Never Fear the People: A Workshop in Paraty (and a free download)

Teaching at the 5th Urban Sketchers Symposium in Paraty, Brazil was an incredible experience. The diverse mix of attendees, their shared passion for urban sketching, and a beautiful city made for a dream mix. Add in some rain, trekking across the cobblestones of Paraty, and standing right in the middle of Chafariz Square to capture it’s energy, and it felt like an adventure.

We started each workshop by drawing quick, almost-blind-contour sketches of “easy” (read “not moving”) people. We kept them loose and fluid, and didn’t sweat the details (or the proportions). It was all gesture and quick capture. Next, we moved into what was the most challenging segment of the workshop: drawing people on the move. To make it easier to capture the repeated motion of a person walking, we positioned ourselves in the middle of one of Paraty’s narrow roads, where we could observe crowds moving up and down the street.

It takes quite a bit of focus to look at and draw movement as it happens, to capture weight and posture and where each limb is in relationship to the others. And then, to keep it loose and moving! But you can see from the sketches below that we ended up with some really encouraging results.  paraty_worshop_day2participantsketchespart1

At this point, everyone got a break (drawing moving people is tiring!) while I did a demo sketch and talked through my thoughts on capturing people, place, light and color.
Here are some of a couple of my demo sketches.

For one final sketch everyone chose a spot from which to capture Chafariz Square: the place, it’s people and it’s sense of activity. Here are some engrossed sketchers, their sketches and some group shots .




And for those of you who asked for a copy of my workshop handout, here it is. Click here on the image below to go to dropbox and download it. (Wondering about the strange layout? You’ll need to print it double sided and fold it down the middle for it to make sense!)

click-to-downloadA big thank you: to all the participants who made this possible, to Urban Sketchers for the incredible opportunity. And to all those that gave me valuable feedback both before and after the workshop. I learnt so much from the experience!


About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
This entry was posted in Brazil, How to and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Never Fear the People: A Workshop in Paraty (and a free download)

  1. Marilyn Malone says:

    I have recently discovered your wonderful work via Urban Sketchers, Suhita, and thank you so much for this handout. You are so generous with photos and information! So glad to be on your email list and am looking forward to more interesting and exciting Suhita adventures. I am a retired
    Tucson, Arizona, sketching enthusiast.


  2. Sandy P says:

    great post! looks like a wonderful time. thanks so much for posting + sharing your tips too! love your way of depicting people (my biggest challenge right now!) thanks again! 🙂


  3. Don McNulty says:

    Thanks Suhita for the workshop notes, I was at the first one in Portland and love reading everything about the current ones. I always admire your great drawings.


  4. Kevin Hopps says:

    This is great… thanks!


  5. Lee Kline says:

    Thank YOU Suhita! Very helpful.


  6. Thanks so much for your informative post (as always!) and for the handout. So inspired by it this morning, I was at the Mall……doing a bit of practice! So your post has borne fruit already! Thanks, Suhita!


  7. Marcia Milner-Brage says:

    Thanks, Suhita, for generously supplying this handout!


  8. Carol Ginsburg says:

    Great handout. Thanks for sharing.


  9. skywilling says:

    Thank you for the great workshop, Suhita! It was a joy and it’s being incredibly useful, I’m sketch-stalking people every day now, and it’s so much fun. Made me very happy to see my sketch in your post. 😀


  10. Katherine T says:

    I found your site recently through Urban Sketchers and have been mesmerised ever since. I love to travel and to sketch, and have recently been thinking about combining these passions, so I find your work incredibly inspiring. Even better – I was just wondering this morning if you had any “how I do it” posts and have come back to my computer to find this handout. Great timing! Thank you.


  11. é tira dentes ? se ja foi


  12. Thank you so much!! I do fear the people.. but I should not!! 🙂


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