“With experience, I ditched the thinner pens as you can’t really see the detail from a few metres away. Ideally you want people to be enjoying the artwork from a distance as well as up close, so I tend to work in pens of 5mm upwards.”
For newcomers to the scene, the anxiety of drawing in public for the first time can be overwhelming, but it’s important to relax and not worry too much about the final outcome. As Josh observes, “There’s no real way to conquer your fears other than by doing it.”
Things can go wrong, and this can be immensely dispiriting when you are under the spotlight. “Even small things like a pen busting open and spilling all over your work can feel like a major setback, but it’s important not to get distracted – mistakes can always be fixed.”
Dave Bain believes working under pressure can bring about surprising results, and artists who are willing to persevere will reap the benefits. “It might take a little while, and a lot of practice, but try not to worry or get anxious about people watching you at work. Stick at it and you’ll see how quickly you improve”.
Alan Silvester organised his first live draw event earlier this year, and acknowledges the rewards of putting something together for yourself. “Live art is cool, and creating an event is a massive achievement no matter what the scale. It’s hard to take a step back when you’re busy running the show, but it’s important to try and enjoy all the hard work you’ve put in.“
In the midst of the excitement it’s essential to remember to document your work, which often proves invaluable to track your progress. Some cameras come with a time-lapse record function, “which can be a very effective way of capturing the creation of the artwork from start to finish,” says Dave. It can also result in a great piece of self-promotional footage.
Ultimately the joy of a live draw is the opportunity to meet new artists and try something new, without getting too precious about the final results. “The wealth of talent coming together at bigger events is massively inspiring. The energy and buzz amongst the audience is a joy to be part of,” says Dave.
5 tips for success Dave Bain
• Using pencil is not always frowned on. I recommend quickly roughing out the basic shape(s) of what you’re about to draw. This can be especially useful if you are collaborating with others.
• Try not to think too much about the people watching or what they think of your work. It might take a little while for your drawing to appear. Don’t despair; stick at it until you’re done.
• Take a relaxed approach, and be willing to adapt as you draw; stand back occasionally to see how the whole piece is looking.
• Think carefully about the thickness of line, when you’re scaling up. Use paint and a big brush for filling in large areas – it’s quicker and saves on ink.
• Document it. You probably won’t be able to walk home with your piece at the end of the event, so make sure you or a trusty friend has a camera or video with them to capture both your work on the piece and the finished result. davebain.com
Above Various live art pieces by Dave Bain