People sketcher?

October 3, 2012

5×8″, 20mins. Those of us following the exploits of globe-trotting Urban Sketchers will have come across sketches of cramped interiors in aeroplanes… I’ve been feeling unabashed enough to get out my 5×8″ sketchbook down the back of a crowded bus on a weekly basis to attempt the same thing. Here’s my very first attempt, when the univ students around me were, I think, either too tired to care first thing in the morning or dismissed me as another engineering/landscaping academic from their university.

I learned four things on this occasion:

* don’t attempt long straight lines unless the bus comes to a halt, either at a stop or in traffic (I attempted very few parallel lines here to denote the chrome bars);

* not all buses are straightforward ‘shoeboxes’: the three height levels within the bus (and the compartments attached to the walls) make perspective tricky. Just about the only ‘true’ obvious perspective lines are formed by the bus’ windows (everything else is up for grabs!);

* buses are uniformly grey and chrome inside, so colour is a precious thing (!);

* when drawing people, especially less than a metre away from your face, do it as blind contour (I now appreciate the purpose of blind contour in drawing classes!).

I sneaked a photo at the end of the bus route, so I could think more about perspective.

As someone who has been roughed up on Sydney’s public transport, I am wary of interacting with others on buses and trains – let alone draw them – , but today’s exercise was edifying.

There seem to me three distinct categories of Urban Sketcher: people sketchers, building sketchers and object sketchers. I have amassed a number of personal heroes and heroines in the area of Architectural Drawing, I just have to work on getting some role models in the people department. Object Drawing, thanks to Every Day Matters, is a big enough field anyway and is very well represented in the published sketching literature.

I’m considering ‘areas’ where people can be sketched without drawing attention to myself: people stand still at busy city intersections/pedestrian crossings; people sit and lounge about on university campuses. Otherwise, everyone is so security-conscious and privacy-conscious these days, there’s a lot of hypervigilance and nervousness out there!


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