Oaxaca people sketchesPosted: November 18, 2019
I’ve just finished scanning the rest of my Oaxaca sketches, and I saved my favourites for last. These are the ones I made the most effort on because they involve sketching people. I’ve said this many times as I write my blog, but this has always been the biggest challenge for me.
It’s not just because drawing people in motion is difficult, but it’s also because you have to be a little bit fearless when you are drawing someone who sees what you are doing. This can be complicated further when you can’t really start a conversation because you don’t share a common language. Take this sketch of the lady cooking tacos in the market as an example. She and the other cooks behind the counter could see me drawing, but every time I tried to draw their faces they would turn their backs. They were so shy, and yet I sensed they were flattered too. They wanted to see my drawing, but they weren’t sure they wanted to be in it. In this case, smiling and showing them the completed drawing was the best icebreaker.
The lady selling candy on the street was easier. First of all, she snoozed the whole time I was drawing. Plus she was a bit further away, so I doubt she saw what I was doing.
The hat seller was easy too. He was hiding in the shade behind his hats. At some point he got up to get coffee, and I drew the hats. When he came back I put him in.
The couple across the square were deep in a lunchtime conversation when I drew them. It was interesting to watch their body language and I loved trying to imagine what the conversation was about. He had his arm around her, and she was hanging on to that yellow bag the whole time.
I’ve already posted these last few, I know, but thought I’d add them in at the end because they remind me so much of the excitement I felt when I caught my first glimpse of Oaxaca. All the colour and movement of Day of the Dead, as well as the warmth of the Mexican people.
At the top of my list of fun experiences was sketching the brass band on our first day. Juggling my drawing tools was not easy in the middle of a crowd — I used a brush pen and water-soluble coloured pencils for this one — but it was such a thrill to capture them all with their spiky hair, skinny red jeans and shiny black shoes. When the show was over, someone who’d been looking over my shoulder motioned to them to have a look at what I’d been doing, and there were several rounds of selfies with me and my sketch. No need for a common language here. Music + art = happiness.