Getting in line

Today I decided to keep it simple. Pen and ink, blind drawing and the queue at the coffee shop & bakery.

The queue at the bakery, pen and ink, 19 March 2016

The queue at the bakery, pen and ink, 19 March 2016

It’s annoying that my current sketchbook is just a fraction too large to fit on my scanner so I’ve had to scan and re-join today’s drawings.

The queue at the bakery, pen and ink, 19 March 2016

The queue at the bakery, pen and ink, 19 March 2016

Facing up to it

I’ve said it beforeĀ that drawing faces is one of the biggest challenges I have in drawing. I’m not even talking ‘likenesses’ – I don’t expect to become a portraitist – I just want to draw someone who looks like an individual. This is currently the bread and butter of my sketchbook routine, go to the coffee shop and draw people’s faces.

Faces at a coffee shop, pen and ink and brush pen, 14 August 2015

Faces at a coffee shop, pen and ink and brush pen , 14 August 2015

I opted to do the Marc Taro Holmes workshop at the Singapore Symposium to try and get a handle on how I could approach this task and I found it quite helpful.

Double spread, typical of my cafe drawings, pen and ink and brush pen , 15 August 2015

Double spread, typical of my cafe drawings, pen and ink and brush pen , 15 August 2015

Marc has very kindly posted the link to his notes for this class on his blog.

Here’s last night’s effort. A double-page of faces and gestures from our pub trivia night at the Hellenic Club in Canberra. They may not recognise themselves, (possibly better if they don’t), but I’m happy that at least these people look like individuals.

Faces at the trivia night, pen and ink and brush pen , 8 September 2015

Faces at the trivia night, pen and ink and brush pen, 8 September 2015

Free the people

I’ve been working on drawing people for some months now. I don’t find it easy and I might easily persuade myself to draw something else but I am persisting with it. To try and improve the outcomes – in my eyes at least – I’ve been trying out some different techniques.

My default position to date has been a fairly realistic approach which relies on hoping my subjects are wearing sunglasses so I don’t have to draw tricky eyes and noses. Most of these drawings work, but the result is that my city appears to be occupied by shady characters at best and the random, deranged-looking person at worst.

Cyclists, pen and ink and wash, 23 June 2015

Cyclists, pen and ink and wash, 23 June 2015

I’ve been tossing around some options for changing my approach to drawing people. I was much happier with the quick sketches I did at the beach earlier this year, where I used a quick wash of watercolour that I quickly sketched into. So over the past few weeks I’ve been working on this as a new approach to people sketching in cafes.

Trying a new approach, watercolour and graphite, 24 July 2015

Trying a new approach, watercolour and graphite, 24 June 2015

I’ve mainly used a watercolour graphite pencil to add detail, I’m also trying using my pen and ink.

Busy Saturday, watercolour and pen and ink, 4 July 2015

Busy Saturday, watercolour and pen and ink, 4 July 2015

I’ve also found that if I put down a light wash that I can also quickly add some shadows and contours with subsequent washes.

Man reading, watercolour and graphite, 27 June 2015

Man reading, watercolour and graphite, 27 June 2015

And while it might seem obvious it has also dawned on me that if I am working on a small piece of paper it is actually harder to get a well drawn face because I don’t have enough space to capture the details I want, duh!

There’s no doubt that I’m still better at capturing body shapes than faces,

The coffee queue, watercolour and grapjite, 11 July 2015

The coffee queue, watercolour and grapjite, 11 July 2015

but I am keeping on with this approach.

Two people , quick sketch, watercolour and graphite, 11 July 2015

Two people , quick sketch, watercolour and graphite, 11 July 2015

Coffee shots

I’ve been busy this week so my regular coffee schedule has been all mixed up. However, I managed to make two drawings on Tuesday. One person sat very still while waiting for his coffee (if only I could get everyone to do so).

Seated man, pen, ink and wash, 23 June 2015

Seated man, pen, ink and wash, 23 June 2015

After he left I drew some cyclists sitting in the outside area.

Cyclists, pen and ink and wash, 23 June 2015

Cyclists, pen and ink and wash, 23 June 2015

After several days of not so good weather we are finally having a bright sunny winter’s day. Not wanting to miss out on such a pleasant day we called some friends and met up for coffee. Per usual finding something interesting to draw when I go to the same place most weeks is a challenge. Today we were the only customers when we arrived at the cafe. So I settled on painting the tree trunk and shadows that we cast on it. I’m pretty pleased with the result.

Tree with cast shadows, watercolour, 25 June 2015

Tree with cast shadows, watercolour, 25 June 2015

BTW I’m the odd figure on the left with ‘horns’. I’m wearing my novelty hat with the cat’s ears that I bought in Beijing last year! (Oh well if you can’t be a good example you just have to be a horrible warning!)