five minute sketching people

5 minute sketching people, by pete scully
Announcement alert! I have a new book!

It’s called “Five-Minute Sketching People“, and is being published this coming week by Firefly in North America, and Apple in the UK. It’s my second book in a year (following “Creative Sketching Workshop”), and the focus of this one is, as you can guess, all about sketching people in, well, not very much time at all. Over a hundred and twenty pages of tips and techniques, with some lovely contributed images from some of my favourite sketching friends. It’s called, as I say, “Five Minute Sketching People”, which is a bit like “24 Hour Party People” but you know, shorter. The thing with me is that, as you might know, I don’t draw people as often as I draw things that are not people (except other sketchers – I drew loads of people at the symposium this summer), so when I do, I tend to do it very quickly, in five minutes or less. People tend to move about, or have opinions, and change expressions constantly. It can be far more intimidating than drawing, for example, fire hydrants. Sketching people quickly means you can capture their essence without thinking too much, and so in this book I talk about that using different themes and examples. From sketching motion, to perspective, to using different media, and tip on different poses, I hope readers gain a few insights!

The book is available on amazon, and maybe in other places too. There is, and this is exciting, a sister companion to this book called “Five Minute Sketching Architecture” by Liz Steel, my urban sketching friend from Australia. She is a prolific and rapid sketcher, and also an architect herself, and that book is one I am super excited to read. Why not get the pair!

my new book…creative sketching workshop

creative sketching workshop books

I have a BOOK coming out!

It is called “Creative Sketching Workshop“, and I am very excited!

The book is due to be published in the next week by North Light Books in North America, Apple Press in the U.K. and Tan Yang International in Asia. My sketch above features the British and American covers. The book consists of 21 chapters – workshops – written by twelve different artists, myself included from all around the world. The workshops are themed along the sort of lines an urban sketcher might encounter, such as ‘tall structures’, ‘deserted spaces’, ‘drawing a crowd’, and of course ‘bar sketching’ (quite a few of my bar sketches in there!). I’m absolutely thrilled and honoured to be in their company! You will love their work. I plan to do some blog posts focusing on them (and how they have inspired me) in the coming weeks, but if you would like to get to know them better, check out their websites in the links below!

My eleven brilliant co-contributors are…

Yeah…that’s five continents right there. And along with me, twelve very individual approaches to sketching. Some of my long-time sketching heroes are on this list.

Where to buy the book: obviously at your local independent bookstore, that’s my recommendation! In Davis, the Avid Reader on 2nd St will be stocking it. But for the rest of the world buying online…

  • North Light Shop – direct from the publisher in the US, and they have free shipping on orders over $25, so get another great book too (such as James Hobbs, ‘Sketch Your World‘!)
  • Amazon (US) – says it will come out Nov 2 (also has the wrong cover posted…)
  • Amazon (UK) – lists publication date as Oct 15, but people have been getting it already!

And some reviews already…

So…if you’re thinking of delving into sketching it will I hope this book will be help you get out there and get sketching! Hope you like it!

And yes, it does have FIRE HYDRANTS




wrapped up in books

in the library

Cycled to the Davis library on sunday, took back those books I didn’t read. I then got books out I’ve already read, well this one anyhow. I sketched the biography section in brown pen. I’ve always been a library-dweller, since I was a kid. I used to bury my nose in books about language, scouring libraries across the borough (preferably for those that said “warning: contains obscure language”). Sometimes I would read fiction, sometimes – quite often – I would read travel books. And I used to spend a lot of time in the music library, taking out records, any scratches marked clearly on the vinyl by the librarian with that yellow crayon. I would get back on the bus with a can of Lilt and a Mars bar, and read up on philology, all the way home.

grusinia on my mind

grusinia on my mind

NATO went into Kosovo in 1999, bombing targets (such as bridges) not only in the region but all over Serbia. Serbia, Russia’s traditional ally. Russia could do only so much. They sent troops down, but not to oppose NATO. Why did the US led forces need to go in? The risk of imminent genocide, not wanting to stand by and watch a repeat of what had happened in Bosnia.

I couldn’t begin to understand what’s actually going on between Georgia and Russia, how strongly the Russians feel about the South Ossetians, how strongly Georgia feels about not wishing to disintegrate further, or be under the sway once more of the bear to the north. Caucasus troubles run deep, and are far less well understood in the West than the Balkan troubles. It was interesting however to read that one side is accusing the other of genocide, while the other is counter-accusing them of ethnic cleansing. The threat of which, as we all know, apparently justifies invasion.

The picture: funny enough, I had this book slotted down the pocket of my bag since I bought it in a second-hand bookshop in the Castro a couple of weeks back. Brecht’s Caucasian Chalk Circle (der Kaukasische Kreidekreis). One of my favourite (if not, my favourite) plays, one I have performed in German at university, back in the spring of 1999, at the same time that Kosovo was being torn apart. I co-directed a chaotic, ramshackle and very Brechtian version, in which I got to play the fantastic role of Azdak the judge. In those days I had a Beard to defeat all others. We had almost no set, and so I drew backgrounds of Grusinian buildings with Georgian graffiti over them, backdrops of hanged men, and great mountains, all on transparent cels using only four colours of pen, projecting them onto a white screen behind the actors using a bog-standard (and noisy) classroom overhead projector. For those actors who were gotten rid of for not coming to rehearsal, I recreated their characters in cartoon form and had them projected next to the real actors, even getting involved in dialogue. It was largely shambolic, but I have good memories of the other cast members, and it was great fun. And I think Brecht would have approved.

the cast; that's me in the top middle, azdak the judge

the cast; that's me in the top middle, azdak the judge