Fifth cafe sketching trip.
I really enjoyed this one, and I think I’ve turned out the best bunch ofdrawings so far. I’m wondering if spending the day before on an old master copy has sharpened me up.I seemed to be watching my lines more as I was drawing them. Sometimes I think I look at the subject, but don’treally look where my line’s going. The obsessively close observation needed for the Van Dyck copy might have honed myconcentration. The cafe drawings do provide a kind of release from the exercises I’m doing, I see them as abarometer of how I’m coming along.
I’ve still got a long way to go, but I think a couple of today’s drawings came out pretty nice.
This is a typical first drawing from one of these trips. I’m not warmed up yet and the drawing is scratchyand hesitant. Overall not too bad though.
As a likeness I’d say it’s somewhere near, but you wouldn’t recognise himin the street from this. Its interesting that the drawings which catch something about the person act as a memoryjogger. If the likeness is somewhere near, I can picture the person again in mind’s eye. Although this drawing wasonly done yesterday, the visual memory of what he looked like is fading.
Well there’s not much to say about this one, it looks more like a first drawing than the first drawing. I onlygot as far as the roughing out stage before she upped and went. Frustrating.
This is a bit more like it. The line is starting to flow, and I look like I’m getting warmed up. This drawingputs me in mind of the woman too, I was wondering if she knew her collar was flipped over like that.
I think the drawings where I just use line and next to no shading come out much better. I was thinking when Iwas copying the Van Dyck drawing that in order to get a close copy, I’d have to draw my lines with a similar speedto him. I found I couldn’t do that, even though I tried to practice a few first for gesture on another sheet. They wouldnever come out close enough in shape.
That’s the nice thing about these trips. I can let the line loose and take more chances. I’m going to concentrate online drawings for the cafe sketches from now on I think.
Fourth drawing, this is one of my favourites so far.
I have to say I think this is a pretty good likeness, he was obviously very distinctive, but looking at this bringshim right back into my minds eye. I remember him from my first trip, I wanted to draw him then but couldn’t catch him,it seems this cafe sketching business is a bit like fishing.
What I like about this drawing is how simple it is. I think about how long I used to spend on myself portraits, and how dissatisfied I waswith them at the time. What a contrast with these little two minute sketches.
Number five. She was sitting pretty close to me, and I could just see her between two people sitting directlyin front of me. She was keeping quite still, soI got to spend a bit of time on this one, relatively speaking.
I must admit I cheated with this drawing though, and changed it a bit after I got home. I’d got the right sideof her face too narrow, so I widened it a bit and bingo, it looked like her. I did promise myself I wouldn’t dothat.
This is the last finished drawing from this trip. I tried another one after this, but the guy left before I could getanywhere. This one is my favourite from the trip.
It’s interesting that I had to largely finish the face on this one from memory. I got his jacket in first, then therough shape of his head, and I was just roughing in his face when he put his cap on and left.
On this trip I waspracticing taking snapshots in my mind’s eye of what I was seeing before transferring it to the paper. I was tryingto draw moredeliberately, separating out each part and doing it with more care: look, memorise, draw. I’ve got a feeling that mighthave come from the Van Dyck copy, and if so its a very good thing.
I like the twist of this guy’s body, that’s just how he was sitting, with the wall behind him. Although his face camepartly from memory, it came out pretty well I think, I can remember him.
The drawings from this trip are better, mainly because they’re the culmination of a week or soof solid drawing. I’ve done quite a few more of my features of the head series, and have been drawing from a couple ofcastsI got off ebay recently. With that and the Van Dyck copy I think I’ve hit a level of practice where I can see improvementalmost week to week, I’m definitely feeling stronger. Time will tell if it continues.
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