Today I did two small sketches (3.5×6 inches each) of the same photo reference to compare sketching freehand and sketching using a traced underdrawing. I did the freehand sketch first.
To get the traced underdrawing for the second sketch I placed a clear clipboard on top of my Fire 7 and traced outlines around the major shapes using a wet-erase black marker directly on the clipboard. I used the wet-erase marker because it would not smudge, but could be easily erased with a dampened tissue. I then took the clipboard off the Fire 7, put a piece of watercolor paper on top of the clipboard, and backlit the tracing with a powerful LED flashlight so I could see the lines through the paper. I colored the sketch first using Neocolor II watersoluble crayons. I then blended the color with a moist waterbrush, and finally came back over the color with pen and ink.
I’m pretty good at drawing freehand, but it takes me longer because without an underdrawing I have to take the time to consider shapes, angles, proportions, etc. as I draw. I spent roughly 10 minutes drawing and 10 minutes coloring the freehand sketch and maybe 30 seconds tracing the underdrawing and 20 minutes coloring and finishing the second sketch. The major difference then is that by using a traced underdrawing I am able to shorten the drawing time and have more time for the fun stuff, coloring and finishing the sketch. Composition and accuracy are also helped.
The Fire 7 has a built in camera so I could easily create an underdrawing from a photo while sketching on location. I have also figured out how to transfer photos from my Sony camera to the Fire 7 in case I want to use a camera with better resolution and a zoom lens. Fun stuff.