Workshop: People & Places, Life in Contrast (and a downloadable pdf)

I based the workshop I taught in Manchester titled People and Places: Life in Contrast on the most common questions I get asked when I teach, both at workshops and through my Craftsy class: How do I incorporate gesture sketching into my sketches? Do I need to draw the whole scene in one style and medium? ( The short answer is no: why stick with one medium or style?)

We started the class with the essentials of gesture drawing for capturing moving figures: working loosely, looking for shapes and main lines of action in people. Rain or shine, we sketched pages and pages of figures: standing, sitting, crossing the street. And we got quite a bit of practice drawing people huddled under umbrellas. This isn’t the prettiest looking exercise, but it’s the hardest: capturing figures quickly while thinking of weight and gesture, shape and movement all at once. Here’s a page of half-done sketches I made while explaining walking figures.( well, one particular view of walking figures)

In our second exercise we created little vignettes combining people with accessories or hints of a location: just enough to give the figures a sense of place and story. The only requirement was to mix media, however simple: capture the gestural figure in one medium and the setting in another. Like this two-minute sketch: figure in brushpen. Background in double-sided red/blue pencil.


Or this rain-splattered piece with the figures in ink and the rest in that same red/blue pencil.day3_quick2

There was no shortage of construction work, so I did one more quick one, figures in brushpen and then my trusty red blue pencil to color them in and a rainbow pencil to draw in some of the setting… you get the picture.

And finally we pulled it all together to create whole scenes combining any media we wanted. This last exercise is fun: you get to mix up your media, and play. Here are some lovely pieces made by workshop participants: aren’t they exciting?

Thank you to all that participated. If you were lucky, you got that one day of sunshine…

But if you didn’t catch that day, double the kudos to you for making it work in the pouring rain!

And as promised, here is a link to a downloadable pdf of my workshop handout. Does it cover the exact form at of the workshop and everything we do? No, but hopefully it’s an overview,and gives you some idea of how we looked at and thought about people when we sketched. You’ll need to print the pdf file as a 2-sided printout on letter sized paper and fold down the middle for it to make sense.
I’ll be teaching this same workshop locally as a Usk workshop in the San Francisco Bay area this fall. If you’re interested in attending, send me an email at suhita[at]gmail[dot]com and I’ll be sure to be in touch as soon as I figure locations and dates.

A big, big thank you to the organizers of the Symposium, the participants and the whole Usk community. That we inspire each other and learn from each other is our biggest strength.

About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
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11 Responses to Workshop: People & Places, Life in Contrast (and a downloadable pdf)

  1. rosjenke says:

    Great post. This must have been an exciting workshop. I’m sad I’m on the opposite side of the world and can’t take one with you. I can console myself with your Craftsy class and your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Suhita, it was a gorgeous workshop and I learned a lot and am practicing figures as you taught. A huge thank you it was very nice to give a face to a name.


  3. Ethna Gallacher says:

    So generous of you to share your workshop notes, Suhita….thankyou….it explains a lot!


  4. Stu-ttg-art says:

    wow wow wow … your craftsy class is already ready and waiting for me … I could kick myself that I didn’t fly home to England and join the Usk symp, damn right stupid (-:


  5. jill says:

    thank you for the pdf

    Liked by 1 person

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