There is a local group of illustrators and animators that have set up a delightful new tradition during the pandemic: they meet up every Tuesday morning on Zoom for a sketch/doodle session, where they do quick, loose sketches and doodles just to warm up and experiment. Once a month the morning Tuesday meeting is replaced by a night Monday meeting with a guest artist leading the session with various prompts. Tonight my Urban Sketchers chapter head lead the session, and through her I joined the fun.
As I’m neither an illustrator or an animator, I’m posting everything here as quickly as possible before I see the other artists’ amazing work and lose my nerve.
We started with the suggestion to just doodle while we waited for people to join. I was using a new sketchbook that was very cheap, laid flat and had thick textured paper (good for pencil). I used a Caran d’Ache Fixpencil with a 2B lead, and a Tombow brush pen throughout this one hour session.
We started with a few blind contours, which I haven’t done for years, and so I kept catching myself automatically glancing down at the page. Definitely something I need to practice to get used to drawing these again. We were using Shutterstock films as our models, so that subject was moving around, some of them quite a lot. The idea was to get used to sketching people in motion, grasping as quickly as possible what captured their character.
This looks good if you don’t know what the original looked like. I do, however, like the boldness and flow and expressivity of the lines here. Something to recapture in the future.
Then we did an exercise where we had 10 seconds to look at a moving person and try to remember what made them them, and then draw a portrait of them from memory. As Marina suggested, it’s easier if you describe the person to yourself in a few sentences.
The second subject drawn as a blind contour:
And from memory:
We only had a minute for each portrait, and that was too little for me. It’s a good challenge to practice in the future (working under such short time limits with such complex, moving subjects).
The next exercise was to capture the subjects feelings. Again, a 2 minute time limit would have been more in my wheelhouse.
The second subject for this exercise went through every emotion in the book so I couldn’t settle on one.
The third was just fun though:
Then we did a caricature exercise, where we tried to draw people as not overly stylized caricatures. We has a minute for each, and I was starting to warm up at this point:
The next exercise was a strange one – to draw a person as if he was morphing into an animal and we caught them in the middle of the morph.
This was fun and very creative:
The next one was to draw people in action, in one minute. To capture as many gestures as possible. I guess that the animators had a field day with this one, but I really struggled.
Finally we had 15 minutes to draw each other. I had a lot of fun with this, and the earlier exercises really did help me warm up and loosen up and work faster.
These exercises are definitely something that I’ll try to warm up before drawing portraits, and they’re also just a lot of fun to do. If you have a minute, a pencil and a blank page I recommend that you give them a go.