Looking At You – FMP Contextual References

Over these two researching weeks my main focus has been drawing people on site, so my contextual references are illustrators and designers who also do alot of this. Obviously the majority do do this anyway, but i’m focusing on the ones who’s work has really stood out to me, or has direct links to my FMP.

The first illustrator I looked at was James Jean, known for his fantasy comics and characters, who claims that his sketchbooks are created spontaneously, a record of his life made up of drawings of people from cafes and airports. He lets his images overlap to chanel movements, time and perspectives. Now he has 15 sketchbooks, all made this way, meaning if viewed chronologically, it would be an interesting way of comincating his life. What I loved about his books is that they’re so unbelieveably freely drawn yet intricate, it is so unclear what is intensional and what may have been a mistake to him. The idea of filling sketchbooks with drawings of people around him is something I was eager to experiment with myself, but I soon found out that it was going to take a long time to work as freely as Jean. But at the same time it was rewarding, like a diary of where I had been and the people who were there, that if not for these drawings, I would have surely forgotten.

I then came across Seymour Chwast, a children’s book illustrator, who’s sketchbook drawings reminded me of my own most recent ones. They are mainly made up of faces or busts of the people around him from when he travels. What I love about these images is that they are very genuine, they aren’t trying to be perfect and Chwast hasn’t spent long on each one, they are simply only trying to communicate what these people were like. They aren’t particularly realistic with their over-exaggerated features and odd shaped heads, but they have character and charm.

On Thursday we were visited in the studio by practicing illustrator Lucinda Rogers who gave us a look into how she works which proved to be very relevant to my FMP. Lucinda does all of her work by drawing from life on site, and then adding to it later if needed. We asked why she works in this way, I mean why not just take a photograph and draw it later for connivence purposes? But she explained that when you are drawing from life you often see alot more that the camera often misses, as well as when you’re drawing on site you can choose what you want to draw from what you can see, you can afford to be selective. If you do choose to draw everything then yes you might as well have taken a picture. She said that if you’re drawings on site then you can choose the right spot to draw from, because you might start drawing one image and it doesn’t work out so need to rethink your position. All of these things I agree with and have found to be true from when i’ve been doing my own observational drawings recently.

I felt I could really relate to her ‘drawing in the moment’ theory, like drawings without thinking, drawing almost before you even think about it. Just relying on your instincts to draw for you without thinking or worrying about it too much, making snap decisions and sticking to them. This was something I felt I was definitely embracing in my site drawing this week, seeing someone for only a few seconds and then attempting to record what I had seen, but being forced to accept that I might be making mistakes because chances are I wasn’t going to see the person again to get another look. I felt this was a much more successful way of site drawings then I was doing last week, this time I was free-er with it, and as a result making more drawings which were all alot more expressive and interesting. Lucinda also draws onto coloured paper, which produced some really interesting outcomes and I definitely want to try this for myself.

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