After the dust has settled a little, I am now ready to share a few reflections from the big One Week 100 people challenge and in particular how I went with my own goals.
I had six aspects that I wanted to work on during the week. You can read more about them here.
1. Schedule time to sketch
I expected that I needed to set aside some dedicated time for people sketching, however I managed to hit the target easily without doing this. I simply used my normal cafe planning sessions and my train travel times – both are occasions when I would have normally been doing work.
I did have a lot of work to get through during the week so I realised early on that the only way to hit the target was to sacrifice these away-from-my-desk work sessions and see how much I could achieve within the time slot. The result was much faster and looser sketches than I had hoped for – however this had a big positive effect – but that is the next point!
2. Getting people into my main sketchbook
Sketching people in my sketchbook and being comfortable doing so has been a big block for me for years. Because I wasn’t happy enough with the sketches I was producing, I wouldn’t include them in my book for fear of ruining a page. (Yes, I share this fear too!) Basically over the years I have been developing my other skills but neglecting my weak spot. That made it harder to go back to being a learner when it comes to sketching people ie. sketching slowly and carefully to make sure that I am drawing correctly. Many artists stay within their comfort zone, but I always like to push myself, so it has really bugged me that I have been so half-hearted tackling this area of my sketching.
For some reason the extreme sketching during the 100 people week finally pushed me through this block. There are still so many of my people sketches that need serious improvement, but I am finally at the place where I can be relaxed about that. Suddenly last week I can accept my horrible deformed images!
This huge mental shift is a result of achieving the flow which I wrote about on Day 2. This flow is a combination of the intense amount of practice on top of all the research and specific exercises which I’ve been doing lately as part of my Sketching People Strategy (check this article out for more about that.)
3. Exploring composition of my pages
Due to everything that happened last week, I wasn’t able to work on the composition as much as I wanted to. But I did get a few ideas that I am keen to explore further as I continue regularly sketching people.
Focusing on drawing people directly in ink has been a great limitation for me (it’s so hard and there is no hiding) and I have been really happy to stick to black and white. But suddenly mid-week I had the urge to add colour. I am still to work out the best approach as I found waiting for the watercolour to dry was a bit annoying. I am also looking forward to doing more shape-first sketches in the coming weeks.
I didn’t do a lot of this, but finishing the week with a very loose sketch of my architect’s workshop was very momentous. Even though it is very loose the fact that I was able to do this in reflex sketching mode in the middle of a workshop was huge for me!
I am not really keen on doing pages of isolated people for the sake of just ‘sketching people’, instead I want to more confidently add people to my sketches and to be comfortable to record events that centre around people. A row of sketches sitting on the grass is a great example of that.
6. Getting back to nightly research
There is no doubt that when I keep regularly sketching people on location (doing the practice), the desire to research is huge. I am so much more driven to improve the things I don’t understand and it was good at the end of the week to push myself to attempt to draw walking people. I know I am not seeing with enough knowledge at the moment and keen to fix that. So this challenge has inspired me to jump ahead with my research.
So in summary, I can put a tick against all six goals, although some ticks are bigger than others.
The real challenge though, isn’t the craziness of #oneweek100people2017, but continuing to learn and practice. And despite not sketching much during my sabbatical week, I was still sketching people!
So what are you finding one week later? Still motivated and sketching people or did you need a break?
what’s the book you use for your anatomy/movement research on the last photo? I’m looking for a book that would be not too complicated and yet not very cartoonish. And the one you listed seems like worthy taking a look at.
its thomas thorspeckens guide to urban sketching
Interesting post, Liz! I got so interested in what was happening to my drawings and what I was thinking about them that I ended up writing three consecutive posts just working it out. I’m not going to stop any time soon – looks like you’re not going to either!
Thanks so much for sharing your learning process and getting the challenge started. It really helped me focus on a few goals for myself. I made it to 30 sketches, which was more than I expected. But I did see improvement even in that limited time period. I’m going for more as soon as I recuperate from serious jet lag. The biggest goal for me was to sketch directly in pen, and I was amazed that it worked. So my next goal is to try ink first in my other sketches–but I will continue to practice sketching people.
FYI: you captured the individual characteristics of each face–a major achievement I think!
Babysitting my 1 1/2 year old granddaughter didn’t leave me time to go out and explore the challenge but I enjoyed sketching her and her two old siblings dring the week. I can a slight improvement already although i did not aim for 100 sketches. Instead, I just a a few (3/4) each day. It was fun though and I’ve been keeping up with it.
I did comment on Instagram but flt compelled to write again. i have been following you for quite a while and just wanted to say that I love your easy to read blogs filled with humility and grace. I pick up some tips along the way and whilst I have been producing travel journals for a couple of years I have done much of my work from photographs – urban sketching is a completely different ball game & so the one week of sketching a hundred people was such a challenge for me – they don’t keep still like a photograph do they? Most times they even walk away before you’ve finished!! Life is a challenge but aren’t we lucky to have that life!!
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