Drawing at the coffee shop

Just after school break began, my older daughter and I went to a coffee shop while waiting for my younger daughter at an activity. So I decided to get some index card action going while she took a practice SAT test in a noisy, real-world environment. We sat at different tables so that I wouldn't distract her - and I was lucky enough to get a seat across from a small table which was busier than most of the other tables.

First I sketched two girls who were studying for an exam, drinking iced teas and chatting while they typed. I kept stealing glances and adjusting my sketch - I started that one with a light colored pencil [you can see the light lines, I didn't erase] to sort of guesstimate the location of various things, like a little map - and then drew lines in PITT pen.

When I sketch real things I try to capture an impression or a mood.

My favorite thing about this experience was that I "noticed" things that I would not otherwise notice - like the playful way the straws stood in the drink cups. It's just not something that most of us would pay any attention to... but when you draw you push yourself to document what you see.

Just as I finished that sketch, a new group sat down boisterously and chatted back and forth with a group at another table - and as I considered whether to try to draw them, the group of three turned and focused their attention on one girls' phone. It seemed like they were just returning from a game or church fundraiser of some sort as they were in matching t-shirts and buns in their hair. Anyhow, so that's the perspective that I sketched. They were only there for about 15 minutes and after they left the table sat empty for awhile. That's the thing - when you are drawing people out in the real world things are pretty dynamic! 

This is new to me - I was like 3' away - not one person noticed what I was doing! I had my index card perched on a journal which was on the arm of the chair so I could see what was going on. It felt a bit like I was spying! So admittedly the faces look like bobcats - but that's OK - I know from all of the years of drawing mandalas and patterns that my lines will improve.

Practice absolutely makes a difference.