have always been simple stuff — one, two, three figures at most.
Now, however, I need to expand, quite literally. I want to do a relatively complex, inked scene on a fairly large piece of paper. I had considered just going for it, but the feeling that if anything went less than well on the project (and I'd be stuck with a piece I didn't like and didn't want to complete) nagged me no end. So I decided to do a sketch in a small notebook, entirely in pencil and ball point pen.
The results were quite good, and I was happy even when it was bad. Confused? Let me explain:
Taking one look at this finished sketch, I can tell right away that it will make a good inked drawing. I also know that the composition doesn't quite work. I need to shift the 'camera' around a little. Now, I didn't know this before it was done, and if I'd have gone direct to the final I'd have a pretty but boring picture on my hands. The framing of the two silhouetted figures is also a bit forced, and composition-wise it makes the right side of the image too heavy — the picture is 'off-balance'. My inital plan on how to light the eyes of the creature is also wrong. You will note that the bottom left row of eyes appears to be lit from above, whereas the major light source is clearly the lantern the man is holding. The rest of the eyes are shaded right.
Also along the way, the scene has changed a lot. If you peek in the top corner of the pic you can maybe see a blurry pencilled mini-thumb of what I had initially planned, which was pretty-much the same scene but with a one-eyed monster and set against a moon-like outer-space setting. In fact, it wasn't even going to be a crashed ship, but some kind of ancient altar. Furthermore, I had planned more creatures attacking them, but I think I'll learn to draw creepy, gloomy swamps before I try to tackle hordes of anatomically correct running bipeds, thanks.
So hopefully when I'm feeling confident enough I'll put this one down on a large sheet of paper and ink it. Until then, I hope you enjoy the sketch.