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It’s Official #MarchIsSketchAlunArmstrongMonth

February 28, 2021

Yep, #MarchIsSketchAlunArmstrongMonth.

It seems the best way to improve the current situation.

I woke up this morning to icy rain. By the time I finished cycling (inside of course) there were fat, light flakes of snow falling quickly past the window behind me. 

The Minnesota State site for Covid vaccination eligibility said it would be April or May before I’d be eligible for a vaccination.

That means more isolation and no figure drawing co-op. 

If you’ve been reading along, you already know I think Alun Armstrong has one of the best noses on the planet. 

He also happens to be one of the busiest working actors. Check out his IMDb filmography.

It makes sense to me that drawing him throughout March can only be a great activity. (Besides, he’s in a ton of adaptations of Dickens’ books so that only makes sketching him more fun—think dundrearies.)

What Do We Do Now?

#MarchIsSketchAlunArmstrongMonth is a creative activity designed to help you keep your drawing practice going.

It’s non-commercial. No fees, no payments. You just decide to play along for the fun of it.

During March (all 31 days of March) draw Alun Armstrong once, 10 times, everyday (31 times)—whatever suits you.

Use this opportunity to practice drawing directly with a brush pen, or watercolor brush; improve your ability to glaze watercolors or color pencils; play with thick gouache strokes, or use any medium you want. (I’m hoping someone will use out of date macaroni.)

Just sketch Alun Armstrong.

  1. Every time you create a sketch/painting of Armstrong, post it on social media with the following hashtag
    #MarchIsSketchAlunArmstrongMonth 
  2. Then drop me a note in the comments section below. Be sure to include a link to your posting, so I don’t miss your post. You can post on your blog, on instagram, on your Facebook feed…

This is a time for you to experiment with your paints, or work on your art goals, or practice color theory, or focus on capturing details that create a likeness…That’s what you are going to get out of this.

Sketch Armstrong once or 31 times—it doesn’t matter, you get to set up the parameters of your participation. Just be sure to post on social media with the hashtag

#MarchIsSketchAlunArmstrongMonth

But wait there’s more. 

Win a Mentoring Session with Roz

Everyone who sketches Armstrong and posts the equivalent of five 1-hour sketches will be put into a prize drawing.

I’ll look over all the posted and hashtagged sketches people have sent me links for during the month.

Then on April 1, 2021 (and this is NOT an April Fool’s Day joke) I will draw a name out of a hat and that person will win a 60 to 90 minute (depending on what ground we have to cover) mentoring session with me on Zoom.

You can ask me questions about your specific Armstrong pieces, or about a particular medium, your goals, whatever. I’ve been teaching and mentoring artists for over 35 years so it will be an information packed meeting.

What Does “the Equivalent of Five 1-hour Sketches Mean”?

In a project like this if I ask people to do a minimum of five sketches some playful individuals might try to game the system. Just to get into the prize drawing with a  minimal amount of effort they might make a few gesture sketches in an hour and post them.

Posting gesture sketches would be great, but if someone spends 30 hours over the course of the month to make an oil painting of Armstrong why should that person be penalized and not eligible for the drawing because only one painting is the result?

So to even things out I’m asking you to spend some real effort on your sketches. If you sketch Armstrong everyday for instance, many days perhaps your hashtagged work will be gestures—but for at least five of your drawings you are going to put some time and effort into them—get them to some level of finish. Alternately if you sketch Armstrong 16 times during the month, and it’s obvious (and it will be to me) that you’ve put in sufficient time in each sketch to be at least the equivalent of five one-hour sketches, your name will go in the drawing. And a 30 hour painting gets in for obvious reasons.

Anyone of ANY SKILL LEVEL can participate. If you’re just beginning your sketching life, drawing the same subject repeatedly is a great way to learn proportions, play with composition, or work on your use of color or line. 

I’m going to be looking for effort—the equivalent of five 1-hour sketches.  

How Do I Participate When Armstrong Isn’t Exactly Stopping by to Model?

As readers of the blog know I prefer to draw from life. But Covid is making it pretty difficult for me to get out and about to see live subjects. And I’m sure I’m not going to simply bump into Armstrong on a grocery run.

#MarchIsSketchAlunArmstrongMonth is NOT about stalking Armstrong. (Anyone stalking Armstrong is immediately disqualified from the prize drawing!)

This project is about honoring Armstrong’s lifelong contribution to our entertainment. Instead of drawing from life you’ll need to draw from video. You can stream shows with Armstrong pretty much everywhere. Here are some to get you started:

“New Tricks” on Amazon Prime. “New Tricks” is a crime show about retired detectives brought out of retirement to work cold cases.

“Bleak House” (2005) on BritBox. “Bleak House” is a television adaptation of one of Dicken’s best books—it’s one of my top 3 favorites.

“Little Dorrit” (2008) on BritBox and Amazon Prime. “Little Dorrit” is yet another adaptation of a Dickens novel. (I think there is actually a rule that Armstrong has to be cast in these adaptations.) He plays twin brothers in this one!

He’s in “Brave Heart.”

And “Downton Abbey.”

Google “Alun Armstrong” and see one of the many videos on YouTube in which he appears.

Go back to Armstrong’s filmography and find new sources. (For instance I know the 1974 series of “Father Brown” is streaming somewhere—he’s in “the Hammer of God” episode of that series. He’s in “Frontier,” a show about the fur trade in the 1700s North America—it’s streaming on Netflix.

You get the idea, Armstrong is everywhere. He’s in “Krull.”

He needs to be in your sketchbook as well.

I know you can sit this out, but what would be the fun of that? Challenge yourself to work on  your portrait drawing skills by drawing an amazingly expressive face.

The nose, the eyebrows, the penetrating stare—it’s time to get it all down on paper (or your drawing tablet). 

#MarchIsSketchAlunArmstrongMonth

This is a 5 x 7 inch Pentel Pigment Brush Pen sketch, with watercolor, made while watching “Little Dorrit.” (300 lb. Fabriano Hot Press Watercolor Paper.)
    • Tyanne Agle
    • March 1, 2021
    Reply

    The possibility of a mentoring session is a pretty big carrot. I have been thinking of doing the sketchy 30 faces 30 days so doing a few paintings of Alun would fit right in. Now to figure out how to use my Amazon prime to watch his shows

    1. Reply

      I don’t know if I have my Amazon Prime configured in the conventional way or not. I started with it on Roku. Here’s what I can do on the computer, sign in, then in the tabs at the first line I look for prime video. Then all my lines of saved shows and stuff come up, as well as what’s available on prime for me free.

      In the search engine if you select Prime Video (instead of books or cookware or whatever) and enter Alun Armstrong a list of things will come up, and if they say included with your Prime membership you can start watching right away.

      I would check a show against Armstrong’s IMDb listing because they have his whole filmography, and I would hate to have you watch hours and hours of a series when he’s only in episode 1 or 10. The filmography on IMDb lists that. Season 1 of new tricks would be the best place to start for continuous sightings.

      If you have a roku or something like that you need to go to the channel store on the Roku controller, and then find Amazon Prime, select it and it will walk you through a log-in process which you would use your info from your regular log in. If you do this once it will be available to you on the Roku, and you just have to press on that “channel” and it will open up, and then use the search engine in Amazon Prime on the Roku.

      Hope that helps. I’m glad you’re going to give it a go.

    • Fawzia van Loenen
    • March 2, 2021
    Reply

    This is a fun challenge! Interesting to study one specific face for a month. I just watched a lot of trailers and photo’s of Alun Armstrong and then did a pen sketch watching a reel of videoclips on him. I did a sketch but something went wrong with the upload, will try again tomorrow.

    1. Reply

      I’m sorry you had trouble posting your image. Can you post it directly on your FB feed and then hashtag it and we can then find it that way by just clicking on the hashtag in facebook?

      I’m glad you’re going to have a go with this. I hope it’s fun for you.

    • Michele
    • March 2, 2021
    Reply

    We can paint/draw/scribble him from still images right? Not moving images?
    I’ll post any results on the fb site, but won’t hashtag it because I’m trying to be invisible and not have a social media presence anywhere.

    1. Reply

      I’m glad you’re going to participate and I understand you want to be invisible but we won’t be able to find them unless we happen to see it in the stream, and I’m rarely on, so I’m pretty sure I won’t see them. It will make it hard for people participating to also cheer you on. Those are the downsides.

      On the upside of course you’ll spend time drawing a fascinating face. Whatever works for your needs. Just get some drawing done.

    1. Reply

      Barbara, great job diving in. Thanks for letting me know with the links. Keep going.

      Roz

    1. Reply

      Shelley the three I saw on instagram were FANTASTIC. You’ve got him. I love them so much.

    • Susan D
    • March 3, 2021
    Reply

    Hi Roz,
    I love this project! Haven’t posted any yet but scratched out at least 16 Alun’s. My goal is to eventually get one that sort of looks like him. I didn’t know who he was until I looked him up, but wow I’ve seen him many times & didn’t know who he was. I’m drawn to his unruly eyebrows because they are just like my late husband’s, that was a surprise.

    1. Reply

      I’m glad you’ve been working away. Don’t worry if you’re not getting a likeness. I find he is quite the challenge myself, and have a post about it coming up. I drew him five or six times today whenever I was taking a break, and I’m going to keep going!!!!

      I find his eyebrows are like Dick’s except Armstrong’s are dark. So I’m hoping the process will help me crack the secret to getting Dick’s eyebrows down! Since you recognize them as like your late husband’s (I’m sorry for your loss) you may find yourself drawing your husband’s eyebrows. I remember that I drew Emma’s muzzle on sketches of Dottie, if I wasn’t careful! (Emma had passed and hers was longer and broader, so it was pretty obvious when I got my editing eye looking things over!)

      Keep going with Armstrong, whenever you can. Let’s see what we get done at the end of the month.

        • Susan D
        • March 7, 2021
        Reply

        Thanks Roz! That is an interesting observation on the eyebrow thing. I feel like I’m getting a little closer on his likeness, but I’ve settled down a bit about it. He is fun to sketch.

        https://www.instagram.com/p/CMIpSKIjOFRE0LqL7MNV3I_Vz6rW4rDF8GDG6E0/

        1. Reply

          So glad you’re settling into it!

    • Jen
    • March 6, 2021
    Reply

    First attempt here. Subsequent attempts will go in the same place!
    https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=4356222434393796&set=gm.2585593028400534

    • Shelley
    • March 12, 2021
    Reply

    https://www.instagram.com/p/CMU3K5snwX2/?igshid=1ddl2pzya3ivo
    Roz after painting this one I have great appreciation for your skills and the speed at which you work

    • Tyanne
    • March 12, 2021
    Reply

    https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=4462228297123863&set=gm.2590020294624474
    My third portrait. All have taken more than an hour so far

    • Susan
    • March 22, 2021
    Reply

    I’m late to the game here, but I’ve posted a few on Instagram @suss1890 with the hashtag. I’ll have to figure out how to post the links.

    • Susan
    • March 22, 2021
    Reply
    • Susan
    • March 22, 2021
    Reply
      • Fawzia van Loenen
      • March 28, 2021
      Reply

      Hi Tyanne,

      When i click on the link, I get a message: ” this page has been removed ”
      Would love to see your drawings of Alun Armstrong.
      With kind regards,
      Fawzia

    • Susan
    • March 25, 2021
    Reply
    • Susan
    • March 26, 2021
    Reply

    Oh, I am having fun with this. Couldn’t resist those eyebrows and that hairline. https://www.instagram.com/p/CM5pkUBHwv0/?igshid=efwnunx4tajk

    • Fawzia van Loenen
    • March 28, 2021
    Reply

    https://www.facebook.com/fawzia.vanloenen.52

    Today I used a pentel brush pen and watercolor. Never tried this combination, but I liked doing it. Unfortunately, his beautiful, characteristic nose went wrong. But I liked drawing the fur coat and the tricorn.

    1. Reply

      Fawzia I’m so glad that you gave this project a try!

    • Susan
    • March 29, 2021
    Reply

    After finally having the chance to see him actually act in Garrow’s Law, I did another page of pen sketches. I feel like I’m getting to know his face better all the time. https://www.instagram.com/p/CNAK3pwHf_2/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

    1. Reply

      I don’t know Garrow’s Law, I’m going to have to look at those. Thanks for posting your links!

    • Susan
    • April 1, 2021
    Reply

    Final sketch. Thanks for instigating this Roz. I enjoyed getting to know his interesting face, and found some interesting new shows to watch. I don’t get any Netflix or Britbox, but I have a hold on New Tricks at the library. https://www.instagram.com/p/CNHJ-yenllo/?igshid=1jerqxbjw7zuh

    • Christina Baker
    • April 1, 2021
    Reply

    I sketched during #marchisalunarmstrongmonth and hope my name got put into the drawing. THanks, Roz

    1. Reply

      Christina your name was in the drawing, unfortunately another name was drawn. You should have received a note. Please write to me privately if you didn’t so I can keep you up to date.

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