Tuesday, September 1, 2015

I Don't Draw People Except When I Do

It was difficult, what with the windstorm and the rain and the lack of electricity and all the trees and branches on the roads and traffic lights out and all that stuff, to get outside to sketch this past weekend.

So I sketched inside, not really my favorite thing to do.  It's good to stretch my sketching comfort zone, though!

On Friday morning, before the storm, I had an impromptu sketch moment after grocery shopping -- I had emptied everything onto the kitchen counter and suddenly realized it could be a fun subject.  So I grabbed my sketch pad and drew directly with pen and watercolor as quickly as possible so I could put stuff away in the fridge:

There are a lot of veggie burgers with guacamole in my life.

Saturday there was no sketching due to the power outage and the winds.  I did work out an idea for a bathroom mural, because there are still blank walls in my house that must be painted!  More on that as it develops later.

On Sunday afternoon Nicole and Tina had a notion to sketch indoors and they wanted to practice drawing people.  You know I don't draw people, so this had no great appeal, but I did want to go sketching.  I suggested Third Place Books, as it is huge and I've sketched there before without having to draw a lot of people -- plenty of other subject matter.  Alas, it was closed due to the outages.

We wound up at a small coffee house in Shoreline instead.  People everywhere!  Gah. Well, I decided that if I'm going to fully embrace urban sketching, then I need to get over this barrier.  In my first effort, I started small by focusing fully on the empty chairs, with just a few messy scratches for the customers sitting way in the back.

Meanwhile, Tina was drawing faces left and right, all over the place, and doing a fine job of it.  Darn it, I ought to be able to do that too!  For my second sketch, I chose the counter where the two staff were working -- I did focus mainly on the furnishings, but managed to get those two people in.  They moved around a lot, but just like the animals at the zoo, they often returned to their previous positions and I was able to jot down a few more lines whenever they did.  Whew!

At one point I was having trouble figuring out how the young woman's hair looked, as I'd gotten only a brief glance before she wandered off elsewhere.  Then when I was nearly finished, she came over to our table to chat -- and I realized she was tilting her head in precisely the same manner as when I drew her behind the counter.  As she stood there talking to Tina, I quickly drew her hair in.  Hurrah!

Now I think that drawing people must be added to my repertoire.  Sure, I had plenty of figure drawing and portrait drawing classes back in the day -- WAY WAY back in the day.  Those skills are very rusty.  And as with any skill, improvement will come with practice.  Lots and lots of practice.  Oh, goody, more fun to come!


  1. I love second coffee shop sketch! It's the few spots of color that really make it work, at least for me. Did the barista see your drawing? The blond guy looks a little mean.

    1. The barista didn't notice my drawing, she was more interested in the book on urban sketching that Tina was looking through. The guy (we kept calling him Bun Guy for his topknot) was actually quite nice, he just moved around too much to get a good likeness. And yes, thank you for noticing the color scheme -- I deliberately left a lot of stuff without color so I could highlight a few things. Glad it worked!

  2. Great job on both. I imagine you had to go buy more veggie burgers and avocado after the darn power outage. Phooey.
    I have a really cute baby you can draw/paint next time you are down here, hint, hint. He does move around a lot though.

    1. The veggie burgers were in the freezer, so they were fine. Guacamole was unopened and okay. I did have to replace milk, eggs, opened mayo, and tuna salad for a grand total of $8 so not too bad.

      That baby will be moving even faster by the time I get back down there!

    2. And there will be two of them! Oh my. Glad you didn't have to spend a lot on food. :)