Feeling under pressure can be quite intimidating. And it is also the topic of one of the most frequently asked questions, when I am talking about live illustration:
"How can you manage to make a good fashion sketch, when everyone is watching you and waiting?"
The answer is simple:
It's a mental game, that need's to be trained.
About half of the preparation for live illustration is practice, and the other half is strongly focusing on the inner approach: I absolutely need to start the live illustration sessions with the full conviction that I am well prepared and absolutely capable of doing this job.
I simply need to rely on my capacities to sketch quickly and to not mess up one of the portrait drawings. Because as soon as I start hesitating and doubting, the lines will get insecure and weak and my hand stops drawing in a loose, sketchy style.
But how do I get this confidence?
Confidence can't be build over night. It's a process.
But you can speed up this process by proving to yourself constantly that you are doing a great job.
That's why I started to train myself for these events already some weeks before, by sketching daily some human figures under time pressure. (I am explaining the amazing effect of 3-minute sketchesHERE and the effect on the Muscle Memory, based on this approach, HERE.)
Practice and constant training, even if it's only for some minutes a day, give you a regular proof that you are capable of sketching quickly with correct body proportions. There are some weeks needed to be able to really rely on this feeling. But once you have learned to be confident about your figure drawing capacities, this feeling is very powerful and will give you the security to stay calm and focused under pressure.
You can't fully control the process
... and you will absolutely need this confidence and this belief in your hand, that you have gained during these weeks of sketching. Because: you do not have the entire control about this process.
The more you control the lines, the harder it will be to sketch freely and the less dynamic the sketch will be. Dynamic powerful lines don't go along with control. There will always be a certain amount of risk - the risk to mess it up.
When you can't fully control it, you need to rely on your hand. Dive into the process and enjoy the lines without thinking too much about all the things that could happen. Keep your mind clear and focused and full of confidence that your hand knows the lines.
Usually I am drawing my commission works all digitally, as this is a very flexible way to work. Changes can be quickly done, like adaptations to another color range. Live illustrations stand in strong contrast to my digital drawings: I am working with the sketchbook - my fingers full of ink and watercolor. A brilliant feeling.
In case you wonder, which material I have used, I am listing here all the tools for my live illustration events:
- Sketchbook (Talens art creation) - 6B pencil (Faber Castell) for the draft - Ink pens (Pigma Micron, Faber Castell, Comic) - Watercolor brush markers (Karin Markers) - Eraser for the pencil draft - Water & brush, tissue
How people react when being sketched
When people are acting as a model for my sketches, they are in a rather uncommon situation. I am glazing at them during the drawing phase and I am sketching their entire body. But they get quickly used to it – we are both blending out the loud and bustling surrounding – I am fully focused on the person in front of me that I am sketching.
I learned a lot during these live illustrations, and I’d love to share 2 of my social learnings here with you:
Hallo, I'm an award-winning illustrator and drawing tutor from Austria. After great experiences in the Marketing and Database sector, I finally realised that I simply need to follow my enthusiasm and fascination for drawing and illustrating.
What fascinates me most, is this way to communicate without using any words. So expressive, so global. And this leads me to my second fascination about drawing: the exchange with others, with you! In my drawing courses I simply love to see the enormous developments of each participant - initiated by exchange and practice. That's what I like to do here, too.
The idea for this blog comes from the bottom of my heart: to get you close to drawing and to show you that you too can draw #drawinggang It's all about learning to feel the drawing!