I started a while ago to sketch strangers on the Helsinki metro.
I´ve uploaded my favourites to a Tumblr here:
Some reasons to do this:
-It´s a great exercise, I think I could one day become totally ok at drawing. Who knows. You have to draw a lot to become good at it.
-It´s exciting to draw strangers without them knowing.
-I´m from a small place and now live in a capital city. I´m ambivalent about the amount of people I ignore on a daily basis. This is a nice reminder. Strangers are apparently people too. This is a nice way to remember them.
-It´s an interesting and problematic activity: We all own our own image, how much can a person take without asking? Is this voyeurism, drawing exercise or documentation? How much is yours, how much is mine? I interpret what I see, which is your face, which you own. I draw it and it becomes mine. Am I Cartier-Bresson or just a creep on the tube?
Ink pen straight in. No sketching or prep work allowed.
Be aware of facial form, proportions and unique characteristics. You are given minimal chance to observe and revise details. The object may leave or or change position at any time.
Selection of object is completely random and usually chosen from whether object is adjacent. You are usually not given the luxury of choice.
If the object stares back, stare at someone else for a while. Usually the object loses interest or thinks he or she has become completely paranoid. Or that you are a nutter best left alone.
You are allowed to touch up the drawing afterwards, using contour lines or hatching. No tipp-ex allowed. All your mistakes are visible. Accept that.
I don´t consider myself satisfied with any of the sketches here. I am hesitant to show these, but that is my own challenge. It is obvious that I am not exposing the strangers I am portraying, but myself in raw form as a draftsman. I´m not comfortable with that. It´s extremely important to feel some discomfort. The comfort zone can be slow death.