Mannequins and Shop Displays



002 003THURSDAY NOVEMBER 14. 2013

It’s  a gorgeous day today.

Sitting in the sun very early, I can hear happy birds, and watch the ferries plying all those lucky people travelling by water to the city.

It will be a good day.

Christy and I are guiding our class today in observing the mannequins which are our sketching setups this week.

There’s a single one and an action pair.


It’s very pleasing the way everyone gets stuck in.

People think ‘people’ are difficult, if you get my drift. But they are no different to the vase of flowers or the pile of books – are all simply shapes.

Shapes to be really looked at and observed.

How high, how wide, where is the centre. Our mantra.

Your sketch will be where you want it on your page if you follow the mantra.


Next we tramp down the hill towards the little fashion boutiques .

No, not for shopping, no no not us. But in fact to sketch the shop display mannequins.

The plus for us were the benches we could park ourselves on right in front.

I explain that the thinking behind all this is to teach you about museum sketching.

You can find wonderful costume displays in museums.

Perfect sketch subjects and they don’t walk away – we hope.

I also encourage sketching what’s in display cases. All sorts of fascinating bits and pieces of history are waiting to be sketched.

The stories are unending.


Todays sketches all tell a story. The headless or armless models showing off the summer look. Cushions, chairs and other items, all interesting parts of the display.

Today we are going to In Situ, a long established cafe with a great outdoor garden area. We have a table all 12 of us can be around, and much food consideration begins. And Coffees.

These sketches are quite different from some we’ve done in the past.

But where I can extend people’s ideas about what is a sketch subject, then I will.

A very good day indeed.




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Another very sunny, blue day. We like that when sketching, but it’s not essential.

People seem to be arriving early today. Well you might as well get a head start – if you’ll pardon the pun.

You are sketching mannequins and they certainly have heads. Oh. good you got it.

The sketches are looking very in proportion today.

It is an exercise in pure observation and we are learning well.

Where do the limbs line up compared to the chest and torso?

How many times does the head fit into the height?

And so on.

It does bring on some anxiety of course for ones who would like to use a pencil to position their sketch on the page.

But would you still be sitting there tomorrow, still deciding?

Get in with that black pen.

Make a start and go from there.

it’s going to be just fine. No pressure at all.

Down the hill we go to the fashion boutiques and the headless display models.

Thank goodness they’d changed some of the clothes for us today.

We have close up sketches and bigger sketches, even a balcony upstairs sketch, all the impressions of each sketcher as they see it.

Lunch is easy as some are already sketching from the outdoor tables at InSitu.

Those who are sketching from park benches join us for avocado on rye, salmon on rocket, or even the big breakfast. And coffee.

Sketching is hungry work. you understand.

Today’s work is as always a joy to see. The way each one is so different in it’s interpretation to the next.

That’s the joy of being a sketcher. Sketching to please just you.

Let’s go, it looks like rain!



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Slight uncertainty about the weather today.

An enormous thunderstorm last night left the dog a shaking wreck, and sent Milton running for cover arriving home at the front door, thinking he was about to be struck by lightening.

Today they’d even cancelled the markets thinking it could be the same.

But no, it was sunny! Of course.

The little mannequins are each holding gardenias today.

Everybody managed the observation exercise and their wateroolours, damp on damp of ochre, red and blue. Don’t you just love it when the pigments blend.

Jo, our Yoga leader joined us today, working on her watercolour pencil technique and showing great restraint with the water brush. With great results.

Off we go down to those fashion boutiques with their perfectly formed models showing off size 6 fashions.

We are well spread around today but luckily Insitu is right there for when we want a table or three.

Again we are all fascinated with the different approaches each one takes in choosing our subjects.

Some bigger vistas and some vignettes.

Therese does several sketches including a great character one of the 3 girls sitting on a bench outside the boutique.

Margaret is very happy to see the technique of putting your colours in the lid of your paint box, getting just the right amount of water into it, and taking it from there to your page. One colour over another. No shocks or surprises this way.

In fact everybody is managing their watercolours very well. The main thing with putting colour on a sketch is to get the difference between what’s in front and what’s behind.

The work is completed between mouthfuls of delicious salmon or avocado and a few rounds of coffee.

Another very productive week for everyone and we’ll do more exciting things next week.




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