Everyday sketches

Last week I posted a bunch of quick little sketches made over the week, and some thoughts on ways to keep sketching everyday. So many of you responded with great tips on ways to do just that. I thought I’d share them in a post, so we could all find ways to make this sketching thing a daily habit.

Sue Anne Bottomley says that a lot of her sketches come from a sense of urgency: she draws things that might be gone anytime: animals, a sunset, a fairy circle of mushrooms.

Harold Goldfus  and Carmel Campbell carry a pocket sketchbook everywhere. Anna adds an unusual item to the mix: She carries a small blob of plasteline with her and practices forming and understanding the human head whenever she has some time.

Tina Koyama keeps it simple with her philosophy that any sketch, however small, is better than none!

Richard Sheppard makes a to-do list of all the stuff he wants to accomplish in a day and he’s going to be adding sketching as an item to that daily list.

Shiho Nazaka is a daily sketcher. Her personal goal is to sketch as early in the day as possible, (especially since daylight hours are starting to get shorter in the northern hemisphere).

 

Swati and Phoebe, on the other hand, sketch at the end of their day and often sketch the same thing over and over, and find it to be a really good practice.

Here are some quick sketches from last week:

People at the coffee shop.
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A reconstruction of Empire Firehouse in San Jose. Can you tell I love wires?IMG_6252

And of course, weekly figure drawing.FigureFridayFurryFriends-

A quick little sketch of my son and his friend.buddies_varun_nish

And 4 quick sketches of my morning cup of chai. In (clockwise, starting top left) brushpen, brushpen and diluted ink on wet paper, pastel and brushpen on tinted paper. And last of all, brushpen, ink and colored pencil on wet paper.4cups

I did these 4 pieces all in one go, a few minutes each, on one day. But I was inspired by this post by Liz Steel that talks about sketching the same thing, over and over, day after day.

What strikes me with this list of complied ideas is that there are so many, often contradictory, ways that we all find to making sketching a habit: so try some ideas, and see what sticks. Or play with them, modify them, and make them your own.

Happy Sketching!

 

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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.
rome_fundome

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 along, in this endearing, rolling, almost clumsy motion.
strandbeest-foot21

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…
rome-broken_arrow-sky1

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.
florence_sky_brokenarrow

And outside the Accademia, this artist worked away with that lightning bolt of a sky behind him.
florence_small_sky

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

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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.
tomato

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!

 

 

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