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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sketching "Plane" Air..., part 1

Okay, so you are trapped in and buckled up... but your imagination does not have to be! Sketching on the plane is a great way to pass the time and hone up your skills. Below are a couple of my favorite exercises, with examples from last Thursday:

1. Sketching people: Flight attendands make good models, as they are often in the same positions and are used to being looked at. I don't try to make a portrait, but focus instead on capturing their general figure, or some interesting aspect, such as their uniform or earrings. You can start the sketch during the safety demonstration, and resume it when they come through with the beverages cart. But more often than not I try to sketch other passengers, usually a few rows ahead and across from me, so I can sketch their profiles without bothering them--look for distinct features such as eyeglasses, unusual hairstyles, hats, etc. Sleeping passengers also make good models, for their immobility. Remember to be discreet.

2. Abstracting from in-flight magazines: These magazines always have great photos, you could always imitate the images, but try this more creative exercise instead: Look for photos or sections of photos that could make interesting abstract patterns. Make a simplified thumbnail outline of the key shapes and patterns, then close the magazine and try to finish the value study from your own imagination, adding lines and other shapes, changing the tonal values, etc.

Too challenging for you? No worries, you can always practice sketching the people and scenes from the photos in the magazines, or from photos of your own.
Not challenging enough? Try sketching with a brush, or in color. Or sketch from memory, by focusing on a photo in the magazine for a few minutes, then closing the magazine and trying to reproduce it from memory.

Interesting subject, and a lot more ideas to discuss, so I'll get back to this topic in a future posting. Bon voyage !

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