Sketching 100 people in a week? Wow, even for quick sketches, that’s a mighty challenge! The annual “One Week 100 People” will be April 8 to 12 this year. Do you sketch people? Will you do it? The challenge is all over the web, including at Marc Holmes & a page on Facebook & #OneWeek100People2019. I’m already fudging committing. I’ll admit that working all day then going to a coffeeshop, farmers market, urban park or elsewhere to sketch people is just too strenuous for me. So: I’ll settle for making an attempt. Tips & learning: A good effect of the challenge is that it encourages people to post all their efforts, so you see rough and real sketchbook pgs. It’s not about posting carefully drawn portraits, it’s about getting out there and sketching quick, contour, raw / rough, gesture, scribbles and blobs — whatever, you just go for it! (At right: sketches I did awhile ago; and last week’s post was sketches of riders on BART.)
I love kids’ art. They scribble with glee, or draw with pure confidence and joy. I just read the chapter about children’s artistic development in “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” by Betty Edwards. Children’s pleasure in drawing often ends about age 9 or 10, explains Edwards, as they become frustrated in their efforts or encounter harsh criticism, even ridicule. The skill sets for drawing often do not continue to progress in the way that the skills of reading or writing advance through adolescence and into adulthood.
I dug out some of the few things saved from my childhood. I was influenced by the newspaper — the actual newspaper delivered in late afternoon; I remember spreading out the broad pages on the living room carpet (presumably after parents were done with it). I remember vividly the division of space – the columns of type interspersed with rectangular images. I made my own “Cat Comics” or little newspapers about animals. OMG!! In this one, I depict a dog chasing several cats up a tree. Note the resemblance to “real” newspaper style, running the type around the picture and headline: “Fall Fashions.” Also, getting all the facts: I reported that there were 63 cats up the tree. Appropriately, in the “fashion” story below, I adorned the girl cats with little bows (though there was never a bow on my head my entire childhood, I can assure you). From Edwards’ book, I also see how I used typical children’s symbolism: the tree is out of proportion, but it is clearly a tree. The dog is big (menacing) and the cats have little expressions, and everything must fit in the pictorial space. To have completed these elaborate projects, I must have greatly enjoyed them, or maybe I received encouragement and praise.
Here’s another drawing with typical children’s symbolism. Apparently me, in Michigan’s winter attire of hat, mittens and boots. This was done on children’s school paper with the wide lines and the dotted line in the middle for measuring letters. I apparently wrote a little story: When it is the winter time I run of The street. And I make the ice laugh with my little feeeet. Crickle crackle crickle creeet creeet creeet.
The paper is duly graded “B+” (note the teacher’s dreaded red pen). Did I actually write that story, or was it dictated? “…make the ice laugh”? If original, that is a very poetic turn of phrase, quite abstract for the apparent young age evidenced by the blocky letters. It also employed onomatopoeia – making words to represent the sounds of the ice: “creeet”. If this was original, I think I was undervalued and need to challenge this for a higher grade.
Here’s a drawing from an older age, so in my case my drawing skills continued to evolve. I was highly influenced by creative parents who encouraged us to draw; my dad was an amateur artist. It is typical when drawing this view of a cat to neglect to depict the extra shoulder shape. I probably saw an example in a book, or maybe observed this because I often draw our cats. I even practiced this shape on the bottom of the page. This is the view from our front window, looking toward the street and the lakeside cottages (note the little cottage roof in blue at upper left; these cottages are all now gone, replaced by monster houses). In another progression of drawing, the tree is more proportional, and it’s cropped with the top not shown, instead of truncating it to fit the page. I’ve shown our rock garden with boulders and logs, and our split-rail fence. At this time, I had not progressed from the dictate that “all tree leaves are green.” To youngsters, making trees green is an attempt at “realism,” and no other color is allowed. I think the flowers are tulips.
Well this was fun!