Manly Sketching Class: Week 6 - Context vs Object

June 12, 2013 | Leave your thoughts


Another great day sketching in Manly. This week we were looking at Context vs Object- how to create a sense of space, scale and life. Last week we drew St Matthew’s as an object – this week we wanted to draw a space and fill it with people, cars and trees.

We started with the importance of creating space – measuring the distance between you and the building and how to use the eyeline to ‘hang’ people from it and create depth. I have been doing this for years but a recent trick I picked up from James Richards is to draw the people first. While I do my overall setup of the building, space in front before I add the people, I have found it helps to draw the people very early on – especially if the focus of the sketch is the life of the urban space.

We looked at the importance of doing the ‘hard yards’ of research when it comes to drawing people (something that I am in the middle of) but that including people as ‘entourage’ doesn’t need to be totally dependant on this. Developing a personal style of simplified shapes that are drawn with confidence can get you drawing and including people more regularly in your work. The more you draw, the more you observe and the ‘better’ your people become. Go for it- draw with confidence and live with the wonkiness. Another very important thing, which was advice that Melanie Reim gave me last year, was to draw closed shapes. And as always – practice practice practice!

After a nice fun warmup of mixing greens and drawing trees, and practicing drawing simple shapes of people from a photo sheet we hit the streets! It was a cold and wet day… but once again my class stuck it out and did some amazing work down at Manly Wharf. It is so exciting to see them all really develop a working understanding of the power of the eyeline as framework for adding space, scale and life to a sketch.

Only 2 weeks to go … and I am really looking forward to them. Next week composing the page and cafe sketching (I had to include this somehow didn’t I?)

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