A new sketching challenge: One week 100 people

February 22, 2017 | 52 Comments

I am very excited to announce a 5-day challenge that Marc Taro Holmes and I have put together for next month. I hope you will join us.

Here is the official description…

Announcing a worldwide event:

March 2017, Monday 6th – Friday 10th.

Do you want to get better at drawing portraits? Or people in action?

Every aspiring artist has heard the advice, ‘Carry a small sketchbook at all times!’ We’re all told ‘Practice drawing every day!’ This is of course great advice.

But sometimes we need a little extra motivation.

I’ve always enjoyed giving myself a playful challenge. A short-term tangible goal.

It has to be something that’s achievable – but also a bit of a stretch. We need to commit to giving a little extra effort! Plus – we need to give ourselves permission to clear our busy schedules and make time for art.

Taking inspiration from the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), this year urban sketchers Marc Taro Holmes (Montreal, CA) and Liz Steel (Sydney, AUS) invite the world to join in with ONE WEEK 100 PEOPLE 2017.

The simple goal is: Draw 100 people in one week.

You can do it any way you want. Pencil sketches, or pen and ink, maybe watercolor sketches. Whatever it is that you’d like to practice most.

We’re committing to draw about 20 people a day. We’ll be posting our work every day for the week of March 6-10. If you want to join in, use the hashtag #OneWeek100People2017 and everyone can find your work too!

We just want everyone to see what it feels like to follow through on that advice ‘practice every day’. It’s a big commitment. But it’s possible to do without completely disrupting your life. Or at least – you can choose how disruptive you want it to be!

The goal is PRACTICE. Not perfection. So maybe it’s only 20 minutes of work each day if you’re doing one minute gesture drawings. Or maybe a few of them are 5 to 10 minute studies, and you have to find a way to catch up later in the week.

Some suggestions:

  • Use the hashtag #OneWeek100People2017 and we can keep each other on track.
  • Plan to swap out any ‘scheduled free time’ for drawing. Tivo your shows, skip the gym or video gaming night – just for one week.
  • Be prepared! Work up a list of crowded places to draw people – visit a park, the public library, go shopping, or to a sporting event.
  • Maybe search out public performances; somewhere you have people on stage. It’s easier to stare at a performer.
  • Go drawing in groups. If it looks like you’re a club or a class, people give you the benefit of the doubt.
  • If you don’t want to do it live-on-location, cue up a youtube playlist, sign up for Flickr, or download the iOS app SKTCHY.
  • Give yourself permission to succeed. Don’t overthink the results – just draw! I promise you’ll see results at the end of the week. No matter how fast you sketch, over a whole week, at least ONE will be amazing.

When Marc did this in 2015, he just decided – for one week, he’d be ten minutes late for everything. He would skip his train and sketch people waiting on the platform. Or go to the movies and get a few drawings of the people in line, and keep sketching at dinner after. Whatever it takes to draw 100 people in five days.

When I attempted it (thanks to Marc’s prompt) I timed it with a week with lots of appointments. The longer I had to wait the more people I sketched. I also sat in cafes and didn’t draw my coffee/tea – so radical for me I know! And the amazing thing was…  it was easy to hit 100. This year I think it will be harder but I am up for the challenge!

So are you going to join us?


  • Michael Geissler - February 22, 2017 reply

    Thanks, Liz, this is great motivation. I find it hard to keep up the sketchbook habit during the working week but I think this kind of focused goal could work.

  • Fenne - February 22, 2017 reply

    this sounds very interesting. i normally don't draw humans very often but it might be a good change ????. curious what it will bring!

  • Marie-Hélène Brohan Delhaye - February 22, 2017 reply

    Love the idea! Will do my best!!!

    • Caroline Morgan-Grenville - February 22, 2017 reply

      Good to see you like the idea too Marie-Helene! Caroline x

  • Cathy Dwyer - February 22, 2017 reply

    Hi Liz. Count me in!!

  • barbara gr¨ünenfelder - February 22, 2017 reply

    i just found the hashtag on my keyboard, so i can join ;-). on which platform do you share the 100 people?

  • Marji Webb - February 22, 2017 reply

    I'm in. Saw Marc's post last night and was waiting for yours this morning. ???? One of my Symposium training goals is to put people in my sketches; was planning to work on it later, but this challenge brings it front and center. I also was wondering exactly where to share. Is this appropriate to share in my local USk Facebook group? (marjimarks)

  • Paula Foerder - February 22, 2017 reply

    I'm in. Even though it is the same week that I start Seeing at Sketchbook Skool. Like some of the others I'd like to know where to post the sketches

  • Chris Fraser - February 22, 2017 reply

    Thanks for the inspiration! I go out of my way to avoid sketching people (I wonder why??) so this might stretch me a bit. Always good to try something new that might change my perspective.

  • Nicole - February 22, 2017 reply

    i've already barked it on my calendar! That's a busy work week for me but I'm going to do my best. I may not get 100 people but I will draw people every day!

  • Deb Mostert - February 22, 2017 reply

    yep *nods emphatically* I will attempt it as a way to finish another project ...sketching people with sparrows...half way through a sketchbook with drawings of people from around the world with a sparrow on their head or shoulder.... so maybe this is the prompt I need to finish it. 100 people, 100 sparrows!! yikes!!

  • Karen Hutt - February 22, 2017 reply

    I will try!!!!

  • Dee Ludwig - February 22, 2017 reply

    Going to make every effort.

  • Caroline Morgan-Grenville - February 22, 2017 reply

    I am going to try!!

  • Jason Chan - February 23, 2017 reply

    Hi Liz! This is a fun challenge! I have a couple of questions from friends who are interested in joining. Will digital sketching be allowed (ie. tablet)? Aside from the Flckr and SKTCHY app suggestions, are we allowed to use photos of anyone (ie. google image search, gesture/life drawing reference sites)

    • Liz Steel - February 23, 2017 reply

      Yes and yes. It's better from life but the main point is to be doing. Great that you and friends will join

  • Shalini Raman - February 23, 2017 reply

    I'd definitely like to give it a go.. 100 is daunting, but I'm going to try anyway

  • Suhita Shirodkar - February 23, 2017 reply

    Sounds like fun: I'm in!

  • yap yeen yee - February 23, 2017 reply

    let's do it!????????????

  • yap yeen yee - February 23, 2017 reply

    let's do it!????????????

  • Alla Goren - February 23, 2017 reply

    Hi Liz! Count me in too!!!

  • Glenn Tait - February 23, 2017 reply

    A great challenge, count me in. Even though I like the idea of sketching lots of different people in various locations I’m considering the idea of sketching my youngest son 100 times at home, school and play during the course of that week. It would be an interesting study. Thanks Marc and Liz

  • James Ethos Klaus - February 24, 2017 reply

    Challenge accepted! Thanks for creating this.

  • Tom Brudzinski - February 24, 2017 reply

    20 people a day for 5 days is a HUGE challenge, for me at least. Still, I have moved myself forward in the past by accepting challenges like this. I'll buy in!

  • Manfred Schloesser - February 24, 2017 reply

    Ok, I´ll do my very best.... https://www.flickr.com/photos/manfredschloesser/ At present I am doing a sketch every day...

  • Maryvonne Partouche - February 25, 2017 reply

    Hello Liz, I would very much like to participate. Is it an open challenge, or reserved to your FB friends? Unfortunately, not possible any longer to send you an invitation, but I subscribed to be able to follow you and your talent. Are the inscriptions only opened on March 6th, or what do I have to do to subscribe and where? At the same time, I am intrested in your course Italy 2017, is it still possible and when is it? I look forward to reading your answer. Thank you very much. I am friend with Renata.

    • Liz Steel - February 25, 2017 reply

      Hi Maryvonne - anyone can join and use the hashtag in facebook, twitter or instagram. The Italy tour is fully booked but contact Mike in case there is a late minute cancellation. https://palladianodyssey.com/

  • Evie Conroy - February 26, 2017 reply

    Hi Liz, Count me in! I couldn't wait so I'm off to a running start sketching people everyday. Hmmm...20 a day...I'll try but, meanwhile, I'm using people in our local newspaper. It's amazing the variety available. You are a continual inspiration. Thank you!

  • Yvon Brown - February 27, 2017 reply

    YES!!!! I'm in !!

  • Doris Schliemann - February 28, 2017 reply

    Ich werde versuchen, mein bestes zu geben!

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  • Evie Conroy - March 1, 2017 reply

    It was a reality check today sketching people in a library...much more challenging than faces in the newspaper!

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  • Roisin Cure - March 2, 2017 reply

    I wonder if I could get the kids I teach to do it too..? Maybe not. Then again, they have so much free time...but I will do it for sure. I look forward to it! People are my favourite things to draw.

  • Holger Wendt - March 2, 2017 reply

    I'm game. I was inspirerad by your challenge so I started it immediately on my own. 88 people was what I succeeded to sketch in 5 days (the remaining 12 the next 2 days). Bus stops, train and bus rides was my most successful times. Taking care of relatives made it difficult. I now will make it more challenging for me by telling everyone I sketch that I do, or did. Asking for their names and hopefully putting it on the sketch to. Thanks for your inspiration.

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  • Richard Wineberg (Brisbane Australia) - March 2, 2017 reply

    I'm in. But I'll be in hospital that weekend, so I've started my week early: 25 Feb: While dancing at Easts Leagues Club - 16 sketches in café, on the dance floor and the band 26 Feb: At a Conscious Wisdom Meet Up group - 10 sketches 27 Feb: Attending a Pre-Op day at PA Hospital - 19 Sketches of imminent patients 28 Feb: At a Brisbane City Hall concert with The Andrews Sisters Tribute - Listened but was watching and sketching people - 12 sketches in 1 hour 1 March: With Urban Sketching Brisbane at Mt Coot-tha Cafe - 3 sketches. Doing larger ones so I can get more detail in. Also decided to water wash the ink drawings (first time doing this) 2 March: At a life drawing session - 7 sketches. Ink drawing, water washed and highlighted some with water colours. That takes my total to 64 with one day to go. So I'll go to the club again 3 March. Can I do 36 in one night? YES - I 'VE ALREADY SEEN AN IMPROVEMENT. My sketching is more flowing, faster, closer likenesses and trying new techniques. Fantastic event. Thanks Liz Steel.

    • Liz Steel - March 2, 2017 reply

      thanks for sharing Richard. Well done - this is super exciting!!!! Yes, the number itself isn't that important but the focused effort and result is! oh very inspiring for others. All the best with your time in hospital too.

  • Audrey - March 3, 2017 reply

    Yikes.....people sketching.....don't want mine to all look like stickmen.....where/how to begin? People sketching is the most difficult for me...so i avoid it .....but would like to learn....tips please. Cheers

  • Sravudh Snidvongs - March 4, 2017 reply

    Urban people sketching is not easy for me, but i want to try and joy your #one week 100 people 2017 . This is great motivation for me . Thank you very much !

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  • Christine Persicketti - March 4, 2017 reply

    Sketching people has never been my forty but I am up for the challenge. I need a good 'kickstart'!

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  • Garry Neill - March 6, 2017 reply

    I am going to have a crack at this being a beginner mine will be very rough .l only have 2days as tomorrow we are cruising so I have to pick groups of people hopping this will work

  • Pocholo - March 6, 2017 reply

    Let the challenge begin im in!!!

  • Monique Luiken - March 7, 2017 reply

    Hi Liz, thank you for this inspiring challenge!! Today - after a long period of a lack of inspiration - I made 22 sketches of people, I was surprised! Hope I can keep up the good work, to keep being inspired and to keep sketching after the challenge is over :-)

  • Donna Stewart - March 7, 2017 reply

    I've been working on sketching people lately, so I'm in.

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