Sketching the locals

Something's Brewing

I live in a town that while it is expanding and really isn’t all that small anymore still has it’s original downtown area and small town feel. Many of buildings and surrounding houses in the historic neighborhood are about 100 years old give or take and though the downtown area is no longer a main thoroughfare it has kept it’s old sleepy small town charm. Many of the people who frequent the businesses here are also lifelong residents and add to this charm as well.

16 thoughts on “Sketching the locals

  1. Your town sounds like a wonderful, picturesque place. I love your sketch. Economy of line – you capture just what needs to be captured. So, if most of you are longtime residents – they don’t know what you are doing in there?


    • Thanks Dan! I’ve only been here about 12 years. I’m a transplant šŸ™‚ and live in the newer part of town. These older houses are gorgeous but we don’t have the time or talent to keep one of them in all their beauty.


  2. Hello Rebecca,
    I love this kind of sketch. I would love to be able to sketch like this.
    And I am always so self-conscious when I try-maybe if the sketches were as fantastic as this, I wouldn’t worry as much šŸ™‚


  3. Hi Rebecca,

    I look at your sketches of people often and I love them. I have trouble sketching people in public because it takes me a while to get the proportions of the body right and I get self-conscious (plus they move!). Do you have any tips on getting the basic form of the body down quickly?



  4. Great as aways!!!
    What tip do you tell me? I know i have to practice, but do you have any special tip that is indispensable? I like your draw. seems like you don’t erasure, like your dash keeps inpecable! I realy enjoy ur job!


  5. Rebecca, great sketch as always! I echo Stew, Dan and Alex’s comments. I’d also be interested in your tips, as others have asked for! When I try to draw from life rather than photos, I really struggle with proportion. I know in my heart of hearts that the only way is to keep doing it but I’ll happy glean ideas from the professionals if I can šŸ™‚


  6. Wow! I am flattered by everyones’ responses for learning from my technique. What I will do is briefly explain what I do here and then hope to plan a more thought out demo either in a post or video soon.

    First, let me say that I can be as shy about drawing in public as everyone else. I usually pick subjects that are far enough away or engrossed in what they are doing enough that I will be completely unnoticed. I sit off in a corner and position myself so that my natural position is sorta pointed at them and all i have to do is causally look up. Sometimes I block my stuff with my purse or a bag. If someone looks at me, I fake like I am looking beyond them or nearby and they happen to be in my line of vision.

    I start off my sketch with a technical pencil and very loosely block in important large shapes and the overall bulk and gesture of the person lightly. There is absolutely no detail and this is just to plan my page better.. Sometimes I will just go straight to ink if I don’t have a lot of time and just want to get a quick sketch in but I prefer to do this.

    Next I get out my 01 Micron pen and start again with more of a large shape gesture or outline of the form. I don’t worry about detail. I try and keep my line simple and look for angles and planes of the shapes. I don’t worry too much if things aren’t perfect. I want to grab quick cause as you know people move. I try and find correlations in size and look how things line up in relation to each other as I go. If they move sometimes I will either redraw the head or arm in the new position or sometimes I will keep it where it was and just wing it. You don’t need a lot of detail to make it believable so if the hand and arm has no fingers but the overall outline it still works. I work from large shapes and angles and don’t bother with details til the end.

    Lastly when everything is in place I take out my 05 Micron pen and strengthen and highlight some of the lines. Sometimes accentuating where corners come together with a thicker line creates a nice tension. I will also use both the 01 and 05 to create shaded planes with some lines. I try not to go overboard with that. At the end of the drawing if I used pencil, I use a kneaded eraser and get rid of the pencil lines.

    I hope this helps!


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