I decided to attend Nelson Paciência‘s workshop a few days ago, titled “How much stuff fits in my sketchbook”. Fitting title for a sketcher who skillfully cramps stuff in the small canvas of his sketchbook.
He showed us how to use this cramping style, and suggested several techniques to help us in the process. One is to deform the subject to the canvas. Another one is to turn the head and look at more than just the view in front of you. Another yet is to keep out the stuff you don’t want to sketch, so that you get more free space for the stuff that matters. Here he is, stating that he “likes to squish heads”. Game of Thrones style?
He then proceeded to teach us how to use the famed photographers rule of thirds to our advantage. A simple layout device that allows us to direct the focus of the viewer to what we want to give focus to. And this is when we – the students – sprung into action. We had to make a few sketches based on the rule of thirds, with different focuses, foregrounds and backgrounds, etc.
It was a pleasant morning to learn and practice something new. Quite challenging also! On my way home, this Fiat 126 was waiting for me to sketch it.
In the last two weeks, with great help from Kim Nicholas, I’ve been guiding a sketching workshop at LUCSUS – Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies, exclusively for the sustainability master programme students. The idea is a simple one, and Kim loved it from the start: to show young people with no direct academic connection with arts that they can learn how to draw!
We held two workshops already and everybody seems to be responding well. The two hours spent focusing on blind drawing exercises turn out to be quite fun and relaxed. All but a couple of all the students don’t sketch regularly, so we were breaking new ground there! After a while the concentration levels go up and from then on the sketching quality improves exponentially. My hopes for these classes is that most of these guys get the notion that starting to sketch is as easy as looking at any given object, and that sketching is indeed seeing reality as it is!
In the end, we did a fun exercise which was suggested by sketcher João Catarino – a frankenstein-making marathon! We faced each other in pairs and had one minute for a blind line portrait which should remain unfinished. When the time was up, everybody would switch partners and continue the portrait with a new face. Some of the results were remarkably recognizable! Here’s my contribution. It’s a frankenstein-portrait of an actual couple that just happened to get merged in my sketchbook. Thanks Theo and Ann.
The last workshop was attended by Teresa – co-founder of local project Fruktsam – and Daniel. Both were really enthusiastic with the blind sketching exercises and in about one hour and four drawings later, their concentration was paying off. Results were showing and they were realizing that drawing has a lot to do with careful observing and that it is within reach. Thus was the mythical wall of talent cracked.
This was my blind portrait of them, while they concentrated on each other.
The time spent at the workshops at Marta’s were peppered with visits from friends and family. Amelie and Heidi gladly took pens and pencils and started producing art – no directions required!
Later, Patrick, Melissa and Liam popped up for fika. Melissa gave it a shot at some blind drawing exercises and was cursing me soon enough. It’s a tough one for starters! That reminds me: I should revise my drawing teaching program one of these days.
During the exhibition, Holger and I were at Marta’s leading informal workshops about our own particular way of sketching. This gave us a chance to get to know how people relate to sketching, how do they feel about it, and if they would consider starting to sketch themselves.
During some of those gatherings, I got the chance to make some portraits. Here’s a chubby version of Patrícia.
Alex is a 10 year old boy that likes to draw sharks! Pity I didn’t get to keep one of his drawings.