Drawing in Public

I am about to head out this morning to draw at a local county fair. Drawing in public is intimidating and the question for me is “Why is it so hard to sketch in a public space?”

Personally, I think it is about showing work to strangers face-to-face. When I am working in my sketchbook my intent is that my sketchbook is a workbook. My pages can be messy with do-overs or just small bits and pieces of what I am drawing. I am working on observing, drawing endurance, proportion, relationships of form but not a finished work.

When I draw and paint in public, I am throwing myself into a situation where passerbys are curious as to what I am doing. While people feel entitled to see what I am doing, its always difficult because I may not want to subject myself to their opinions. This is true especially when I am challenging myself to draw something that I have not drawn before. I am trying to quell my own inner critic. Drawing in public has the potential of hearing the critiquing voice of others.

The most important question that I have been trying to answer really is, “How do I get over the discomfort?” I am finding that if I draw in public frequently, the more comfortable I become. However, today’s outing to the county fair has a little more discomfort since I have not been drawing in public very often. I have slipped backwards in my comfort. Like strengthening a muscle, drawing in public needs consistent training.

I  need to remember my goals for drawing today and where I want to go. I am taking this time to just have fun and learning is fun! On that thought of “fun” people are a part of that fun. Often, it is children who want to see what I am doing-especially children who also like to draw. I have to remind myself that my drawing in public is great modeling for them about art skills needing practice. Adults also are usually very nice and kind. I have had some lovely conversations with strangers who also share their drawing and painting experiences.

So off to the fair I will go. I will pump up my drawing muscle for working in public places and who knows, next week is the State Fair!