Easy People Sketching

If you don’t sketch people often and don’t know where to start, go to a cafe. People sit pretty still, you don’t have to draw full figures, and most people are pretty busy looking at their phones or computers. Which makes it easy to hide at that corner table, to look closely (even stare), and to not worry too much about them disappearing before you finish drawing them.

Since I have two sessions of my People and Places workshop coming up this week, I thought I’d do some easy people sketching today. So I headed to the cafe at my local Barnes & Noble.

I usually start with a page or two of very quick gesture sketches.


And then I played with layering some pastels over my brush pen gesture drawings.

I kinda liked how I could do a very quick gesture capture, then go in with pastel and come back around a second time (if the person was still there) and add in details with the brush pen again. Working pastel over the initial brush pen greyed it out a little bit,so that second pass of the brush pen was quite different in intensity. You can see what I mean in this detail below. First pass of pen with pastel over it on the left, then a second pass of brush pen with detailing added on top.

Can you imagine how long this woman would be if she stood up? That is one super-long figure, about 9 heads tall I think! Still, I really enjoyed drawing her draped over that chair.

Are you joining me for a workshop this in Berkeley or this Saturday in San Francisco? I’m really looking forward to it, and so far, the weather forecast predicts great days!

About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
This entry was posted in california, people, san franciso, Silicon Valley, teaching, Workshop and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Easy People Sketching

  1. I always enjoy looking at your people sketches. Question on the pastel. Did it leave a mess in your sketchbook and did you use pencil or stick? Wondering if one leaves less dust than the other.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Vina says:

    yes, I’m looking forward to your Berkeley class tomorrow and getting looser with drawing people!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. D. Abreu says:

    I always enjoy the way you draw people. I took your Craftsy course and loved it. I try to put your lessons to work when I practice focusing on the action rather than the details to not feel so intimidated.


  4. Swati says:

    Loved your 9 heads tall woman.You captured the gesture really well. I did that once and was feeling terrible when people joked about it. You reminded me to enjoy the process and not focus on the result too much.


    • Swati, I often mess up on proportions when I draw fast and freely. Distortion works if it helps convey what you are saying with your drawing: here, that woman was nicely folded into that chair for me, kinda cat-like. I was just less concerned about proportions and more with getting those curved lines in… and it’s just a little sketch I had fun with 🙂


  5. I tried to draw many times. But it couldn’t familiar that what’s look like, even myself? what can I do next? keep on drawing or find another things to do… pretty me… [@_@]


    • drawing people is hard and requires a lot of practice. I you are beginning drawing, try working with other forms at first, perhaps? Simples still lifes with shapes you can figure out easily? check out the pear drawings I’ve been doing a lot of…


  6. Andrea R Huelsenbeck says:

    Reblogged this on ARHtistic License and commented:
    A big ARHtistic License thank you to Suhita Shirodkar for the helpful advice in this awesome article! You can see more sketches by Suhita on Sketch Away: Travels with my sketchbook.


  7. Linda says:

    I enjoyed seeing your drawings and comments. I don’t know how I got in your list but would appreciate you keeping me on your list.

    Liked by 1 person

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