Back up to date. I did this one today, on the Tube. The colour scheme was obvious. This chap really was all in shades of grey. Pale skin, salt-and-pepper stubble and hair, grey clothes. It was like someone printed him out cheaply. Poor chap.
Oh dear. I’ve been neglecting this blog again. I keep doing little sketches and then completely forgetting about them. Like this chap. Where? When? Can’t remember. Sorry.
This chap was pretty irresistible. Sound asleep, for a start, so there was no irritating fidgeting to work around. And then that hood: all mottled fake fur, inviting me to try out a few of the pattern options in Brushes.
Then people piled onto the train and got between us, which was very annoying of them.
This is one of the sketches where I started to feel I’d cracked it: both the drawing itself and the use of Brushes.
It just seemed to come together, from the first rough, broad grey outline of this old fellow’s head. Unlike many of my drawings (I confess), this one really looked like the subject. I’d like to think a member of his family might recognise him from this – and that’s definitely not always true.
He kept very still, which helps, of course. Contrary to how he might appear, he wasn’t asleep – or worse. (Daniel Gray described this sketch to me on Path as ‘a dead Lloyd Grossman’.) In fact, he was reading a book, which was clearly absorbing as he barely moved a muscle.
There was a professiorial air about him, and his face seemed to have been formed by someone scrunching a loose bolt of fabric: all soft folds and pleats. And then that purple scarf: a casual, rather flamboyant touch, tossed over the shoulder of his sober black coat.
I couldn‘t help imagining that if you caught his eye there might be a similar touch of the eccentric, or dramatic, in his otherwise placid gaze: hints of bright colours within.
I’ve got back into the sketching in the past couple of days, starting with this splendid fellow, opposite whom I found myself sitting yesterday.
There are some people who so fully embody a stereotype that it’s hard to believe they’re not dressed for a film role. (Maybe he was.)
This chap, ruddy-faced in that way that suggests country air, horses and buckets of sherry, also had startling hair. It looked to have been petrified by Brilliantine into a golden helmet locked in place on his scalp.
The white-collared blue shirt; the gold tie with little blue emblems; the herringbone coat with black velvet collar detail: he’d been groomed and dressed by Central Casting as ‘Rural Toff’.
All of which begs the question, what on earth was he doing slumming it on the Tube in the middle of the afternoon?
Here’s a sleepy fellow from the train home the other night. His was a commuter face from Central Casting: drawn, lined with anxiety, held in a perpetual furrowed frown. Veering between dozing off and staring intently out of the window.
Poor chap. Hopefully it was only superficial. He was probably just tired.
Back on faces again. This poor woman was actually very attractive, but has come out looking a bit Disney witch-ish. Sorry about that, stranger.
She had great clothes on for sketching: an enormous heavy scarf wound round and round her soulders, over a thick greatcoat with a wide belt. All of it black, and she had black hair too.
Again, I haven’t managed to fill in all that back – I should have done her on a black ground, dammit. Must remember that next time.
I’m kind of surprised I didn’t think of this before. It’s not always easy to draw people’s faces. They get suspicious if they catch you peering intently at them over your iPad. And who can blame them?
This girl’s shoes caught me eye, and I thought: why not? These brushes with strangers needn’t always be face-to-face. How about face-to-feet?
It helps when the shoes are this interesting: black pumps set with silver studs. (You’re right, I should fill in the black. But who has the time?) But in any case, it made a nice change to draw something other than eyes, ears and noses for a while.
I can’t see feet replacing faces long-term, but don’t be surprised if the odd one crops up in the future.