Friday, October 31, 2014

Hoodie Season at Whole Foods

10/31/14 Diamine Eclipse ink, 1.5mm calligraphy
nib, Caran d'Ache Museum colored pencil,
Canson XL 140 lb. paper
Whenever I sketch people out in the urban landscape, I can’t resist the temptation to zero in on the nearest head and use my finest pen point to carefully draw facial features as accurately as possible. I really enjoy the challenge of trying to capture the delicate curve of a cheek, the angle of an eyebrow or the sharp point of a nose in profile.

Those might be worthwhile goals for portraiture, but I’ve learned from reading Thomas Thorspecken’s book, attending Melanie Reim’s Sketchbook Skool course, and starting Veronica Lawlor’s SBS lesson this morning that it’s the body – not the face – that tells a “story.” Body language – posture, gesture, attitude – tells so much more about a person’s mood, the type of conversation people are having or the stage of a relationship than the expressions on their faces. Capturing body language – that’s my new goal when sketching people.

Knowing how tempted I would be to pull out my favorite Sailor pen (whose nib, when turned upside-down, has a very fine point), I went to Whole Foods’ café vowing to use nothing but my Lamy with a 1.5mm calligraphy nib on it. Ideal for unruly tree branches, that nib would be nearly impossible to sketch delicate facial details with. I knew I’d be forced to focus on the larger “story” told by people’s bodies. And unlike at Zoka Coffee, where people tend to sit motionlessly in front of laptops, Whole Foods’ patrons eat and run – often taking no more than five or 10 minutes for their meals. I wouldn’t have the opportunity to slide leisurely down the long ski slope of someone’s nose with my pen point.

10/31/14 Diamine Eclipse ink, 1.5mm calligraphy nib,
Caran d'Ache Museum colored pencil
Today is Halloween, but you wouldn’t know it from most of the clothes I sketched – it’s hoodie season again. Around 11 a.m., the lunch bell must have rung at nearby Roosevelt High School, because dozens of teenagers suddenly appeared in a rushed, giggling flurry of costumed hair and makeup. I only managed to catch the witch with black lips, and then they all disappeared as quickly as they came.

(Im not sure whether the woman with the hot-pink hair was in costume or not. In Seattle, you cant be too sure. But hows that for resisting temptation? If Id had my pink Zig marker, you can bet I would have colored it!)

10/31/14 Diamine Eclipse ink, 1.5mm calligraphy nib

10/31/14 Diamine Eclipse ink, 1.5mm calligraphy nib

10/31/14 Diamine Eclipse ink, 1.5mm calligraphy nib


  1. Love the sketches, Tina, and your sentiments. I really prefer sketches without faces, or very little indication of them. They tell more of a story for all the reasons you mention.

    Cheers --- Larry

  2. You did a good job capturing their body language! It does tell a story.

  3. These sketches really do tell a story! Great use of body language- clear and direct.


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