You can practice sketching people “in the wild”, working quickly with just one color of pencil. No way to be sure that your subject will sit still, so you need to work fast! Get the biggest, darkest shapes and shadows in first. Then add smaller bits or lines as needed.
people in a restaurant, Mexico City
Decide if you want your people to be the only item, or the most important elements. You might want to sketch a scene wheree the people are minor characters. Even small figures can help convey the feeling or atmosphere of a sketch.
The students who joined me for my third annual Day of the Dead sketching workshop in SanMiguel de Allende came from as far away as California, British Columbia and New Zealand!
Our visit to the Mask Museum in San Miguel provided a fascinating look at about 600 authentic masks used in indigenous festivals and rituals.
We had opportunities to sketch people preparing themselves for the costume parties and parades, as well as the collection of folk art at Galeria Atotonilco.
My sketch of the colorful scene in El Jardin on the night of November 1st features a fat mariachi horn player, and just a few of the many costumed revelers, with the illuminated Parroquia church as a backdrop.
On the following day we went to a large cemetery, where we could respectfully observe the tributes to dead relatives prepared by families. Flowers and snacks were arranged around graves and monuments. I improvised a sketch using elements plucked from the scene.
A glorious climax to the day was a performance of Mozart’s Requieum inside the Parroquia. I arrived almost 2 hours early to be sure of a seat. This is music I know intimately, as a choral singer. I was able to capture an impression of the audience during this sublime event.
Six of us had a lively sketching session at Fabrica la Aurora, a complex of galleries, studios and shops which used to be a textile factory. It was a Thursday, so the topic was THINGS: still life or objects such as potted plants, tall space heaters, ornate lamps. Here are the sketchbooks we “throw down”at the end of the class.
On Thursday, August 3rd, I gave my San Rafael workshop students a challenge that I learned from the recent Urban Sketchers Symposium. After a warmup with photos from great Chicago architecture, we went to City Plaza down the street. The task— combine three points of view into one sketch. (Thanks to Veronica Lawlor for that exercise). Here are some of the results. Thanks to Anne, Kimberly and Stephanie
Chicago, my home town, hosted the 8th annual Urban Sketching Symposium, with over 500 sketchers attending worldwide. What a great opportunity to return after 25 years, to see the familiar as well as new architecture and art.
Today was the second (and last) session for my sketching Fast & Loose offering as part of the Urban Sketchers 10 x 10 series. Here’s a photo with all 8 students displaying the terry-cloth wrist-bands I provide for dabbing their water-brush.
The only supplies used were aquarelle (water-soluble) colored pencils and a water brush to release pigment and create color blends. Students were encouraged to be bold and fearless, using the minimum number of strokes. I shared tips for achieving good compositions: zoom in on just a few items, create variety wherever possible: tonal range, amount of detail, sizes and shapes.
Wonderful energy in our sketches of fruit and vegetables, then after a break, fish and baked goods. Here are some samples by members of the class….bon appetite, or buen provecho!
Here’s my most recent wedding painting. It’s 18 x 24″ and features Ryan and Trish, accompanied by friends and family. Trish’s two sisters are wearing purple, while her best friend is raising her glass to toast the happy couple. I even included the fellow who caught the garter!
The ceremony took place in a gazebo decorated with wreaths. Signage for “Bella” and “Notte” is a reference to R & T’s favorite Disney movie—Lady and the Tramp. The couple was thrilled with the finished painting, which I presented to them just before they left on a honeymoon trip to…..Disneyland!
The San Rafael workshop took shelter from wet weather by sketching people at the Aroma Cafe. Just two doors down from our Rileystreet Art Store HQ, this location is excellent for finding people sitting in one spot for extended periods….working on their computers, mostly. Drawing people waiting in line to place their order provides more of a challenge….the line moves pretty quickly.
Student work is shown here, using a combination of aquarelle pencils and ink pens.
Here is some excellent recent work by students in my San Rafael and Napa, CA sketching Fast & Loose workshops. The native American masks are by Anne. She used a rainbow pencil for most of it, as we’ll as some waterproof ink (Micron 08 pen) and some aquarelle colored pencils. The rainbow pencil has become a favorite of mine, as well as several of my students.
The produce sketch below is by Marcy, and the pillows by Stephanie. Stephanie used rainbow pencil strokes for the pillow on the right.
Our first stop in Portugal was the town of Sintra. I stood in the middle of a busy intersection, surrounded by tourists, many of whom took an interest in my work. Several Japanese folks followed me as I moved from this location to our bus, adding color and detail as I went.