Sunday, 24 February 2013

Cirque du Sketchy: Painting in the Pub

We had another Dr Sketchy evening last Tuesday, up at the Greystones pub in Sheffield. I went with some of my SketchCrawl buddies. 

The models dress up to match a theme and pose on the stage, while the audience all try to capture them in sketchbooks. There is a series of short poses, one after the after, starting with 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, then 20 minutes.

I always enjoy myself enormously, but it's totally exhausting, as you can't afford to waste a moment. The concentration in the room is so intense you can feel it vibrating in the air. I was trying out some new intense pigmented watercolours I bought on Monday. Because I wasn't used to them, it helped me to be more experimental in the way I tackled things.

The theme this time round was the circus. We had 3 models: a sword balancer, a tattooed lady, and a burlesque ring master. The red of the ring master's jacket was great. 

The sketch below was a 5 minute pose where I was warming up with my usual watercolour pencils. I played about, using my fingers dipped in water to smudge them:

Drawing in a pub is fun and I love drawing to music. The music for the evening is always selected so it reflects the theme of what we are drawing. When we drew zombies, we had horror-movie soundtracks blaring out, for the Victoriana evening, it was Music Hall, the rollergirls night was punk. This time round our frantic scribbling was accompanied by a mix of all sorts, including mechanical arcade music and French accordion.

The sword balancer did a little performance half way through the evening, to give our sketching arms a rest for 5 minutes. Then it was back to it.

One of the problems I had with my new paints is that, especially in the dim light of the pub, many colours looked indistinguishable on the palette. Something that looked black could turn out to be brilliant turquoise, purple or green. That's why there are all the little marks above the drawings - I'm doing an experimental dab, to find out the colour before I use it.

Thanks to all the models - it was good fun drawing you.

By the way, Dr Sketchy is a franchise, so if you like the sound of it but don't live near Sheffield, check to see if there is one in your area.


HayleySarah said...

just found your blog, love this style of illustration :)

Lynne the Pencil said...

Thank you Hayley!

Me said...

these are all terrific!

Anonymous said...

Hi im a student at Plymouth uni studying illustration, the module we have been set is location drawing. My location is a bar/restaurant and i wish i had something like this to draw! they are fantastic and energetic the colours are so intense! Im goin to reference you in my sketchbook. I wonder if you could give me any advice when it comes to location drawing? Thank you for your time!
Emily Garrett

Lynne the Pencil said...

Gosh - hard to shrink so many thoughts down, but here are some pointers...

Try to travel light, rather than taking every bit of art gear you have, but make sure you take the means to apply colour on location.

Don't attempt photo-realism: it's impossible in the time you have, so be intuitive. Try and focus in on details, or try to capture the 'feel' of the longer view.

Consider your sketchbook spread to be a piece of design / reportage, rather than a purely representational painting, so be creative about how your fill it with various details and different aspects of what you can see.

Try and incorporate little notes in your sketch, or graphic-style text, to record the sounds, smells and various small activities etc that happen in the location while you are there, as well as just what you see.

Try not to mind people who come up to you - consider them part of the overall 'reportage' experience (and try to remember that onlookers are unlikely to be able to draw as well as you, no matter how disappointed you might be with your efforts!)

Try and have fun - it's easy to get over anxious when in public, but the trick is not to be too precious and to relax a little.

Finally, tell your course leader that I have a lecture focussing on this very aspect of drawing, specifically aimed at Higher Education Art & Design courses!!

Good luck!

Emily said...

These are wonderful – the green lady is particularly lively. Nice catch.