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Return to the Dickens Fair

December 21, 2009

I spent this afternoon drawing with some friends at the 31st annual Dickens Fair. This is the second year we’ve gone (Check out last year’s sketches. I’m getting faster!)

Every year around the holidays seemingly hundreds of people turn out in Victorian Era costume for a gigantic event. It’s half party, half trunk show, half interactive theater – and it’s packed wall to wall with outrageously good costumes! These people really take their craft seriously.

Here’s some sketchbook pages – just a glimpse at the variety.

There are pirates, rail barons, fortune tellers, carolers, street urchins, admirals, dancing girls, hussars, chimney sweeps, Turkish merchants, deep sea explorers – it just goes on and on. My favorite has to be the Dark Garden corset makers shop – they have models holding 10 and 20 minute poses in their windows all day long – sketch artists couldn’t ask for a better show :)

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Mary permalink
    February 14, 2015 11:27 AM

    I absolutely LOVE these – they have such aliveness and fluidity! when I look at them I can see them moving and chatting and hear music in the background. This kind of sketching of people is what I want to do more of. I don’t tend to go to big events but instead schelp my sketch book to appointments where waiting time has turned into pleasurable moments of sketching. That’s easy to do in a big office with lots of people. But not so good in small spaces – I tend to fear being intrusive into another’s personal space. I’m thinking I need to start taking myself to more public venues where I can sit unobtrusively (hopefully) and sketch. Can you speak to this concern of mine and how you handle it. Thanks so much.

    • February 14, 2015 11:45 AM

      Hey Mary – good question. I think (and if you watch any documentaries on street photography, this comes up) that the intrusive feeling is misleading. It’s a projection of your own fear that your drawing will be judged. So you think, oh, no, I don’t want to bother anyone. But really you’re just chasing your own self consciousness. Or, putting it another way, psychologists talk about this thing called the ‘spotlight effect’ – where when you think everyone is watching you, judging your performance – but in truth, they are busy with their own thoughts, and really don’t care what you’re up to :) So – I just shake it all off and concentrate on my own goals – I want to get better at drawing, so I can capture the drawings that matter to me! I do have some practical tips – things like, keep moving, don’t dwell on one person too long, look for people in groups so they have other distractions, don’t ‘head bob’ (looking up and down rapidly) – but those are all minor compared to making the decision – I’m going to draw and don’t care what other people think! It’s for me, not for them :) The other big thing is if you’re intent is based in having fun, and relaxing – then people can sense that off you. If you are anxious and frustrated about drawing, then people feel that too. So first – have fun!

  2. February 14, 2015 1:22 PM

    Your figures are so alive….not static at all! Did you do just one run through with pen?

    • February 14, 2015 1:34 PM

      Yes, these are just sketched down with ballpoint and brushpen. (These are older by the way, I lost this post somewhere and just resurrected it). The idea is to have a stack of paper and keep moving, tossing out anything that doesn’t work, sometimes drawing the same person five times straight.

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