Your Own Personal Sketch Out—Sketching in Waiting Rooms

May 22, 2012

See the complete post for details.

120511OldManLeft: Sketch of an old man across from me in a waiting room. Staedtler Pigment Liner pen in a journal I made with Nideggen paper. (Page approx. 6 x 9 inches.)

One of the advantages of always carrying your journal with you is that you can always take a moment to sketch—especially if you are in a waiting room with other people (or objects—sometimes it's fun to sketch furniture!).

Typically no one notices when I sketch, but on this day I think the man's wife who was sitting at right angles to him on my right, noticed. Just when I finished capturing most of this she got him up and took him out into the hall and left him there, to wait for their transportation. I could see him through the windows which line the hall at the entrance to the waiting room. She came back into the room to continue working on her crossword puzzle.

I kept working for about another minute on my drawing, fussing, making certain lines stronger, darkening some of the shading. There wasn't any point in getting my watercolors out because he was gone—and my ten minutes of sketching were over because I was called out of the waiting room.

It's great practice to try to get something down on paper quickly—it doesn't always have to be a bird.

Go have your own personal sketch out today, wherever your day takes you.

  1. Reply

    I love this sketch! ( i love the moment in time) I am going to have to start sketching people in public… quietly so they are not put out in the hallway 😉

    • Karen E
    • May 22, 2012

    This might be an opportunity for memory drawing. Use your peripheral vision to capture the image and draw without looking directly at the subject. Might keep your models from being put in the hall. Was this guy comatose?

  2. Reply

    Karen, it’s funny you should say this because I had to rely on memory to work on the wheels and part of his walker. (It was red and pimped out like that electric blue one I wrote about long ago!)

    I would have been more obvious, however if I’d used my peripheral vision as I would have had to turn 90 degrees to him in a chair that wasn’t meant to be moved. I would have looked petulant.

    He was actually reading a magazine and intermittently dozing, read, doze, read, doze. The nice thing was that in both of those situations he was looking down. Of course it was all only 10 minutes so maybe he wasn’t dozing and was just closing his eyes and resting.

    He had a wonderful face and lovely loose cheeks, and just a little bit of fluff around his bald head.

    Now if I wanted to use my memory drawing techniques I would step away from the computer at this moment and draw him as I remember him—he’d probably end up looking like a bird.

  3. Reply

    I’ve been doing a lot of waiting room sketching the last couple months, both in my IFJM and regular journals. There is definitely an art to looking but not looking. So far no one has gotten upset, but I have gotten a couple dubious glances. But the people are so much more interesting than the furniture (although I have also done a fair number of chairs and plants in desperation).

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