Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sketching creative people as they create

As a continuation of a goal to sketch more people on location, I have set myself a task to try and capture the focus of people set about their work. A sketch of the pastry chef at Pana Chocolate in Alexandria, through the glass walled kitchen was the first.

Next was my friend and artist Fiona Verity and her lovely Labrador Sunny in Fiona's Brookvale Studio. Fiona's work is as colourful and energetic as she is, so it was a joy to develop a sketch and at the same time witness an ocean collage emerge on the wall. So much so, that I have resolved to sketch many more creative people at work during the year.
My third sketch was the result of a morning with glass carver Kathy Elliot. Her husband Ben Edols creates the blown glass vessel and then brings it to their home studio where Kathy carves and creates surface designs.  Kathy has admirable strength and focus in addition to her skill, as she stood carving the heavy vessel at the lathe for the full hour I sketched! You can see more about the process of their beautiful work on this video.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Sketching People in Motion Craftsy class with Marc Taro Holmes

A sketch from this week in a café - 6 weeks after starting to use Marc's concepts.
Adding people to my sketches on location has always been a challenge. Particularly when I'd devote an hour or two trying to capture a building and then fear I'd destroy the overall image with distorted out of proportion figures that had nothing of the conviction I might be able to give my building.  However through Sketchbook Skool classes it became more and more clear that in order to communicate all that I want to in my sketches, to tell a story,  I needed people to complete most scenes.  Finally, I seemed to have found what would get me regular sketching people live in Marc Taro Holmes Craftsy class "Sketching People in Motion".
Live sketches from a week or two of using Marc's technique.
 Marc's style is I think quite unique to him and at first it seemed foreign and unlike my own work to add such things as a vertical shading/background line. But by having the focus of following a set method I seemed to be sketching without worrying about what people looked like until I'd made my way through all the stages. Only at the end of it did I stop to assess the sketch to realise I'd drawn a couple of people, sufficiently proportioned, telling a bit of a story. That they didn't always look recognisably like the people in front of me ultimately became irrelevant and liberating. I know that will come with further practice if I want it to.
3 weeks ago - Having to sit in waiting room became a joy - great time to study people!
I dedicated a sketchbook solely to sketching people live and ensured it was the only one I carried with me. Trying to keep myself honest to my commitment I didn't allow any food, coffee or building sketches in this sketchbook - if I had time to sketch, it had to be from live people. After getting a bit more confidence in doing this I started moving back toward more of what I think is my style and away from Marc's. One particularly huge help for me in Marc's strategy is being able to get the gesture and general shapes down in pencil first. I like sketching straight out in pen first often as it feels quicker but to get proportions right and get my confidence up, the pencil first approach is a great advantage to start with.
Last week - Watercolor first (no pencil) then pen after.
In the past week I have also been playing with watercolour first on some occasions (no pencil) which I still lose a bit of proportion on, but I find it fun and relaxing. My aim now is to keep up with the regular people sketching, maintain using Sktchy app once or twice a week (keeping familiar with faces up close helps me when people leave or are moving their head about a lot), move onto Marc's more advanced techniques (much of the above is based only on the first part of the Craftsy course) and learn more about communicating gesture, relationships and actions.
I would love to know what has helped you with sketching people live?

Friday, February 27, 2015

Boronia House, Mosman

Today I met with others of the Sydney Sketch Club at Boronia House in Mosman. I often glance in at this grand building when I pass it on Military Road, but had not before ventured through the front gate to sketch it.
Boronia House was built in 1885 and is now heritage listed and used as dining rooms for high teas and functions. An example of Victorian Filigree architecture - the iron lacework was quite a challenge.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Sketching in Melbourne

During a family trip to Geelong in December, my sister Suzette, my niece and I squeezed in a day trip to Melbourne. There is an overwhelming number of buildings I'd like to sketch there but many of them would take me 2 hours. So as not to bore my poor companions too much, we settled for a café in Hardware Lane in the morning and sketched this view from the outside tables. Lots of great little places to eat along this street.
On short notice we were also able to meet with fellow Urban Sketchers, Evelyn and Janice for lunch. I enjoy the fact that Urban Sketchers has created community both online and in real life that it is so easy to catch up with these friends and fill a couple of hours with talk of sketching, materials and travel.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Urban Sketchers Sydney at Mortuary Station

Mortuary Station, Regent Street, Sydney, from yesterday’s Urban Sketchers meet. This Gothic inspired style Sandstone structure was built in 1869. It’s original purpose was to receive the dead of the city, as they began their journey by train (along with mourners) out to Rookwood Cemetery. Such a detailed building that I appreciate so much more having sketched it. It as designed by James Barnet who also worked on the Sydney GPO in Martin Place and several other Sydney Buildings.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Coptic bound Sketchbook

Thanks to the guidance, time and patience - and the sharing of tools and materials - from sketcher Wendy Shortland I have recently completed my first Coptic bound Sketchbook. It took two sittings with Wendy and several hours for the full process from tearing the full size Canaletto 200gsm hot press paper and folding into signatures, making the covers and stitching the binding.

I'm very pleased with the outcome and looking forward to trialling it. The green fern cover paper was from Wendy's stash and I was fortunate that my friend Ethna shared with me more botanical themed paper for the end pages.

I'd like to make more - possibly with fabric covers, but for the moment will start getting used to this paper.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Urban Sketchers Sydney at Millers Point

Many historic buildings to sketch at Millers Point for the USK Sydney meet yesterday. My favourite is this one. The Lord Nelson Hotel was first licensed in 1841 when its landlord was William Wells, a former convict. It s believed to be the oldest existing hotel building in Sydney. (from the green historic plaque on the wall)