(All sorts of) People Drawing

One last post before a two-week blog-break for me. But lots to share at the end of two weeks, I promise.

Are you thinking of the #OneWeek100People2019 challenge yet? It’s coming up the week of April 8-12. If you are on facebook, join this group, it’s fun to see people get excited about what they’re going to sketch.

If you’re wondering what to draw, just remember, anything people-focussed goes. Drawing from life, from photos, at lifedrawing sessions, it’s all good. Here’s some sketches from last week, all of which would count for the challenge.

Random little color-and-chat sketches at Starbucks.

From the day I colored my hair red. Yup, it’s red now. Dark Quin Rose, actually: maybe that’s magenta?haricutcolor

And a couple of sketches from my son’s band concert. It was 80s themed: can you tell?80s

Sketching (and mostly eating) with friends this week. I ended up with a book recommendation and a quote that just has to be printed on a t-shirt.

Finally a bit of life-drawing today. I’ve been drawing on vellum for a while and now I have an idea brewing for layering and putting together some studies into a piece.

Some people get pretty elaborate with challenges. As a freelancer, I can do all the planning I want, but it’s just so hard to predict how much time I will have to draw in a week. So I set a basic goal that’s pretty doable and then a more ambitious one and just go with what my week can hold.

Posted in Everyday Sketches, people, Portrait, san jose, Sketch Journal, studies | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

FAQs: Line First or Paint First?

One of the most frequent questions I get is: Do you do line first or paint first? And the answer to that is I go either way. If the composition jumps at me as shapes, then I’ll start with paint. Otherwise, it’s line.

This sketch of the Los Gatos Theater starts with pen line. I drew most of the line I wanted at the start and then moved to color. I finally came back to gouache highlights and some bolder line.

With this one of Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, I started with paint, went to line, then back to painting in the darks and last of all, some gouache highlights.

I’m a pretty liberal user of white gouache. I carry a tube of it with me and dip my brush directly into the tube. The way I thin of my whites is: I like to leave them as paper when I can. But when leaving a highlight would mean carefully painting around it and would take away from the freedom of a brushstroke, then it’s a gouache highlight.

Posted in california, Close to home, How to, Silicon Valley, watercolor | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Exciting New Workshop Announcements

Here are a few new workshops that are coming up soon, a couple in San Jose, and one at Zandvoort Beach in the Netherlands.

April 4, 2019
People Sketching: A Crash Course in Drawing People – Fast!


This 3-hour people-drawing workshop covers a myriad of techniques and no matter what your skill or comfort level with the subject, you will go home with a few tools you can use for quick people capture!

Click Here to Register, this one is filling up quickly. 


I’m super excited to announce that I will be teaching a workshop just before the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Amsterdam. And I’l be teaching it with one of my absolute favorite sketchers, Marina Grechanik and that is very, very exciting! Here is a little bit about that workshop.

Sunday, July 21, 2019
PeopleMania: Draw at the beach with Marina Grechanik and Suhita Shirodkar


Draw people all day at Zandvoort Beach in the Netherlands (an easy half hour train ride from Amsterdam). Marina and Suhita love drawing people-stories and their enthusiasm for the subject is infectious. You’ll try your hand at a lot of different techniques and go home with a bag of tricks, so people drawing will always be fun and accessible to you!

A lot more details, FAQs, and registration at the link below:

Click Here to Register 


• I’ll be re-running a workshop with weekday evening times that you asked for:
8 weeks of Sketch Journaling in San Jose.
Gay Kraeger, Nina Khaschina and I are teaching a weekend workshop in the Santa Cruz mountains.
• And Gay, Nina and I decided to book the whole boat on our 3-day Channel Islands adventure, so that’s opened up a few more spots in that workshop!

All upcoming workshops always show up under the Workshops tab of this blog.

Posted in teaching, Workshop | Tagged | 2 Comments

Announcing One Week, 100 People, 2019

#OneWeek100People_logo_variation1.jpgMark your calendars for the #OneWeek100People2019 challenge from the 8th to the 12th of April, 2019. This time I’ll be joining my sketching buddies Marc Taro Holmes and Liz Steel, (who created this challenge) in hosting it, and it would be great to have you all join in!

I’ve participated in this challenge over the years and even though I draw people regularly, drawing in this concentrated fashion for a week always gives me some new insights and challenges.

Below are some of my favorite highlights from Marc’s official announcement of the challenge. To read the announcement in it’s complete form, join the facebook group .

April 8-12th, 2019

  • The real goal is PRACTICE. Not perfection. You can do it any way you want – just have fun with it!
  • Sketch from life, from any reference material, ( This is NOT an urban sketching challenge) in any media or size, draw fast or slow.
  • Post your work during the week of April 8-12, to the dedicated facebook group.
  • Please don’t post on other Urban Sketchers groups unless it meets Urban Sketching guidelines.
  • Post on social media of choice, (Instagram, Twitter) using the hashtag #OneWeek100People2019.

Also, some suggestions on reaching your goal:
– Aim to get to a 100 sketches. But don’t skip the challenge just because you feel you won’t get there- hey, 25 people sketches that week is better than zero!
– Plan to swap out any ‘free time’ for drawing – just for one week.
– Be prepared! Make a list of crowded places to draw people. Visit a park, the public library, go shopping, or to a sporting event. Maybe search out public performances. Live music at a pub, a lecture, or reading.
– Go drawing in groups! If it looks like you’re a club or a class, people give you the benefit of the doubt.
– If you don’t want to do it live-on-location, cue up a YouTube play list, sign up for Flickr, or download the iOS app SKTCHY.
– Give yourself permission to succeed. Don’t overthink the results – just draw! You’ll see results at the end of the week. No matter how fast you sketch, over a whole week, at least ONE will be amazing.


Posted in challenge, Figure Drawing, people, Portrait, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments


I’ve been doing a lot of workshops the last couple of weeks. Love the teaching, but I miss my drawing time. It’s not that I don’t end up drawing, it’s just that it’s not drawing alone, which is how I usually draw. And a lot of the drawings are in very little bits of time.

This one is the demo piece from last week’s workshop, “An Introduction to Urban Sketching”. At the Ferry Building on a grey day. An orange rickshaw really adds pop to an otherwise monochromatic day.

This was done as a study for a workshop at the San Jose Museum of Art.

A coffee break downtown at Caffe Frascati. I love how the logo on the window is a halo on this guys head.

Quick demo sketch, based on the idea of starting at something you find interesting and then taking a line for a walk.

And then I got interested in the museum goers and sketched them. No wet media in the museum. Colored pencil and pen.

While everyone in this weekend’s workshop worked on their final sketch outdoors (the rain gods, amazingly, gave us a break for a bit) I painted the clocktower.

The best way for me to decompress from a day of teaching is to do a sketch, all by myself. This one is at the Fountainhead Bar in Sofa Market in downtown San Jose. Dark silhouettes of the crowd at the bar and jewel-like bottles on the shelves behind them.



Posted in california, Close to home, Everyday Sketches, people, san jose, Silicon Valley, teaching, Workshop | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Life Drawing, Studies & Urban Sketches

For a while now, I’ve been ending almost every week’s life drawing session with a  watercolor portrait of the model. I’m especially interested in exploring the head in light and shade and in looking at skin tones and seeing many colors in them.



I see the most nuances when drawing from life. But photographs are useful too, especially for studying  proportions and how the head looks at different angles. The page below is a spread of demos done at a recent workshop.


All this study from life and photographs really helps me in urban sketching. Knowing and understanding the structure of the face and how light hits it helps me see both of those better even under often-confusing multiple light sources.

It also helps when I’m drawing people around me in quick ink sketches.

And that’s what I like best, when every bit of what I do informs another part of my art-practice, and no learning and practice stands alone and separate.

Speaking of drawing heads (and drawing people in general), the challenge “One Week 100 People” is coming back. I’ll be joining Marc Holmes and Liz Steel for the challenge this time. Will you? If you plan to, mark your calendars for the week of April 8th, 2019 and brush up those people-drawing skills. More details soon!

Posted in Figure Drawing, people, Portrait, Sketch Journal, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

More Lesson Plans (and a new workshop)

I posted a little while ago about using my Sketch Journal as a lesson planning and teaching tool. It’s been working wonderfully and I think I will just keep going and build all my lessons into my sketchbooks. Here are the last couple of weeks of lesson planning in a book.



I sketch a few spreads in my book for each class, and then use them as the shorthand version of what we discuss and work with for every session.


If you are local and couldn’t make it to the workshop the first time around, I’m re-teaching the “Introduction to Sketch Journaling” series as a Thursday night workshop from 7pm to 9pm at the lovely, comfortable A Work of Heart studio.

So grab a quick dinner after work. Andrea always has coffee, tea and munchies for youat the studio. And join me for eight Thursdays beginning April 18, 2019.


Details and link to register right here on my workshops page.


Posted in california, Close to home, Everyday Sketches, people, san jose, Silicon Valley, Sketch Journal, teaching, Workshop | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments