Everyday Sketching, People Sketching

An Afternoon Sketching People in Manchester

People Sketching - Andrea Joseph, Sam and Judith from Envelope Films, Koosje Koene and Mike at Ziferblat in Manchester
Sketching people. Andrea Joseph, Sam and Judith from Envelope Films, Koosje Koene and Mike at Ziferblat in Manchester. Andrea and Koosje had just finished shooting videos for a new Sketchbook Skool online course.

Meeting new artists

Last Saturday afternoon I travelled to Manchester to meet up with Koosje Koene, Andrea Joseph and local Urban Sketchers members.

Koosje is a fellow sketcher and the co-founder of  Sketchbook Skool – a company offering online courses taught by artists and illustrators from all over the world. She inspired me create illustrated recipes.

Andrea is a local illustrator who creates wonderful expressive drawings – although se is best know for her detailed ball point work (I recommend you Google her name to check out her work!). She teaches classes on Sketchbook Skool too.

Although I had ‘spoken’ to both of them online – I was exited to meet them in the flesh for the first time.

We spent the afternoon talking, drawing each other, drinking coffee and looking at each other’s sketchbooks (it’s great to see drawings you have seem online in the flesh).

It was soon time to say goodbye and head back home. The train before ours was cancelled so the train was packed – perfect for sketching people.

Sketching people on the train - Ink and watercolour drawing by Sophie Peanut
The return train from Manchester is packed – Sketcher’s dream! Inspired by Andrea Joseph’s drawings, I decided to go black and white!

Notes on sketching people

Sketching people can be intimidating:

  • You feel pressure to produce drawings that show some resemblance
  • People move and fidget too, so they are difficult to draw
  • They might even want to look at your drawing if they spot you drawing them

If you want to learn to sketch people you will need to get over this and practice, practice and… practice some more. You will get better overtime.

Cafe Sketch in pen and watercolour by Sophie Peanut
A super quick sketch – full of ‘mistakes’ and quirks. I didn’t feel very well. The kids were fidgety and sulky (I ordered the wrong types of snacks!). Yet it captures the moment.

Here are a few ideas to consider if you want to start sketching people and improve your practice.

  • Feeling nervous when you first start drawing people in public is normal. It means you are out of your comfort zone and learning. Take a deep breath and put your first line on paper. Look, drawn; look, draw and focus on the task – not on the result.
  • ‘Mistakes’ are what make drawings interesting and give them character. You’ve drawn the nose too big? The neck too long? It doesn’t matter – carry on. If you wanted a perfect rendition you would have taken a photo.
  • You will need practice, build up your skills:
    • Draw people from photos
    • Draw selfies looking in the mirror
    • Draw you friends / family while they are watching TV or on their computer or tablet
    • Draw people in cafes, public transport and waiting rooms
  • Remember you are learning. It takes time and practice, don’t expect immediate results, but if you stick at you will get better overtime!

4 Comments to “An Afternoon Sketching People in Manchester”

    1. Sophie Peanut Author

      If people get mad – apologise, mostly the response is positive. If it doesn’t look like them I would suggest laughing about it – it does happen to me quite often and people know how difficult it is to draw from life.


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