Fearlessly Sketching People



I can see blue skies and not a rain cloud anywhere.

We begin this week with people sketching.  This and perspective would be the 2 subjects people think they cannot do.

Something of a blockage occurs early in our lives when we can’t get it ‘right’.  So we decide not to go there again.

However, when you are shown what to look for it all begins to make sense.

Some of the sketches you’ll see here today are by first timers.  They didn’t think they could do it either.

So although we have a mix of new and experienced sketchers in class, when given a choice not to do the mannequins, the experienced ones are happy to sketch them again.

You will always learn something each time you do a familiar subject and I was delighted that they thought so too.


The second half of our class in the Studio was to sketch each other.

This followed a few instructions on where eyes, ears, noses etc are positioned on a head.

Again each person had carefully observed the character of their subject and noted where necks came from, hair etc.

Out into the sun we go as the next class began to arrive.

As we get to the promenade on Manly Beach, the coffee addicts order a good strong one from a small cafe opposite the beach, and we become humans again.

There on the seats we see the sketchers who are keen to get started on their ‘people’.

Some workmen sitting on the beach wall in front of us are an excellent subject. No faces to worry about either.

So with a few of those in our books we head to Havana Beach Cuban style restaurant.


Upstairs we take a table by the window and peruse the menu.

Now we have time to complete our beach people. Usually a little bit of highlighting colour is all that’s needed.

A very pleasant time is had by all and a lot if laughs.  We are a jolly lot and why not.

Where in the world would you rather be right now, but right here sketching.  More amazing adventures next week.



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Hello to our second group of the day.

We are greeting each other enthusiastically this bright and sunny morning, which is decidedly getting warmer by the minute.

Today’s subject stands holding a ‘jazz’ pose on the table… “Yes, today we are sketching people, and what a good way to start by observing ‘Manny’, our nickname for one of the mannequin’s at the studio, who’s on the table arms raised, hips to the side..just like a jazz position!

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Our little group gets seated together and we observe how to approach sketching the mannequin.

We decide to use our watercolours for this first sketch, and the pencils for the second. So we get to be familiar with both mediums.

Our second sketch is to observe someone in the class, and being that we had a small group today I decided to pose for everyone.

I felt a bit like a glamour model with the sketching results! Well done everyone! See, attempting sketching people isn’t that scary after all.

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It’s time to get out into the sunshine and make our way down the hill to the Corso, where we can observe more people.

We find there is an array of sketching opportunities there, with people seated at the nearby café, or people strolling to the beach, and as one of our sketchers revealed in her sketch: A mum passing grapes to her darling little cherub, seated at the statue.


We’ve completed most of our colour here, and decide it’s time for a coffee and head to ‘Havana Beach’, our café of choice today.

What a lovely place to come and relax. We are seated in a sunny spot upstairs overlooking the beach, where we are spoilt for choice on finding something further to sketch.

We chat our way through lunch and last minute touches to our sketches. Another fabulous day sketching everyone, see you next week.

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Gee our sketchers are a valiant bunch.

Jane joined us again today and had a motorised scooter which chugged its way steadily and slowly uphill to bring her to enjoy a morning of sketching.

She was waiting at the doorstep very early before the class started.  I love it that people are keen!

A few other early birds arrived and I felt as pleased as punch (being Judy!) when they just immediately started sketching.  No prompting required. That’s a good sign.


So today’s subject was people sketching.  No more stick figures for us lot!

After a demonstration of using layers of colour on a sketch of a mannequin everybody just dived straight in and started sketching each other.  The ladies who started this term were not afraid to try.


As I said to one person, drawing a face is not SO hard…….. generally speaking a head is somewhat oval shaped, throw in a couple of oval shaped eyes and somewhat oval shaped mouth and Voila! You have a face!  Add a dash of colour and it starts to resemble a human – wow.

Looking at it like that suddenly de-complicates things (is that a real word?  sounds good though doesn’t it?)

Next stop the beach.  Love going there, it’s always inspirational and today we had a fine selection of tourists and visitors to choose from for sketching.

Slightly more troublesome humans than the ones we sketched in the studio – these ones by the beach don’t necessarily stay still for so long.  In fact most of them moved almost the moment we started sketching.

I encouraged everyone to sketch quickly.  And you know what, the results are often better the faster you go!  It takes away the fear factor.

I feel so pleased with everyone, the weekly improvement is quite clear in everyone’s artwork.


Final destination Havana.  (Wouldn’t mind going to Cuba actually, but this Havana is in good old Manly.) Well we are Travel Sketching.

No cigars for us though, just well deserved coffees, banana bread and other delights.  Sketches were finished, lots of chatting and compliments to each other and plenty of laughs.  What a lovely bunch (no not coconuts, sketchers), looking forward to next week.





Saturday morning and I can hear the rain outside.

So off I go to the Studio wearing my warm clothes and ready for a downpour.

But no. It’s now sunny.

So we will be sketching outside people after all.

A happy group we are this morning and everyone is likes seeing our mannequins, Mannie and Quinnie on the two tables.

Today they each had a gardenia and camellia bloom at their feet. Something to glamourise them up a bit.

Hard to be fashionable when not wearing a thing.

We talked about planning your sketch. Seeing where on the page you’d like it to be.

Getting the centre worked out and so on.

Everyone worked hard at getting the proportions right.

A little bit of observing ahead of time pays off.


Next it was time to sketch people. That meant each other.

We have a chat again about where the features are positioned on a head.  Knowing this means you won’t make any of the classic mistakes

Eyes above half way is often one of them.

We decide not to worry if your person doesn’t look as beautiful as they really are, because they’ve prolly done the same to you.

We pack up our sketching kit and away down to the promenade we go.

Oh of course a few pop into Rope & Anchor for their caffeine hit.  Naturally I’m one of them.

Meanwhile the dedicated ones have found a spot to sit and have planned their first sketch.

But they keep moving I hear you say.  Yes off course. Unless you pay them they don’t know they have to stay still!

But as I explain, if you get the first lines down as you saw them, if they go, you simply have them doing something else. Make it up. It’s just fine.


Time to wander along the foreshore to Havana Beach restaurant.

Upstairs or downstairs. Big decision.  It’s very nice and sunny upstairs so that’s where we go.  Coffees are ordered and the menu considered.

Sketching carries on. A touch up here.  A little background there. Perhaps a sketch of the beach shelter outside below.  Nobody’s fearful now.


So our people sketching has gone down a treat.  For the first timers it’s another achievement to be notched up.

Lovely work everybody.  Do enjoy seeing everybody’s work posted, and feel proud of yourselves.

Roll on next week. Our 8th week. Wow really!


One comment

  1. I love reading about everyone’s enthusiasm and excitement for the subject . People are so interesting and they are everywhere ! Great sketches on ALL the days


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