Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Big Red One


Early last summer I found this thick, A4 size sketchbook in a local papeterie & figured it would be perfect for café drawings. It has about 200 pages of rough, low quality paper that actually has a nice bite & adds texture to pen lines. I wasn't worried about spoiling a nice Moleskine or leather bound sketchbook & started bashing out gesture drawings to loosen up for the day.


I started it last July & just finished it in March. 200 pages with an average of around 20 figures per page makes that approximately 4000 people (& dogs) observed & sketched!


It would take forever to scan every page but I'll post up some of the better pages. It's interesting for me to see how I changed over the 9 months trying out different techniques, looking for different things;conversations, expressions, faces somedays, other days street scenes. It became a good discipline that helped me grow as an artist but I dread to consider how much money I spent on cappucinos!


Here are some of the cafés & brasseries where I would sit outside & sketch. The winter in Nice was just mild enough to sustain 'terrace sketching'. Some days the fingers did get a bit numb.






Apart from the odd street scene I concentrated mainly on les passants-passers by. I tried to capture different walks, body shapes, ages, attitudes etc. Sometimes my attention would be drawn by particular outfits people wear. The Riviera set can sport some pretty outrageous clobber, especially in the summer!

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More to come soon . . .

28 comments:

Smook said...

It's no wonder that you're constantly doing these wonderful drawings, you're hopped up on all those cappucinos!

libra bear said...

Daaaammnn.....Just in love with your style man. Once again, great studies.

Dan said...

Very nice work Matt. It inspires me to do the same this summer ;)

max said...

Great drawings, it's a good discipline to just keep to black lines on everyday paper rather than flash brushes and moleskins.

Oscar Grillo said...

Moleskin sounds like cancer.
Wonderful drawings!

JP said...

amazing stuff- so direct and characterful.

Blammo said...

Wow!
Impressive stuff.
Jason.

Giuseppe Ferrario said...

absolutely fantastic! Bravo!

Elliot Cowan said...

Put it on Ebay.

JoeyCee said...

as always great stuff!

Kristian said...

i'd buy it!
So many individual nuances I want to address. But I can't. You have a great eye for detail. Although they're gestures the people are as solid and defined as most rendered images. I will come back to this post many times and each time find another arresting sketch.
Today my eye was caught by the man in the fez, framed by the halo.
wonderful drawings, matt

M@ said...

le grande rouge journal cest magnifiques monsieur cafe!

Stef said...

Ah ben voila, tres bien,
Grosses bises mon Lapin!

uwe said...

hey matt, what an amount of drawings! Impressiv
I like the people - very nice...

greetings from Germany

Aldo said...

Love them all. Great job!

Aldo

boris said...

et ça continue ! nice !

Jeroen said...

The time it took you to fill 200 pages, I'm sure I've drawn at least 2 pages in my sketchbook. It's dated from 2003 and it's almost full, haha.
Great work as usual, and it all starts to look very french! You're turning a bit continental you (is a good thing)
Out of interest, how long does it take you to do a page with full background?

Ale said...

hey matt! thank you so much for your kind comments. I often come visiting your blog, your sketches are really good.
Love the italian ones! I am so glad you guys crossed the boarder for Sketchcrawl. Next time you should come to Turin ;)
Take care and Ciao!

Matt J said...

Hey everyone, thanks so much for the comments & encouragement.
Jeroen-I'm aspiring to be as continental as you someday with as much panache & debonair wit! To answer your question a full page of just figures takes about 20-30 mins, each figure only takes around 10 seconds to draw but there's much time spent 'looking' & observing inbetween. A street scene may take longer but I try to draw them as quick as with figures-I think the marks are more interesting & drawings I make with more detail can get a bit fussy.
The best drawings seem to be those that capture my thought process & almost an unconscious gut reaction to a person's gesture. If I think about it too much the drawings seem 'false'.
I hope you get to fill more pages in your sketch book but I know how incredibly busy you always are with work. Best from 'the Continent', Mj

M@ said...

WE'RE COMING SOON.........

Matt J said...

Godverdomme. . .at last! Only took 2 years to work it out.

Andrew Glazebrook said...

Great pictures Matt !!!! Truly amazing stuff as usual !!!! :)

Smook said...

Page 12 - I love how you captured the couple together. The guy casually with hands in pockets and she looking back at him with a knowing and loving smile.

All that is so few lines.
Wonderful (again!)

Douglas Ferreira said...

great sketcbook stuff!made me feel so lazy...I will be addicted to this blog,best wishes!

Stef said...

Is Oscar visiting you soon too?

Dani said...

Nice stuff Matt!
I like how economical you are with line and shape. And there are some hilarious observations in those pages that would make fun characters. Isn't gesture drawing always an amazing inspiration?

Vince M. said...

Very inspiring.

limbolo said...

What no pink?....
Lovely stuff Matt.