Why draw at all? Drawing is practicing to see. When we practice to see, we get better at it... which leads us to make better paintings. Also, while drawing, we tend to stare intently and look slower.
I draw to document the moment and record what I'm looking at. My sketchbooks become my files of memories, along with rambling notes, thoughts and ideas - my journal. I refer back to all of this before beginning the larger paintings.
The Sketchbook - I prefer spiral bound sketchbooks for the convenience of folding back on itself, providing a solid foundation. I also don't have to fight with the sketchbook to keep it open!
I like the paper in my sketchbooks to be sturdy enough to accept light watercolor sketches without curling. Hot Press (HP - smooth surface) is ideal for drawing with ink pens. Cold Press (CP - rough surface) is a good tooth for pencil, charcoal and pastel.
I keep sketchbooks all around me - mostly because I can never remember where I left it! My sketchbook pages are never in chronological order, therefore I grab the closest one to jot down ideas, sketch a thought or draw a point of view. Sketchbooks are a good source to revisit!
Sketching Materials and the Demo - My black ink pen of choice is a Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen. They are available in three nib sizes, are conservation quality and permanent. This is especially an advantage when combined with light watercolor washes.
How I Draw... As a previous industrial designer, I have always drawn. As a child, I drew continually. Drawing is how I communicate my ideas. But sketching on location - Plein Aire - is a different goal for me. I strive to zoom in on just one focal point and not the entire scene. It's usually a loose, abstract sketch, so the time doing it is short and sporadic - Not a lot of planning time.
For longer sketches, I begin with a very loose black Pitt Artist Pen drawing, noting the dark and light sections. If I want to add color, I bring out my tin box of Derwent InkTense Watercolor Pencils and sketch with a dry drawing and coloring technique over the pen drawing. Anxious to see what all this will look like, I brush on clean water, dissolving the dry color pencil marks into beautiful flowing puddles of watercolor!
So get out of your studio and practice looking slower!