Prokofiev Women

Sunday afternoon. I was doing a bit of work down at the music tent (the Aspen Music Festival is on), sitting outside on the grass like so many other people do on the Festival Sundays.

At some point I became distracted from my scribblings in my notebook when I realized that suddenly I had all these people around me sitting helpfully rather still (relatively speaking) as they listened to the music. (Prokofiev’s delightful 5th Symphony was on at the time.) Perfect quick-sketch subjects! And as it is a target-rich environment, you can pretend to be looking at someone else which drawing someone, so as to not make them suspicious… (I’m not interested in spoiling people’s enjoyment of the concert, after all…)

It worked rather well until this guy who was near me, who I’d noticed looking at me earlier while I was working, decided to come over to ask me, conspiratorially, whether I’d drawn many people so far, and who was I drawing in that moment, and so forth. Not helpful. It made the sitting woman across from me notice me, and then I could not draw her any more. I answered him briefly (realizing later that he was really only interested because he thought that earlier I was drawing him and his wife…. which I admit I had considered but they were too close) and focused on the woman’s sleeping companion after a while.

The results are above right. A few minutes each, setting down the main shapes before they moved, then a few minutes more on each, strengthening some lines and shading a tad. (Probably should have weakened the line weights in various places…light values are rather naive, although some of it is a result of adjusting contrast in the poor photos I took of them… Oh well.)

Maybe should have forced myself to use pen. Perhaps next time…



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5 Responses to Prokofiev Women

  1. Carol Johnson says:

    Would he have wanted to purchase your drawing if you had drawn his wife, or request that you draw him too??? Another fantastic piece of work, cvj. cmj+

  2. anon says:

    Thanks for your very nice blog. I have really enjoyed the mix of science plus other topics. Sorry this question is slightly unrelated to this post. I am a graduate student and I would like to take up pencil sketching as a hobby. I am really starting from scratch (from somewhere near absolute zero). Do you have any good book recommendations that explain the process step by step to an utter novice.

    Thank you.

  3. Clifford says:

    Just go into a bookstore with a good art instruction section and browse some of the books that give a general course on drawing. There are oodles of them. Most of them say the same things for the basics. (Stay away from books that claim some astonishingly effective method.) Just pick the one with a tone/voice that you like the sound of…and work with it. Even the tedious bits.

    When you get specifically interested in the figure:

    I (relatively) recently learned about “Fun with a Pencil” by Andrew Loomis, and recommend it to many. It is the sort of book I’d have loved to have known about back when I was starting out…

    Out of print, but google a bit and I believe you will find pdfs of it, and his other books. He babbles a lot in a charming old-fashioned way… but I like it…. and you can ignore as much of it as you like.

    There’s also a good old book by Jack Hamm. Can’t recall the name.

    Jeff Mellem’s Sketching People is very good.

    But really, the main thing to do is just… draw, draw, draw.



  4. anon says:

    Thanks a lot for the kind advice.

    Best Regards.

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