[By Shiho Nakaza in Los Angeles, CA USA] The archway with two dragons marks the entry to Chinatown in Los Angeles, and on this day there was Golden Dragon parade to celebrate Lunar New Year. It's a very sketch-able event that attracted hundreds of people.
Drawing in a massive crowd is always a challenge - the road was blocked by the parade so I couldn't cross the street to meet the rest of the sketching group a mere block away. I had to think on my feet and use what I learned from my past sketching experience:
- Scout the place for a location with something interesting to see which is not blocked by the crowd - in this case, the two dragon sculptures are above eye level and easily visible above the crowd. They don't move, so even if everything else go haywire, I was confident that I can still record them in my sketch.
- Have a lightweight setup: my homemade 8-color watercolor kit in a tin box, pen, and water brush are my go-to sketching tools for fast sketching. I also had a small folding stool and started sketching while sitting but ended up sketching and coloring while standing.
- Above all, be flexible: after I put down a few strokes, the police ordered the crowd to move elsewhere behind the barricades to allow the parade to pass. I packed up and started sketching again from another angle, making sure to keep sketching the two dragons above (remember: they're great models who stay still!)
The rest of my time was spent drawing one thing after another as they passed by - all the beauty pageants, floats, dragons, lion dancers, various people in costumes (and, this being L.A., classic cars) are series of quick sketches overlaid on top of one another as they passed me by within minutes. I hope my sketch helps to convey the sense of the frenetic energy. There were a bunch of confetti strewn about and I didn't have clean yellow paint to work with, so I added them at home.