Thursday, 25 November 2010

The worst daily blogger in the world

I guess I'm still working up to the idea of a "sketch per day"...

In the meantime, here are some more recent drawings that I've done. I've temporarily taken a break from The Book to focus a bit more on learning how to draw people when I'm out and about with the Bristol Sketchers. Chris, one of the sketchers, gave me a loan of this book...

... which describes how to draw the human body in various poses as well as specific exercises for various anatomical parts. I have to admit that the book can seem a little intimidating at first because the sketches seem so detailed and complex. I had a go at drawing the first figure, whereby you build up the image from different lines, but I think my insecurities got the better of me. The drawing on the left is my first attempt. It seemed to start out ok, but it went a bit wrong as I started drawing the legs.

The image on the right is my attempt at the next drawing. For this one, Bridgman suggests that the human body can be represented by three solid masses: the head, the chest and the hips. Once I got my own head around this idea, I found it slightly easier to draw the body and feel that I got the proportions slightly better.

At the time I was having a go at drawing the above I was working in Lancaster, staying at the Holiday Inn. And I had (and still have) a horrible cold. Let's just say the Holiday Inn in Lancaster is not the most inspiring place to be at any time, let alone when you're feeling sick and miserable. I had a go at sketching my horrendously bland surroundings from my sick bed, and this was the result...

It's not amazing (but then, neither was the room) but it's a small step towards keeping a sketching journal and reaching that holy grail of a sketch per day ;)

In other news, last Saturday the sketching group went to Cabot Circus in Bristol. It was an interesting place to draw because of the various architectural features (swooping glass domes, brickwork, steelwork, etc.), the gazillions of shoppers and the gaudy Christmas decorations. My first sketch was the view from outside Starbucks up on the third level. I was trying to focus on drawing the outlines of the buildings and various structures, rather than getting bogged down in the details. However, the shape of the roof was really difficult to capture and I ended up getting a bit frustrated with it. So the drawing didn't turn out exactly as I wanted, but I think I'm getting better at using perspective.

After this, I headed downstairs to the ground level for a gingerbread latte and to have a go at sketching the stairs beside House of Fraser. I found this interesting because of the shape of the stairs, especially as it retreated back into the guts of the shopping centre, but then there's this open space above it with glass barriers and the ridiculous reindeer Christmas decoration...

Aside from the fact that the reindeer's head looks like it's exploding, I'm pretty happy with this one. It's also the first time I've tried to properly include some people in my drawing. There was a little girl leaning against the glass barrier just looking down and people watching, and, most importantly, not moving, so I thought I'd have a quick go at sketching her. Her dad was in the background, so I included him too.

After sketching, a few of us headed out on a massive art trail of south Bristol - the Paintworks, Totterdown and the BV Studios in Bedminster. Then on Sunday I went to Bath to catch the last day of Don McCullin's "Shaped by War" photography exhibition which was immense. Whilst the war photos (Vietnam, Cambodia, Biafra, etc.) were incredibly moving and powerful, it was his photos of Whitechaple in London that really struck a chord with me. He has a way of making the mundane and the ordinary look kind of beautiful - something that I'd love to be able to do. I think I'm getting better at taking those kinds of photographs, but I definitely need to start lugging my camera around with me (in addition to my sketchbook) so that I've always got it when I see that perfect opportunity.

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