More Direct Sketching with Pen and Ink

April 4, 2011

See the post for continued comments.

110314Allergist Left: An 8 x 8 inch (approx.) page from a journal I made with defunct drawing paper. Waiting room sketch—Staedtler Pigment Liner with light washes of watercolor (Daniel Smith). (Thick book and paper buckling causing shadow when scanned.)

I take my journal with me everywhere and this is useful because there are life models available everywhere. I sketched this man while I waited the 30 minutes required after my allergy shots (they want you to be on site if you have an allergic reaction).

On this day, the two people sitting next to me, who were too close for me to sketch, noticed what I was doing and we ended up having a very interesting discusion about cat adoption, dogs, and life.

In March I started a series on Direct Sketching with Pen and Ink. If you are always working in pencil and enjoy pencil, that's great, but if you are working in pencil and constantly erasing, I would like to encourage you to pick up a pen and have at it, no erasing. My first post in the series walks you through my approach to sketching in public.

On this day the man I was sketching was actually in separate waiting room which I could see from the smaller waiting room I occupied. It's my experience that people generally are unobservant and specifically only look at their immediate surroundings. If you can position yourself in an adjacent room that looks on to their location, or even a different bank of chairs (as I did on my jury duty sketching adventure), or a different compartment in a train, they won't even realize you are focusing on them. Try it.

  1. Reply

    Hi Roz,

    I haven’t left a comment in a long time, but I do really love your blog and just wanted to “check in”.


  2. Reply

    Vicki, it is always great to hear that people are still reading! Thanks.

  3. Reply

    Really like this sketch. I did one of a man waiting opposite me for a train the other day, just to practise all those helpful tips you write about. It was great fun, but a lousy sketch. Practice,practice,practice!
    Oh-and I haven’t picked up a pencil in a while…. :>)

    • Carolyn
    • April 5, 2011

    Nice sketch. One would think he held a pose.

  4. Reply

    Carolyn, one of the things I’ve found is that people who are really far away from me are easier to draw in a complete pose as I don’t get caught up in the details. This guy really was pretty still though, and I got his head shape right away. He uncrossed and recrossed his legs, though, so I finally gave up on the feet. And he got up.

  5. Reply

    Thanks Judith, I’m glad you were practicing. I’m glad you had great fun. That the main thing for me, after every sketch, good or not so good—did I have fun, did I learn something? If the answer to those questions is yes I know I’m going to keep sketching. So keep picking up your pen!!! (Good for you.)

    • Holly Waldrop
    • April 6, 2011

    Oh my god, I did it. Sitting in Grand Rounds yesterday waiting to speak at faculty meeting. I started sketching the MD sitting in front of me – the back of his head, the curve of his jaw, how his suspenders wrapped over his starched shirt. And I was using (gasp) a PEN! I became so engrossed in what I was doing that it took me quite some time to realize the MD sitting to my left was very intently watching what I was doing. EEK! End of that story. But… feeling oh-so-much braver on both counts now.

    Thanks, Roz. As always.

  6. Reply

    Holly, Congratulations on sketching at your faculty meeting!!!!! Yippee, in ink! I love that you jumped right in. Be fearless.


    • Carolyn
    • April 8, 2011

    Chiming in to cheer for Holly, too! I rarely have to sit in meetings, but I find sketching is a great way to keep focused.

    This thread also reminds me to see “waiting” differently. There really is no such thing as waiting, it’s either time spent sketching, or time spent forgetting to sketch… 🙂

  7. Reply

    Carolyn, thanks for supporting Holly! And also for stating clearly what this is about—waiting differently. For me there is either time spent sketching or time waiting to get the pen out so that I can sketch. (I forget lots of things, but happily I always remember to sketch, in fact sometimes I stop and sketch and then I don’t remember what I was supposed to be on my way to doing! I think that’s a good way to be so I’m not complaining.)

    • Cindy Burton
    • April 25, 2012

    I just found your blog recently and I love it! I am new at sketching and love what you have to say. I am going to work more with my pens. Thanks for everything!

  8. Reply

    Cindy, I’m glad that you are enjoying the blog. Welcome. Please use the category cloud in the left column to find interesting key word/tags that might be of interest to you. Lots of people like my journaling superstitions series (click on Superstitions in the category cloud).

    And if you read the list of pages (also in the left column) you’ll find there are some other items of interest that will help you get adjusted to the things that I write about.

    And of course since you are new I should mention it’s April and it’s International Fake journal month and you can visit my other blog about that here

    Work more with your pens—that’s a great attitude!

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