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
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?