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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Step by Step: My Manchester Workshop Demo


This is a step-by-step demonstration I prepared for my "Capturing the Crowd" workshop for the 7th International Urban Sketching Symposium in Manchester, UK.  The idea was to include people in the near foreground, middle ground and background--all sharing a common eye--level line--to  to create a strong illusion of depth and to lend liveliness and energy to the scene.  For this technique, the City Hall building in the background is treated as a 2-dimensional stage set piece for the "actors" in the plaza.


Here's the scene on an overcast festival day.  My viewpoint was very similar, but from a little further back and left, which "flattened" the Albert Memorial (on the left) a little.
As usual, I begin with an eye-level line, and add foreground, middle ground and background figures for an immediate sense of depth.

Next, I start adding the "big shapes" without getting into detail--the Memorial, tree at right, more figures.

Here I 've added the City Hall building in the background, drawn in graphite (pencil) to allow it to recede into the background behind the Memorial (drawn in black ink).


Next come details, simplified as appropriate--more detail for foreground, less for middle ground, least for background.

Now adding darks for contrast and visual "punch."

Finally, color...sky first.

Next came a wash of Naples Yellow over the building and Memorial, flavored with Cad Red, French Ultramarine, and Alizaron Crimson.  Then, some bright colors were added on people and red banners for additional "sparkle."


Finished with darks, blacks in a few key spots.  I darkened the Memorial structure to pull it forward from the background building, and also darkened two of the foreground figures so they weren't so dominant in the picture.  Darks on the background building were left fairly light.

I hope you enjoyed this--it was part of a larger set of visuals and handouts that accompanied the workshop, and seemed to convey the key ideas effectively.  See you on the sidewalk--Jim.

25 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing it to the world!

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  2. Thanks for that information James it is very useful for those that were not able to attend the Symposium but are watching the various results being posted on Blogs and Facebook.

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  3. Very instructional Jim which conveys how you deal with the "Capturing the crowd!!" Will this be the subject of a future Craftsy Tutorial because I thoroughly enjoyed Sketching the energy of places..

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  4. Great step-by-step demo. Especially like seeing how simply you start with establishing the space ... I go about this in such a random way that seeing this was very helpful. Also thought you did a great job with showing how you establish the value structure -- Something I am a lot weaker with than I feel I should be. And love looking at your application of color washes --- something I am constantly trying to make too complicated. So, in summary, thanks!

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  5. thanks for sharing very handy, never though about starting with the crowd

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  6. Thanks for sharing this, and so happy to be able to attend your workshop!

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  7. Jim, as a fellow instructor for urban sketching workshops in Chicago, I find that seeing how other instructors approach a subject most intriguing. The organization of steps in a way that makes sense to your students has got to be your big strength. Not everyone who is talented has organizational skills but you not only have the organization but your sketches are fun to look at too. Thanks for sharing Jim.

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    1. Thanks Wes,I appreciate the insights. Hope to meet you next summer in Chicago.

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  8. Really enjoyed seeing your approach to this sketch Jim, particularly the idea of combining graphite and ink in a sketch. Super result.

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  9. Thanks for sharing. Last minute family matters meant I couldn't make Manchester so this is the next best thing.

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  10. Oh, thank you so much for sharing this with the greater community. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the work of those who attended your workshop/s at Manchester. :-)

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  11. Thank you so much James, it is so useful to have the drawing process set out in an orderly way, I may still just throw my pencils, pens and paints at the page but will hope that eventually consistency will win the day. I also missed the workshop in Manchester so really appreciate this

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  12. Hi Jim, Thank you for posting because I didn't make it home with the handout. Would you mind adding the people only sketches you had, especially the page with the shoulders and hips at an angle to show walking? thanks!

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  14. I'm in Venice now and was trying to remember how you did this when I was sketching in San Marco Square. It hr,led.

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  15. Thanks so much for this step-by-step approach. It helped me tremendously with my eye level sketches. When I first viewed this post there was an ad about "giclee prints" that popped up. If you remember that ad, would you please tell me the name of the company, if possible?

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    1. Hi Karla...it was likely Society6. They sell prints of my work and that of many other sketchers. Try www.society6.com/jamesrichardssketchbook

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  16. Thank you, this is very informative and helpful.

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  17. Pat Southern-PearceNovember 30, 2016 at 1:12 AM

    Such memories seeing this evokes,James. Working with you on this in Albert Square in the rain scribbling hurrying brollies and teetering heels was both inspirational and life changing. Capturing a crowd excites me now. I never did it,or even thought about doing it before. Thankyou!

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  18. so very comprehensive and helpful for us who can not joint your workshops!!! thank you very much James!

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