100 People, Finishing off

I must admit, I needed Saturday morning to get to the full 100 (101 in fact) but it was worth it. I had a bit of a bad day on Friday but was back on track on Saturday. These new ones are on A4 paper.

I also tried defining the gesture drawings more with a fineliner and adding shadows. I think in some I overdid the shadows – it would have been better to only make the really dark parts dark and leave the softer shades to watercolour. Back home I also coloured them with watercolours. I am pleased with the outcome. I intend to keep this up and improve on my technique.


Some of the better ones from earlier days also got the colour treatment:

My favorite. The lines are simple but in the right place so that his pose comes out really nicely. And the legs seem right



1oo People Challenge, Day 5

After my discoveries during this challenge the 5th day felt rather shallow. I could not get into that loose and free mode I have come to love and the drawings feel rather stiff. I could not seem to find any fun poses either, apart from the young man sunbathing with his pipe. I guess there are good days and bad days for drawing, too. Maybe I need a new place to got to where I can find new situations to capture.

In the group of three men I like the one on the left, especially his legs. I struggle with legs.


With the 100th drawing in view I decided to visit the ibex instead. Their horns curve majestically and grow at an angle to each other which makes interesting shapes and perspectives. I also intended to capture the strength and power of their bodies. However, they were not cooperative. They shed their winter fur and it being a warm, sunny day they basked in the sun scratching their backs with their horns. It must itch awfully – they moved all the time. Good exercise for moving subjects… One of the youngsters climbed for a bit.



With the challenge done I see that I am hooked. I will definitely continue to draw people and situations to grow my collection and my skill!


100 People Challenge, Days 3 + 4

In the evening of day 2 I did a bit of research about drawing people in motion: an instructional leaflet from Citizen Sketcher and a video on youtube. Both stressed the importance of drawing freely and not being bogged down by detail. In the video I saw how the artist moved over the drawing without stopping almost. He also says to find the direction or the rhythm of a movement and to incorporate that into the drawing, maybe even exagerate it. Citizen Sketcher breaks down a drawing into four main steps: First the gesture – very loose and fast to capture the pose, then the line drawing – in ink to define the drawing more, then the darks – find the shadows and fill them in to give the drawing contrast and life, and last to add colour.

In my drawings from day 3 and 4 I concentrated on the first step only. I moved around and stopped when I found something that caught my interest. In the group below it was the woman’s hands just for a short moment. In the woman with the children I liked how the children moved in different directions and how they all held hands.

I found that drawing fast and loose was very liberating. I got more open to subjects and poses I knew would only be visible for a couple of seconds. Some of them resulted in interesting drawings.


I like working men, their poses are varied and different from people on the street.

After a while I sat down at a bus stop from where I had a good view of a stretch along the station where people walked past me for quite a while and at a bit of a distance so that I had time to observe how they move. For some of these drawings I spent most of the time looking and then drew from memory. I tried to get the gist of the movement into the drawing.

Slow and calm
Girl hurrying to catch her train
Laborious walking, exagerated
Heavy bag


I very much enjoy this challenge. It is fun to really look at people, to see how varied we all are and to capture moments in my sketchbook.

The next step would be to make line drawings out of the gesture drawings but I feel apprehensive. Drawing in this way requires a good understanding of human anatomy to make it work. I also feel that I need to get more comfortable drawing faces. I often like my gesture drawings until I try and put in eyes and a nose… The gesture drawings work because the brain fills in a lot of information and is forgiving if something is not right. In a line drawing it would be less so I fear.


100 People Challenge, Days 1 + 2

At the end of Day 2 I have learned:

  • Drawing people is so much fun! And it makes me see my fellow humans in a different way. For one it makes me take notice of all the different people, situations, poses…
  • I need to be more careful with proportions, especially in the beginning of a session
  • Learning what lines to draw and which to omit is important.
  • I must try to remember different marks also when drawing quickly.

Almost all pictures are partly drawn from life and then finished from memory when people moved, walked away or someone/something suddenly blocked my view.

Here a selection of the better ones:

Day 1

I was at the carneval and travelled by train, changing trains in two major stations. Lots to see and draw!

My favorite is the man with the drum on his back and his mask in one hand. At the carneval, there were many like him, some on a bike. He spoke to a friend so I had a chance. Apart from the portrait all are very quick sketches in water soluable graphite. I added the water later, when I had time. The portrait has a nice volume, but is not like the original at all.

Day 2

This was much harder. The station was small, I felt observed and the positions were much the same. Also I was very tired after the carneval.

In the distance there was a group of railway officials looking at the tracks in the cold. It was really fun to draw them and trying to show the cold. Sometimes they would squat down or bend down – unusual positions. I would have loved to spend more time with them and to go a bit closer.



From the Travel Sketchbook

In the OCA student group for this course someone has mentioned a drawing challenge: to draw 100 people in a week. I am tempted. But before committing I wanted to see how much that is – 20 a day – and if I would be up to it. This in mind I used a very long train ride to test it – on the train, on the platform and around the stations where I changed trains. All of the following are A5


Very short sketch, through the train window while stopping


I like the short sketch best, the faces are ok. But with the more complex poses I feel I have forgotten a lot of things I have learned these past months. In almost all the lighting was deplorable for drawing, very hard to distinguish tone.

All of these people were quite still. I think for the challenge it might be difficult to find 20 holding still, unless I draw in a café or similar. I wondered how I cope with people in motion. So I tried that, too:


Waste paper collecting day

Quite a different kettle of fish! There certainly is room for improvement – and what better occasion to practice than accepting the challenge! Start on Monday. I wonder if there are certain techniques or ways of thinking to draw subjects in motion.

Until then, there are plenty of other motives here. And luckily mountains don’t move about much.

Alpstein, Eastern Switzerland. Watersoluble graphite and water. 2xA5
Stacked horizons, water soluble graphite, water brush on cartridge paper
Scatterd settlement,  Kt. Appenzell, Switzerland. Watersoluble graphite