A new sketching challenge: One week 100 people

February 22, 2017 | 53 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?


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