Tag Archives: people drawing

Coffee drinkers of Seoul

This is the latest bunch of observational drawings from the sketchbook I just finished.

If you have been following this blog, you know that I like to visit cafes often, which Seoul had no shortage of (every other building has one), to observe and sketch people drinking their coffee and doing whatever they do while they are at it which is a great variety of things.

There’s light reading for pleasure, there’s heavy-duty studying for entrance exams, then there’s intermittent reading and checking online stores on the phone by the side; there’s celebrating life’s important milestones, there’s debating with colleagues, arguing with family, catching up with friends, there’s watching a soap opera with a loved one and there’s working alone knee-deep in reports and presentations, there’s lunching while on a break from work, catching a break in between shopping and once in a while there’s staring vacantly into space.

My sketchbook bears testimony to all that happens over a cup of coffee.

This particular set was drawn during the winter months, which is why you see warm clothing on people’s backs or piled on chairs and tables next to them depending on the heating inside the cafe.

Hope you enjoy seeing the drawings as much as I enjoyed drawing them!

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This guy was having an animated conversation with his friend (not imaginary) and was thrusting a lot of thumbs-up in front of his face

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(L) Studying but also checking the phone for updates (R) Looked like their’s was a long-standing friendship

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(L) Someone other than me who owns a lurid pink jacket in Seoul (R) Someone who likes to fold their scarf neatly even when no one’s looking. 

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This couple was so captivated by whatever they were watching that they remained still like statues glued to their iPad for the longest time. 

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(L) Two Zara employees on their lunch break (R) Someone straight from Bruno Magli, consuming a $6 salad and tapping her feet to cafe music. 

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(L) She’s no Jack and she’s not dull (R) Somebody kept this guy on hold for a very long time and never for once did he lose his temper. 

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(L) Thick glasses and a big fat SAT study guide (R) She ate the cake and saved the cherry until the very end. 

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One sassy lady in green pants and round glasses catching up with her friend. 

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(L) Nose in the cup, finger on the screen (R) Ruminating in a power suit. 

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(L) Edgy hairstyle on someone who looked rather mild-mannered and affable 

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Girl at the next table turned 15 and I got to sketch her! That delicious cake with strawberry topping was from Tous Les Jours.

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When I sketched an argument in progress. “Explain yourself, Bob. Linda, calm down”

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I could never pull off a pixie hat with a straight face but she did it so well

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What if

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…I had a key that could open my head so I could put in and take out anything I wanted? This bewitching thought that I’ve been mulling over came to me from something I read two weeks ago. In Vol. 2 of Joe Hill’s epic comic book series called Locke and Key, one of the characters named Kinsley dug out all her fears and the ability to cry while her older brother Tyler jammed in textbooks to ace school exams!

 

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If I were to play along and assume that the lid on my head was off, what would I put in? After a bout of gruelling self-assessment I came up with the answer which believe it or not is ‘nothing’. Yes, I’d pass it up, coz I can’t bear sabotaging the masochistic sense of achievement I derive from learning anything new. I revel in that sort of thing. But, that’s just me.

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On the other hand there’s a lot I want to get rid of. All kinds of fears starting from facing a blank page to a room full of people at a party. A long standing one has been that of drawing people. I sort of stiffen when faced with this task and the lack of spirit shows in the drawing and then these insipid drawings gnaw at my courage to start afresh. Hence the beguiling temptation of this fantasy key.

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Fantasy it may be, but what if it’s also a metaphor for our willingness to open our minds? What if a single turn of this key can unlock our courage to explore new ideas, challenge our beliefs and make mistakes, learn from them and then build up confidence? I put the key to test. In other words I started drawing even more people and in a style that felt most natural to me and decided to focus only on the process, enjoy it without worrying about results.

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These 5 drawings above are the fruits of my dogged efforts and reflect my altered mindset. I used watercolours and crayons to make the process even more exciting and developed this gestural style that I’m growing quite fond of and wish to explore further. Rest assured there’s going to be one overworked key in this house!