Getting in line

Today I decided to keep it simple. Pen and ink, blind drawing and the queue at the coffee shop & bakery.

The queue at the bakery, pen and ink, 19 March 2016

The queue at the bakery, pen and ink, 19 March 2016

It’s annoying that my current sketchbook is just a fraction too large to fit on my scanner so I’ve had to scan and re-join today’s drawings.

The queue at the bakery, pen and ink, 19 March 2016

The queue at the bakery, pen and ink, 19 March 2016

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More faces

A quick trip to the National Gallery yesterday to see the small exhibition Black – more of that another time perhaps. En route passed this unidentified Indian goddess in the Asian gallery.

Unknown goddess (possibly Lakshmi or Gangaur), Patan, 17th cent. wood and pigment

Unknown goddess (possibly Lakshmi or Gangaur), Patan, 17th cent. wood and pigment

Today I was back to play at the cafe again with my magic pencils  and the odd bit of white chalk.

Two faces at the cafe, magic pencils Fire and America (left); Fire, America, Tropical and white chalk (right)

Two faces at the cafe, magic pencils Fire and America (left); Fire, America, Tropical and white chalk (right)

And some more.

Face, white chalk and magic pencils, America and Tropical

Face, white chalk and magic pencils, America and Tropical

Obscured face, magic pencils Fire and America and white chalk

Obscured face, magic pencils Fire and America and white chalk

Free the people

I’ve been working on drawing people for some months now. I don’t find it easy and I might easily persuade myself to draw something else but I am persisting with it. To try and improve the outcomes – in my eyes at least – I’ve been trying out some different techniques.

My default position to date has been a fairly realistic approach which relies on hoping my subjects are wearing sunglasses so I don’t have to draw tricky eyes and noses. Most of these drawings work, but the result is that my city appears to be occupied by shady characters at best and the random, deranged-looking person at worst.

Cyclists, pen and ink and wash, 23 June 2015

Cyclists, pen and ink and wash, 23 June 2015

I’ve been tossing around some options for changing my approach to drawing people. I was much happier with the quick sketches I did at the beach earlier this year, where I used a quick wash of watercolour that I quickly sketched into. So over the past few weeks I’ve been working on this as a new approach to people sketching in cafes.

Trying a new approach, watercolour and graphite, 24 July 2015

Trying a new approach, watercolour and graphite, 24 June 2015

I’ve mainly used a watercolour graphite pencil to add detail, I’m also trying using my pen and ink.

Busy Saturday, watercolour and pen and ink, 4 July 2015

Busy Saturday, watercolour and pen and ink, 4 July 2015

I’ve also found that if I put down a light wash that I can also quickly add some shadows and contours with subsequent washes.

Man reading, watercolour and graphite, 27 June 2015

Man reading, watercolour and graphite, 27 June 2015

And while it might seem obvious it has also dawned on me that if I am working on a small piece of paper it is actually harder to get a well drawn face because I don’t have enough space to capture the details I want, duh!

There’s no doubt that I’m still better at capturing body shapes than faces,

The coffee queue, watercolour and grapjite, 11 July 2015

The coffee queue, watercolour and grapjite, 11 July 2015

but I am keeping on with this approach.

Two people , quick sketch, watercolour and graphite, 11 July 2015

Two people , quick sketch, watercolour and graphite, 11 July 2015

Cafe Wednesday – another place

This Wednesday I had to go across town for an appointment so afterwards I had coffee at a different cafe, The Front in Lyneham. It a quirky place with retro furniture and a funky feel, well this is in the heart of university / inner urban Canberra.

I was blessed with a subject who was completely involved with reading the paper and a quirky window above him. The window, which was originally some sort of external fan or vent has been replaced by a sculptural arrangement of brass taps.

reading Man, pen and ink, 1 July 2015

Reading Man, pen and ink, 1 July 2015

Random Cafe Drawings

Here are some sketches from the past few weeks, no theme other than they were drawn while drinking coffee!

I was just getting this portrait started when the man finished his coffee and left. I decided to fill the rest of the page with a sign I could see out the window.

Part portrait and sign, pen and ink and watercolour, 19 May 2015

Part portrait and sign, pen and ink and watercolour, 19 May 2015

At least this next subject wasn’t going anywhere!

Garbage skip, 24 May 2015, watercolour and Copic marker

Garbage skip, 24 May 2015, watercolour, pen and ink and Copic marker

last but not least a blind drawing of the scene across from the cafe with lots of wheels in it. A forklift, a shopping trolley, a wheelie bin, two flatbed trolleys and a car. (Please excuse the image quality, the page wouldn’t sit flat on the scanner and I had some bleed through from the previous drawing on the other side of the page).

Lots of wheels, pen and ink 26 May 2015

Lots of wheels, pen and ink 26 May 2015

On the buses

It’s been a while since I caught a bus into town so today I challenged myself to do one drawing for each leg of my journey – so 4 drawings in all. I used my small notebook (9cm x14cm) and my Duke 209 pen.

Here are the two on the way into town.

Smart phone trance, pen and ink, 13 May 2015

Smart phone trance, pen and ink, 13 May 2015

Every seat taken, pen and ink, 13 May 2013

Every seat taken, pen and ink, 13 May 2013

After my appointment I caught up with my partner who was drawing in Garema Place. While he was finishing off his sketch I took the opportunity to draw Matthew Harding’s sculpture ‘Cushion’.

Cushin, by Matthew Harding,2001, cast stainless steel, pen and ink and watercolour,13 May 2015

Cushin, by Matthew Harding,2001, cast stainless steel, pen and ink and watercolour,13 May 2015

On the way back home I finished these two drawings.

Relaxed Man, pen and ink, 13 May 2015

Relaxed Man, pen and ink, 13 May 2015

Shadows, 13 May 2015, pen and ink

Shadows, 13 May 2015, pen and ink

 

Cafe Sketch

A quick sketch with some added watercolour from a cafe stop today. I still struggle with the idea of only adding highlights with watercolour rather than ‘colouring in’ my sketches.

Coffee drinkers at the Italian Bakery, pen and ink and watercolour, 12 May 2015

Coffee drinkers at the Italian Bakery, pen and ink and watercolour, 12 May 2015

What I was really happy with when I made this sketch, was the performance of my modified Duke 209 fountain pen. Despite making progress in getting a thicker line with the modifications I’d made several weeks ago, the ink flow overall was still poor and very intermittent. The brand of ink I was using (Windsor and Newton Calligraphy Ink) was drying up between the ink cartridge and the nib. I was at the point of chucking the pen out but decided that maybe the problem was the ink not the pen! I put Noodlers Bulletproof Black into the cartridge and right away the ink was flowing. The ink has kept flowing even when I don’t use the pen for several days. I’d like to also pass on a tip I saw on someone’s video clip (possibly one from The Pen Habit) of turning the pen over and drawing with the top of the nib to get those fine lines – weird but it works. If this pen continues to deliver as it did today I’ll be very happy indeed.