Tag Archives: people-watching

Man In A Black Square

31 May

Some time ago I took some digital photos from my second floor studio window, looking down on the people walking past below. I worked them up into drawings and I’ve been gradually cutting them into blocks for printing. I’m planning to do a series of nine block prints, all square and the same size, with the figure offset within the square. It sort of ties in with my feeling that artists are voyeurs, spying on the world to record what they see. Well, some of us are anyway. Once I’ve done all nine, I’ll exhibit them in a 3×3 square formation so that the black squares make the most impact and also to emphasise the isolation of each individual imprisoned in their own dark square.

I cut the image into a recycled piece of signwriter’s foamboard, I think the brand name in Britain is Floatex. I use it because it’s free and gives a very fine line that I can’t get with lino or wood. I used it extensively to teach block printing to people with drug problems; some have blood-borne viruses and the last thing you want is a cutting tool injury. The foamboard doesn’t have to be cut – it can be incised with a 4″ nail or even a biro.

I printed this today using Daler-Rowney block-printing medium and lamp black oil paint, using a Japanese baren to take the print without a press onto Fabriano Accademica 120gsm paper. I’m going to have to do more experimentation because I only had one good print out of 5. I might try it out with a Zercoll paper or adjust the ratio of paint to medium until I get it right. Ho hum, that’s my fate sealed for the bank holiday. [Holiday? Don’t make me laugh :)]

Street Scribbling

30 May

Getting a bit stir crazy in the studio today so I went out into the street for ten minutes or so mid-afternoon and did some speed scribbling of passersby. I don’t try to hide but people rarely seem to notice me. The guy on the top right, who was swigging from a can of beer, grinned at me from far off and as he walked past said, “Lovely drawings Darlin'”. He wouldn’t have been able to see them but it was nice to get a compliment 🙂

It’s good discipline to get out and do some very fast drawings from life, it forces you to identify what’s important and what must be recorded before someone moves on – you’re working with seconds, not minutes. It’s possibly the nearest that drawing comes to photography, which captures the instant. Quite a few men carry ‘man bags’ these days, as well as the ubiquitous rucksacks. I can’t persuade Husb to carry a man bag, I’ve tried but it’s like trying to get him into a pair of shorts – hell will freeze over first!

Spying Scribbling Cutting Printing

19 Jan

I often think of artists as voyeurs, spying on and recording what’s around us. We had a lovely sunny day in the middle of last week and I opened one of the big windows in my new studio and looked down at the pavement three floors below. Suddenly, someone walked past beneath me and I noticed what an odd shape they made. Then a couple of people stood almost directly below me. Again, really odd shapes. I grabbed my digital camera and snapped away for the next 15 minutes or so and downloaded the photos onto my laptop. Nobody noticed me snapping them – my camera is quiet and people rarely look up for no good reason.

drawing, tracing, redrawing....

I spent a bit of time over the next few days converting the images to black and white and simplifying them by cranking up the contrast [in Adobe Photoshop] then I drew a series of them onto tracing paper using some good quality Derwent pencils in B, 2B and 4B. I cut some 15 x 15 cm blocks from an offcut of polycarbonate [signwriters] foam. I turned the drawings over and placed each onto a piece of foamblock. Using a 4H sharpened pencil, I drew over the lines, transferring the drawing onto the surface of the block. Then I picked around the outline with a small sable brush and black Indian ink. Finally I worked into the image with Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens [sizes S and F] and a little grey inkwash. I still have some more drawing to do on this image. Once I’m satisfied, the next stage will be to cut it and then, hopefully this Saturday, I’ll print it down at Swansea Print Workshop. There’s a lot to printmaking!

 

 

 

 

Faces On The Bakerloo

14 Nov

Ink drawing: kidfaceman.

Here are some more sketches done on tube trains, ideal for people-watching. This young man above was chatting to his friend and didn’t notice me – one of the few people talking on the London Tube! What struck me was his childlike face. His features were scrunched up into a much smaller area, unlike an average adult head. He was very animated and it’s a challenge to draw someone who’s smiling, laughing and talking so much. Reasonable likeness though.

The stylish man below was engrossed in his paper. He wore a large and expensive looking watch and a typical looking old-school tie. Drawing on the Tube is difficult because it’s so shaky and the line wobbles all over the place, but I like the effect.

Ink drawing: The Watchman.

They’re drawn in Faber Castell Pitt drawing pen size ‘S’ into an ‘Artbox’ recycled leather-bound A6 sketchbook.

 

 

 

 

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