|Listening to her Walkman|
Well, it is a very natural reaction, but I want to reassure you about this, and encourage you to give it a try.
Of course, it is wonderfully relaxing to sketch in your garden. Or to sketch family, or children, like the image on the right here. But what about sketching in a secluded bit of landscape, all alone? I am always worried about being in the landscape on my own after an unpleasant few minutes thinking I was about to be murdered on a Portuguese hillside by the village drunk who came staggering toward me waving a VERY large carving knife! I collected up my stuff faster than you would ever have thought possible, and ran like the wind! He might have been harmless....but I wasn't about to hang around to find out!
Anyway, there are marvellous subjects to be found away from the safety and security of your home and garden, and you will have the chance to try them out, if you pluck up the courage. However, the "outside world" tends to have rather a lot of PEOPLE in it. People who will want to see what you are doing, and people in your field of vision too. Now I know it isn't always easy to draw people, but it is worth the effort, they make great subjects, and it is so rewarding when your people pics gradually begin to look better than you ever thought they would. Why not start a "people" sketchbook?
Just think about it. Waiting for a train, or a plane, you have subjects galore. Sitting in the library. At the park. On the beach. Markets are terrific places to sketch in, but without people, they would look most odd. Just look at this Greek fisherman, stick in mouth, dog with stick in mouth too. Wonderful! How could anyone resist sketching such a scene? They were so accommodating too...hardly changed position for ages.
So how do you cope with drawing a scene with people in it, and at the same time, deal with people looking at your work?
- Always sit (or stand if you prefer) with your back to a wall, so that nobody can easily creep up behind you to gaze over your shoulder.
- use a small sketchbook and just a pencil to begin with.
- Don't worry about finishing your sketch, particularly if your "subject" gets up, changes position, walks way. Just move onto another sketch.
- someone once told me to put down a hat with a few coins in it. This keeps the tight-fisted ones away! :)
- If someone does determinedly come up to talk to you, try NOT to get engaged in a conversation with them, they will want to know how long you have been an artist; why you chose that spot; what type of pencil/sketchbook etc you are using, where they can go to buy them, or have art classes, and you should definitely see what their little granddaughter/daughter/niece can do, they are naturally gifted you know (unlike you......) You can avoid this kind of conversation if you concentrate hard on what you are doing, sighing occasionally to show that it is REALLY hard work and they are obviously interrupting your concentration. Bit mean, I know, and not very sociable, but don't say I didn't warn you.....
- Try hard to get proportions right when sketching figures in the distance, simplify the shape and aim to get the stance right, as above.
- When two or more figures stand together, squint to get the whole shape and then add just enough detail. Dont worry about hands or feet...simplify them, as in the sketch to the right.
- Always make heads smaller than you think they are.
- If you have the chance to study some people "up close" - for example while waiting at the airport, or when on a train, you can spend time working on more detail.
- If you have time, hint at the surroundings to a figure, it will provide a sense of scale.
|Greek street corner. Blot of paint at the top is NOT a cloud, it is my messy sketchbook!|
|waiting at the airport|