figure sketching

Last Night’s Party

Last night’s Portrait Party at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts was as thoroughly engrossing as the others.  At times I felt like I was in the company of professional models! though it was just us chickens of the sketching sort – a fun group.

If you have been wanting to come join us you may want to put our next date on your calendar – Thursday May 23, we’ll be at it again, 5-8pm. Everyone invited, no matter your figure drawing skills or lack thereof.

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These were my 2 minute sketches, done with a wet brush and a graphite cake, which I’d hoped would be a quicker way to do the modeling. It’s a somewhat clunky medium but gets one drawing with a brush.

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At 3 minute poses I switched to pencil and watercolor, which I liked better.

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I guess we all have our visual “issues” to overcome. When I’m sitting too close to someone I’m drawing, I can’t seem to avoid sketching them larger, often so they barely fit on the page – like Catherine here!

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I got out an Inktense pencil to sketch the one on the right.

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In this 10 minute pose I got a bit more ambitious, with more of the figure.

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Last pose of the night. A very wise woman gave us a lovely peaceful pose.

I’m so tempted to go back into these and “finish” them, but I would surely lose whatever “freshness” I have achieved. It’s wonderful practice, and frankly as good as meditation for quieting the mind. We have music playing in the background, but each person is intensely in their own creative space. The resulting portraits are as different in style as the individuals we are.

See you next month, May 23rd?

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Next Portrait Party March 21st!

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Please reserve your seat here.

and bring a donation of $10 for the Art Center.

Contact me with any questions.

Hope to sketch you there!

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Model Marathon

While the rest of the world was eating nachos and drinking beer at their Superbowl Parties yesterday I was enjoying the practically deserted freeway which took me to San Francisco for another Urban Sketcher meet-up at Fort Mason, the Bay Area Model Guild Drawing Marathon. I guess a lot of sketchers aren’t Superbowl fans because it was packed with artists and models on stages for poses from 1minute to 10 minute to long poses.

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I brought my acrylic inks and dip pens and dove into the short 1-3min poses in the morning. By afternoon I was ready for the longer 20 min poses, but found that I didn’t do as well with those. Go figure! (Pun there)

The last picture in the slideshow is of my friend Mark Simmons, an illustrator who can draw circles around just about anyone, figuratively speaking. He showed up with a long roll of paper about a yard wide. (I took this pic about 1.5 hours into the morning session!) By the end of the morning alone, as he unrolled the paper, he had filled it with twice as many figures, some in color, that seemed to dance across the paper.

Surprisingly almost all of the models were male, or at least not straight female. But in San Francisco especially one knows to be a bit more fluid in identifying gender or non-conforming gender. The lovely person you see in these sketches is a transexual model Alida, over 6 feet, powerful and exquisitely feminine at the same time, capable of holding strenuous poses and seeming to prefer them.

It’s been a whole week of figure sketching for me – at The Living Room day shelter for women and children, at the Portrait Party at Sebastopol Center for the Arts, and at the Marathon.  Stay tuned for the Portrait party next!

Reminder: Portrait Party This Thursday

If you haven’t reserved your seat for the Portrait Party this Thursday, 6-8pm at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts gallery, 282 S. High St., Sebastopol, now’s the time.

Here’s the scoop again:

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Please reserve your seat here so we know how many chairs to get out. No money required to sign up.

There’s been a lot of interest in this, so please come a bit early. Bring a donation of $10 for the Art Center. And remember to wear distinctive clothing and a hat if you can.

Don’t miss the Portrait Party!

Questions? contact me here.

100People Days 1-3

This was day three of the sketch 100 people in one week challenge. I don’t usually like to be told what kind of art to do, preferring to set my own goals. But when so many of my urban sketch friends were participating, I signed on. (you know FMO, fear of missing out?) Well, here’s what’s happening so far.

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Lamy fountain pen and ink in a 6 X 8″ Hahnemuhle Nostalgie sketchbook

I started out using the Sktchy app, and as much as possible, continuous line drawing. It helps to keep the pen on the paper so you don’t lose your place! The drawings on the right were done first, and look at the improvement already when I made it to the other side of the paper and got clearer about where to draw the lines?

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On Monday afternoon I caught the Muses (in my mixed media workshop) hard at work. Noodlers Red Black ink in the fountain pen here, and it’s slightly water soluble.

On Tuesday I was reading my friends’ blogs and feeling a bit jealous that they live in cities where there’s lots of people to draw. Here at home I have my husband or the goats at the bottom of the hill. Oh, and the cats.

 

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So I headed over to the train depot at Railroad Square in the afternoon, where there were a few men waiting together while they complained about the cost of the ride on the new SMART train. The hipster (pictured above) lingered only moments and left before I could add his girlfriend (who was a great match!)

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People don’t really stand all that still when they’re impatient for the train to come, and then it came, and that was it. So I headed over to Old Courthouse Square where I could sketch sleeping people from a distance, homeless or just down for a nice afternoon nap?

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Then headed back to the S.R. Mall to see what action was there. Not bad! On the left I was trying to capture this beafy guy while he was balancing on the outside of his feet, but he changed positions and so did my drawing. The girls on the left and the right of him were my favorite sketches of the day. No pencil first. I was discovering that when I do the quick pencil thing first, I lose the gesture, so I put it away.

From a seat on a couch in front of a furniture store in the mall I could see the old men who were resting in the chairs in the middle of the mall.The one on the left was gesturing while telling a story. . .caught it!

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Still on the sofa I’m watching the escalator traffic and getting maybe 5-10 more seconds of drawing time than with the people walking by. Then a lady comes right up to me and asks about the sofa I’m sitting on, and I realize it’s time to move on again.

And I get home and look at the sketches and see that almost everyone, even some of the people on the escalator, and the father eating dinner with his son in the food court, all are looking at their smart phones! But you already know, that’s our new world.

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Today I had to wait a long while at Toyota. I decided I was “broken in” enough to use the pocket brush pen. With that I had to slow down enough to use the tip lightly for fine lines and broadly to “paint” in the darks. But what about gray or white hair and a beard? When you have only two values, black and white, it’s challeging to show subtlety?  I realized that every line started to count more and shapes became more important.

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I haven’t counted them up yet. Since I’m headed to San Francisco for the weekend there will be lots more opportunities, and I’d like to try some color next!

How are you doing with your people sketching this week?

Character Sketching

You don’t have to look far to find characters to sketch! Your friends will do quite nicely. I borrowed the idea from my Urban Sketcher friend Vivian and her group and got some people together with costumes and attitude to pose for each other for 15 minute timed poses (with wine of course).

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We never got around to adding words at the time, but I stuck some in the next day.

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Actually I think I might have the wrong era here. More like Dickens era from the waist up, but who cares?! (She left the corset at home because it is after all the 21st century and California casual at that!)

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It’s all in the props. . .

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Switched to pencil here and more drawing with watercolor for a different look. Also got tired of painting in the clothing!

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This character reminded me of the cutest chick contest at the Butter and Eggs day in Petaluma!

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Becky’s character from Sweeney Todd. At this point I’d given up trying to get the whole figure into a 15 min sketch with color!

Hopefully these “characters” will be posting their sketches on Instagram and Facebook!

If you want to get some figure sketching practice and can’t get to a group set up, try these two free online resources:  the Sktchy phone app and Quick Poses

And then if you want to Put People in Your Sketches on location, join me on March 24 for my day-long workshop of that name, in Santa Rosa, CA. You’ll learn strategies for drawing people “in the act”, mixing believable skin tones, dealing with clothing, and connecting the figure with context. For more information visit my website!

#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