Dearest, Youngest and I went to Bugfest 2010 in Raleigh today. The NC Museum of Natural Scinece puts it on every September, and it is by far their largest event. While the other two went in and braved the crowds at the exhibits, I stayed in the pedestrian way between the museums and sketched this scene. The museum is a lovely building - modern with classical sensibilities, to match the older wing it adjoins. I'm really pleased with this drawing - I'm getting the hang of using different weights of line, and have given thought lately to what I like in the sketches of others. And I discovered that a start with pencil, and then finishing with pen, provides more judgement and opportunities for leaving things out (I get to give every line a second thought).
As I was finishing this (which took a little over an hour), I was joined by two young boys. The six year old spoke to me first, and asked what I was doing. He showed me the machine gun he had made in a recycled materials booth nearby, and then watched me draw. His four year old brother draped himself with affectionate ease over my back and shoulder so he could look on as well, and chattered quietly in my ear. Several more boys, unrelated to these two, came and joined in. One said he also liked to draw. I asked him what he drew, and he said, "Faces. I could do yours." I got out my moleskine and handed him my pencil. He produced this sketch of me in about 5 minutes, and signed it, "Mike." It's the only thing in my moleskine that isn't by my hand. I like it, and I'll do it again if the opportunity arises.
It was a memorable day. I was there in the crowds for nearly two hours and it felt like twenty minutes.
Later, as we were leaving, two women came up to us and said they had also watched for a while over my shoulder, and that they liked my work. I had been unaware of everyone except the people I was memorizing to add to my "crowd," and the one guy who sat down right in front of me, blocking my entire view (I politely asked him if he could move over a few feet - he got up and left...). I really have gotten over my discomfort with drawing in public. Ever since Chicago...