A couple of weeks ago I was back at the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society in Half Moon Bay for their closing gig of the season: The Ari Hoenig Trio. It’s always a bit tricky for me to talk about music, because I’m tone deaf, can’t sing, don’t play an instrument and don’t know any musical terminology.
But here is what I do know: to successfully draw a live performance, you don’t just draw the musicians, you draw the music. You can see from these sketches, that some were more successful than others at catching the spirit of the sound.
Here’s sketch #1, on tinted grey paper with pencil, pen and white gouache. A pretty basic and compact kit, since I use a waterbrush for the gouache and pull it straight out of a tube.
Sketch #2. I abandoned this one pretty quickly, mostly because I thought that I wasn’t doing anything different from #1 with it. Looking back, I think the music translated better into the line quality than in #1.
Sketch #3 is all about the drummer’s energy. He makes those drums speak.
Finally, I pulled out my watercolors for Sketch #4. A bit of a juggling act when you’re sitting in the first row in a pretty intimate performance space.
I love drawing on location and I love drawing action. But the best part of drawing live music is that I have a better feel for the music when I’m translating it to marks and color on paper.