Exercise: Drawing on the familiar
I had very mixed feelings going into these series of exercises. A few years ago I wanted to improve my drawing skills and set out to draw in real life as opposed to in the life class. I was very keen for a while but after a couple of years I became disheartened/bored with it and although I still carried a sketchbook, I found that I rarely used it for observational drawing, although I have found sitting in a cafe “thinking” on the page was the ideal place to work out ideas.
This took me back to my old practise and gave me a chance to re-evaluate it. My first difficulty for this was that we have had builders in our kitchen most of the summer which has meant that I had no desire to draw in there (I’m aware it would make a great subject, drawing the builders at work, however I am far too self conscious to do that). Instead I went to a local cafe where I knew I would feel fairly comfortable drawing. I made drawings of the architecture and then of some of the people.
Sitting drawing in the cafe felt very familiar, but the idea of trying to provide a feel of the place was quite new. I initially just did graphite drawings but then thought it would all look better with added colour. The main colour themes of the cafe was a shade of light olive green, grey walls and then some orange seats and lamp shades. What was really new for me was taking the sketches from the sketchbook and putting them into the computer and manipulating them. I thought about drawing over some of them or improving them but I had already spent hours getting to grips with adding colour on photoshop so I left them on this occasion. When I worked it up for the exercise I tried to keep the same sketchbook feel to it, one problem was that my hand written notes that were on the page became quite illegible, especially when reduced in size. Again, something to think round in future.