Friday, 29 January 2016
Sketching People: My Book is Here!
The advance copies of my urban sketching book just arrived - hurrah! They should have been here a couple of weeks earlier it turns out, but they went astray in the mail and the publisher didn't realise I hadn't had them.
It's been a bit fraught with technical hitches to be honest because, when they resent my package this week, someone put in the American edition and one by a Singapore publisher (below), but left out the UK one (above). Never mind - they look gorgeous and glossy and I am very pleased. The contents on the inside of the different editions are more or less the same, it's just odd words and grammatical variations - it's mainly the covers which look different.
It's lovely to see how all the content looks, in it's proper form. I spent so long putting it all together and now here it is, looking like a real book!
I thought I'd take some snaps to give you a sneak preview, though you probably have a pretty good idea by now, since I've talked about it in progress often enough (hit the Sketching People label on the right, if you're interested).
There a section which looks at art materials, with a specific eye on how you choose tools which are appropriate to the problems of drawing people out on location:
I look at how you choose your subject, which is hugely important. There are some locations and activities which are virtually impossible, but plenty of others which make things a lot easier for you, especially if you are cutting your teeth:
Then there are the different possible angles to tackle. I would rarely advise drawing people front-on. It's much more interesting and far easier on the whole, to tackle them in profile or in three-quarter view, particularly when you are concentrating on faces:
I write a fair bit on techniques to deal with the fact that people move about a lot, which is of course one of the main things which makes them so tricky. I can't stress enough the benefits of trying contour drawing, both for warming up your arm and eye and for tackling your subject as swiftly as possible:
Plus another technique, handy particularly if you are drawing groups of people or people passing by, is using composites - sketches made up of a little of one person and a bit of another, with maybe the head of someone else again!
There is a lot more too, of course. I tried to think of everything I know. It's hard when you have been doing something for so very many years. It all becomes second-nature. Writing the book has been really interesting, because it has helped to make me analyse what I know. Which has actually really helped for when I am teaching workshops, like the ones I am doing at the moment for the Morgan Centre as part of my Artist-in-Residence year, and of course the work I do with Urban Sketchers.