Santa Rosa Mall

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.


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?


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.



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!)


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?


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!


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.


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.


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?


Rainy Day at the Mall

Usually I try to steer clear of the shopping Mall, especially this time of year when the Christmas commercial hype is in full gear. (Sorry, is my bad attitude showing?) But it was raining and our other sketch plan fell through, so we decided to give the Santa Rosa Mall a try.


If this guy looks a little wooden, it’s because he is, or maybe plastic. We lucked out and got a table in the middle of the entryway where we could drink our coffee and do a 360 degree sketch.


Every one of these window mannikins had several red and yellow sale tags on them. I guess they figured people wouldn’t see the 6 foot red and yellow sign?


Lovely store window here, even if the paper owl does look like Darth Vader. Here are all the super feminine, sexy clothes that don’t fit my comfort needs, but great to look at and sketch. As usual we had people taking our picture – the allure of the urban sketcher, you know – met the family of a very young artist who shared his methods with us, and got asked if we could illustrate a children’s book. And I overcame a bit of my Mall-phobia with each hour. We all agreed that sketching with friends is indeed a panacea.