Saturday, October 16, 2010

Quick Coffee Shop Sketches

Today, after the movies, I "convinced" my wife and daughter to go to the Borders bookstore next to the theater, while I sat at the coffee shop sketching. This gave me about 15-20 minutes, after the coffee line, to sit and target some folks. Believe me, folks are really not aware of their surroundings, and even less aware that others are looking. I don't know, but folks behave very absent-minded in crowds these days. Anyway, there were lots of interesting faces, and situations. In that time, I got to sketch 2 chess players (top two). The first guy didn't last long, his family came by to snatch him (or maybe he lost). Then this guy with a "Jesus Did It" cap sat to play. There were other players to sketch, but I got bored of their "dynamisn". So I turned my chare 180 degrees to watch the rest of the human drama unfolding.  The middle left lady, as lots of folks do, was talking on her cell phone, sipping her drink, pretty unaware of her surroundings (I think this was the theme today). The middle right lady was reading, and chatting with her friends. She seemed happy and serene. The bottom left lady was with her family, trying to organize the bunch. and just before my wife got back to fetch me, I almost finished drawing this lady at the coffee line that was wearing a bright  sundress. My wife laughed as I showed her later tonight. "So that's what you wanted to sketch, eh?" The life of an artist can be dangerous some times. My wife is a great sport too.
So, all in all, this was a great way to get back on my art-groove, sketching subjects in 1-3 minute spurts, before they moved, or were blocked from vision. Its a little bit like hunting, I suppose.
Well, that's it for now. Hope you liked them. Thanks for visiting my impulse sketching place, and have a great art time.  Oh, before I forget, I posted an experiment at the LAB. Mixed media of an ugly looking scared dragon. I used watecolor pencils, inks, and sharpies. Crazy but fun. Take care!


  1. These look great. Well done, sir. I'm always weary about drawing inside a store, because it is private property. Where I live, people are more concerned by upholding rules than recognizing the innocence of a situation. And I'm simply not courageous enough to ask permission to the store owner.

  2. You have a very valid point. I imagine one has to pick the venue carefully. In this case, its one of those "mega" book stores, with a coffee shop built-in that follows the style of that other super popular coffee shop. It's usually full of shopping parties, students, and some art-culture stereotypes. I haven't seen anyone sketching, there are chess players, and other artsy and trendy characters that wouldn't blink at anyone with a sketchbook out. If I had an obvious amount of gear out, advertising my purpose, I would worry, but to everyone, I just look like another shopper, reading the store's books as I partake of some beverage. There are always a number of students of all ages in study groups, so I guess that's what my presence and activity says about what I'm doing. The only person that noticed was a young boy that simply smiled at realizing I was sketching at the time.
    Yes, one has to be aware of one's surrounding, and human dynamics, if one wants to draw in public. Of course, there's always a park, or museum, or town square, where this would be a more common thing.
    Thanks for bringing that up. Its a very important point when sketching in public. And thanks for visiting!

  3. I like them! I have taken my sketchbook(s) with me at work and at play and have tried to get into the habit of taking them out to draw in all situations, coffee shops, patios, subway, family get togethers...
    The only time I have been accosted is at family get togethe s where family members say, "I don't look like that do I?!?" I just chuckle and say, "Nope you look way better! My drawing skill is the thing that looks bad!" Hehe. Keep on creating!


  4. Thanks Jahhdog! I've had the same experience. Usually when the subject knows the artist (family) they have something to say. And your response is just like mine. "Of course it doesn't look like you that much. I'm learning to draw!"
    But its hard to believe some folks are not curious enough to approach you in public situations. The fact that you have a sketchbook out, and you are drawing, sets you aside from the crowd, sort of unreachable. I imagine its the artist stereotype. Most people shy away from approaching an "artist". Unless you notice, and smile back, which may give them a better feeling about approaching you. So far, kids are more daring when it comes to finding out what you're doing. When its older folks, they usually have something related to themselves and art to say like "Oh, these are good. I have this friend that draws... la la la la". The best one is when they draw themselves, that's when there's a good possibility for good art conversation. It's also easy to dismiss the art-person-fakers too. They ramble on, and you can just sort of ignore them because you are busy drawing! Nothing impolite about that because you are doing your thing!
    It's a socially fun part of drawing in public.
    Thanks so much for your comment!