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.
Here’s a dramatic-looking lady from the Tube the other day, about whom I’d quite forgotten until I found her waiting patiently on the iPad.
She was all thick, black, glossy hair, heavy black leather jacket – and, yes, a great expanse of chest. Well, when you’re standing right over people, that’s the view. I try not to look like a pervert doing these, but it’s not always easy.
All I can say is that boobs – even gender – are irrelevant to my choices of subject. And I think previous posts bear this out, thankfully. (Just so we’re clear, that white line is her iPhone headphone cable. You knew that, right?)
Did a couple of sketches today, mostly abortive as people kept getting off. (The train, not with each other.) But I had a little inspiration on one of them, which was to whack in a background and then ‘cut out’ a silhouette of the subject to draw into.
I tried it again here, as you can see, and it worked quite well. The girl in question was reading her book, which always helps: the more absorbed they are, the less they wriggle about. Mind you, she looked quite like Clémence Poésy, which was a little distracting.
(Oh, forgot to mention: I bought a new stylus. Two, actually. These. They work really nicely.)
Still haven’t found my stylus, so this is still officially finger-painting. Even so, I was quite pleased with this quick sketch of the girl reading her book opposite me on the Tube.
The weather is pulling scarves and hats and coats out of the drawers and wardrobes of Britain. Good news for me: those rich folds, loops and layers of fabric always make for an absorbing subject. As long as I don’t forget to do the faces too.
Next up, the woman who took the seat vacated by the one in the previous post.
This one was older, and seemed much less relaxed. Her predecessor had a big hardback book, which she was reading calmly and contentedly. This one had a newspaper, which she hunched over and scowled at, as you can hopefully see here. Mind you, it was the Evening Standard, so one can hardly blame her.
The yellowy line is the long gold chain she was wearing, rather than the wires of a blingy pair of earphones. In case you were wondering.
You live, they say, and you learn.
How right they are. Today’s lesson: draw the face first. Don’t get distracted by the lovely new brush you’ve found that you can build into a really quite realistic rendering of the fur on this woman’s parka.
No: draw in her narrow, thoughtful features. The thin mouth. The sharp nose. The gentle eyes. Draw in the lines that reveal how much older she is than the coat might make you think.
And remember: there is no sight more endlessly fascinating than the human face. No, not even the heavily furred collar of a puffy green parka. Not even that.
Across the aisle from me, this lady sat helpfully knitting away.
I say helpfully, because the knitting kept her occupied and almost motionless. About the only things she moved were her fingers. And as we all now know, I can’t do hands, so I avoided them.
(Shouldn’t do that, of course. Should practise.)
I wish I’d had time to do justice to her hair. It was heavily gelled, or moussed, or whatever it is ladies do, so that it sat in sharp, upturned tufts all the way along, reminding of nothing more than a duck’s feathers. It was a dark rust colour too, which I fear may not have been entirely natural.
Unfortunately, though, we soon drew into Reading, ‘your final station stop’ (never understand why they need both those words), and we all had to get off. You rarely get very long as a Train Passenger Sketcher.
Anyway, she seemed very peaceful and contented, as those who are knitting usually do.