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Sketching People in the Holidays

By December 18, 2012

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Artists can be a tiny bit 'grinchy' about the holidays, and it's often because our creativity is so frustrated by the busy social schedule. If you're an introvert, it's even worse, with far more conversation than we're used to. But there's a great way to turn the festive season to your creative advantage - sketching! People make great subjects for sketching - you don't always have to do a finely detailed portrait - and family gatherings provide new models. If people are moving about you can do some Gesture drawing. While you might be more familiar with it as gestural figure drawing, it works well with the clothed figure and can be combined with more controlled mark-making to create an expressive composition.

Sketching the face means looking for the structure, drawing accurately enough to capture the individual but without losing the freedom of expression that is inherent in sketch technique. It can be a little bit daunting, especially if you're drawing someone you know, but take your time and observe, the same as you would any other subject. You might find that your family and friends are excited about sitting for a portrait and will patiently sit long enough for a more formal drawing, so have in mind some portrait drawing techniques just in case. And if you're tired of conversation, people will interepret your silence as concentration. Except for the kids, who will probably want to draw too, so take some spare sketch paper. And you can always entertain them with some cartoon faces!

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