They always come back

It’s relatively easy to complete a drawing of a posed model. You keep on working while the model holds the gesture and at some point you are done. But if you are drawing people who aren’t posing, they can get up and leave at any moment, or at the very least, change their pose. My sketchbooks are filled with half-finished drawings. One valuable secret I learned at the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Santo Domingo a few years ago is that most people who are hanging around one place for a long time, seated or standing, will eventually come back to their original pose. Take the student I was drawing today. He was sitting at one table for a long time, then got up to chat with another group of friends at another table, and then eventually come back. The pose was never exactly the same but I was able to get enough information each time to complete the sketch. You’ll notice that the back of his shirt has lines going in all directions. That’s because he never put his arm over the bench again quite like that again but never mind. I got my drawing in.


16 Comments on “They always come back”

  1. Tracey says:

    What a great tip Shari! I always love getting your daily drawing in the mail!

  2. Micah says:

    I had never thought about that. Great tip and great drawing!

  3. Ross says:

    Nice! Reminded me of Mike Nesmith (…showing my age).
    One of those examples of figure drawing with not much figure. But I like the cropping and I like the quick little studies of both the trouser leg/boot and the head-wear (which we call a “beanie”).

  4. Tracey Mardon says:

    Hi Shari,

    Have you ever thought of compiling your posts in a book like Carol Marine does each year ? I’d buy it in a minute!

    Today’s tip was helpful, hit me on the head, but it hadn’t occurred to me that the half-finished ones are just as important as the finished ones.



    Tracey Mardon





    “Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.” Stanley Horowitz

    • I have thought about it many times Tracey and I will have a look at what Carol does. I have a full-time job so I am always daunted by these big projects but maybe I can find an easy way to do it. Thanks for giving me a little push.

  5. kari says:

    Such a helpful tip–thank you for sharing. I wish I could watch you in action, as I could learn so much from you!

  6. Very true; a major skill of urban sketching of people is predictability – not that anything is ever guaranteed in this realm, but if you frequent a place enough times and study the common patterns of the people there, then you know whom to take the risk of time on. This is how I have a general idea of whom to sketch on the Metro trains here in Washington, DC.

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