Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Drums and Drawing

Teacher ©Dora Sislian Themelis
When my sons were younger they had the opportunity to attend a class to learn to play an ethnic drum called the doumbek.  The doumbek has origins in Greece and the Middle Eastern world.  My oldest was, and still is, very musical and plays a variety of traditional Greek instruments. 

This drum was the first instrument he showed an interest in as my Armenian father owned one.  He'd let my son play and he was pretty good at it for a kid.  The younger son is also musical, but he just liked to fool around, not serious about it at all.  They both have that creative gene, right-brain thing, though.

Teacher in Color
©Dora Sislian Themelis
Since they were kids, I had to drive them to the class, which was almost thirty minutes from our house.  Well, I decided that if I'm driving, I'm taking drawing tools with me.  No sense having all that action and not get it on paper.  Unfortunately, the first time I drove my kids to the lesson I forgot my sketchbook and pencils.  I found a lined notebook paper, grabbed a pen and just started doodling.  I could kick myself because the doodle I drew of one of the students came out great and she wanted it for herself! 

Drum Lesson ©Dora Sislian Themelis
The next week I came prepared.  I brought my sketchbook, pencils, and some Nu-Pastels.  It was a very exciting drawing adventure.  There was music, action, and the students were of different ages and personas.  Drawing moving people isn't easy.  I had to decide the general direction of the pose and work from there. 

Helen ©Dora Sislian Themelis
Hands and bodies kept moving, heads were bobbing, feet tapping to the beats, stopping and starting.  Nothing like the short poses in life drawing class with a model who stands still for a few minutes and then changes the pose.  This movement was non-stop.  But it was great to be caught up in the moment with the drum beats blasting.  Very energetic.

The teacher, the students and some observers were my models each week.  While the others had their doumbek lesson, I was having my own lesson in observing and drawing the moving figure.  It was a great time.

Doumbek Class ©Dora Sislian Themelis


  1. Wonderful! I love sketching people in motion--i've tried drawing dancers but that is hard unless they're dancing slowly!

  2. Dancing is too much movement! At least these people were sitting in one place!


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