Twenty minutes at the mall

It’s been ages since I sketched people, and since the third annual “One Week 100 people” event is coming up in April, I decided to go out to do some quick people sketching this afternoon. Equipped with my 3.5″ x 5″ Stillman & Birn Beta sketchbook, a pencil, and a small watercolour kit, I headed to the mall, and for the price of a Perrier, I spent about 20 minutes sketching from a little café. The sketches are mostly of people walking by, but also some on a bench across the way, and one quick portrait of a man in the café who nodded his acknowledgement when I asked if I could draw him.

One of the things I like the most about this annual event — besides the fact that it forces me to draw lots of people — is that it gets me out of my usual drawing spots (my house and car) and puts me in the midst of moving bodies. I love the social aspect of it too, because over the years I’ve learned that most people don’t mind being sketched. I often show them what I’m doing and that starts a conversation. It’s rare to find an unwilling participant when I tell them what I am working towards.

If you want to get more people drawing practice, and are planning on attending the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Amsterdam this summer, you might want to register for a one-day pre-symposium event called “People Mania: Draw at the Beach” with Marina Grechanik and Suhita Shirodkar. Both of these sketchers make people drawing look easy, and I think it’s going to be a really fun event.

12 Comments on “Twenty minutes at the mall”

  1. loisajay says:

    Do some people ask if they can have the sketch you have done of them?


  2. Judy Sopher says:

    Very nice sketches. 100 in a week is about 14 a day. Might be fun. I usually sketch about 4 a day from the TV so I guess it is do-able.


  3. Patricia Burkhardt says:

    I am planning to sign up for your two Chicago workshops. I hope I get in. I won’t get to do it till 1:00 tomorrow. Looking forward to meeting you there and learning.


  4. celestine segers says:

    shari, I enjoy reading your blog and looking a your pictures. If you are looking for more opportunity to sketch people, I have a suggestion. Go to the waiting room of the Cedar’s Cancer Centre of the MUHC, the Glen site. There are always many people (hundreds maybe) waiting to see their doctors or for treatment. All kinds of people, patiently waiting. sometimes I’m one of them, waiting for my turn. It’s bright, lots of light and colours. It’s not depressing. Most patients are helped nd healed. All are hopeful. Celestine Segers



    • Celestine, thanks for writing and what a great suggestion. I appreciate the optimistic note at the end too, since we always assume that drawing at hospitals is depressing. But the Glen site is an amazing place and I have seen many of the spaces. Yes, so bright and colourful!
      I have lots of experience drawing at hospitals from when my father was not well a few years ago. I never posted most of the drawings but it sure helped me get through the waiting. Do you draw when you are there, waiting your turn?


  5. The drawing lines look lighter than a micron, were they in pencil?


  6. Lindsay Friedlander says:

    You new book in the USk series is fab. So helpful.


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