Exercise Fleeting moments

Aim of the exercise: To capture fleeting moments with minimal lines but lines that tells the story or captures the moment. When unable to sketch in front of the subject, move on and draw what you have just seen as soon as you can.

What I experienced: I found this a difficult exercise. Whereas for the previous exercise, I had mostly drawn people who were sitting in one place and found that hard enough as they actually moved more than I expected, I found for this exercise that I really struggled to maintain a good enough visual memory to be able to draw someone that I only saw for a moment before the person moved from that position. Initially I found myself worrying about how bad I was at it but as time went on I increasingly enjoyed attempting the drawings even if there was not any big improvement in the amount that I managed to capture. There was something freeing about not worrying so much as to whether it was a good drawing or not, as quite simply none of them were good, and that really was quite freeing.

I started with trying to draw people walking or paying bills. I used a pencil for these but  found that I was very hesitant and the drawings reflect this.


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Next I attempted drawing people looking around a gallery, using pen this time. I was still hesitant and drew far too much in outline but by the last page I managed to capture the stance of one of the people a little better.

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On a return visit to the gallery I attempted some more drawings, trying this time to be looser with them and not to concentrate so much on outline but to keep the pen moving all the time. These were good fun and after a couple of pages I appeared to loosen up a bit and capture stance a little better even if I was not managing to tell the story around the person.

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During a talk I attempted to draw the speaker but once again I did find it difficult to capture a moving person, particularly with trying for more detail.

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Next I attempted to put people more into context but still only managed to capture the very basics but again it was fun giving it a go. These were done in a fast food restaurant so people were moving thorough pretty quickly. The last page was attempting to draw people walking down a footpath.

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I watched a couple of ballet’s on the laptop and tried to capture the gesture and movement of the dancers. I didn’t pause the video’s but tried to draw as the people were moving. Once again my visual memory really let me down, I found it very difficult to keep the movement in my mind to enable me to draw it.

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I also attempted to draw some people going to a counter or till and some people waiting for a train but I found that I was back to being pretty hesitant with my marks.

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A friend was gardening and so I attempted to capture the stance and story behind the actions. My friend cannot kneel but rather she gardens by bending at the waist and it was interesting to try and capture this.

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The final drawing was an attempt to capture a man that was squatting down while waiting for an appointment. I got completely lost with trying to capture the position of the legs but again, it was fun to attempt.


What I feel went well: I feel that some of the drawings have captured the stance or attitude of the moment, although admittedly not many of the drawings have. With some of the drawings I did find my line becoming freer.

What I feel did not go well: I did not manage to get down more than the most basic of lines. Things like line strength or type of line tended to go out of the window if I was attempting to draw someone I only saw for a moment. I would think of them beforehand but as soon as I started drawing I literally did not give them another thought. I never managed to progress beyond the briefest of lines and looking back at the drawings I realise that I did not experiment with different media at all, I never got beyond the stage of attempting with a pen. Many of the drawings appear very stilted and I am still drawing too much of an outline.

What I would like to do following this exercise: I would like to continue to try and capture moving people and fleeting moments. It is only with a lot more practice that I will improve. I will also need to work on being brave enough to attempt several different media and approaches.

This entry was posted in Part 4 Drawing Figures, Project 6 The moving figure. Bookmark the permalink.

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