My strategies for #oneweek100people2019

April 3, 2019 | 8 Comments

So next week is the big challenge – sketching 100 people in five days – and I’m mentally gearing up for it!


I know from previous years that it’s fairly easy for me to do 20 quick loose ink drawings of people (mainly heads) each day. This above page which I did a week or so ago, was a test to see how quickly I could do 20 such sketches. It only took me 15 minutes, but this was a crazy fast pace and the resultant sketches are a little too rough. But at least this test has given me a good feeling for time and if I wanted to do better versions I would allow 30 minutes.

However, I want this challenge to be just that – a challenge. In previous years I wasn’t drawing people on a regular basis and doing the most basic ink drawings was a nice stretch. So this year I really want to do 100 watercolour people! But I have a very hectic schedule at the moment so I can’t devote more than one hour per day for this challenge.

Last Saturday I tried to sketch the four people behind the counter at my Saturday cafe – Goodfields Eatery. This sketch took me 30 minutes and I didn’t even finish it. The insane amount of time (for me!) was due to the fact that my story was the ‘four behind the counter’ so I had to wait until there were no customers. Also one of the guys went for a break and the barista’s swapped positions. It was a bit frustrating but it made me realise that to do this challenge I can’t be concerned about sketching a specific person or group of people. Rather I just need to  sketch anyone who comes into my vision. So in this case, I would draw the steady stream of customers as well.

So my plan is to extend my usual cafe visits so that I can reach my quota for the day. But my other dilemma is which cafe to visit – I have two options.

Option 1

During the week I go to my ‘local cafe’ which has comfy chairs and big tables in the sun and I can sit in the corner and more comfortably sketch the other people in the cafe. Plus the coffee is marginally better here with turquoise cups. The main issue with my local cafe is that it is not consistently busy. Right now as I type this on my laptop at the cafe, there are only two other people sitting down. Depending on the position of the person and what they are doing, it’s not always easy to sketch them ie. I normally try to sketch people who are absorbed in what they are doing so they are less likely to notice me. I’m totally okay with people finding out what I’m doing – especially during this challenge as I simply tell them I’m sketching 100 people in a week along with hundreds of other people around the world – but I prefer to sketch them with out them noticing me.

Despite there not being a lot of people at this cafe, I actually have made quite a few friends here and if they were at the cafe at the same time they would be happy to be sketched. I was talking to Harry (10 year old schoolboy) this morning who came and drank his hot chocolate with me. He said he would be happy to pose for me!

Option 2

My other option is Goodfields Eatery which is always very busy. The staff know that I sketch people and they love when I sketch them. However the staff are constantly moving and hard to sketch (ah! but this would be a good challenge!) So it makes more sense to do visit Goodfields next week – but I think I would prefer being at my local cafe.

I think the solution is to mix it up and see how I go. I do have the tendency to plan a lot, don’t I?

I would also like to do some more research in the evenings and in particular on shoulders, arms and hands. I want to draw heads and torsos this year, not just heads.

So there you have it, my goals for this years OneWeek100People. Have you worked out your goals? Have you done any preparation for the challenge? I would love to hear your thoughts/plans.



  • Judith Lais says:

    If you are looking for places to observe and sketch, where people aren’t scurrying around so much, a library or transit station would be perfect—train, bus, subway stations provide a wealth of interesting folks. Of course, you’d have to bring your own tea or coffee in hand. Happy people sketching! I look forward to seeing your folks!

  • jacqueline Mc Abery says:

    Liz, what size sketch book are you using for the challenge?
    Thank you.

  • Harry W. says:

    Why the obssesion with cafes and coffee? Take a bottle of water and sit in a park….

    • Liz Steel says:

      🙂 I want to sit at a table and do some work at the start of my day and need to be around people as I work from home on my own. But thanks for the prompt – I should sit out in a park more. In fact I should find a local park that I can visit.

  • Gina Bisaillon says:

    I’ve been trying different things so my pages are going to be very diverse. People are a new challenge for me so whatever I produce… well, that will be my goal!

  • Ron Sebring says:

    The planning thing is the architect in us…I too make plans that never quite go the way I planned. Obviously it is what you want to accomplish with a sketch, and how much time you have to work at it. I really like your quick sketches of heads, Something I want to achieve, that is why I am doing the “One Week” thing. To catch an expression with a few quick strokes…and get those strokes in relatively the right place. Then, keep it going to the rest of the body.

  • Stef says:

    I think finding groups of people chatting with each other gets good progress on numbers, or, as I do most morning commuters on the train. My plan is to do a mix of cafe, train, and works restaurant, and in meetings at work if I can get away with it.

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