I have a few goals for my art this year, but the number 1 goal is to get more people in my sketchbook. I have been saying this for years (I know!) and at times I have managed it – such as this week.
I have reached a point where I am happy sketching people in the train but I rarely catch the train. Sketching people in cafes or other situations when they move more often is another matter. And although my people sketches have improved a lot over the years, I am not at the point where I would like to be.
Last year was just too crazy and focused on architectural sketching for me to attempt ‘people sketching’ as a project. I realised early on in 2016 that I wouldn’t add more pressure to myself – there was more than enough of that just getting everything else done. And I know that when it’s the right time, the desire to push hard on developing my skills will come. (Note: I don’t believe in beating myself up when it comes to my art!)
As many of you know from reading this blog and my online classes, I am an in-depth type of person and so I don’t want to casually start drawing people without the time to accompany it with some serious research and development. But this year I want to do something about it, and share the journey with you!
Today, I am just going to give you a brief introduction to my plan:
Not only am I making myself accountable to you by writing this article, but I also have a partner in crime: I have a people-sketching-accountability-partner. This sketch was done while I was waiting for her to turn up to our first meeting. I will share more in a future article, but for now I am going to leave you guessing who it is – I’m so annoying, I know!
I am reading through my collection of people-sketching books and taking sketch-notes into a dedicated sketchbook. As an architect it is really important for me to understand structure – this applies to everything I draw, so I need to understand anatomy to a level that will give me the confidence I want. Drawing what I read is a great way to make it more memorable. Things are a little crazy for me right at the moment as I am getting ready to move, but once I am settled this will be a nightly activity and scheduled into my week.
If you are wondering, this is Gary Faigin’s book “The Artist’s Complete Guide to Facial Expressions”.
3. Finding the best approach
The obvious way to work at this stage would be to use some pencil first to capture the gesture or structure. But what I want to do is to just go for it in ink – this is a little scary!
I have tried doing some pencil setups but I have decided to stick with what I feel like doing – to draw straight in ink (using my beloved White Joy) and work out strategies to suit this, such as living with a wrong line rather than making a mess trying to correct it. In some ways, this will make it harder (it would be so much easier to use pencil) but I think it is the right way forward for me. BTW these sketches are done from photos.
4. Doing it and correcting it
I haven’t decided whether I should sketch directly into my daily sketchbook or into another dedicated people-sketching book (what I am doing at the moment), but I am committed to sketching people on location whenever I can, and embracing the 10,000 hours of progress sketches (ie. mistakes) that I have to get out as part of the journey.
But it’s not just enough to do these sketches – loose line drawings that are sometimes successful and sometimes not. I am also committed to reviewing them at the end of the day (coupled with the research mentioned above) so that I can learn from my mistakes. It is quite hard to break bad habits once they are set, so I want to be critiquing my work on a regular basis.
I will share more of my journey, but I think that is enough for today.
My final thought is that accountability is the big key for me, so I really need your help this year so I can reach my goal!
Can you prompt me if you don’t see any people sketches on my blog over a fortnightly period? I might not be able to write a dedicated article like this one every second week, but I want to make sure that I am keeping up the sketching.
Can you help me with this?
Do you have any art goals this year? How did you go with them in January?