Friday, January 05, 2007

Skating and sketching in London

Skating at the Natural History Museum 4th January 6pm
10" x 8" (pen and ink and coloured pencil in large Moleskine sketchbook)
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

Yesterday I was at the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington with Shirley from Paper and Threads and members of the Society of Graphic Fine Art on one of the SGFA Drawing days (of which more later). These are the sketches I did before and after the visit plus one from Boxing Day.

I like to sketch on the tube when travelling to draw somewhere - it's like a warm-up exercise and helps with the hand-eye co-ordination.

This sketch of a couple of people absorbed in their reading plus half of me was done while travelling to South Kensington on the tube. Click on the image for a bigger image. I used a pen and sepia ink and added some soft black coloured pencil to the background windows when I got home. I enjoy trying to do my reflection in the window of the tube while in the tunnel - it's nicely fuzzy and out of focus! ;)

The page in my Moleskine sketchbook also records the immortal words from a little boy a few seats away "Does Grandpa use his hearing aid as a pipe?" Admit it - nobody could have invented that one!

The sketch at the top and the one below are from the open air skating rinks which are open at various landmark buildings in London during December and January (see link below). The sketch at the top was done while sat in the warmth of the cafe next to the skating rink at the Natural History Museum. I'd learned my lesson on that one in Greenwich (see below). The nice thing about doing it at night is you get all the lights wound round the branches of the trees - plus a nice dark background! I should like to emphasise that everybody was moving - except the ones talking to friends at the edge. It's a great exercise for drawing people on the move and trying to work out what are the characteristics of people on the ice.

This is a very quick sketch (5 minutes?) which was done right next to the ice rink at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich on Boxing Day.

It was really cold and 'he who must not be bored while I sketch' was not very enamoured by having to walk round to keep warm so I took just a few minutes to work out how to draw people while skating and then we went home to a nice hot cup of tea! My conclusions about sketching skaters for what they are worth are as follows: overlap figures and make sure there is some perspective in the figure shapes; focus on the shoulders and what the arms are doing rather than the feet

If you'd like to see more sketches of London do visit Shirley's blog Paper and Threads as she's been recording all her visits to London while her daughter and family are here for a year.

If you'd like to know more about how to go skating in London click on this link which lists all the outdoor winter rinks with images, opening times plus how to get tickets. You don't need to buy on-line; tickets are available at each rink.

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  1. Wonderful sketches.

    Really...I love them. Especially the skating one. What a challenging subject, but you did an outstanding job capturing it.

    Also, there is something retroish about the skating one. I'm not sure what, but something about it reminds me of 60s artwork (in a good way).

    AND...I like the pen and ink/color pencil combo. I'm going to give that a whirl myself.

  2. Thanks Tom - there are a few of us who do in fact remember that far back as well - and I used to like the style too!

  3. oh oh oh what lovely sketches, I adore seeing into other peoples sketch books. Thank you Katherine.

  4. I love the feeling of light and of movement in the first sketch. makes me want to be there.


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