Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sketches on the Platform and train in February VIII

More sketches and even more tips....Some of you might be wondering? How long has he been doing this? Well, I seriously got hooked since 2004 and that was after my tutor at Heatherley's got us to go on public transport (circle line) with the model. He noticed we became too comfortable with the traditional way of sketching, drawing and painting the model from the comfort of our studio, that it was not making us think outside the box in terms of composition and using sketches to develop paintings. So that's how I got hooked!

More tips.....

21. Don't look nervous while sketching, just relax, The moment you start looking nervous, people around you would pick it and think you are doing something wrong. Just relax and if someone peeps into your sketchbook, just let them see more of it and smile and keep sketching!

22. There's nothing like starting or breaking down features and forms into basic shapes as squares, triangles and circles .....There are so many quick shapes you'll need to develop as a kind of shorthand to be a bit fast in recording what you see.

23. Practice with different sketchbooks and paper. Make sure you settle for one that satisfies you most-especially one that agrees with your sketching media. This will help to save precious time worrying about the wrong effect your lines, strokes and shades are producing by using a paper that isn't working for you.

24. The best sketchbook size for me has been an A6 Anything bigger is either a distraction or it'll make the sketching take longer. The smaller your sketches, the quicker. You can always blow them up if you need to use them later on.

25. If you are still nervous and can't overcome it easily. Please have a deal with a friend of yours to sit in the train or bus and just sketch them, at least that will build your confidence and people might even ask you to sketch them.

Keep sketching- it's when you start drawing and painting portraits and figures that you'll be shocked at what you've gained by this exercise.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sketches on the train and tube in February VII

More people, including one of myself(below-left)....

Yes, more tips

16. When there's no one to sketch and it is dark outside, the windows in the train and bus serve as "good mirrors"-giving us a reflection of ourselves. Good time to do a self portrait.

17. Whatever medium you use to sketch, always have a small one for detail and lines and a big one for tones and shades. When I use pen and ink, my small one -is a black ball point bic biro and my big one is a Tom Bow Wash Brush Marker Number 75. When I use graphite, my small one is a 0.5 or 0.7 mechanical pencil and my big one is a chunky broad round shaped graphite stick. It helps to use both simultaneously. Sometimes you can decide to start with the big and finish up with the small or start with the small and block in with the big.

18. If someone is beside you and not in front of you and you still can’t resist sketching them. I would advise, you look for a while and then sketch from memory. This keeps you from turning your head to the side every so often.

19. I sketch by watching the movement of the angles in which the head is positioned. Angles are great for learning the way to sketch. If you get the right tilt you’ll be very close to getting what you want from what you can see.

20. To get the best people to sketch, don't sit in the direction the train or bus is moving, most commuters sit that way and if you sit that way too you'll not get many faces.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sketches on the train and tube in February VI

More sketches! (Below-bottom-right)The boys were playing games and it was almost time to get down at their stop. The parent of one of the boys collected the game and the boy started crying. He was couldn't stop crying and looked shattered. He was still dripping with tears when I showed him my sketch of him and his friend as they played games and his tears vanished and he gave a wide smile! His parents were appreciative too as they could sense my mission- To restore the little boy's happiness! That's one of the joys of sketching!

These are more tips for sketching on public transport, a continuation from my last sketch post, watch out for more in my next sketch post.

11. Always try to keep your values simple. I normally settle down for only 3 (Dark, Middle tone, Light). These are enough for a sketch to have a lively 3 dimensional look.

12. Lines are powerful. Everything I like about sketching has to do with line. Make your lines speak. Every line should be put down with a purpose in mind, after some keen observation. Don’t just dabble line for the sake of it or to try and make the sketch look attractive.

13. Don’t be afraid to show people who you have sketched, how it looks. I only do this occasionally when I know I have done a really good job and I would feel something is missing if they don’t see it. So we both share the joy of sketching.

14. The best people to sketch are those who are reading or sleeping. If you want to sketch someone who is awake, make sure you are listening to your heart, if your heart tells you the model is an angel go for it but if not, don’t. I once could not resist sketching a 'scary' big guy with tattoos, a funny hairdo and a big ear lobe. He was a sketchers dream, so I did it on the newspaper I was holding, and transferred it to my sketch pad afterwards.

15. Sometimes if a person is going spend a long time on the tube or train - you can tell by the way the person sits down - if the person sits in a relaxed way, takes off their jacket, takes out a book… you’ll kind of know this is a candidate for more than 4 stops, which is great. So study their body language too and don’t get frustrated by those who keep getting off at the next stop.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sketches on the train and tube in February V

More sketches.

Continuation of tips for sketching people on public transport

6. If while you are sketching you feel the person knows, show the person what you are doing and if they say, why, tell them you are practicing with no hidden agenda, this has happened to me many times and only once or twice did someone say, I don’t want it. If that is the case simply stop.

7. Have a bag you can rest the sketch pad on so that it does not expose the back of your sketch pad.

8. When people see what you do and are amazed, always be appreciative.

9. Don’t be discouraged if your sketches don’t turn out great, it is not about it being great, it is about you training your hands to record what your eyes see-with time you’ll see a drastic improvement.

10. While sketching keep your focus on structure. This has to do with the planes of the head, the overall structure. Once this is nailed down correctly, the features will fit in properly.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sketches on the train and tube in February IV

These are more sketches, some are really finished and if blown up can serve as solid references for portraits, they have the finished look because I had a bit more time to sketch(a longer journey between stops or the commuter held the same pose for a long time), while others that have a less finished look, are that way either because I had go get off at my stop and couldn't continue or commuter had to get off.

Some tips on sketching on public transport.

1. Get sketching today!

2. Sketch lightly at first, then when you are sure you can be definite.

3. If you see it be confident and try to sketch it, you’ll know it and love it better by sketching it!

4. On public transport don’t be shy, I have met so many different people who have taken the sketches home or had me e-mail it to them, one girl has the sketch I made of her on her facebook profile.

5. Where you sit on the public transport matters, if you want to sketch someone make sure you are not too close.

I'll continue more tips in my next post with sketches on public transport

Monday, February 15, 2010

"Homelessness and Poverty Project"- Contributions to my Sketchbook Project by Larry Roibal

Starting off The Flying Moleskins by Dominique was a great move and I really adore people who can pull off things from scratch. I didn't feel my theme was going to spark much response from the other 13 artists involved because it had a different take from the normal. But I was surprised it did! See post and Comments by clicking HERE

Then I got the first contribution from Deano which was mind blowing!

Then came a request from Larry Roibal, one of the artists out there that I just adore, his ball point pen sketches are sensitive, slick and solid! It gets even more interesting because he does them on newsprints of the The Wall Street Journal. This creates a very interesting feel altogether of having formal "inorganic printed text" and "organic sketches of people with a delicate flow". I really enjoy seeing them on his blog! His request was simple, he wanted to have a contribution to my book, I was so delighted, I couldn't wait to receive them. Then last week they arrived, all original sketches he had done of homeless people in New York! I just love them!

Even though he is not one of the 13 artists involved in this project, adding his sketches when my book finally arrives from a world tour would be brilliant! I am planning to get a printed version of this book after that and it would be great to have Larry as one of my invited artists! It just shows how little beginnings can turn out to great things, like getting originals from artists you love! The feeling is great!

All sketches were done on the Wall Street Journal- Thursday, February 4, 2010

Letter I received from Larry explaining his process.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

AFRO XVIII, 9" x 12", Mixed Media on Paper, 2010

This number 28 in my current series of Afro Hair styles. I really love the look of Afros and I'll continue this series as far as I keep loving it!

For this piece I had my friend Shola as the model, she turned up to a get-together with this Afro and without wasting time I asked if she'll like to part of the series and she agreed.

This piece was done in an "experimental manner" I used watercolour, coloured pencils, liquin, wax crayons, Biro and an oil based pencil on a paper with a liquin base to stop absorbency. I just love trying different mixed media techniques.

Sketches on the train and tube in February III

More people from public transport.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"Contemplation II" (THE FLYING MOLESKINS), 5" x 7", Mixed Media on paper, 2010

This is my latest entry into a sketchbook exchange between 13 artists.

This sketch will be in Liz Holm's sketchbook but at the moment it is on its way to Dean in The States.

I have gone about this piece by first sketching with with graphite then adding a graphite dust wash for tones, followed by a charcoal dust wash for darker tones. Then I added details with a white coloured pencil and a soft oil base pencil.

Liz had as part of her theme, to be portraits of any kind, so I decided to zoom into one of the commuters I keenly observed at Victoria Coach Station Bus Stop. He looked really tense and pensive and seemed to be very very deep in thought. His pose and demeanour told a bit of a story, but that would be left for the viewer to judge. Because I kept thinking, "What could he be thinking about...?" But then, what do you expect in a society that is been ravaged with the credit crunch factor, reports of natural disasters, so much crime indoors and outdoors.....There's bound to be straining pull on the average person. But I thank God that, in the midst of these raging storms, we can put our trust in Christ who indeed can put peace in our hearts! As promised in Philippians 4:6,7-"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Sketches on the train, bus and tube in February II

These are more sketches. Someone asked how I start off- Some of the sketches here are just basic landmark lines-that's how I begin.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Kezia in sleep mode X, 8" x 6", Graphite, 2010

My first catch this year of Kezia in sleep mode. I was just getting into it when the phone rang... and oops she's awake again.....grrrrrrh

MACKY, 9" x 12", Mixed Media on Paper, 2010

Check out how this this mixed media piece of a homeless guy I met on the streets was transformed from a sketch by clicking HERE

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Sketches on the train in February I

More sketches done yesterday on the trains. On the sketch above the lady was sitting right in front of me and she seemed to enjoy the process of watching her face unfold....I was unlucky as I ran out of time to finish....I had already got to Belvedere, my stop!