Project – The moving figure

Exercise – Sitting and waiting and Fleeting moments

I’m going to sound like a country bumpkin now, but I have a lack of access to groups of people to sketch as I live and work in a village, work in an office on my own with no communal area, and don’t even go to supermarkets!

I have combined these two exercises as I think they are very similar.

A rare training session involving a train journey afforded me the opportunity of drawing some of the passengers:

Train sketches 2Train sketches 1

The amount of detail I was able to capture depended on how long the person didn’t move for, or how long I could get away staring at them for!

Manning a gallery exhibition for a day gave me another opportunity to try to capture drawings of people:

gallerysketches003gallerysketches002gallerysketches001Gallery sketches 2Gallery sketches 1

You would have thought this would have given me plenty of time to sketch people, but it was amazing how short a period of time some people spent looking at the artwork!

And a sketch in the pub whilst waiting for my friend to arrive:


In all of these sketches I think I am trying to capture too much detail and need to try working more quickly.

Research point

People watching. I tried to approach this by doing some candid photography and then do some sketches based on these.

I tried to do this based on some photographs of my family on holiday:


A pen sketch


Then a few quicker sketches of people throwing (a welly if you are interested – don’t ask!). These are much quicker and when one works using quick lines (like the twisted body on the second page), this can work well.

As well as the difficulties in finding enough people to draw, this section is also a little sparse because this quick drawing didn’t appeal to me. I can’t seem to get the proportions of a figure correct without spending time measuring, so I am rarely pleased with the results.

Check and log

How well did you manage to create the sense of a fleeting moment rather than a pose?

  • Not very well, but best when I resorted to a very thick pencil and working as quickly as I could, otherwise I got into too much detail.

How successful were your attempts to retain an image and draw later?

  • I did this section from photographs instead as I know my visual memory is terrible!

Were you able to keep to a few descriptive lines to suggest the person’s movement or were you tempted to keep introducing more elements into your work?

  • I was always tempted to introduce more detail than I needed to.
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