Thursday, 12 June 2014

People people people

I seem to be drawing a lot of people these days with the UrbanSketchers meetup or at my Wednesday night life drawing group.  The first event was the West End farmers' market, in a beautiful setting in Vancouver's west end.  There was a big crowd of people (including many sketchers).  I'm learning that to draw crowds, I only need to do a few nearby people with a bit of detail, then just keep moving my hand in the same way smaller and smaller into the distance - a circle for the head, a bigger oval for the body, a few lines angling out here and there for limbs, then some dabs of colour for clothes.  The closeup shows that there isn't much there, but in the right context your eye can't help but see people (and maybe even the guitar-player?).  Same goes for the plants in the exuberant garden plots in the area.  I also drew passers-by, using the technique of staring for a couple seconds then closing my eyes and trying to "photograph" the person on my eyelids before I draw.   

The other meetup event was Dr Sketchy's, the monthly burlesque drawing, beer-drinking, really-odd-music-listening evening at the Wallflower Cafe in Vancouver.  The model had an orange theme going (Orange is the New Black - a pop culture reference that is a few decades too recent for me).  I normally paint my quick figure drawings in an orangey colour - actually burned ochre with some cadmium yellow and red - but I thought I'd try a pink to set off the orange hair and clothing.  But that was too naked-looking somehow, so I went with full-blown orange for the 10 minute poses.  

 And then the more traditional life drawing - no beer-drinking, but still some really odd music, provided by me.  I've been working with water-soluble ink followed by watercolour.  It gives nice soft lines and shadows where the paint touches the ink, especially if I do a second pass over the wet ink.  And it comes with the exciting risk of wrecking the whole thing in one black-eye ink-blotch-covering-half-the-face moment, a good reminder that it's just a piece of paper that can always be recycled.

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