Tag Archives: streetlife

Street Mam

11 Aug

11 streetmam

I often sit and have a quick scribble in the street, but quietly so people don’t notice and start to pose. I sat opposite this young mother and her little boy the other day. They were lost in their own world, so sweet and touching. I used a Faber Castell Pitt drawing pen, size F into an A5 cloth-bound sketchbook.

Street Scribble #1

10 Aug

10 streetman

Sometimes I only have a minute or two to scribble someone in the street. Here’s an elderly man sitting outside Starvin’ Jacks the other day.  I grabbed my sketchbook and did my thing. About a minute and a half before he moved on. You never know how long you have so all the relevant lines have to be done very quickly and that helps train you in spotting what’s necessary and what can be ditched. There’s no substitute for speed drawing IMHO.  Faber Castell Pitt pen size F into my A5 cloth bound Laura Ashley sketchbook.

More Streetlife

11 Nov


I try and spend a few minutes scribbling each day. If there isn’t a specific topic to interest me, I’ll wander along to the large windows at the east side of our studio block and do some speed sketching at around 4-5pm when people are making their way home. It’s good practice because I have to capture the figures in seconds, focussing on what’s absolutely vital about each individual. You have to think on your feet.


Life On His Own Terms

12 Jun

Sitting on a public bench in the city centre at the end of a long day, waiting to meet Husb to walk home and watching other workers doing last-minute shopping and heading for buses and cars, I spotted a local character standing opposite, so of course I grabbed my sketchbook and had a scribble.

I won’t name him because he’s a gentle man who doesn’t like attracting attention, but I have seen him on the city’s streets now since I was a schoolgirl, when he was a young man who had chosen to give up a conventional lifestyle and live as a ‘tramp’ on the streets. It’s four decades on and he still chooses to live the same lifestyle. He’s very unkempt and he drags a large sack of his belongings wherever he goes, but he’s always seemed healthy enough and he’s friendly and well-spoken  in his quiet way and has never been known to harm anyone. Once he found a bag with £10,000 in it and took it straight to the police station, every penny, and even refused a generous reward from the money’s astonished owner.

I’ve noticed recently that he’s now very grey and looking a bit frail. It’s quite worrying but he shows no sign of wanting to come off the streets. He’s had offers of accommodation and the caring services have certainly been keeping an eye out for him, but he carries on with his chosen lifestyle.

He’s very well known and well-regarded locally, no-one seems to mind that he’s lived so unconventionally for so many years. Visitors to the city are sometimes shocked, because he does look a bit of a state, but those that chat to him quickly realise that he’s living life on his own terms. I’m glad I live in a place where such eccentricity is accepted and I hope he is able to continue with his chosen lifestyle for as long as he wants.

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!

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