The Big Picture (with Paul Heaston)

The Big Picture - Mount St

The final #UskManchester2016 sketching workshop I attended was on the Saturday morning: “The Big Picture“, taught by Paul Heaston. Paul is an absolute master at the curving wide-angle perspective, and that approach to composition and getting everything into the area of your drawing was the focus of this workshop. Paul has a great way at explaining this often difficult concept, and gave out very useful and informative handouts that explained his concept well. This is a look at the five-point perspective – straight ahead, left, right, up above, down below, you’re too slow. Sorry, couldn’t resist. My own sketch is above; while this isn’t something I am unfamiliar with, I do wish I had expanded the scene a bit more, and shown the left-right vanishing points in the frame itself. Still, I had a lot of fun, and while we did stop for some mid-workshop tips, we did have time to flesh out the details. In his handout, Paul gave some great tips on how to draw details in a large sketch like this, noting that the human eye is vastly more capable of perceiving detail than any drawing instrument that we possess, so some economization and simplification is useful. Paul talked a lot about relative scale, and asked us to try to include ourselves in the sketch – within our frame of view of course, meaning our hands and sketchbook. Spatial relationships are also important in determining relative scale. I thought about Father Ted and the cows: “Small…far away…”.

Paul Heaston

Here is the show-and-tell at the end, with the sketchbooks all over the floor; thankfully this workshop was not rainy! I sketched Paul below, adding some notes from what he told us.

Paul Heaston

While we sketched, by the way, we were treated to scores of people dressed up as super heroes – Manchester Comic Con was happening nearby at the same time. We saw Deadpools, Pikachus, Winter Soldiers, Flashes, Reys, Scarlet Witches and one absolutely amazing Squirrel-Girl I totally wish I had time to sketch. Oh, and there was one incredibly realistic Captain America, look (hey, Cap was a sketcher too)…

Pete Cap

Pete Cap! photo by Marina Regina Tuazon

Key points I took away:

  • Understand spatial relationships; even if the perspective isn’t quite right you can still describe the space between objects
  • Don’t be afraid to draw those huge buildings small, if that’s how they are in the overall sketch, as it shows their distance relative to the objects in the foreground
  • Draw loads of details! Why not? But simplify where you can, and note that the further back things are, the simpler the details
  • It doesn’t rain every single day in Manchester! It really doesn’t! (Spoiler alert, it rained that evening on the way home)

I very much had fun on this workshop, the last structured part of the Symposium for me (plenty more sketches and posts to come though…). Massive thanks to Paul Heaston – do check out his Flickr and his Facebook pages.

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