17 March 2018

Urbansketchers | Sketching & Drawing People at Cafes & on public transport

I have not posted here for so long. Anyway it's good to be back and henceforth, here are some recent sketches I made at different locations, mostly cafes, and food places. Due to a busy schedule for the first quarter of the year, it was hard for me to sketch on a regular basis. I am aiming to do more come the school holiday in about a month's time. When I have not sketch for a while, I usually feel lost, or something missing in my life. Sketching has become a lifestyle, not just to sharpen any technical skill, but it has been a way to find meaning and direction in life. I don't know how to explain it, but doing something I enjoy provides a means of finding security with myself and other things.

sketching people at McDonalds in Great World City
The above sketch of uncle reading newspaper was done at Great World City, when missus went shopping at Marks & Spencer, while I stayed in McDonalds which is just a stone's throw away from the store. Uncle was having his wonderful time of solitude and me time at the cafe. He may have a cup of coffee from McCafe, but everything else was his personal stuff, down to the hot water flask. When he got tired of reading he would take a quick shuteye and then continued with his reading again. Good thing Great World City wasn't very crowded even on a weekend. There is always plenty of standing and sitting spaces in the mall and in cafe like McDonalds.

Dining at Holland Village food center

I seldom come to Holland Village unless I am visiting friends. This round I was with some friends for an art show titled "Interlace" that brought 20 artists from all over the world who supported and painted on "The Perfect Sketchbook". After the private launch party, we came to the food center for dinner. On our walk there, I noticed that Holland Village has changed quite a bit. Some roads were closed off for human traffic only and this move has added some vibrancy to the place. Restaurants have placed additional chairs and tables on the added open spaces, while the area was teeming with people from all walks of life. One sad thing was, the iconic wind mill structure was taken down and now it just looks like anything other estate in Singapore.

starbucks at vivocity

Before the lunch crowds, Starbucks at Vivocity was haven to anyone who wanted a quiet ambience to sip their coffee and reading from their laptops or smart devices, a very common sight in a/c cafes these days. I only have my sketchbook and pens. Some students were with me and our mission for that day was to sketch people standing or sitting or engaging in their activities or conversation. After about 2 hours, I finished about 4 pages on my sketchbook with a single brush pen. I don't usually add tones or colours to my drawings on location because I have been keeping my tools simple and my bag as light weight as possible. I enjoyed putting lines on paper with a fountain pen or brush pen, which are my favourite tools for sketching. I used to have my watercolor palette in the past but now, I am getting lazy.

starbucks at vivocity
Sketching people at Starbucks cafe.

Sketching people at Starbucks cafe

sketching commuters on the bus

Sketching commuters on the bus is not as difficult as you think. The bumping around makes good lines sometimes. Losing control over the lines you draw can be a good thing. On the bus, you tend to draw simply, lose some details, and draw looser lines. The final drawing looks more gestural and the moving lines add a sense of movement to the sketch.

sketching commuters on the train
I have more control when I sketch on the train. The train cabin is more stable and it provides a good opportunity to draw someone sitting opposite me, like a life drawing or portrait drawing session, provided the train was not crowded. In case of a crowded train, drawing standing up is easier.