Sunday, July 3, 2016

My Urban Sketching Class goes to the Hair Salon.

I teach an Urban Sketching Course at Elite Animation Academy (8933 Conroy Windermere Rd, Orlando, FL). This semester, I have just 3 students which is an advantage, since it allows me to get the students into venues which might not work with a large class. The first half of the class was spent in the Elite Academy classroom, where I had the students do four drawings from different angles of one of the Disney Feature Animation desks. After those drawings were done, I posed four times and they had five minutes to work my pose into each sketch. This mimics my work routine, since I often arrive at a venue early to sketch the setting and then I sketch people as they arrive to the event.

For the second half of the class we went downstairs to Cavallo Hair Designers (894) Conroy Windermere Road Orlando FL.) I asked employees and costumers if it was alright to sketch, and every one was on board. My students sat in the waiting area chairs far from the action and I had to coax and encourage them to get closer. Helen, who must be in her 90s, was getting her hair curled. Her hair designer, James, was chatting away the whole time as he made her beautiful. It is a shame we arrived late in the process, because he said we should have done before and after sketches. His sister runs an arts organization in Brooklyn called Fiercely Curious.

When Helen's hair was done, the designer used a hand held mirror to show her the results. "Oh, is that me?" she said. Her daughter and brother in law came into the shop with a wheel chair. It took quite a while to get her from one seat to the next. She was a very satisfied customer. I sensed that my students were a little frustrated that everyone kept moving. I tried to let them know that they should focus on some aspect of the scene that is stable once that frustration sets in. Sketch results varied, but it was a good lesson that we need to feel beautiful at any age. A second customer was having foil put in her hair. That would have been another great sketch opportunity, but we were out of time and needed to get back to the classroom.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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