line up in line

Starbucks People 1 sm
And now for something completely different. These are very quick sketches of people standing in line at Starbucks. Before you all go “hang on you hate Starbucks and don’t even drink coffee” let me explain. I don’t hate Starbucks, I just don’t drink coffee. Starbucks does occasionally have nice pastries but I don’t like their tea or other drinks so I never go there. However there is one inside the Silo building at UC Davis, and I sit near there when I am eating my lunch or reading comics on my iPad. I never actually get anything from there, not even the aforementioned nice pastries, because the queue (or ‘line’ as they prefer to say here) is always so long and slow. “Slowbucks” they should call it. However this slow line is good for something – practicing people drawing. Now I could have drawn individual people with all their details and faces and stuff, but I was practicing one particular thing. I was doing that thing where you draw a whole load of people or things without taking the pen off of the paper. you place the pen down, and just let it go. This type of ‘single-line’ sketch can produce some very interesting results. Because you can’t pick the pen up and stop for a second, you have to back up or cross spaces until you are less concerned with smooth details and more with the overall shape itself – it is a very liberating experience.
Starbucks People 2 sm
People look at their devices while waiting in line for their cup of Joe. by the way as a non-coffee-drinker is it only a cup of Joe if it’s in the morning, as in ‘Morning Joe’? Or is it called something else after 12, like ‘Afternoon Dave’ or ‘Suppertime Barbara’? Who was Joe anyway, was he a famous coffee-drinker? Is it rhyming slang, like ‘Joseph’s Toffee’ or something? I suppose I could have asked the people in line but I didn’t want to break the fourth wall. This was another single-line sketch (or ‘single-queue’ sketch perhaps).
Silo People 2 sm
I wasn’t done sketching quick people. Sticking with the single-line theme I went outside and sketched passers-by, each in that same fast and loose fashion. As this was outside the UC Davis Silo, near the Silo Bus Terminal, people moved about fairly rapidly, giving me just a few seconds to capture them. Not easy. It was a cooler day, overcast, I was still in my 30s and I tried to get different walking poses wherever I could. This being a university, there are many people with backpacks. Why not give it a go, this quick people sketching?
Silo People 1 sm

18 thoughts on “line up in line

  1. trulyunplugged says:

    You are so awesomely gifted….I love your sketches so much–and, the way you introduce techniques to the uninitiated like me…and, I really enjoy the way you write/communicate. Thank you! :)

  2. Laura (PA Pict) says:

    I actually just posted a single line drawing earlier today. How funny that you’ve blogged about it too. I love the idea of using it as a sketching technique. I’ve done that when attending life drawing class but not since for observational sketching. I also don’t patronise Starbucks because I don’t drink coffee and their tea is hideous.

    • pete scully says:

      I just looked at it, good job! Taking a line for a walk is exactly how it feels. I literally just started doing sketches like that and it was like, wow this is so much fun. I’ve done loads, mostly a mess but it’s very liberating just letting it flow. Yeah, Starbucks tea is rubbish. I just drink my tea at home, nice cup of tea and a biscuit.

      • Laura (PA Pict) says:

        That’s very sweet of you to take a look at my drawing. Do you ever do blind contour sketching? That again is something I used to do at life drawing class but have not done since I moved to the U.S. I should introduce my kids to that. The results are often amusing.

  3. Rosie Scribblah says:

    Taking a line for a walk is such a fabulous technique, so free but also very accurate. I love standing in the street with my sketchbook but I haven’t done any for a few months because the weather has been so awful, months of rain >:(

  4. unironedman says:

    Also liberating is to stick the pen between your toes and draw that way. You might be surprised to find quite a lot of your drawing skills are stored in the brain and are not just learned motor skills. The ‘joe’ was apparently a secretary to the US Navy, Joseph Daniels, but then again, just ‘coz Google says it’s true doesn’t make it so!

  5. Sheryl Cash says:

    I always enjoy your posts and your wry humor but this one has inspired me! Your single-line sketches really captured the postures so well, so I’m going to ‘give it a go’ as you might say. Thanks.

    Sheryl C


  6. dolphinchild2296 says:

    lol to that guy with a sword xD was he really alking around with that ? and the two people apparantly reaching into eachothers pockets… as it seems xD i remeber doing this in art. but dam these are pretty detailed and proportional for being just a sketch :D

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