Drawing People

TIP 10 Study People

In my first tip I talked about drawing from observation. Drawing people isn’t easy, particularly if they are not deliberately posing for you, but the results can be rewarding if you stick at it.

A useful tip is to draw people walking about without actually looking at the paper. These can be described as “gesture” drawings. You are capturing the movement and gesture of the person more than anything else.  These will take seconds to do. You can quickly fill a page in your sketchbook with lots of small studies, some of which will probably look rubbish, but others will capture something of the person you were observing. Use a biro, or if you are feeling confident, try watercolour and draw with your brush. I’ve posted some examples from some of my sketchbooks for you to see.

The first 3 images are the gesture drawings I have described, one in pen, the other two with a brush. The important thing is to capture the movement of the people passing by.

The next three are of figures which are more static, so I have the luxury of being able to have a few more glances at the paper.

I was sitting in a cafe in Newcastle when I did the series of studies of the two elderly ladies chatting away. In this drawing , I fixed my eyes on a point on their hair line and looked along the profile of their face, at the same time, moving the pen the same direction over the surface of the paper. The result is almost a caricature of the women.

Painting outside the entrance of the Mubarakiyya souk in Kuwait was great fun. I did several studies (using a combination of all the techniques mentioned above) which were the inspiration for a studio painting which I have since reproduced as a limited edition print.

I hope these tips are an encouragement for you to pick up a pen and sketchbook and have some fun drawing people. My sketchbook studies of Oman have now been published as a limited edition facsimile sketchbook. I have copies in my studio & gallery in Ponteland.

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