Cafe Sketches - A Series of Drawings of People in Public Places
These drawings, done over the majority of 2006, are a series of quick sketches of people in public places - mostly cafes.
I did these drawings to sharpen up my speed and accuracy, to get some good practice in with drawing people, and also because I needed to get out more!
The only problem I found with drawing in cafes was that i'd be there for a while, and would naturally have a few coffees. By the time I'd had my third I'd be so wired I couldn't control my hand properly. And no, decaf is not an option.
Each of the links on the left represents a different visit to the cafe, and shows the drawing I did that together with a short write up of what was on my mind as I worked on each one.
I thought it might be useful to post up what I'm using for these little sketching expeditions. A pad, some pencils, a rubber and a knife for sharpening, (and in case anyone attacks me.) Pretty obvious, but a couple of things may be worth pointing out:
The pad is ring bound, which makes it easy to lie flat for drawing. A pad with a hard book-type spine wouldn't be as handy I don't think. Also it's small, A5, which means I can be pretty discrete. I don't want to be sitting in the corner with an easel and palette, inviting people to look over my shoulder. Another advantage of it being small is that I don't get too involved in trying to produce fine, finished drawings. These are quick sketches so a little pad is fine. Last point about the pad, its very good quality paper, thick with a rough key. It might seem wasteful to use good quality paper for sketching, but I think its imperative. Cheap paper produces crap drawings.
These pencils I've just discovered, I have fallen completely in love with them. They're excellent. They're graphite conte pencils, and might be a pound each, but they just glide across the paper laying thick, definite marks allowing a huge variation in tone and quality of line. Michelle had a go with one and said "ooh, its like cream!" Says it all really. Again, even though these are quick sketches, quality of materials is still important. I use a B, 3B and a 6B.
The rubber is a putty rubber, much better than plastic ones. With a plastic rubber you have to rub, which creates smudges and catches things you might want to keep around the area you're rubbing out. With a putty rubber you just touch the rubber to paper and it lifts the graphite, no rubbing required (especially if you use these nice pencils). Also you can knead it into a point, allowing for very precise corrections.
The knife is just a standard craft knife in case I get so productive I wear down the pencils and have to sharpen them 'in the field'. Don't ever use a pencil sharpener. You want a nice long lead so you can work up a nice flat side for broad sweeps of tone.
That's it, all you need. So what are you waiting for? Get down your local cafe and start drawing!