Sketches of People

 Doing Fun Things That People Do

Drawing of Ballet Dancer in pencilBallet Dancer Sketch in pencil

It is a lot of fun doing sketches of people especially when they are unaware of your presence in a public place.

From an artists' point of view, people are always fascinating due to their being fat, slim, ugly, beautiful, hairy, bald, tall or short and about a zillion other variables.

The Renaissance artists painted, sketched, and sculpted figuresthat were near perfect in shape and form—the men muscular, the women beautifully voluptuous and all the adornments were perfect. There were a few artists like Durer in the same era created drawings of people who were abnormal or deformed and some even grotesque, but these were rare.

When sketching or drawing people in a public place with the hustle and bustle of activity, you will have to draw rapidly with gesture drawing to capture the general characteristics. This requires a little skill but with practice at gesture drawing lasting maybe 30 seconds or less, you will become an expert.

Big Old Farmer Brown taking a restBig Old Farmer Brown taking a rest

A great place to start is in a shopping mall where you'll be sure to find an unobtrusive place to park yourself while being unobserved.

I find a good way to capture the overall outline and shape is to look at the person and "imprint" the Image in my mind—like a mental image picture. A fleeting glance is all it takes to catch the moment. No, don't use a digital camera, you want YOUR interpretation which is the essence of sketching.

If you have a chance, get someone to sit and pose for you—this can be slightly more stressful in that you are expected to get a likeness and you're moving out of the area of gesture drawing. But warm up with your sitter with quick gesture strokes anyway, you may have a winner.

When you become good at sketching people, you'll want to move up a notch and draw with a figure drawing group of which there are many in the USA, in every town and city. This is where you can learn a lot from other artists—and they are always helpful.

Life drawing is of course the most challenging of all because the human form is the most complex in its structure with muscle over fat and fat over muscle and these draped over bone formations. It is challenging because you have to have knowledge of human anatomy to be really good.

Two African Mothers with their kidsTwo African Mothers with their kids

To be masterful at drawing takes sweat and tears, it is not, as many people think, a walk in the park. So get out your sketchbook and practice daily, sketches of people in all situations, that is what Picasso did and he became a master after loads of sweat.

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