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Drawing from photos when it's raining outside!

Wow so much rain here these past few weeks and so our creative sketchbooks course which I would normally hold outdoors was an indoor event. In fact, I think being forced out of your norm is a good thing occasionally and this session made me think about when I first started drawing and I used to work a lot from photos. So many people have started this way, it seems easier, the scene is there, flat in front of you and all you need to do is copy it. Unfortunately, that is exactly how the finished painting or drawing often ends up looking, flat and copied from something flat. So we looked at how to recall in your mind's eye the experience of being in the place that you photographed, what was it that you liked about the place, what made you photograph it? How can you convey that in your drawing?


In this student's work, the photographs of the stationery shop didn't convey the sense of space and emptiness in the foreground that they had remembered, they did however give her good detail reference for the actual shop and the paving and structure of the buildings, all of this was put together in a series of small thumbnail drawings until a composition that conveyed the sense of space and the little store on its own was accomplished. The final details of the string of hanging lanterns, the notation of the location and date all add a personal element that deliver a sketch that is now a complete depiction not only of the place but the artist's experience of that place and moment.

Hopefully next week the rain will stop and we'll head out again, but photos will always be a great way of jogging the memory or filling in forgotten detail.

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