Drawing in Public

These little sketches may not seem like much, but to me they represent a personal victory. I finally got up the nerve to draw in public again. When I was a teenager I drew all the time. I drew during class, during lunch, on the bus. I can’t remember when I actually stopped. Probably when I finished school and had to grow up. Like many people I dropped drawing to pursue more “effective uses of my time.” Silly me. I went to college. I eventually ended up studying accounting. How did that happen? As for productive use of time, I never even finished.

When I came back to drawing again (15 years later), I was so rusty I was ashamed to show anything. I only drew at home and I would cover up my sketchbook if my husband came into the room. I finally got over myself a bit and began to take classes. It helped me quite a bit, but I still never quite felt “safe” drawing in public.

street.jpg Everyday Matters challenge 36 is to draw out in public. So I did. I plunked myself down in a cosy chair in a coffee shop and drew quick sketches of what I saw out the window. I don’t know what I was so worried about.

These sketches may not be masterpieces, but they are special to me because they will always remind me that the fear of doing something is always worse than the doing of the thing.

Thanks for stopping by! Your encouraging comments contributed to this victory. I appreciate you all so much. πŸ˜€

Published by Mellanie C

sketch artist, daydreamer Figurative artist specializing in small format art and portraits.

22 thoughts on “Drawing in Public

  1. Hey Genxsters! These are nice! The last time i tried to draw in public, people were looking over my shoulder ewwwww..I did some on a plane but you know how that goes..these are great!


  2. Well done, I really mean that! I know how difficult it is, I’m struggling all the time with it but keep it up! You got so much information in the drawings, very impressive!


  3. I wish I was that brave. I’m still screwing up my courage to draw in public. Your drawing have a great “caught in the act” feel about them. Keep it up!


  4. Wonderful! Congratulations! I agree that sketching people in a relatively closed place is tough. I always feel so intrusive unless I’m partly behind them – and rarely overcome my inhibition.


  5. these are really great sketches Mellanie….
    I really like your composition and the viewpoint….
    terrific use of the negative space too πŸ™‚
    nice to hear that you have overcome your fear of drawing in public …. πŸ™‚


  6. I think that is great. Me, I can’t do it and it isn’t so much a lack of bravery. I need to concentrate and I have always hated people watching me over my shoulder (no matter what I do) or being interrupted while drawing. I have however enjoyed sketching at museums.

    I like your drawings πŸ™‚


  7. Brava! Why are we all so shy about drawing outside? I’ve gotten to where I can furtively sketch people, but now I’m trying to do landscapes, which take longer and people always stop by to look and comment(cringe!).


  8. Congrats!

    I am not brave enough. My sketching skills are lacking to say the least. It is something I keep telling myself I need to do everyday, but still don’t do it. You really did a good job capturing each person. Keep it up!


  9. Thanks everyone. I’m still so pleased about this. I’ve been pretty lucky. No one has hovered over me, commented or offered me any suggestions yet. Maybe I am menacing and unapproachable. πŸ˜› Anyway whatever I’ve got going is working for me. Again, thanks to you all for your encouragement. It means a lot.


  10. It takes courage to start – I know! When I first started drawing again and ventured out I used to dread people asking to have a look – and weirdly the more I dreaded that, the more people seemed to ask. Now I get totally absorbed in what I’m doing – and people rarely ask (and now I don’t mind anyway). Anyway – now you’ve taken the plunge I’m looking forward to seeing lots more of these!


  11. Thanks Sarah, I’m getting used to it. Glad you like these little drawings. They are the very best of the bunch. Most of them are sort of rushed and sketchy. I definitely will be posting more.


  12. Congrats on drawing again in public!!

    I, too, can be very shy about drawing in front of people, even my own family. Then I tried something new one day. I was asked by a local art store to bring in some of my work to show them. They did occasional “Artist in Action” days where they brought an artist in, sat them right in the very front of the store (practically out in the mall walkway) and the artist draws all day. Customers stop and watch, ask questions, pick up your business cards, talk about commissions, look through your portfolio, etc. So, the store asked me if i was interested in doing it. I’m really good at blocking out everything else around me and concentrating on my work, but it does get a bit disconcerting when you have a couple of people just standing there staring at you watching every mark you make on the paper. However, on the plus side, it’s very cool to hear them say “Honey, you have GOT to come see this!! This is amazing!”


  13. Nancy: Oh my, I couldn’t imagine drawing out in the front of a store like that. Your powers of concentration are to be envied. πŸ™‚


  14. “These sketches may not be masterpieces, but they are special to me because they will always remind me that the fear of doing something is always worse than the doing of the thing.”
    well said.

    i am an art student – currently doing masters in painting. i can vouch that what you said is true for me too! doing it outdoors is not so easy. especially if you have some catching up to do!

    beginning to draw in public used to scare the shit out of me. but now i don’t give it a damn. i mean if i want to do it, i should just DO it!


  15. I’m an art student with the same problem. People keep telling me my work is decent and I simply don’t believe them. I keep working to get beyond my fears but it’s very hard and I commend you for your bravery.


    1. Thanks Carmen. Perhaps you are too hard on yourself. I used to be afraid to show my drawings because I held myself to impossible standards. Now I just put them out there because they are what I do and I enjoy doing it. Keep drawing!


  16. I love your honesty about this. I can relate to this. I took up daily sketching again. It takes a certain amount of bravery I think. I love what James Michener says about the artist:

    “The arrogance of the artist is a very profound thing, and it fortifies you.”


    1. Thanks Wolfgang. It takes bravery at first. You are facing down your own self-talk. Soon drawing in public just becomes a habit. I like to draw in cafes. It’s a neutral environment because everyone is plugged into a laptop, or scribbling in a notebook or just absorbed in conversation.

      Your daily sketches are wonderful. I’m looking forward to seeing more.


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