mardi 6 septembre 2011

SKETCHING PEOPLE AT AN EVENT – Drawing at Camp Kinkora’s 85th anniversary celebration

Keep your sketching equipment simple when drawing people

I knew that there would be hundreds of people at the anniversary celebration I was to attend. I also realized that I would be moving from one location to another drawing as quickly as possible whomever and whatever I could. I sat or stood wherever I could with sketchbook in hand. This was not the time to use a complicated array of materials. Simple meant: graphite pencils (HB, 2B, 4B, 6B), a 03 point felt marker (Prismacolor) and an 8 ½” x 11” DALER ROWNEY SOHO open flat (80 sheet) light sketchbook.

1. Start somewhere in the middle, draw the head first

When I draw people in a crowd I usually select a person who is standing or sitting still. I immediately do an accurate contour drawing of his or her head. This shape determines the relative scale of the rest of the scene including the size of the other figures. The heads shapes in the foreground will be larger and those recessed will be proportionately smaller and less detailed.

2. Compose and design, don’t just draw isolated people

At an event people are interacting. It is the ideal time to “catch” and draw people in action, facing each other, looking away, holding hands for example or in an embrace. If you see a musician or singer, draw him or her. Usually they stand pretty still.

3. Integrate or suggest the location

In the lower portion of page 3, I integrated an arched doorway in the design leading towards the figure. This darker doorway shape contrasts against the white robe of the figure in front of it and the white table cloth. There are repeated echoes of the arched shape in the figure and the dish on the table.

4. Quickly learn to identify potentially still subjects

In the bottom left section of page 4, I was able to render rather easily two people because I assumed that they would be in a state of repose for a while due to the placement of their arms. Usually someone who crosses one’s arms or rests one’s head on one’s arms will remain in that position for at least a few minutes.

5. If possible create “lead into” forms

In sketch no 5 I am leading the viewer into the scene through the stem of the guitar at right, also via the arm of the foreground figure at left and by the oblique fold of the corner of the table cloth near his hand. The arch of the doorway also leads us to the main figure. Finally, his hand leads us back to the center of the scene.

6. Identify geometric shapes and arrange them to create your design

In the drawing on page 6 I contrasted the “ovals”, spheres and arcs and the foreground shapes against the strait edged shapes of the houses and cabins in the background. The foreground spheres of the heads, for example, stand out sharply against the triangular and rectangular shapes behind them.

7. Use dark contrast whenever possible

Daumier was a master at the skilful use of light against dark in his drawings. I have used here a similar technique by rendering the middle row of people with an India ink brush pen. My intention was to indicate the time of day, early evening or dusk.

8. Ink and graphite work well together depending on …

I first sketched the main outline of the scene of page 8 using a fine tip felt pen (03). Then I rendered the intermediate values using HB through 6B graphite pencils. Finally, using the brush ink pen I added black highlights at strategic points. It is tempting in a complex scene such as this to say too much. Sometimes more is said by what is left out.

The next time you are invited to a celebration, bring along your sketch book and pencils to record the event discretely. I promise you will enjoy and remember it much more.

Raynald Murphy sca

About Camp Kinkora

At the anniversary celebration Fr. John Walsh, who is know for his talk show on CJAD, had some very meaningful words to share with us. I will quote parts of his talk.

“…thousands and thousands of children benefit from Camp. Kids who never could appreciate life learned about the joys of life, kids who found it hard to get along with others learned the strength of team work, kids whose parents were not reliable role models found role models in councilors and directors at Kinkora, and many who had no meaning in life found meaning and stayed close to the camp and became CITs (Councilors In Training) and then Councilors…

… An exasperated mother, whose son was always getting into mischief, finally asked him, “How do you expect to get into Heaven?”The boy thought it over and said, “Well, I’ll just run in and out and in and out and keep slamming the door until St. Peter says ‘For Heaven’s sake, Jimmy, come in or stay out!’”

… Camp is a time of education being led out of ignorance and this will be a great challenge for all of us in the years to come. Back into the future … we need to listen to others more than ever. No wonder we have two ears and one mouth… listen twice as much as we speak. And listen everywhere. Lady Gaga says:

"It doesn't matter if you love him, or capital H-I-M
Just put your paws up
Because you were born this way, baby

My mama told me when I was young
We are all born superstars

She rolled my hair and put my lipstick on
In the glass of her boudoir

"There's nothing wrong with loving who you are"
She said, "Because he made you perfect, babe"

"So hold you head up girl and you'll go far
Listen to me when I say"

I'm beautiful in my way
Because God makes no mistakes
I'm on the right track baby
I was born this way

Don't hide yourself in regret
Just love yourself and you're set
I'm on the right track, baby
I was born this way

Give yourself prudence
And love your friends
Subway kid, rejoice your truth
In the religion of the insecure

I must be myself, respect my youth
Just be a queen
Whether you're broke or evergreen
You're black, white, beige, chola descent

You're Lebanese, you're Orient
Whether life's disabilities

Left you outcast, bullied, or teased
Rejoice and love yourself today
Because baby, you were born this way

No matter gay, straight, or bi,
Lesbian, transgendered life
I'm on the right track, baby
I was born to survive

No matter black, white or beige
Chola or Orient made
I'm on the right track, baby
I was born to be brave

I'm beautiful in my way
Because God makes no mistakes
I'm on the right track, baby
I was born this way"

This is what camp accomplished more than anything else, it gave you your individuality and enabled you to grow into the Person God intended you to be…”

Thank you, John, for these timely reminders.