Friday, April 24, 2009

Concert Sketching

I'm always a little nervous to haul out my sketching gear during a highbrow concert, like this a capella madrigal event at Vassar College. You don't want to be scratching away on a big charcoal pad, or knocking over jugs of water in some lady's lap.

So I recommend this technique, which is super-quiet and low key. You just get two brushpens, one with brown or gray and the other with black. Do a quick pencil layin, and just draw the figures as shapes rather than lines.
The fountain pen ink in the waterbrushes goes on silently. It works nicely with the all-black costumes they wear at classical concerts. And when they turn the house lights way down low you can still see what you're doing. These figures are only about two inches tall, and in the low light I could hardly see what I was doing.

No matter how carefully I hold onto the stuff in my left hand I always manage to drop a pencil under someone's seat.

9 comments:

TomHart said...

Another great tip, James, thanks!

I'm picturing that your brush pens are filled with pretty saturated, dark colors, and if that's true - and if you only have the two brush pens - how do you get the lighter gray tone for the background?

Tom

James Gurney said...

Perceptive question. I think I had a couple other loose things in my pocket, probably a waterbrush with clear water over a black water-soluble colored pencil.

Oscar Baechler said...

I think there's a huge reason for any increase I've seen in quality sketching, along these lines. Most artists I knew in college said the same thing I was saying: If I draw on the bus, that's like two hours of guaranteed practice every day, but it's so painful to shamefully draw something unsuccessful while a grandma peeks over your shoulder.

Swallowing one's pride and willfully drawing garbage while strangers can look upon you is a great way to have your drawing eventually evolve AWAY from garbage.

eric said...

if you drop your pencil under someones seat all you have to do is say, i'm james gurney and i'm famous, and all will be forgiven.

also, it would be hilarious/funny if one of those waterbrushes broke in your pocket and it looked like you had a faulty prostate...haha.

anyway, did you or do you plan on posting images of your other tiny watercolor paintings from dinotopia, i think i saw them once in a lecture you gave, there was a pencil in the photo to show there size. they were tiny but they were absolutly amazing....

Jorge Bustamante said...

these are great! i usually try something like this in class with my professors as the subjects... the only problem arises when i draw caricatures of them and the kids around me laugh and draw attention to it...eek.

splynch said...

I have been trying this quite a bit lately, with very mixed results, including one that I had to do in almost total darkness. These are wonderful, no surprise of course!

foxstudio said...

I'd forgotten all about brush pens. I used to use them for caliigraphy practice. Thanks for the reminder!

Just ordered a set of Beinfangs from Dick Blick to take to Mongolia for location sketching in July. Assuming that anyone is going anywhere by then.

Jake said...

that. is awesome :) love the shapes.

dayana said...

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Susan

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