Reportage Sketching

Intro to Sketching in Public (Sebastopol)

It’s always a crap shoot to schedule an outdoor sketch workshop in March! But somehow we slipped between the rain storms for an idyllic weather day last Saturday in Sebastopol town for the Intro to Sketching in Public workshop. We took over the stage area on the Plaza for the introductions and then spread out in the plaza for the morning of demo and sketching.

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We look at bit bundled up here, but it was warm in the sun. After some drawing warm ups I demonstrated continuous line drawing and shared thoughts about how we decide what to put in and what to leave out of a quick sketch.

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I certainly left out more than I put in! All those cars and benches and things. I’d still be there sketching if I’d put them all in!

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Lunchtime and the afternoon was spent in the Barlow where there’s plenty to eat and sketch. I picked a spot across from a clothing shop for a 5 minute sketch and then added the color in a demo later, adding splatter and white pen detail with the Uniball Signo white pen. Once again I left out way more than I put into this scene, capturing only the “bling” that attracted me.

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Last stop of the day was in front of everyone’s favorite coffee shop, Taylor Maid, and the Floral Design shop. There are still areas of the Barlow that are undeveloped, like this scene from bygone years across the street  And if you can tell me what it is, I would appreciate knowing. Does it have something to do with apples? Grains? Wine? Beer? None of the above?

Fool’s Day Parade in Occidental

I’m hosting my first SF Sketchers Meet Up! and it’s here in Occidental this Saturday, the Fool’s Day. Hope you’ll join me in some foolishness and sketching.

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If you sign up on Meetup.com for SF Sketchers, you’ll get invitations like this all the time. And then you can RSVP so the leader has an idea of who to expect and can answer any questions.

Here’s some of my sketches from a previous year of foolishness.

Sketching at home

When it’s not the season for travel or time for local event sketching, there’s always what is close at hand. I no longer sketch my food and drink, which is recommended by some of my favorite luminaries such as Danny Gregory and Liz Steel. But I’ve had my eye on the rusty mailbox next door, and then there’s always the goats at the bottom of the hill.

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Lamy Joy fountain pen and watercolor in soft cover Beta Stillman + Birn sketchbook

And then there’s the town I live (outside of), Sebastopol, where I’ll be teaching two workshops this spring. The first is “Introduction of Sketching in Public” on March 25th. So I’ve been wandering around town with the eyes of a tourist sketcher to find what one could capture quickly in a workshop setting.

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A lovely water fountain in the plaza and an exercise in connecting it with the background while leaving out most of the rest of what was there! That’s the hard part.

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I found a bench in the sun and had a few minutes left to doodle some people. I often end up liking these “doodles” better than the more finished ones. You’d think I’d learn.

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But another day I had more time, and a good spot to sit with a friend and kept sketching awhile after my subject had left. Of course they always leave before you’re done!

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fountain pen and watercolor in Toned Tan Strathmore Art Journal

And then there’s always the selfie. This one done while on an hour-long phone call in front of my computer (one looks for time where it is to be found), which might account for having lost a bit of the top of her head. Oh well.

I’ve had people tell me I should paint more attractive self portraits of myself, but this is so much more amusing. I think I feel a series coming on. After all, you don’t have to pay this subject to sit and she’s always available to sketch live!

Day 5: #OneWeek100People2017

Golly, I hope you’re not too tired of seeing all these people sketches. Yesterday was the final day (of 5) to get in the 100 people sketches. For a last minute spree Bettina and I sat/stood in the loft at Taylor Maid coffee in Sebastopol, the perfect place to catch people at that interesting angle looking down. A bonus is that no one looks up to see that you are sketching them!

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Platinum Carbon fountain pen in Stillman +Birn Beta sketchbook (soft cover)

This is a tricky angle because we’re so used to sketching at eye level that we don’t get the perspective right. Her legs were probably not that long when seen from above.

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I kept trying to capture the hand gestures as people talked to each other and only occasionally caught something before they moved on. I think if I sat for 3 hours I would probably have a chance to jump in fast enough. The hand is such a complicated structure that it requires quite a bit of study and practice in itself. I’ll put that on my (endless) to do list!

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It’s always more fun to sketch with a friend, and we had lots to discuss, but when the brain is tied up with such talk, it’s not as able to access the critical measuring and comparing part of drawing, so here I was getting sloppy. Determined though to get this woman’s hand gesture!

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This beautiful young woman reminded us so much of the lasses we saw in Ireland last summer. She was animated in every part of her body as she conversed with the young man opposite.

Painting in the red hair later seemed to rescue this sketch. I mixed up a puddle of yellow, red and a tad of blue and put some skin color in so the sketches seemed a bit more “human” and left it at that.

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Once again, not having to draw the face made it easier to get the gesture and foreshortening. Sometimes I find that my line gets squiggly from the excitement of the moment. The line takes over and wants to describe something quirky. O.K., I say. GO for it!

#OneWeek100People2017, Day 4

Day 4 of the challenge I decided to speed things up a bit more. Using the QuickPoses.com site I set the timer on 60 seconds and got out my Pentel Pocket Brush Pen which is great for gestural sketching (I had forgotten how much I love this pen!)

The Quick Poses in the clothes and costumes category tend to be action poses that rely heavily on costumes with weaponry with only an occasional ballet dancer or fashion model thrown in. I had to sit on my judgments about that and just get started!

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I don’t seem to be able to fit too many of these gestures on a page (6 X 9″ sketchbook,) so I had to keep flipping pages. The figures are grouped randomly by me to save some paper. Some interesting story lines resulted from the pairings!

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In this one for instance, the pinup figure appears to be held hostage. (Not my intention!)

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I was catching on here about leaving out what i didn’t have time to draw. How little we need to recognize a figure.

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My brush pen is starting to run out of ink here!

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So I switch to the Lamy Joy fountain pen. The muscle man pose is a gift! Most figure models are attractive women ,so it takes longer to learn how to sketch a male physique.

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The break dancer was particularly difficult, but I think the skateboarder may be my favorite.

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But I had to get some live model practice and headed to town to catch the high schoolers who always swarm the Safeway grocery store after school and hang out in front. It was a warm day, so they all seemed to have those multi-colored ice pops and some sodas. I felt like a lurker, standing behind my car directly across from them. But of course they didn’t notice me. Adults are largely invisible to people this age.

You probably know of Danny Gregory of sketchbook fame? I loved his video, I’d rather draw you than shoot you on the difference between the way a camera sees and we human’s see . Watching it this morning made it just a bit easier to accept the gross imperfections of my own efforts and appreciate this process. Thanks Danny! Collecting 100 sketches in 5 days of busy life doesn’t lend itself particularly to accuracy in drawing, but a lot of life is getting communicated nevertheless!

#OneWeek100People2017

Internat’l Women’s Day and Day 2 + 3

Today wasInternational Women’s Day along with Day 3 of the 100 people sketches in a week challenge, and I was able to celebrate all in one!

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I arrived late to the noon time demonstration in Santa Rosa and no sooner had I gotten a few lines down the paper when a reporter from the Press Democrat got interested in the three of us who were sketching there and started interviewing us. (and here I was worried that we’d look like we weren’t participating!) So I got to talk about Reportage sketching or documentary journaling and how it actually connects us deeply with the action in the moment.

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My favorite part is the signs. Note my friends Bettina and Carole, busy documenting! And the hands waving as cars drive by honking in agreement. It was a wear-red day, in support of the Day Without Women strike.

Day Two of the 100 people challenge we met at Oliver’s Market cafe in Windsor.

It was really easy to get our 20 sketches for the day in just about an hour.

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When there was a lag in the folks sitting in the cafe, we just switched to sketching each other.

#OneWeek100People2017

Day 1: 100 people sketch week

There’s a lot of sketching folks out there this week rising to the #OneWeek100People2017 challenge! So I couldn’t resist. It’s actually a five day challenge, which means 20 people/day sketched any way you want. But if you’re busy, obviously that means fast! Monday is always a very full day for me with my Mom’s group in the morning and Muse Group in the afternoon.

So sleepy-eyed in the evening after dinner I sat down to sketch from QuickPoses.com, a great online resource for when you can’t get out and sketch live. Most of these I started out with watercolor and added ink.

After finishing these I wanted to keep going but it was getting late. These poses are so great!! I think I could get addicted. And to reach the 100 goal I’m going to have to work faster and simpler. Maybe just stick to pen. Later today I’ll be in a grocery store with my sketch buddies capturing live movement with more speed and probably a lot less accuracy.

Why do this? Drawing is one of those activities that improves with quantity, like reps with those barbells or miles of walking/running/biking. And there’s a previous limitation to overcome. 100 sketches in 5 days just might do it.

I find inspiration in so many places. Here’s some of my favorites:  Marc Taro Holmes of course, and Liz Steel, and Suhita Shirodhar. They’re all blogging about this challenge this week and talking honestly about the process. Check it out! And I’ll be back every day to share my own discoveries/sketches.

#OneWeek100People2017