One of my goals this year is to learn to draw faster. I guess that implies sketching. Which brings up a good question: What is the difference between sketching and drawing? I haven't really made a clear distinction in my mind yet. They're sort of the same, except I think sketching implies speed and a less finished look. Or maybe it conveys movement. Definitely energy.
A book on my art-books shelf (one of many) is David Rankin's Fast Sketching Techniques: Capture the Fundamental Essence of Elusive Subjects. I think that is what I want to do. I want to be able to go to a zoo or a farm or any place where animals gather and be able to come away with something recognizable. Birds! I'd love to be able to render birds in a way that somehow captures some of their "fundamental essence". I think this is going to take a lot of time and practice. I'd better start now.
I tried some of his fast sketching techniques while watching CSpan2 Book TV. It was sort of fun! I took too much time with these drawings, but I found I could at least get somewhat of a likeness by drawing fast as the camera cut away and using the pencil as a shading tool and blending with the stump.
And then I tried drawing from life, which I much prefer. Of course drawing a sleeping dog doesn't require being able to draw fast, but dogs often shift position. It turns out it is handy to be able to draw quickly.