Drawing in Public

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enrico
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Drawing in Public

Postby enrico » Sat Nov 13, 2004 7:22 pm

Moved these to this new subject ...


Rdean: i would love to try a sketchcrawl, but whenever i try drawing in public, i get overly self-conscious. has anybody else had this experience? if so, how did you overcome it?

RainBoy: I face e same problem, usually its when someone I know is around while I'm drawing... I think its e pressure so I do a better job when I'm "alone" (as in people around me r just strangers). I try to overcome it most of e time but it takes at lest half & hour of concentrating to forget they r there.

So I guess to answer ur question: Concentrate on wat u r doing & just dun care wat other people think. OR, u can do wat I usually do when I'm taking photos in public, see myself as A photographer (Naturally u stare at me becoz I'm cool, as everyone knows photographer is cool mAn!... well or maybe u juz think I'm a silly tourist...whatever.) :D

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Postby enrico » Sat Nov 13, 2004 7:47 pm

Very good point Rdean ... and I think Rainboy has great suggestions, I would add that SketchCrawl in its self kind of helps getting past that. Since you're doing this all day you kind of learn not to care too much and in the end a little attention from passerbyes can be part of the experience.
Here's one point too that I found to be interesting: whenever I travel or I am out I always bring a sketchbook with me in my bag, but I bet like many of you, I end up very often not taking it out at all. Partly because there might be people around me and I start thinking:"darn I wish I was invisible".
Partly also since it's just hard to do it. It's just hard to take that darn sketchbook out of the bag, just like it's hard to start drawing most days and just like it's hard to start moving a round rock ... but once you get going ... it's different, it'll roll ... X)

So the idea of SketchCrawl is simple: never put the sketchbook in the bag ! Leave it in your hands, draw all day.
It really did work for me ... it gave me momentum and I just kept on going ... and to go back to your worry it also helped getting past the weirdness of having people around you while you draw. On that day I just draw ... that's all I do ... that's what I do ... it's normal ... so people around me don't faze me as much ... and in general I found that most people ended up curious but quiet ... some others will be amused and vocal ... but usually in good ways you know ...


Oh and lastly, after all this semi-philosophical suggestion, one last advice: if it really bothers you for people to take notice around you, I'd recommend getting a small sketchbook, don't go too big. it's easy to sketch without anyone noticing on a smaller sketchbook ...

ok .. hope my blabbering helps a little bit ...

take care !

E

rdean

Postby rdean » Sun Nov 14, 2004 3:06 am

thanks rainboy & enrico for your encouragement & suggestions. i guess it is mostly a matter of getting used to it.

funny that you mention small notebooks - i'm now down to a 3x4, which fits in my back pocket, so i have no excuse for not carrying it.

i have drawn a bit in public - mostly on the train to work. people don't seem comfortable if you make eye contact with them, so i'd end up with a lot of drawings of the backs of people's heads (until discovering i could draw from their reflections in the windows). but a few times i did feel at ease, relaxed and the drawing flowed. that makes it worth while.

i also try to remind myself that my drawing ability will probably improve if i draw something besides my apt., my cat, myself, etc.

the sketchcrawl sounds like a great idea. i'll try it.

thanks again.

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Postby rainboy » Sun Nov 14, 2004 6:20 am

rdean wrote:i'm now down to a 3x4, which fits in my back pocket, so i have no excuse for not carrying it.

i have drawn a bit in public - mostly on the train to work. people don't seem comfortable if you make eye contact with them, so i'd end up with a lot of drawings of the backs of people's heads (until discovering i could draw from their reflections in the windows). but a few times i did feel at ease, relaxed and the drawing flowed. that makes it worth while.


yap, I carry with me a pocket size note pad(no lines ones) in my pocket too(my B5 size sketch book in my bag).

One little trick I use when sketching strangers is, I'll observe 'em for a while(not long enough for 'em to notice) then look into e space as if I'm thinking of something(I'm sketching 'em out in my mind actually) before I draw my subject onto e sketch pad. If I need more details I'll look at other place(depends) before I look 'em for e details I want & u kinda repeat e process.

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Postby Karen » Sun Nov 14, 2004 5:54 pm

The best experience I had drawing in public was at the zoo. It was summer time and a free admission day, so all the local schools were taking the students there. Crowds of kids gawking at animals. It was really cool to see them inspired while my friend and I were drawing the animals.

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Postby TheMonkeyking » Mon Nov 15, 2004 10:49 pm

i have drawn a bit in public - mostly on the train to work. people don't seem comfortable if you make eye contact with them,


Wear sunglasses, even if you're on the train. It helps and you look cool. :)

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Postby Anne T » Tue Nov 16, 2004 3:51 am

Karen wrote:The best experience I had drawing in public was at the zoo. It was summer time and a free admission day, so all the local schools were taking the students there. Crowds of kids gawking at animals. It was really cool to see them inspired while my friend and I were drawing the animals.


I visited the San Diego Zoo when I was drawing a comic book on orangutans . They have a wonderful open place for the orangutans. Plenty of room to run around. I was sketching a mother and her baby. They were in the sunshine and didn't move until the zoo keeper brought the food!
~Anne

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Postby bluemax500 » Tue Nov 16, 2004 7:05 am

LoL, I went on a sketchcrawl about a month ago, and a lot of local people praised me on taking the time to draw the different buildings and such. It was kind of a suprise; I half expected them to ask me to leave for whatever reason.
As for drawing people, they always change positions too much for me, and I end up with three half-finished people on a page. It's kind of frustrating.

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Postby bluebottle » Tue Nov 16, 2004 8:36 am

i find that it also depends where. for first few public outings you may choose to ....choose places that are know as artier (word??) areas of your town/city. as it's not looked at as something so unexpected out of the ordinary.
may help get rid of your insecurities about drawing in public.

street fairs and markets would be good. (plus get some characters there)

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Postby zironu » Fri Nov 19, 2004 8:00 am

^^ I used to feel self-concious about drawing in public, too. But then again, you have to remember that you'll probably never see and remember these people ever again, and vice versa. Also, I've noticed that most of the general public haven't developed/practiced their drawing ability beyond that of sporadic doodling, so oftentimes, they're not going to be criticizing much. :)

So I don't think it's that big of a deal. It's normal to feel self-concious, so all you have to do is realize that, and logically work through it. Ya know?

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Postby littlefish » Fri Dec 10, 2004 7:47 am

I was trying to sketch 2 hindi women who sit facing me on the subway once, and they obviously noticed me staring at them. At the time i was getting off they asked me to show them the sketch, so I did, they seemed to be pretty cool about it, smiling and so on :) and it wan't a good sketch because they been moving too much talking each other.

other times, I often sketch on people on the bus/subway, and most often they probably don't notice or pretend don't care :P I guess i get away with it just fine :D of corse i'd like to pick subjects who are focusing doing other things such as, napping, reading, or whatever...so they don't really see me sneaking on the sketch.

oh well, on the bus/subway seems the only time/place i get a chance for sketching. I hope when the next sketch crawl day comes I will actually be able to spend the whole day doing it :D

subwaysurfer

drawing in public

Postby subwaysurfer » Fri May 20, 2005 11:40 am

Hi everyone, Im from noo yawk city and new to the forum, and thought this would be a good place to jump in and join the discussion. I'm hearing what everyone is saying about drawing in public and how hard it is especially because of the self concious issue. I have a couple of ways to combat this tendency, and one of the ways is to pretend Im watching Television or at the movies. The public is my "screen" and it doesnt matter that the "performers" are looking back at me! you get some rather interesting responses too, and that's the whole adventure of it! I'm a caricatrure artist by profession, so a lot of my "crawls" consists of drawing faces eveyday for hours and hours. I go on the trains mostly (hence the name subwaysurfer) where I can alwasy find a delightful mix of people of all ages, social status, and ethnic groups> I try to sketch as fast as I can with a point 5ive mechanical pencil, and then fill in the details in pen using a brush tip marker on the spot. I've actually had people request the sketches and pay for them, and have had many delightful convesations.

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Postby enrico » Fri May 20, 2005 4:02 pm

Wow, great to hear your insights Subwaysurfer ! and welcome to the forums ...

Anyway, very good points you have ... the interaction is indeed part of the fun ...
Can't wait to see your subway sketches !

E

PS
I miss NY !!!!!
Next crawl I am coming there ...

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Postby Thorsten » Mon Jan 09, 2006 8:52 pm

enrico wrote:... the interaction is indeed part of the fun ...


Danny Gregory has a newly posted story on drawing in public - told by ROZ, who reports from some nice kind of interactions while drawing in public. ;-)
Image

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Re: Drawing in Public

Postby CyberDave » Mon Oct 24, 2011 4:14 pm

When I went out for my first real sketchcrawl in July 2011, I was feeling pretty nervous about sketching with people watching. :think: :oops: A lot of my prior work was either done at my drawing board (with my full size watercolours) or carefully hidden/scrunched up so people could not really see me sketching :eh: . The latter made me feel safe and comfortable. :) So as they say my sketchcrawl was also to "get out of my comfort zone" and try something new.

Armed with my sketching/painting kit off I went to my first Sketchcrawl. To break through this awkward exposure, I thought I would go out really early ahead of the crowds and get something, even if just the framework down on paper before I was seen. :) You would think 7:00am would have been early enough to get away with this... WRONG! :( As soon as I had set up I was surrounded by homeless folks and mobile dwellers munching away on breakfast from whatever they could scrounge. Apparently the golden arches "MacDonalds" was open already down the block and the first feeding frenzy had started. I soon found that there were plenty of art critics and art enthusiasts amongst the homeless, so by 7:15am I had a half dozen of them standing behind me in my cheering section. Surprising that some of these folk had a good eye for art and knew all the local professional artists and galleries (from their local travels) :) . While I was sketching, I was carrying on conversations about how I sketch from the outside in to frame the work, fill in the main structures and then add the detail. I was getting a lot of intelligent questions. By now I was not feeling too uncomfortable. The hairs were still standing up on the back of my neck when people stood behind me but I was not feeling any anxiety. :thumbup:

By about 8:30am, the street folk started to disappear with their carts and buggies as the tourists arrived. A couple of early tourists came over for a look. This couple were from China (It was China Town, so that was a good chance anyway) and they were quite knowledgeable about art. :thumbup: Again the over-the-shoulder treatment, but I was feeling comfortable because we were having a great discussion while I sketched. Lots of compliments helped :) :thumbup: :thumbup:

Just before 9:00am my sketching partner (sketchalina/Carol) for sketchcrawl arrived and set up. We had not met before and we soon got comfortable talking about sketching and journal making. We had completely different sketching styles and checked out each others recent sketches. As the morning went on we had quite a number of tourists, locals and street folk drop by, have a look and engage us in discussion. It also helped to have Carol there as she was more of a sketchcrawl veteran. By 11:00am any anxiety had gone. At 11:30 we both packed up and moved off to our noon rendezvous spot to meet any late sketch crawlers. We were in place at the cafe when our third scheduled sketchcrawler (Crazythalia/Thalia) arrived and joined us for a few hours.

Since then I have done a lot of solo mini-sketchcrawls and have not had any anxiety or comfort issues related to on-lookers. My only major point is to ensure if I am sketching kids, I immediately show the parents what I am doing and ask if they mind. They get nervous with strangers photographing their kids but seem to be quite happy and flattered when someone sketches them.

In this last Sketchcrawl (#33) at Granville Island Public Market, I had absolutely no issues with watchers or interested parties and encouraged anyone interested to try sketching. I have had many great conversations with people watching.
I have found two types of people approach me; a) those knowledgeable sketchers/painters/artists - these folk are very supportive b) those folk who know nothing about art and have the impression someone needs to tell them what is good or bad art. With these folks I feel in control :lol: With the latter I indicate there is no good or bad art, it all depends on whether you like it, feel moved by it, like the colours in it or whatever. Then encourage them to try themselves. Most of these folk feel scared to try or start.

Anyway.. just my 2 cents and experience with drawing in public.

A real big PS: Sketchcrawl has been a tremendous help to me in building confidence .. even before I exposed myself to drawing in public. This community of artists has been so encouraging and supportive that it has really helped me get over self doubt and shyness. It has also taught me much about styles, composition and colour.
After doing Sketchcrawl#33, I came back and posted my work fairly quickly (mainly because I did the entire sketches and watercolour application on site rather than after I returned home). I was so pleased with myself and reasonably happy with my sketches. As other sketchcrawlers posted, I was just blown away by the quantity, the style differences and the impressive sketches I was seeing. Again as a community, sketchcrawlers kept up the encouragement so instead of thinking.. my stuff isn't so great... I was learning new things and planning how to improve for next time. So Enrico and all you other folks that made this possible .... You Done Good! :clap: :clap: Thanks.

Cheers
David Fletcher
[CyberDave]
Vancouver, Canada


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