Sketching Books and Stories.

Image 5 Tuesday Class. October 14 ’14 We’re into the second week of term, and our class is swelling in size and enthusiasm. We’ve all arrived a bit early, and are very keen to get started. Today we’re looking at a stack of rather old books. Some of my favourites are piled here, such as “The Water Babies” and even an old dictionary. Old book covers can make interesting and characterful sketches! Image 6 It doesn’t take long before the penny drops that we’re tackling that dreaded ‘P’ word again. Perspective. But with a lot of encouraging from both Toni and myself, and explaining of how to ‘see’ what is in front of you, we see everyone delve into their first sketches. With the growing number of new sketchers this term, we’ve taken some extra time tutoring the way we use the colour pencils, and layering. Great progress everyone. Image 4 Before long it’s time to head out and down to the library. We realise the weather has in fact been kind. I was almost certain we’d be walking in the rain, as it was predicted to be both windy and raining today. None the less, we’re ever so pleased to all amble down the hill together, deep in hearty chatty banter, and arrive at the library where we’re being very good about using our whispers. Image 2 Quietly we mingle with other library goers, and sketch whatever we fancy. It may be the gentleman in the corner reading his newspaper. But he keeps stretching and moving! It could be the trolley of books, or a shelf, and so we find the things that interest us. Next door in a neighbouring room of the library we are serenaded with a kids ‘corner-sing along’ and it’s very dear! Image We decide it’s time to head to Fika Swedish Kitchen cafe. Our coffee calling is loud and clear. We are delighted to get our reserved table at the back, and are seated comfortably enjoying our surrounds. We notice above the doorway is a stack of books! Perfect cafe to choose in keeping with our ‘book theme’. The food here is scrumptious, the helpings generous, and the staff even more charming. We love coming here. Image 1 We finish off colour for our last sketches, and make a start on new ones of our surrounds. We’ve had a great day together, and I quickly take photographs before people need to dash away. I am pleased with today’s sketches, and while photographing I blurt out a hearty “Wunderbar”, its such an expressive word that I love, and added to my vocabulary from time spent living in Germany. A passer by stops in her tracks and is interested in what we’re doing. We chat a little and I hand over a card with our details for the class, and it transpired she’d heard my German outburst and wonders if I’m German, as I believe she must be. Always fun to attract new sketchers, even if it’s due to my attempt at speaking German. See you all next week. ………………………………………………………………………………………………… Thursday Class. October 16 ’14 IMG_0203 Thursday Class. October 16 ’14 It must be sketching day. The weather is gorgeous. Somehow we survived that violent storm the other night. Power cutting out, trees down, wee birds with no home left. Awww I found a little one today, so I buried it in a shady place. With dignity. Image 7 Today was about lovely old books piled up. Several thoughts can occur here as you walk into the Studio. ‘Gee that looks hard’ or ‘ooh those books look interesting and filled with great stories’  or ‘maybe this well help me learn how to see shapes better’ or ‘I’m having a bad day, I’m going home?’ However, despite all the thinking, we left that part of our brain elsewhere, and simply looked at was going on right there in front of you and with splendid results. IMG_0220 We had a new person starting so Toni very kindly set up some ‘man shaped’ flowers – the big strezlitzias. He did a great job, never having sketched or drawn without a pencil for safety, but as he said later, it’s very freeing up using just the black pen. Yes it is. Nothing is right or wrong with sketching. It’s simply what you put down as you see it – in that moment. We headed down to the library to continue looking at things ‘going away’. Book shelves sure as heck do that. In fact mostly the top are at your eye level, and then you’ll see the lower shelves rising up as it goes away. Take a good long look at them and you’ll see it. Image 8 We sat as quietly as possible for a group of enthusiastic sketchers, and went about our work. We had all sorts of subjects which one wouldn’t normally take a speck of notice of. But here we were figuring out what happens in the back of a book shelf here, or how does that corner work over there! This is the seeing part. What are the shapes. What’s going on to make that happen. Lovely work everybody. It’s all practice for teaching you how to sketch any old thing at all. One day you’ll just know it!!!!!!!!! In the shortest time. IMG_0223 Coffffeeeeee. Let’s go.  Fika Swedish Kitchen – here we come. They cleverly put us in as far down the end as poss, but there is a seat for everyone. One of our Friday girls popped in to catch up and see what we were doing. Yes we miss you too. Our new sketcher enjoyed simply observing and seeing how everyone approaches their work. This is the lovely sharing part of our classes. Everybody is full of praise for everyone else’s sketching. We all learn from one another. So till next week. Image 9 …………………………………………………………………………………………………… Friday Class. October 17 ’14. Image 5 Friday Class. October 17 ’14 Our subject today was literally literary! Books. Nothing beats a good book and they are great to sketch, especially as we had a few with some interesting covers, in particular “The Water Babies”, the cover is simply delightful. Image Erin and Christy had set up a selection of books on each table and I also had brought in two rather cute bookends from home (they are world globes in miniature) along with the three books I have on display with them normally: an Australian Ski Book from the 70″s filled with a lovely assortment of groovy ski gear from that era, an old Map Book and my most favourite a book entitled “Boring Postcards”. Yes it is full of a wondrous selection of the dullest and most boring postcards you have ever seen. I think most of them are from the 60’s in the UK where the holiday accommodation pictured looks more like prison camps and the city centres look as dreary as a wet weekend. We had a good giggle at how awful they all were! Image 9 Anyway…..onto the books…….the perspective can be a bit confusing when they are piled up at different angles but everyone did marvellously. Our newer sketchers did so well with their watercolour pencils and dived straight in at the deep end. Karen helped give them a few pointers at the start – much appreciated. Amazing stuff! Our more experienced sketchers worked on shadow and light and the sketches looked so gorgeous when finished. Image 1 So in keeping with the theme we headed off for Manly Library. I thought it would have been all hushed in silence there but it was a rather busy spot downstairs and lots of people talking. Seemed to me that the most talkative were the Year 12’s revising for their HSC exams, don’t think the conversations were anything to do with study either! Good luck Year 12’s 🙂 Image 6 Our analytical sketchers eyes all seemed to focus on one gentlemen sitting reading. What attracted us to him you may ask? I think it was his long neck, lanky frame, red T-shirt and fluorescent trainers. He was our perfect subject as he sat in the same spot the whole time we were there! Good on you. Remember to put the strongest colours on the subject and more muted behind. Image 3 Library and readers sketched we walked the long walk to Fika Swedish Kitchen (all of ten paces away) and had a nice big table with a Reserved sign on it. Thank you Karen for organising this! Image 7   Image 8 I can’t help think of the muppets if anyone says Swedish Meatballs, but yes I saw Swedish Meatballs there. The staff were SO nice to us and we had great food and coffee. I tried a special blend of Swedish coffee (didn’t know they grew coffee in Stockholm) and it was a nice cup, not bitter and not too strong. Don’t mind if I have another one sometime! Image 2 Image 4 Everyone finished off their sketches and before we knew it another class drew to an end. Well done sketchers, great work this week. …………………………………………………………………………………………………… Saturday Class. October 18 ’14 Image 10 Saturday Class .October 18 ’14 So looking forward to a Saturday in Manly as it is busy and buzzy and I was told that the sun would be shining. Yes! Erin is taking a workshop so I am teaching her class, I’m going to be a shorter wider version of Erin for the day. Image 14 So books it is today and a wonderful assortment of them. They are a bit tricky to get right. Our brain tells us that they are a certain shape but when we look at them our eyes can deceive us. How to sketch the bird on top of the book – book or bird first. Chicken or the egg? We decided starting with the bird was the way to go. Image 11 Squint to find where the shadows are, it’s easier to find them that way. Put in lots of dark shadows to provide nice contrasts. Everyone did very well as we warmed up with lots of loose sketches and in fact some folk never got to their “proper” sketch as the fast ones turned out so well. Great stuff. I was so pleased with everyone’s results.

Then off to Manly Library, were we going to read? No we were looking for unsuspecting subjects to sketch. They look so good contrasted against the books as a backdrop, hope they don’t spot us sketching their best sides.   Image 12 Again I encouraged folk to try and warm up with a few sketches of people to get into the swing of things rather than trying to get one sketch perfect. “Ah that’s a bit easier”said some.

We didn’t spend too long in the library before heading to Fika Swedish Kitchen opposite. Oh we were at that annoying in between time – neither breakfast nor lunch, so cinnamon scrolls, chai lattes and coffees it was. The coffee is really rather good here and the chai came in a cup large enough for the whole table to share! Smelt so good too. Everyone finished off their sketches at the cafe and we all agreed we had had a lovely morning. Thanks and well done sketchers! We didn’t spend too long in the library before heading to Fika Swedish Kitchen opposite. Oh we were at that annoying in between time – neither breakfast nor lunch, so cinnamon scrolls, chai lattes and coffees it was. The coffee is really rather good here and the chai came in a cup large enough for the whole table to share! Smelt so good too. Everyone finished off their sketches at the cafe and we all agreed we had had a lovely morning. Thanks and well done sketchers! ©ErinHill StudioChristyPowellJudySallehOct14

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