So yesterday morning I decided to go to the ‘busy cafe’ to get a feel for how much time it will take me to do 20 watercolour people. I have an extremely demanding week ahead (in terms of workload) so I wanted to make sure that my goals are achievable. The other reason for this trial run was to start using a A4 portrait Moleskine and to get a feel for the format and the paper. (Aside. Moleskine paper continues to change! But more about this later.)
I decided just to do heads and to work quickly and I was surprised that I managed to do this collection of sketches in 30 minutes. They are very rough in places, but the good news is that I think that an hour allowance during the actual challenge will give me time to be more careful and include more of my subjects – not just heads!
A few random thoughts I had while doing this:
– There is a special mindset that I have for the challenge. Because the focus is on reaching a certain quantity each session, I just go for it and sketch every person I see. This is very different than my normal approach which is more about looking for someone good to sketch – either because they are interesting, or because they are relatively still!
– The larger sketchbook was great as it meant I could fit 20 people on the page without having to wait for the paint to dry.
– Even though a cafe is busy, there is always a ‘best spot’ to sit – in this case my preference is for the kitchen end of the banquette seating. I wasn’t sitting there yesterday (I was at the window end) so I hope that it will be free next week. Having a good comfortable spot makes a big difference for this challenge.
– I have to let go of any concerns for achieving perfect colour – my skin tones were a little all over the place.
– It was fun to play with different ways of sketching – paint first (either shadow shape or drawing with my brush), or drawing and then painting or a little experimentation. I’m feeling very good about my goal to do 100 watercolour people.
– I have been using Stillman & Birn Alpha paper so much lately that painting on a different paper was very weird! I think it’s good to stick to what you know during this challenge. But a few sketches in the different book this weekend will be enough for me to get used to it.
– Something special happens when I push on past the first 10 people. I start to get in a rhythm and at the same time I become very conscious of the areas I need to research.
It does seem as if I have started the challenge a little early! I wasn’t actually intending to do 20 in this session – I only really wanted to get a feel for how much longer it takes to add watercolour to my ink sketches. But doing this trial run has taken the pressure off – I know that it is achievable!
IMPORTANT NOTE: This is just my approach to the challenge. Please don’t feel pressured by other people’s goals for the challenge. Just attempt whatever feels good for you!!
Anyway, that’s enough for today. I’m really looking forward to next week!
BTW I posted some cafe sketching tips yesterday in my final Foundations Friday 2019 article. Due to a limitation of my email platform this article didn’t go out last night. So click here to read it.