Impressions of Italy: There are domes and then there’s Duomo

This gallery contains 4 photos.

There are domes, and then there’s the Duomo. Continue reading

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Workshop Announcement for Fall 2016

blog_top-imageshortI’m teaching the workshop I took to Manchester, People & Places: Life in Contrast  right here in San Francisco, California.

See details below. Registration is limited to 12 participants and is on a first-come basis.

Workshop: People & Places: Life in Contrast
A workshop based on sketching people on location, mixing media and techniques.

NEW DATES ADDED
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Date: Friday
, September 23rd, 2016
Location Berkeley, California
Time: 2:00 pm to 5:30 pm
This workshop is now OPEN FOR REGISTRATION
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Date: Saturday, September 24th, 2016
Location San Francisco, California
Time: 10:00 am to 1:30 pm
This workshop is now FULL. You can ask to waitlisted.
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Price: $50

Contact: Suhita Shirodkar suhita@gmail.com for a registration form.

Registration is open until workshop is filled.

Minimum 8 registrants, Maximum 12 registrants

Workshop Details:

Would you like to capture figures full of life and vitality in your sketches? Have you wondered how to make people an integral part of your sketches? Then this is the workshop for you!
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 In the first part of this workshop, we’ll focus on learning to capture people quickly in our sketches. We’ll focus on gestural drawing with a brush pen in this exercise.

In the second part of our workshop, we will create small vignettes using gestural sketches combined with accessories and setting to start telling stories with our figures.
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In the third part of the workshop, we will create a larger composition where we use a contrast of styles: gestural drawing for the figures combined with a different style or tool for the setting. By combining styles and/or tools, we’ll explore how even very loose figures can be incorporated into sketches and how contrasting styles can be used for a richer capture.

Throughout the workshop, I’ll do short demos or work alongside participants. We will share and discuss each exercise and learn from everyone’s work.

Learning Goals
• Capturing action-packed figures
• Learning to build gestural figures into larger sketches
• Exploring using different styles, medium and techniques for a richer capture.

Supplies
– Brushpen (Like the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen or any other true brush-tip pen)
– A few other mark-making tools with a different characters: pens, colored pencils, markers etc.
– A simple coloring medium (eg: watercolors, pencils, markers)
– Sketchbook: for the first exercise with gesture drawing, we use a LOT of pages: bring cheaper paper for this if you prefer. (or be prepared to use many pages in your sketchbook) For the next two exercises your regular sketchbooks will work.
– A folding stool to sit on if you prefer

 

Note: Keep your kit light as I prefer that you walk around, change positions often, and get up close to the action. We will be working in a busy urban settings where there will be crowds( because we want to draw people!) and noise. You will have to carry your bag/kit with you.

Interested?

Contact: Suhita Shirodkar suhita@gmail.com for a registration form.

Registration is open until workshop is filled.

Minimum 8 registrants, Maximum 12 registrants

Looking for a workshop in a different location?
Email me if you have a group that is interested in the workshop: I’m happy to discuss taking this workshop to different locations if you have a group of sketchers.

What if this workshop is full?
To see if there are more workshops scheduled for the year, check out the workshops page.

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Impressions of Italy: Domes everywhere

Everywhere I looked I saw domes. With that gorgeous blue-green patina. It was almost impossible to look up and not see a dome. Either right by me.
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Or far in the distance. Like in this vista at the Roman Forum.
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I never tired of drawing those domes. Sketched from the top of the Spanish Steps in Rome one evening.
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And then again a second day.
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And again at the Roman Forum, with my fun rainbow pencil.
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In Venice from the train Station, the majestic San Simeone Piccolo church.
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But of all the incredible domes I saw, one really stood out and I sketched it over and over. That dome, coming up next.

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Strandbeest in San Francisco

My “Impressions of Italy” posts will continue for a while, but I just had to pop this one in to say, if you live anywhere near San Francisco, and have not been to see the Strandbeest at the Exploratorium, go NOW! Take a day off, or go on the weekend with the crowds, but go. They are magnificent and strangely moving in a way I can’t explain.

We’ve all seen videos of Theo Jansen’s Beests walking on the beach, and they are totally mesmerizing to watch. What really surprised me is how different the experience of seeing the Beests in life was. No, an indoor show will never capture that feel of the huge Beests walking among the waves. But the smaller Beests in the show were, I don’t know what it is: surprisingly like real living things perhaps? It was incredible to see how simple the material they are made of was: the yellow pvc tubing, the bottles that formed “stomachs”, and yet when it all comes together it is so much more than a sum of parts…

I was totally fascinated by the feet of the Beests and how they lumbered alng, in this endearing, rolling, almost clumsy motion.
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I asked so many questions that a volunteer finally brought me a foot from their ‘boneyard’ to hold and look at closely.

We got to walk a Beest, this not-so-big Animaris Ordis Bigfoot. It was a wonderful experience.
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The Beests go back home after September the 5th, 2016. I hope you get to see them if you haven’t gone yet!

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Impressions of Italy: Broken Arrow Skies

Our first ever trip to Italy. We landed in Rome on a blistering hot day in early July. Then we spent time in Tuscany, Venice and Florence. I sketched. A lot. Too much to blog all of it. So here, in a few posts, are some things that struck me.

Those skies: the shape of them as seen from narrow lanes. Say ‘sky’ and I think vast, endless, horizontal expanse, perhaps broken by the silhouettes of buildings and trees in the distance. But when viewed from narrow alleys, that sky turns into this active, jagged broken arrow shape, a lightning bolt headed down to the horizon. Sometimes I made a sketch just to record that broken arrow sky shape I loved.

Here is the view from the window in our apartment in Rome not far from the Spanish Steps. Just an alley, buildings, and that sky…
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Yet another time I stopped in the middle of my rambling through the city, to draw this.
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Not quite broken arrow shaped, but that sky is why I noticed this narrow space while waiting (forever!) outside the Uffizi in Florence.
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And outside the Accademia, this artist worked away with that lightning bolt of a sky behind him.
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In the steep medieval hilltown of Montepulciano, I sketched these two scenes. Too bad my supply of premixed dark brown ink ( DeAtramentis document blue and brown) ran out in the middle of the trip: it was perfect for those old buildings. This first scene was right outside our hotel and the next one, a hundred feet up the road.
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italy_countryside_sky_brokenarrow

Posted in Italy, people, reportage, Summer, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Quick-and-Dirty (aka Everyday Sketches)

Sketching when I travel is easy: so much new, exciting stuff to be inspired to draw. Sketching when I am back home is hard. It’s especially hard to get back to sketching regularly after a big trip: 10 days in Manchester, and 2 weeks in Italy just before that. (Did I mention that before? Maybe I didn’t, I’ll be posting those sketches very soon!) We all have that long to-do list of everyday chores that takes priority. And, it can be challenging to feel inspired to draw when you are in a familiar place. But I’m trying to do a little sketch even on super busy days. Because quick-and dirty sketches are the perfect place to experiment.

Here are some from last week.

A page of ink sketches on tan paper. Playing with my new Venetian glass dip pen. I love the slightly scratchy feel of glass nib on paper.
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Homegrown tomatoes look far from perfect, but they taste delicious. Watercolor and white gouache.
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And then there’s these two kittens we just adopted. So you might be a lot of cat sketches in the near future. This first page of sketches is an ambitious attempt to capture kittens that won’t stay still. Noodlers ink and dip pen.
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This next one was easier. Graphite, diluted ink and colored pencil.
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And finally a quick head study done today. Watercolor and watersoluble pencil.
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The longest of these (the tomatoes) took a little under a half hour. But most took just a few minutes, something I can do even on my busiest days.

Here are some thoughts on stuff I am doing to try and draw everyday:

  • No rules. draw from life. Or not. Use color. Or not. Share it. Or not.
  • Carry around a very small book and a pencil everywhere. That way I don’t feel I need my whole toolkit and a lot of time to sketch.
  • Keep a running list of ideas of little things to draw, techniques to try, mediums to play with: For those days when I am out of ideas.
  • Do a regular post of quick-and-dirty sketches. It’s hard to explain how that helps,but a commitment to blog helps me sketch.

Do you have any other ideas on how to make sketching an everyday habit? Any tips on what works for you? Share them here, and keep sketching!

 

 

Posted in Animals, Figure Drawing, Food, people, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Workshop: People & Places, Life in Contrast (and a downloadable pdf)

I based the workshop I taught in Manchester titled People and Places: Life in Contrast on the most common questions I get asked when I teach, both at workshops and through my Craftsy class: How do I incorporate gesture sketching into my sketches? Do I need to draw the whole scene in one style and medium? ( The short answer is no: why stick with one medium or style?)

We started the class with the essentials of gesture drawing for capturing moving figures: working loosely, looking for shapes and main lines of action in people. Rain or shine, we sketched pages and pages of figures: standing, sitting, crossing the street. And we got quite a bit of practice drawing people huddled under umbrellas. This isn’t the prettiest looking exercise, but it’s the hardest: capturing figures quickly while thinking of weight and gesture, shape and movement all at once. Here’s a page of half-done sketches I made while explaining walking figures.( well, one particular view of walking figures)
exercise1

In our second exercise we created little vignettes combining people with accessories or hints of a location: just enough to give the figures a sense of place and story. The only requirement was to mix media, however simple: capture the gestural figure in one medium and the setting in another. Like this two-minute sketch: figure in brushpen. Background in double-sided red/blue pencil.

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Or this rain-splattered piece with the figures in ink and the rest in that same red/blue pencil.day3_quick2

There was no shortage of construction work, so I did one more quick one, figures in brushpen and then my trusty red blue pencil to color them in and a rainbow pencil to draw in some of the setting… you get the picture.
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And finally we pulled it all together to create whole scenes combining any media we wanted. This last exercise is fun: you get to mix up your media, and play. Here are some lovely pieces made by workshop participants: aren’t they exciting?
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Thank you to all that participated. If you were lucky, you got that one day of sunshine…
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But if you didn’t catch that day, double the kudos to you for making it work in the pouring rain!
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And as promised, here is a link to a downloadable pdf of my workshop handout. Does it cover the exact form at of the workshop and everything we do? No, but hopefully it’s an overview,and gives you some idea of how we looked at and thought about people when we sketched. You’ll need to print the pdf file as a 2-sided printout on letter sized paper and fold down the middle for it to make sense.
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I’ll be teaching this same workshop locally as a Usk workshop in the San Francisco Bay area this fall. If you’re interested in attending, send me an email at suhita[at]gmail[dot]com and I’ll be sure to be in touch as soon as I figure locations and dates.

A big, big thank you to the organizers of the Symposium, the participants and the whole Usk community. That we inspire each other and learn from each other is our biggest strength.

Posted in manchester, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 10 Comments