Oneweek100people2020 Day 1: My 'wash and ink' technique

March 9, 2020 | 1 Comment


This morning I headed to Goodfields Eatery before 8am to get my quota of 20 people sketches completed early. But sadly the cafe wasn’t busy enough and so it took me a little longer than I expected to get to 20. But in the end I managed 26 by 9.30am.

An Instagram follower sat next to me and this led to a lovely conversation with her and her husband. So towards the end of my session, my sketching wasn’t very focused – it was more a case of reflex sketching! But I’m not at all complaining.

I started the morning with a warmup of some contour drawings and a watercolour sketch of my coffee. I then began my official people sketches in my usual  loose ink and wash style – actually ‘wash and ink’ would be a more accurate term.

Here are a few thoughts:

  • Day 1 is all about developing the flow and getting a feel for what is the best way to start the challenge.
  • I find that the large daily quota for this challenge helps to take away pressure of doing a good job for each sketch.
  • I really enjoyed using my pre-mixed skin colour (DS Monte Amiata Natural Sienna and WN Potters Pink) as a starting point for my washes.
  • My usual technique involved getting the main volume and position of ears, eyebrows and nose quickly using my standard ‘skin colour wash’ and then drawing over it with ink. I then added further washes – for shadows on the face, hair and clothing. If the person moved then I could add this last step from memory.
  • My main challenge for this week might be focus, especially if I spend a lot of time talking to people! But if being social impacts my output, I’m still happy. Meeting people, such as Ruba today, is definitely the best part of cafe sketching.

In general, I’m happy with how I’ve kicked off the challenge. As sketching people regularly is a big part of my weekly routine now, today was just a longer than normal session. I’m really looking forward to working on the quality and consistency of my sketches for the rest of the week.

And just a reminder: I’m hosting a few sketchmeets. Tuesday and Thursday afternoon at Goodfields Eatery and Friday evening at Town Hall Steps. More details here.

Further reading:

A few tips for sketching people in public.


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