While on a hiding retreat in another town or city, I like to seek out a local group that might be doing a “drop in and draw” session. You show up, pay your money, and there’s a safe environment (in a studio, a back room, upstairs of a pub, etc) for a model and artists to work on the wonderful business of capturing the human form in various media. I’m a reasonably private person so I like to keep the anonymity level reasonably high, but it does not only work. People are of course on the watch out to protect the group from perceived problems, so they ask questions. Others are just trying to make friends, and so they ask questions too. I just like to be polite and friendly, share the odd joke or remark, but mostly keep my mouth shut and listen to the various small talk that breaks out during breaks. Most of all, I want to get on with the business of drawing.
I went to one on Monday. This time around it was sort of amusing to me at one point when one of the organisers of the group asked me why I’d come down from LA to their small seaside town drawing group and I said I was hiding. I could sense alarm immediately (I can imagine the pictures he might have had in his mind even before I said “hiding”) and so I then went further, by way of reassurance, and said something vague but standard about wanting to get out of the city and take it easy for a while (as you know, I’m not here to take it easy, I am here to focus on work), before going off to sharpen several of my pencils for a while. At some later point (maybe based on glances at my warmup drawings and how they were laid out?) he wondered if I was an animator. Actually that’s very flattering. Animators are awesome sketchers in terms of the speed with which they can lay out figures… and animators from LA, as you might imagine (Disney, etc), can be really remarkable. I thanked him, but said no, and said I simply do this for fun, which is mostly true.
Anyway, the model was very good, and the sessions were organised in such a way that meant a constant challenge for my (always rusty, always slow) speed since the poses were a 10 group of 2 mins each, a 4 group of 5 mins each, a 10 mins + 15 mins, and a couple of 20 mins. Good fun, although I’d have liked time to do more finish work some of the excellent poses that she did. I did not come close to doing them justice. You can see the last few I did (click for larger view). The 10, 15, and two 20s. (I tinkered a bit with the 10 afterwards so it is more like a 15 or a 20.)