Gearing up for quick people sketching

Have you heard of #OneWeek100People? It’s a challenge Marc Holmes and Liz Steel launched last year and they’re doing it again this year. (See this post from Marc and this one from Liz for details). I did the challenge last year and it was hard to stay focussed and to find the time, but I did. (Here are most of them.) And I not only got quicker over the week, I also learnt a lot about how I work.

I have some things in particular I want to focus on this year. One of them is working with shape, before getting to line, like this one below.


I did this spread in my Laloran sketchbook last week over coffee. And I’ll certainly do some more over that week, but it took me a good half hour to get through the spread of 6 people. That’s not going to cut it when I’m trying for 20/day.


So I’ll be doing a lot of the same sort of thinking/drawing but in black and white, which makes it quite a bit quicker.

Same coffee shop, about 20 minutes…people_practice4

But even that might not take me to 20/day on a really busy day. So I’ll be mixing in quick gesture drawing and some life drawing too. And I will work from magazines and video on days that I can’t make it out to sketch.

One great bit is, I’m never short of models. My kids are used to me drawing them.

And if I hit the middle of the week and am getting nowhere, I plan to take a couple of hours off one afternoon, head down to the mall and fill pages and pages with gesture drawing. All those people carrying bags, pushing strollers and eating at the food court make great studies.

So I think I have a plan. I’ll see how it goes and improvise as I go along.

Are you in? Will you be doing the challenge? It should be fun, and if you don’t get through a hundred, you’ll still push yourself, do more people sketching than you usually do and learn new things for sure. Which is what the challenge is about.



About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
This entry was posted in Everyday Sketches, people, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Gearing up for quick people sketching

  1. Rita says:

    You make people sketching seem easy-breezy, Suhita. Even your “fails” are not fails. I know that kind of looseness only comes with lots of practice, and you do seem to be out and about all the time, and traveling a lot. I tried this challenge last year, and yes, it did push me…but I’m not sure I liked the feeling of “pressure”. Truth be told, while I am currently working from a book of poses, trying to get the feel of capturing proportion and “essence”, I don’t think if I did the challenge this year, my work would should much improvement at all from last year. I must not yet have learned to hone my skills with more focus, but I am always hopeful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rita, I agree, challenges are not everyone’s cup of tea. I like them because I work well with that sort of pressure, and left to myself, I’d say I’ too busy to even draw a couple of pages in any given week 🙂 Glad you are working through essentials. Yes, that’s a side practice that must stay in conjunction with the quick gestures. It will all come together and pay back, I’m sure.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Carmela Sunnyvale says:

    Hi All
    I participated last year and managed 5 a day over 5 days (25 total). As I revisited my sketchbook today, I noticed that my initial people sketches looked more like ‘failures’, i.e., lack of ‘perfect’ proportion, etc. However by the end of 5 days my proportion had improved and the poses were more accurate. I spent about 5-10 minutes on each pose. I used ink and sometimes water-soluble graphite, which freed me from having to make color decisions/mix color, etc. I felt much more comfortable using ink by the end of the week. Recently an instructor explained that it takes lots of practice for the brain to learn, it lays down new neuron connections which takes time. So I’m taking on the challenge again–I’m sure it will help my aging brain to stay nimble 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Sean Kupisz says:

    Your explanation of your processes and the beautiful art you create inspires me to no end. I am going to do this even though I don’t know where I will find the time. Monday March 5th, I’m going to be there!! Thank you so much for your inspiration, Suhita!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you will give it a shot, Sean! Enjoy it and don’t stress if you don’t do enough. ( I say that but I know it’s hard ot not feel like you have to ‘finish’.)


      • Rita says:

        Your points are well taken, Suhita (some are better than none), so I have reconsidered and will give it another try this time. But I did not like posting them, which was another step in the process…and seeing the work of others, rather than inspire me, discouraged me. At the end, I will post something.


  4. miatagrrl says:

    Yes, of course, I’m in! Looking forward to it. Last year was very challenging, but I appreciated how quickly I stopped caring about how accurate they looked and just went for shapes and gestures — and that was very helpful in getting away from trying to get the face right.

    – Tina


  5. Sigrun says:

    Love your first colour-shape-people, can understand it can be difficult to make 100 of them – but this still looks like a very interesting way to work.
    I have signed myself up for the challenge, not because I know how to sketch people – but rather because I don’t …
    … (yet).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Martha says:

    Looks like a great challenge! Yes I’m in. 🤗


  7. Melissa Elliott says:

    I asked Marc with no answer: How come the title is 100 sketches in a week, but he/Liz are only giving five days? 15 people a day is surely easier than 20!


  8. Rachel Kopel says:

    I am in and in preparation discovered your class on Craftsy free weekend. I am learning SO MUCH from your class, thank you. I have found a model source for still people. on line catalog. perfect for practicing contrapasto.


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