Monday, February 2, 2015

On the Spot People

Click image to enlarge

 It's always wonderful when you begin to tackle something that you thought you couldn't do.  Like sketching moving people. I really did not think I could do this, yet after some great instruction through Sketchbook Skool, a couple of deep breaths, and a hefty dose of beginner's mind, I got started.

Now this is one of my favorite things to do. It still takes a dash of courage to begin but once I get going the fun just never stops.

For the people watching sketches above I was sitting in a Panera, at a window seat and plenty of people were walking by on a cold but sunny winter day in the cultural and shopping district. Literally walking by, which meant I had to take a good look, fix them in my mind's eye, and pick out the one thing that was most memorable about them. In the twenty or so seconds that they were in my view I could often get that one feature down on paper and the rest was from memory.

I think it's that challenge, that mental game, I have to play that I enjoy so much. These are simply gesture sketches that aim to capture one memorable element of a person. It could be their hair style, their clothing, their posture, or height.

Sketches like these help develop visual memory and they also help develop mark making and expressive,but controlled line work, both so essential to sketching.

Click image to enlarge
Another people sketching opportunity at the salon,  where my subject was moving but was also engage in repetitive movements which gave me a different kind of opportunity, one that allowed for a little more development.  This is the kind of thing that happens when people are engaged in an activity, they often come back to the same pose or position. So sometimes you are required to move to another part of the sketch as you wait for their hand or arm to return to a previous position.

I've always been so afraid to sketch people but now I feel empowered, and really it just took about half a dozen times out doing it to get me over the hump and into the fun zone.

Nice to know that I'm still growing, learning and stretching by working in my sketchbook.


  1. I'm glad to hear that you've overcome your fear of sketching people. I'm still intimidated by it, but your experience has encouraged me to try it again and be persistent in persevering through the scary part to get to the fun. Thanks, Jan!

  2. oh these are fun!! - I really love the hair salon sketch!!


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