Thursday, October 2, 2008

Sketching People

graphite sketches of people at soccer game Sketches of people at a soccer game
graphite in a small Moleskine

This is my second page of soccer spectator sketches. (See here for the first page.) The sketching got easier as I went and I was happier with this page than the first.

Some things I learned...

- I did much better when the people I was sketching were pretty far away. The distance helped me simplify their forms. When the people were closer I had a hard time ignoring the details. Also when they were further away I didn't have to worry about being "caught".

- Although distance helped me simplify the forms, it made capturing faces a challenge. I struggled between what I thought a face looked like and what I was actually seeing. Most of the people who were at the right distance had their back to me, so I didn't get enough practice with faces in this sketching session. I will look for opportunities in the future.

- I preferred my sketches that were made with more short, straight strokes instead of a couple of long contour lines. I was better at capturing the form with short strokes and I felt the resulting sketches had more personality.

- Speaking of personality, it was better for me to put the eraser away and rely on restating lines that needed correcting. Better for the personality of the sketch and of the artist!


Rose Welty said...

Stacy, I love the sketches. It's really good to hear about someone else's experiences sketching people in public!

I have actually taken my glasses off while sketching to lose detail. :D

Jeanette said...

I think you did beautifully with your live sketches Stacy. I do a lot of sketching, restaurants, airports, planes, etc., and I'm seldom noticed.

I prefer up close people and like details, but will do distance too, every bit helps. Its just trickier to be unobtrusive when closer. I am the task master at avoiding eye contact. :)

Kari Gibson said...

These are great little studies - from a distance you wouldn't see the faces properly anyway and what you can't see, you don't draw. Just getting the overal stance/shape people make is good practice.

Stacy said...

Thanks Rose! I think if I took my contacts out to sketch, I'd only ever sketch blobs. LOL I have a pretty hearty prescription. But I've found I can squint to knock down the detail.

Jeanette, I've seen a lot of your close up sketches. I'm working up to being brave enough. I tried to sketch my husband while we were on a train recently and it turned out more like a charicature. So I better get more practice before sketching strangers. I don't want to offend anyone!

Thanks Kari! Yes, I wanted to have practice capturing people's stances. With enough practice I can start adding people to my paintings.