Day 2 #oneweek100people2017: Achieving a flow

March 7, 2017 | 11 Comments

Something amazing happened to me this morning while I was sketching people on my train journeys. It’s a little hard to put into words, but I feel like a switch was flicked today. For the first time ever I felt really comfortable, even confident, while sketching people in a super quick way. Each one of my sketches were completed in less than one minute and ‘the flow’ between eye and hand was happening.

I still have a LONG way to go in my people sketching – I am still drawing features poorly, I still have to learn how to capture the gesture and get proportions right and I still have so much to learn anatomy-wise – but oh! I suddenly feel ok with my mistakes! And I’m so happy about this. Note: I realise that I will have to keep this up to make sure it is not just a one-off occurrence!

I was intending to do some slower, more careful sketches today and add colour, but I really got into a fast pace while waiting for the train and just had to keep going. The fact that I am doing this as part of an international art challenge gave me the push (and confidence) to sketch standing up in a crowded train and I do think a number of people noticed what I was doing. No one said anything to me but it would have been fine if they had.

Tomorrow I want to be a little more careful with my lines and add some tone or colour. But at the moment I am happy with the number of lines I am drawing, so that when I add colour, my paint can do some of the work in defining the form.


I did more than my quota today (up to 53) which is great as that will free me up tomorrow to do some longer sketches. Did you see what Marc managed on Day 1 – so loose and descriptive. There is no doubt that he is the pro at this kind of challenge!

Day 2 tip: A lot of the edges on a face are soft edges and it is easy to create ugly looking characters if you draw too many lines in ink. So go easy on how much you draw in ink, and try leaving a wonky line as it is, rather than trying to correct it. Yes, this is another case where you have to ’embrace the wonkiness.’

How are you going? Would love to hear from you!

Please note. I have reconsidered my posting schedule for each week and decided to post each night while the work is fresh. So those that get my emails might notice two articles today – make sure you check out my Day 1 report as well!


  • Fiona Hayes says:

    Hi Liz. You’re going so well and I love your sketches so far. Well, I really wasn’t going to do this challenge, as it seemed so daunting. But, like many others, people sketching is a definite weakness of mine. Anyhow, I launched into it tonight, just sketching from people in a magazine. Living in a rural town, sitting on a bus or train isn’t possible here, so that option is out. I have done 10 people and some are better than others! Tomorrow I will get out and about amongst the town folk and see what happens. I doubt I will reach 100, but in the end, I am not making that my big focus. Any practice is good for me. Keep sketching!

  • Back on schedule today – up to 40. As threatened, I did do some furtive sketching in a meeting today. However, I hit the jackpot by going to the library. People who don’t move much!

  • M. L. Kappa says:

    Thanks, Liz! You and Mark have inspired me to plunge in, even if I don’t manage to hit the target. Did a few at grandson’s swimming comp yesterday, I’m taking him to basketball today so will continue…

  • Bronwyn Johnson says:

    Hi, liz. Great challenge. Ive only been drawing for 6 months so everything is a challenge! Continuous line drawing is terrific. Less stressful drawing a representation of a person, rather than life like portrait. I used old family photos today as well as poor husband watching the cricket

  • Good sketches of the people on the train. Yes, you need to embrace the wonkiness when doing people in ink…but that is what makes them special. I sketched while waiting for my car to be serviced today, and then at McDonald’s. It is hard to find places where there are a lot of people aside from places that are food related.

  • Tina M Koyama says:

    You’re doing great, Liz — very inspiring! It occurs to me that you and I are sort of the opposite in terms of people/buildings. I have almost always felt very comfortable and fairly confident about drawing people, but have never felt that way about architecture. I want to feel the flick of the switch with architecture as you just experienced with people! Maybe I should stop doing this challenge and draw 100 buildings in a week! Kind of kidding — I wouldn’t try that in the winter! But not really! Maybe in the summer when I know we have a chance of 5 consecutive days of sunshine? Well, maybe 100 buildings is too aggressive — but 50? 10 a day? Crazy??! Hmmm. . . !

    • Liz Steel says:

      Ha, I was thinking about the 100 buildings in a week too … but way too hard. I was thinking 50 was more achievable.

  • Sharon Nolfi says:

    Liz, what do you mean by “research” in the context of drawing more people? It’s great to see all your sketches.

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Sharon – looking up books on how to sketch people or anatomy books. Studying, drawing from them, tracing them. Also trying out new media- experimenting and seeing if they will work for me.

  • Shiho Nakaza says:

    Liz, I’m happy to hear that a switch was flicked today for you! I can see the flow in your lines. And Tina, yes, we should do 100 buildings in a week challenge together, since buildings are my weakness as well….

  • So I just started yesterday, I’m 16 people in, a bit slow, but I hope tomorrow will be better! I hope to finish it on time,

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