EDM #36: Draw out in public

Jack and I went to draw on 6th Avenue in the Village, sitting on the steps of a sandwich shop to draw the Jefferson Market library. I began with what one could charitably call preparatory sketches but which I refer to as false starts or disasters. I was just not seeing the whole and was locked into tiny details of the tower. So I tried doing a quick contour drawing (in the lower left), just following the edges of the building without looking at my page, and that began to feel like the way to go.

I drew the whole building in under ten minutes, barely looking at the paper. Then back in my studio added some gouache to the sky and some watercolor to add dimension. I’m pretty happy with the results and surprised I got here from where I started, It has a nice rickety, energized feeling that captures my inner state.


  1. neowatercolour

    Very impressive, lots of atmosphere. From false starts to a great result !

  2. Dee

    Thanks for permission to beginning artists to have a false start! Too many give up after the first try. This has a wonderful freedom that I am delighted to see! Have a good week.

  3. Rainwater

    From the drawings you have done in the last week, this one is my favorite. I think it’s great because you did not allow much time to think about it. I love this one! The gouache you added later also makes the drawing better. Better than the mono color background of the false start.

  4. Dorothy Dinnigan

    Goodmorning Dan: Love to see your sketches find them very encouraging. Always false starts. They help get the kinks out.

  5. Rebecca J Stahr

    I love the energy of the line in your drawing.

  6. Owen

    Lovely, Danny. Gouache is great. Just beginning to play with it again myself. Was drawing in public this weekend myself; moving targets – er, I mean subjects! http://owenswain.com/1/sketckbooks-2012-08-12/

    • dannygregory

      They’re terrific, Owen. I especially like the energy of the brush stroke and the contrast between the ochre and the blue.

  7. ChrisF

    I’m glad you’re taking a page from Roz’s book and showing us “false starts” as well as things you are satisfied with.

  8. Nita

    I love the freedom and personality of it. Magnetic, and there’s also a bit of a Matthias Adolfson quality.

  9. broworkshop sketching

    This is impressive for many aspects. First of all the false starts can be also considered as a mental warm up. The second thing that impress me a lot that you unlinked all your left brain to achieve that results so sketching with barely looking to the paper. I defintevely love that.

  10. Lynn Cohen

    I love that you can draw quickly with so much detail. I think that is really being “in the zone” as they say. I like the frenzied look to this AND the bright colors!

  11. Joyce

    Fantastic…full of energy! You really loosened up from where you started that day!

  12. BohèmeCircus

    Finally the eye and the hand manage very well without us, without our too precise observations. when we let wander our ideas and our glance, a lightness gives to lines all the fluidity which they need to feel comfortable on our pages! And even if we already know all this, there are nevertheless days when the gesture is heavier without to know why… I do not like these days, I wonder then if I am still capable to draw, to look, to see, to photograph, to write, to feel, to understand… But when I see your drawings, the result obtained after “the laborious beginning” which you describe, I say to myself that it is important in these moments to continue, to insist and everything finds its place. And that’s why, beyond the drawing itself, I think that it is a very beautiful message. Thank you for that !

  13. Matthias

    Thank You Danny,
    you’ve inspired me to try it with GOUACHE.
    Today I bought some good value Gouache to check it out.
    I’m curious about the first results…:-D

  14. Hannah & Blake Sanders

    I love the colors on the second drawing. I started working on the challenges earlier this summer and have been enjoying the extra boost to my productivity. I just put some pics up here: http://orangebarrelindustries.wordpress.com/2012/08/14/shut-up-and-draw-its-good-for-you/

  15. zookyshirts

    Awesome that you did the second drawing while barely looking at the paper — I like that quick feel about it.

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