Siân Sharp – Artist and Illustrator

Sketching in Cambridge Market

Today the class went to Cambridge Market for a sketching session.


I wasn’t at all happy with my work at first: so small, hesitant and fiddly.  But then my teacher came over and gave me positive feedback.  She said I was ‘a natural storyteller’ and I’d been able to amass a great deal of detail in a short time.  She also thought I had a good command of scale, of the height of the people in relation to the market stalls.  I felt much more confident.

In the picture above, I tried to keep the cathedral very vague because it’s tempting to get bogged down in all the detail and I know I’m not doing an architectural study.  I hope there’s just enough detail there to create a sense of place.


My teacher pointed out that I’d drawn several market stalls face on, and I mentioned that I do have a tendency for drawing things in readable profile, Egyptian-style.  So she said, in that case, it would be a good exercise to draw the corners of market stalls, looking down the alley ways between them, so I’d have a better opportunity to draw perspective.


I was having trouble drawing shoppers because they were all moving so fast — I saw a mum and her toddler feeding the pigeons, and I also saw a mum walking along with two children holding balloons, both lovely images.  But they were gone too quick to draw more than a few lines.  So, I went and drew these Highway Maintenance guys, because they were making interesting shapes and were staying in more or less the same place.  There were only two men here, but one was busy laying paving slabs and the other was doing a variety of things.


The market is such an interesting place to draw.  In fact, it was my first idea for a project — I thought it would be a good idea to build up a repertoire of drawings of people doing physical activities, lifting and carrying.  But I worried that it would involve getting up really early, being cold and wet, and maybe the market traders wouldn’t like me being there all the time and would shout at me!  But actually, no-one seemed to mind a class of sketchers descending on their working day, and it was a very enjoyable first field trip.

This entry was published on October 10, 2012 at 8:00 pm. It’s filed under MA Sketching Project, Sketchbook and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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