Lunch slump

When I have the opportunity to do some drawing, pencil and very smooth paper are my tools of choice.  And if I am at school, students always make the best models. At this time of year, as we near the end of the semester, they don’t move that quickly — they are either studying or napping in the cafeteria, and almost always have their hats and coats on. I’m not quite sure why that is. I have students that will go through a full two hour class in a heated room with a parka on. Do you get that?

Contour drawing is the best method for me to capture gesture quickly. I think Charles Reid says it best: “Ideally you’ll concentrate on shapes, connections and the angles and distances your pen will travel to create a new shape.” He also gives three tips for his kind of modified blind contour drawing: Keep your eye on the subject, keep your pen on the paper and use a single line. I took some liberties with this wise man’s advice, but I still enjoyed the gliding motion of my pencil on smooth paper as it followed the contour of the subject. Sketched in a Stillman & Birn Zeta softcover book.


36 Comments on “Lunch slump”

  1. Paula says:

    Love it


  2. Jean says:

    These simple drawings say so much about the students’ moods! they are remarkable! As for wearing outerwear, I often wear a hat all day so that I don’t lose it, especially if there is no secure place to leave it with my coat. Also, it serves as a “security blanket”!
    Thanks for this demonstration of expressive line drawing.


  3. Bill Fagan says:

    Hi Shari, I admire your daily discipline of sketching. It’s very cold and raw in Chicago but I’m going to sketch in my car like you do. I will forward my results. Bill Fagan

    Sent from my iPad



  4. Lovely expressive drawings. Whenever I try blind countour drawing people they end up looking like muppets…


  5. anne farmer says:

    So simple but so evocative. The last one is my favourite. I’m a great fan of Charles Reid. Somewhere he suggests leaving more of a dot everytime the angle cjanges.The work of a great British watercolour artist Thomas Girtin has that feel.


  6. Great sketches – I’ve recently found the joy of drawing with pencil on very smooth paper. Makes the process much faster and ‘floaty’


  7. Judy Sopher says:

    I love contour drawings. I used to do that to keep from getting bored at discussions, but mine never looked this good. Do you lift your pen up or not? these are great-especially the student with his head on the table.


  8. Monique says:

    I agree with Judy..I try..they never look so good:(I even took Marc’s class online.


  9. Monique says:

    PS And I bought Lynne Chapman’s book..
    I think I need someting simple simple to begin with like “Sketching for Dummies”.


  10. Janine says:

    I can feel the weight of finals bearing down just as sure as if I were back in college studying for them myself. These are really expressive and perfectly capture the time, place and subjects. 🙂


  11. Zeta is the best slip-and-slide paper to draw on! and I love how you lightly move across spaces without lifting the pencil.


  12. holmar58 says:

    Wonderful sketching Shari.


  13. Good contours of the students! I guess if you wear your parka then you don’t have to worry about leaving it behind or losing it.


  14. rosjenke says:

    Ah, such lyrical linework. I should heed this advice from the maestro also 😊


  15. You remind me to draw each day 🙂


  16. Ivana says:

    I think theses line drawings are lovely. To be able to capture posture and mood so well in a ‘simple’ line is envy making! I must practise more!


  17. Eric says:

    Hi Shari – are there any particular Charles Reid books or DVDs you’d recommend?


  18. I love your blog – very beautiful pictures!


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