On keeping it non-precious. And drawing people.

Two things help me draw regularly. (I want to say ‘everyday’, but that wouldn’t be true.)

  1. Keeping it non-precious. My sketchbook isn’t a gallery. There are pages that are total duds. There are pages where only one bit might be interesting. There are pages I start drawing on and then time runs out and the drawing remains unfinished.
  2. Drawing people. In answer to an often-voiced lament, “There’s nothing to draw where I am!” (I’m guilty of that one too): Draw people. Stuck on a train? Waiting for a friend to join you for coffee? Waiting to pick up your kids after school? Watching TV? Draw people. One person, many, whatever.  And, pair it up with ‘keeping it non-precious’ and you always have something to draw.

It could be something as commonplace as the people at the next table at a coffeeshop. Yes, another one of those sketches, but you drew, right?

Some sketches work, some don’t. Some fall only in the category of “I drew today“. Still a win.

Many are messy from having to close a book too soon to leave because you stole a sketch in a small window of time…


But they all add up.




Do I get bored drawing at the same places? Sometimes, and then I’ll try and switch something up. Like only carrying a water brush with grey ink and a pen with me.

Or I’ll throw a couple of ink sample vials in my bag with a pen and leave my paint kit at home.

People are my go-to subject for quick little sketches. They’re the little thread of continuity that keeps my sketching and observation practice going in the leanest of times. And like all observational drawing, each sketch done makes it easier to see, simplify and capture from life the next time I draw.

About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
This entry was posted in Close to home, Doodles, Everyday Sketches, people, san jose, Silicon Valley and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to On keeping it non-precious. And drawing people.

  1. Harold Goldfus says:

    Very inspirational. Thanks for including the “messy” ones. Even those strike me as very “alive” due to the energetic line and color.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Carla says:

    This is a great little post here, Suhita! We must all feel this way at times. It’s nice to have a quick little reminder about how to not feel stuck! Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Carla says:

    This was a great little post, Suhita. We must all feel this way at times. It’s nice to be reminded about ways to not feel stuck! Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. bookadept says:

    I’ve been doing this every Tuesday morning while I’m waiting in the cafeteria for my class to begin, and I must say that I do get bored drawing the same things—people either staring fixedly at their cell phones or doing homework on their computers, and the same furniture over and over, same colors, same attitudes. I’m going to take your advice and try a different technique (water brush, different ink colors, etc.) to keep it fresh. Thanks, Suhita!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bernadette says:

    A phrase keeps repeating in my thoughts….Practice makes perfect. All your drawing time adds up and helps your hand eye coordination. You cannot help but improve if you just “keep at it!” Great post and wonderful reminder for me. Too often I get bogged down with many tasks and drawing/painting takes second or third place. Thanks for calling attention to keeping on task with daily drawing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jane Jackson says:

    Thanks for this Suhita, reading it was like a breath of fresh air, inspiring, motivating and reassuring all at once!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. 23clave says:

    Funny, I’m an absolute beginner in drawing and sketching and yesterday I stumbled over an advice in the book “Sketching People” on page 31. There’s the recommendation to draw shapes… nearby a sample of your habit to fill pages with shapes. And now I read your post. Very inspiring, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Swati says:

    “Keep it non-precious”.This is a lovely piece of advice and so inspiring. We keep seeing image after image of beautiful drawings on Instagram and forget that there are many not-so-nice drawings which are never shown to the world. I love your art and your approach. Thank you.


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