Day Five of #OneWeek100People2017: it’s done!
What an adventure this has been. An exhausting one, but exciting and gratifying too. Thanks to Marc Holmes and Liz Steel who launched this insane challenge and congrats to everyone who participated, whether you drew one person, one hundred, or something in between.
For me the challenge has helped in many ways. It has given me the confidence to introduce myself to people, ask them if I can draw their portraits and even learn a little something about them. It has also helped me develop an ease with figure drawing that I didn’t have before. If someone walks off while I am halfway through a drawing, I am quite sure I can complete the sketch without the model. I’m only part way through my 10,000 hours of portrait sketching, but it’s been such a fun start.
Today I tried to focus my first ten sketches on the multi-cultural population of my school. I met Kadeasha, a psychology student; Samuel who studies International Business and is off to China for the summer and Ashley who was such a diligent student she continued to study while I drew her. I also had a long chat with friends Helen and Katerina who study Animal Health. The last ten sketches were done at McDonald’s where I have to admit I was slumped in my seat from fatigue but determined to finish. I’m happy I have spring break next week so I can recover from this epic adventure.
Day Four of #OneWeek100People: real people.
My goal for today was to come home with some drawings that looked like real people, not cardboard cutouts or cartoons, so I went to Tim Horton’s knowing that it might take me a bit longer than usual to sketch another 20 portraits. And surprisingly, having that goal allowed me to connect with the people I was drawing, which is a first for me.
I usually try to conceal the fact that I am drawing because I don’t want to make people uncomfortable, but today if a model looked at me I would smile, hold up the book to show them the drawing and tell them what I was working on. That often led to a conversation. Here are a few of them:
No. 65 was a reluctant model but when we got to talking he warmed up. He is a first world war veteran who served in the Navy. His Commander, C. Anthony Law was an artist who took his men out painting during their time off. Turns out he was quite a well-known war artist.
No. 67 was a little boy who was fascinated with my sketching. He hovered near me until I asked him if he wanted to pose. He smiled the whole time I drew him.
No. 75 had his back to me but when he got up to leave he saw my sketch and came over to see. He proudly took a photo of the sketch to show his friends.
No. 77 didn’t want to be sketched. When he saw me starting to draw him, he moved to another seat and kept him hand over his face the whole time.
There’s only one more day of this challenge and it’s quite funny to read the comments of other artists who have taken this on. It’s almost like we’re running The Barclay Marathons. “I think I’m going to make it.” “I’m almost there.” “Only one day to go!” I must admit I feel the same way.
Day three of #OneWeek100People2017: lessons learned.
Lesson one: don’t go to a mall near your home to draw. I ran into a colleague, a friend and a neighbour who all stopped to say hello. That really cut into the drawing time. Also, the mall lighting can sometimes be really flat.
Lesson two: People in malls don’t stay seated as long as people in cafés. I made a few starts (#42, #51) but the models walked away before I was done drawing.
Lesson three: Standing figures are much faster to draw than seated portraits. When I started to get tired I picked a bench near the passport office and drew the people standing in line. The last six for today (54-59) were the most spontaneous and the most fun to do.
Day two of #OneWeek100People: The good, the bad and the ugly. And by ugly, I don’t mean the people themselves. But some of these drawings are definitely more successful than others. The point of this, though, is just to have fun, not be judgemental and post them all.
Today’s challenges were a little different than yesterday. I wasn’t as relaxed because I only had time to draw between a meeting and a class. Also I noticed that my models (students) move around a lot more, even when seated, than the mostly retired octogenarians I drew yesterday. So there was lot of start and stop, or start with one person and finish with another. I didn’t have time to finish all 20 at school so I stopped at a crowded Starbucks on the way home, found a chair but no table and balanced everything on my lap. Maybe because it was the end of the day, or because I wasn’t rushed to get to class, but I managed to do the ones I think are the most successful for today (35 & 38). And despite the fact that this challenge has been taking up more drawing (and scanning) time than usual, I am still happy I have taken it on and I am loving the learning process. It’s great to follow what other sketchers are doing on Facebook and Instagram too.
Day One of #OneWeek100People2017: I wasn’t sure if I would be able to draw 20 brush portraits in a day but I did manage to get it done. On my way to school I started off in a shopping centre but it was too early in the morning and there was no one to draw. My second stop was the McDonald’s across the street — lots of people drinking coffee and eating egg sandwiches, but hardly anyone on their phones which was somewhat of a relief. In 90 minutes I managed to get 16 of these done, so a little over 5 minutes each. After school I stopped at Tim Horton’s to do the last four.
So what did I discover? Lots of things, but not all of them related to drawing portraits.
1: I can’t count (I drew #16 twice).
2: Out of the 20 people sitting nearby while I drew, only three were women.
3: I liked this more than I thought I would. In fact, I was having so much fun I almost missed my class.
4: At a certain point the portraits started to improve and then they slowly went downhill again (my favourites are 7-10)
5: The more you draw, the more comfortable you become with people looking over your shoulder. People don’t seem to mind being drawn and I had a lot of nice chats while I sat there.
All in all, a successful first day. Tomorrow I will be drawing in the school cafeteria during my lunch break so I suspect the cell phones will reappear in the portraits.
In preparation for One Week 100 People 2017 which I will be starting tomorrow, I tried out a new brush, one that I think has a much better point on it than the one I used last week to during my trial run. And since I will be doing all of my drawing with a brush for this challenge, it has to be quite sharp. I wasn’t intending on buying a new brush. In fact I went to the store to buy some half pans and a few little sketchbooks, but I have a weakness for brushes and came home with a tiny Da Vinci Casaneo. I have a larger version of the same brush, but the #2 that I painted with today is quite amazing. It’s a synthetic brush that holds a lot of water and comes to a wonderful fine point. I use the bigger version for large washes and skies but this little one is great for brush drawing.
For today’s sketch I used Payne’s Grey to capture the shapes and values on my kitchen counter after breakfast. It’s a good exercise to attempt to match the values of whatever mess is in front of you, without placing things too carefully. Just let the shapes be your guide.
I forgot some tulips in my dining room for most of last week. During that time they yellowed, they shrivelled and they curled, but surprisingly they mostly didn’t flop over. And since a little bit of decay is more interesting than perfection, I painted them today.