WORKSHOP: Capturing Chaos: Drawing a Crowd

singapore-uskI’m excited to be teaching a workshop again at the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Singapore. Last year I taughtone called Never Fear the People in Paraty, Brazil. This year I’m teaching yet another people-related workshop called Capturing Chaos: Drawing a Crowd. You can read about it in detail here on the Symposium website.

I love the challenge of drawing crowds. It is such an exciting balancing act: to capture motion and chaos and yet maintain the sense of order and direction that a crowd has; to capture a mass of people yet never lose the idea of them all being individuals. And then there’s the challenge of actually drawing so much stuff in a short time!

Here are some of my favorite crowd sketches I’ve done recently:





For anyone that’s never been, Urban Sketcher Symposiums are incredible. Check out the range of programming at this year’s Symposium! Besides the Workshops, just sketching with other sketchers who share your passion, exchanging ideas and watching them do what they love is inspiring. I’ve always come back home with a mind brimming with new ideas and exciting possibilities.

Hope to see you in Singapore. Online registration ends June 15th. Go here to register now.

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Sketching Goa: Part 6

One last post from Goa, India. Bits and pieces, little vignettes, my family, and a tree I love.

Clothes hanging on a line to dry. On one side, a barbed wire fence holds up the line. On the other, a banana tree.goa_clothes_drying

The corner store anywhere in India is an amazing thing: tiny, but packed full of stuff. You can walk in and request almost anything, and the storekeeper will magically find it for you.

Wires crisscross the sky like someone took an exacto knife and slashed across the expanse of grey-blue. Radio towers, cellphone towers, bamboo scaffolding, crumbling buildings. This could be anywhere in urban India.

Food. Batatavada and garlic chutney, maharashtrian-style. Yum. With one special chai.

And malai kulfi for dessert.

Sketches of my family. My mom making chai in the morning.

And my dad doing his morning exercises. For 40+ years I’ve watched him do this same routine set, never skipping a day.

Quick little sketches: a woman washing clothes by beating them against a large, flat stone.
Lighting a wood fire to start the day’s cooking. A dried palm frond is the kindling.

A hot Sunday afternoon spent with a bottle of ice cold Kingfisher Beer.

And my very last sketch from India. A gulmohar tree in bloom. The flowers range from egg yolk yellow, to California poppy orange to fiery red. Those strange things under it? Giant spools of electric cables to be laid underground.

I’ve been back from India for a long time now, but posting my sketches over the weeks is a little like extending my trip and reliving the experience. Thanks for coming along for the trip. All my sketches form the trip, including many that didn’t make it to the blog, here on flickr.

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Sketching Goa: Part 5

Next up: Churches, temples and forts.

Old Goa has two grand structures that are so different to sketch: The Basilica of Bom Jesus is a massive baroque structure. It’s warm colored stone is beautiful in the evening light. old_goa_bom_jesusThe Se Cathedral nearby, a large whitewashed complex begged to be drawn without my usual black pen lines.

The temples of Goa are nowhere as massive as the churches. This is my father’s ancestral temple in Mulgao, Goa. I’ve visited on and off since I was a little kid, and the same priest has always presided over it.
This is the lamp tower, outside the temple, a structure that can hold oil lamps and looks lovely all lit up at night.

Here is a man, sitting on a wooden seat that is only barely raised off the ground, in prayer. The couple behind him prepare fruit and flowers for a ceremony to follow in a short while.

Besides temples and churches, there are little shrines all over.
This is a small orange-domed shrine in the shadow of a huge fort.

And this little chapel is wedged on the side of a road near the main post office in Panjim.

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Sketching in Goa: Part 4

Fisherwomen are fun to draw, with their brightly printed saris and dresses, hair decorated with flowers, gold jewelry and often-colorful language. I spent a morning sketching in Panjim market, with the Sunday morning crowds often blocking my view.
goa_market_fish1 goa_market_fish3

This lineup of women sold shellfish, clams and shrimp, cleaned and sorted out into measures.

A little section of the fish market is set aside for meat and poultry stalls. The mutton shop is where you buy goat meat. You select a piece from the meat hanging overhead from large hooks, and the butcher chops it up to your specifications on a large wooden log.

The sketches below are from a fish auction, held twice a day- when the fishing boats come in- in Devgad, Maharashtra.
See the guy walking away with the huge swordfish to the right of the frame? He just won that in an auction.

These wicker baskets are filled with silvery ribbon fish. Two men hold up a bamboo that suspends a weighing scale from which a basket is hung and weighed before it is auctioned.

Ribbon fish are dried and made into poultry meal or fertilizer. Baskets of fish that have been weighed line the shore and the sea is filled with boats waving saffron flags and the Indian tricolor.

Me? I sketch and then I go home with some fresh crab and pomfret fish.

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Sketching in Goa: Part 3

Back to mangoes. My all-time favorite mango? The Alphonso mango. Lucky me, my parents own a mango farm and I visited during mango season.

This is what a fully grow Alphonso mango looks like. Green, with just the barest touch of yellow. Picked by hand, these fruits are ripened in hay and smell heavenly when they are orange-yellow and ready to eat. I sketched while I sat under a tree in the orchard in Deogad, Maharashtra.

Once the mangoes are ripe enough to pack, they are graded by size and shape and those with spots and blemishes are set aside. That’s my dad standing and watching the sorting and grading operation.
The mangoes then go into green cardboard boxes that hold 12 mangoes each.
Every box has a bright pink colored tissue paper that covers the mangoes when they are all packed.

Mango season is short: it starts with the hottest days of the summer and ends as soon as the monsoons hit India. During this short season, it is mango madness. The markets are overflowing with mango. And every little street vendor sits around with a basket of them. You can never have too many mangoes.


Because everyone loves mangoes!

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Sketching in Goa: Part 2

Panjim market is a huge indoor area divided into many sections. This is the flower section of the market. These stalls sell garlands used either in worship or to adorn just about anything: a woman’s hair, the doorway of a home, a vehicle… The guy on the left pulls thread from a long spool and deftly puts together loose flowers from the baskets into garlands. I love the brilliant orange of marigold. It can vary from a deep egg-yolk-like color to the orange of a California Poppy. The flower sellers got me a little seat to perch on while I sketched. And magically, a cutting chai appeared by my side. I love sketching in India.

More flower sellers. See the empty spools hanging at the top? That’s what garlands are suspended from. The market has a strange light. It is a huge, dark indoor space ( to keep it cool) but bright light filters through windows set high in the building and then down through tarps,some made of white cloth, and others of a bright blue plastic.


The fruit section of the market always looks extra special when it is mango season. The seller at the top left specializes in mangoes but the woman on the right sells much more: bananas, jackfruit and papaya. And mango, of course.

These women sell just mangoes. The market is set on high platforms with wide walkways to stroll through as you pick your fruit and haggle over prices.
goa_market_mango_2Every region in India has dozens of varieties of mangoes, and there’s always an argument about local favorites. My favorite Goan mango is the mankurad. But my all-time favoritest-mango-in-the-world? Coming up in my next post.

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Sketching in Goa: Part 1

1o short days in India. Too short for much more than a visit to my parents in Goa. And for sketching in and around the city of Panjim, where they live. So these next few posts are just that: Sketches from the streets and markets of Goa.

This is just a normal day at Bombay airport, where I wait to catch my flight to Goa. Sketched in pen and blue pencil.

And the perfect contrast to the busy milling crowds anywhere are the stray dogs who sleep peacefully through any amount of noise and chaos. They make such great models. Nothing can wake them up, and they don’t even notice when I stand right over them and sketch them.
stray_dogs_2_padel_fort stray_dogs_kala_academy

Another common sight everywhere: the water tanker that fills up your water tank. Much of urban India suffers from water shortages, and if you’re lucky you can afford to buy water from a private company.

This three-wheeler, the autorickshaw can make it’s way through almost any traffic jam.

Here’s a lineup of them at the auto stand outside Panjim Market.

This is the tempo, a cousin of the auto that’s used for carrying all sorts of stuff.
And while I’m posting vehicles, here is a Royal Enfield, a beautiful Indian motorcycle.
And another Indian classic, a Hero bicycle parked in a side street.

Lots more sketches from India coming soon.

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