Sketching people is something I really enjoy and I thought it was about time that I shared some of my sketches from the #OneWeek100People2018 challenge with you. This was a 5-day challenge and I chose to use the opportunity to enjoy experimenting with my art materials and to discipline myself not to forget my sketchbook wherever I go.
After all I have found the best and most appealing opportunities to sketch on location are those that are not always planned and take you by surprise. I decided to take part in the challenge after reading a post by Liz Steel (Sydney based artist and architect and the founder of Urban Sketchers Australia). I’ve followed her excellent blog post for awhile now and found her reflections on sketching particular useful.
Above : A 10 min sketch in my moleskin A5 sketchbook (I added colour later from memory)
I started to make excuses that life was just too busy to stop and sketch. I was denying myself the activity that I enjoy the most about being an artist and one that’s essential to keep those drawing muscles flexible! I was working hard on commissions but missing the stimulus of sketching the everyday world around me something I used to do on a regular basis. When I am working on a new reportage commission I often start with just a charcoal pencil to get my eye in and accustom myself to new surroundings. I use fast quick sketches to think things through but it's important to keep up the discipline by carrying a sketchbook around everyday. I also find sketching with no agenda relaxing.
The whole experience has been such a positive one as I am now reunited with what feels like a trusted old friend (my sketchbook!) which I didn’t realize how much I missed until I took up this challenge. I have enjoyed being part of a creative online supportive community where everyone is just having a go spurring each other on and not worrying too much about the results. After all it’s not about perfection it’s about practice! I lost count of how many people I sketched but I think it was close to the 100 mark and there’s always next year!
Right: Sketch on the bus home from Oxford.
First Sketch with Faber-Castell pastel pencils
On the first day I was delivering a couple of my event commissions to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford when the first opportunity to sketch people presented itself. I am often at the Ashmolean either running art workshops for their *WHAT’S ON programme or working as an Artist in Residence for their exciting and diverse programme of events *(Look out for the next issue of the What’s On for my workshops, which will be published around the last week of May)
Whilst waiting to meet with the Event Organizer I was lucky enough to catch the conservation team preparing for the Michelangelo exhibition it is the last weekend of this exhibition so if you're in Oxford make sure you take a look as I'm sure you'll find it inspiring. I enjoyed 30 minutes of sketching the Conservators and the Keeper of the Western Art Print room preparing the pictures for display.
It’s not permissible to use watercolour in the museum for obvious conservation reasons so I used a couple of Faber Castell pastel pencils for the initial sketch. I also had fun adding colour with some of my favourite water-soluble coloured pencils 'Koh-i-Noor Hardtmuth' sketching a hint of a few details from the drawings on display adding water later to became part of the story.
I find if I allow myself time to play around with a few materials I'll often discover something new. I bought a small camera case from Oxford's undercover market (another wonderful place to go and sketch!) which I could attach to my belt and a handy enclosed pencil sharpener with rubber (essential for when you're sketching in museums) which I brought from Broad Canvas an excellent local art shop five minutes’ walk from the Ashmolean.
Other materials I had already; a handful of water-soluble pencils, my favourite Faber-Castell Oil Pitt Pencil, a fine marker and Derwent water brushes.
I hope you have enjoyed this Blog and that it will inspire you to sketch. Have a small sketchbook in your bag with a few trusty pencils and whilst everyone else is bored waiting in a queue or caught up in Friday traffic sitting on the bus you’ll be busy practising your sketching and improving your drawing skills and just enjoying observing the world in your own unique way.
The challenge has also highlighted how much I have enjoyed writing about this experience and sharing it with others. I’m aspiring to keep my blog posts up to date and post more regularly from now on.
In my next blog post I'll be sharing more sketches from the challenge, focusing on the work I am documenting with engineers working on classic and vintage cars. If you’d like to hear more from me and subscribe to any future posts please visit my website
If you’d like to learn to sketch the figure in movement then I am excited to be collaborating with Aimee an Egyptian dancer and the Pitt Rivers Museum where I'll be delivering a one day workshop on May 12th.
Of course if you'd like to see more of my sketches and regular updates please follow me here
Ashmolean Museum : During a break from running an event
Watercolour added later from memory