If you were asked to describe someone you know in just ten words, could you find a way to distill everything into a thumbnail sketch as brief as that?
Sometimes a drawing can capture the essence of a person better than words. I like trying to do this, trying to draw people as they’re moving about and doing what they do. Trying to describe them in a few lines. It’s terribly hard to do but addictive.
I like drawing people in the park; they’re relaxed, (usually) and absorbed. I went there yesterday and stood and sketched for half an hour, until I got too stiff with cold and had to move about. There were the usual dog-walkers and people out for a stroll (including a man in track-suit trousers walking in a very funny way) and as it was half-term there were more families than usual in the playground, including parents and grandparents pushing their children on the swings and playing in the sand-pit. Some of the adults were happier watching from the sidelines and took charge of looking after buggies, or leaned on the railings or sat watching on a bench.
The children are of course the hardest to draw because they’re bouncing and jumping and running and climbing and crawling and sliding almost without stopping – and drawing movement is the most difficult thing of all. But what fun trying! It makes you look harder than you’ve ever looked at anything, and everything else disappears.