How to sketch in 5 minutes

Have I mentioned I love sketching people? People are walking, breathing, texting stories, and I love drawing them. The trouble is you never know when they will get up and go. 

So this is how I work when I don’t know how long I’ll have for a capture.  I try to start by atleast thinking of why I want to capture a scene, and what it is about it that interests me. Because that’s the bit I must get down on the page, even in a quick sketch.

This group of high schoolers sat around a table at Starbucks, doing their homework (and occasionally checking their phones) and I was struck by the sense of quiet focus at the table. No chatting, heads down, each looking at their own computer. This is what I captured in the first 5 minutes. You can see the sketch is pretty bare bones and uses just an ink pen and one tone of grey ink that I fill in a waterbrush. I often end up getting no further than this. And that’s okay.

But these kids stayed on at that table and I kept at the sketch. Here’s where it ended up a good 20 minutes later. More layers of ink, and some watersoluble pencil is what I used to get here. A really basic sketchkit.

You can see I quite enjoyed working on the details: See the mouse-ears on this girl’s phone? And the hint of plaid on her shirt?

I also enjoyed building up the play of light and dark  in the different elements of this scene.

It isn’t often that a big group like this stays where it is long enough for me to draw them all, but when it happens, it’s fun.

About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
This entry was posted in california, Close to home, Drink, Everyday Sketches, Food, How to, people, san jose and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to How to sketch in 5 minutes

  1. Karyn says:

    Such a great scene

    Liked by 3 people

  2. dreamslover3 says:

    Wow! I wish I had talent like you

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Susan says:

    Thank you Suhita, I have been struggling to do more with my coffee shop sketches and you provided some perfect advice for my dilemma. Thanks again.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Can you give specifics on how you use ink in water brush? Type of ink, ratio of water to ink, etc. thanks

    Liked by 3 people

    • Terry, I use my regular ink: DeAtramentis document ink. Any ink would work in a waterbrush, I think. And how dilute depends on how dark/light grey you want it to be. I don’t measure, but I think this is about 30% ink to 70% water…. that way I can already get a couple of greys with using the waterbrush juicy ( the darker tones int he first sketch) or not( the lighter ones) and then I can build up in layers if I have more time…

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Vivian says:

    After reading your blog I made a sketch at a coffee shop and started sketching someones shoes because one shoe was nearly off while the other stayed on. Then from there I drew the persons legs and then the table. It is not often when I start drawing from the bottom of a scene and then work up, but I thought if I don’t draw the shoes first my person will put them on and I will have lost the focus of my sketch : -)

    Liked by 5 people

  6. Biral says:

    You are such an inspiration, I am a huge fan of your work!! I love to develop a sketching habit like you have. It goes to show all you need is 5 minutes!!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. rhodadraws says:

    Really helps to see the stages in creating the finished sketch.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. msraaka says:

    This was really helpful. This morning I was able to sketch some locals in our favorite coffee bar in Palermo (where we are visiting). I wanted to capture the guys standing at the bar with their espresso. They don’t stay very long, but I captured their stances, which is what I wanted. This post really explained well how to deal with sketching people. Thanks.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Wow that’s amazing ,like u explained the scene so well and yeah the sketches are awesome ,hope to see more!!(

    Liked by 2 people

  10. jofox2108 says:

    Fabulous sketch, I really love it.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Pingback: Creative Juice #117 | ARHtistic License

  12. Anand says:

    Beautiful sketch Suhita! Loved it! And am inspired to try my hand at ink sketching!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Blogs-R-Us says:

    Nice piece of work Suhita. Real-time sketching needs patience and quick finger movements. You seem to have nailed it.

    Liked by 1 person

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