Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Challenge- Sketching people in public places like church!!

Most of us want to sketch and paint people but its so scary. They often end up looking like a monster and the sketch never resembles the person we are sketching. Well it takes time and practice to sketch and paint people. Getting practice sketching people in public is challenging too as they always seem to know you are sketching them. I often sketch people in doctors offices, church, airports, restaurants etc. Its best to practice on people who aren't moving until you get the hang of it. So our challenge is to sketch people and if you go to church you can sketch the backs of their heads. Sound easy? Well remember, even though they are round or oval you need to pay attention to value and details to make each head look unique as they are. 

 In church I never have more than my ball point pen and the program so I take notes and sketch. Do you see the kid sitting next to his mom, his chin was actually resting on his fist, he was leaning forward and low in his seat but it made a great grouping. Sometimes I will paint groups of people together and other times just one or two. I all depends on my position and their position.
 In this sketch the girl had a clip in her hair and a nice bulky collar so I tried to capture that, I also got some of her cheek as she was a bit off to the side of my view. Black pen
Its so funny about this sketch, I know who this is just by seeing the back of his head, I remember he had just gotten his daughter to start going to church with them and he was excited. His daughters hair was actually tied in a knot and posed a nice challenge for my blue ball point pen.

I actually have sketched many of the people that went to our old church, often not recognizing them until they turned away from me! LOL I will share a story of a special couple we all loved and I actually sketched them from the side so it was a nice side view and they were easily recognizable. He got cancer and passed away, one day as I sat with his wife I gave her that sketch, it wasn't great, but it was so representative of their last days together before he was sick. So remember, these simple sketches are really gifts and memories you are recording.

So as you can see, these aren't masterpiece sketches, they are more like a study of people, their positions, hair, features, ear and glasses placement etc. You can learn a lot just by doing these sketches from behind. Getting the head size right, shoulder width correct, where are the ears on the side of the head, its all important.
Some tips:
1. Heads are usually oval like eggs
2. Ears usually start about 1/2 down on the head
3. Collars usually go up into the hair line when they are wearing collared shirts.
Let me know if you want to learn more about painting people, I will do more lessons on that, what about animals, comment with your feed back.
 Have fun and make sure you post your sketches below with our linky tool! I can't wait to see what you do! I will leave the link open for two weeks 


  1. I have always sketched while in doctors offices or hospitals be it a person, a plant or just a room I am in. Haven't done it in awhile, thanks for the blog. I am not that good but it's like keeping a record.

  2. Love your sketches Deb! Diane, please share some with us!!