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Rough out your painting first with a sketch
Before launching out into a painting it can be helpful to "rough out" your idea with a sketch. Here are a couple of examplesIt's always a good idea to do a small sketch before you start painting for real. Even if it only takes a couple of minutes, there's a process going on in your mind about the overall shape, and the highlights and shadows - the lighting in other words. Doing this will definitely make the painting that you then do more successful. But the key is not to take a long time, otherwise it will become a sketching project rather than preparation to painting. Here's an example, done with water soluble crayon on the Cornish coast at St. Just in Roseland. It was raining and it took maybe 3 minutes to complete, but it was all I needed.
It doesn't much matter what you use to do your sketch with. Here's another one I did using a fine permanent marker and two shades of pale grey spirit marker. The spirit markers as you can see here are good for suggesting areas of light and shadow. Again, all very quick - done just to help me think out the composition and areas of light and shadow:
Be aware with spirit markers, though, that they can "bleed" through thin paper as has happened here: