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1 Week : 100 People

June 2, 2015

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Way back when I was planning my Craftsy.com class Sketching People in Motion, I gave myself a challenge to draw 100 people in a week. I carried a small book ( a 3×5″ Moleskine Cahier Journal) and two pens in my pocket everywhere I went for a week. (Platinum Carbon Fountain Pen, Super Fine and a Kuretake Sumi Brush Pen).

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If you commit yourself to sketching every time you see someone holding still for a few minutes – it’s actually fairly easy to get 100 drawings in 5 days.

I was getting the most out of riding the subway, but just going shopping or to a restaurant will give you good opportunities. Bookstores turn out to be great. People in there are usually moving slowly and distracted with their browsing. Perfect subjects!

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I used inexpensive little books, so I didn’t care if I messed up a page, or if the subject walked away in the middle of a drawing. I would say I had about a failure 1 out of 5 times – mostly from the person abruptly leaving – sometimes from overworking the drawing.

I think of these self assigned challenges as play time. Drawing as a sport. It’s like trying to beat your personal best time doing a marathon. Can I do this? How fast can I do it? If 100 was possible – could I get 500 in a week? That’s about 16 people an hour over a 6 hour day. It might be possible! I’d have to spend all day downtown for 5 full days – sticking to places with lots of people around. Maybe I could arrange a week in New York and do it in Times Square. I’d need to have enough paper and pens with me to never run out. I’d have to plan breaks in good sketching cafes. See? I’m already getting excited.

That’s a ridiculous example – but even if you failed, it would be a glorious failure.

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Why not try your own drawing challenge? Set a time/quantity goal – and use that to break through any obstacles of perfectionism or ‘sketchers block’. Make it something short – one week is a lot – and have fun even if you don’t reach the goal – it’s the doing that matters!

And – if you’ve been debating taking my Sketching People in Motion online course <<< that link there will give you approximately 50% off the registration!

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18 Comments leave one →
  1. June 2, 2015 9:29 AM

    You’ve inspired me! :)))

  2. June 2, 2015 10:02 AM

    Extraordinary! :)

  3. Rekha permalink
    June 2, 2015 10:28 AM

    As always, Marc, your goals are extraordinary, quite an inspiration to me!

  4. Rekha permalink
    June 2, 2015 10:29 AM

    …still waiting for your book to have a close look at the way you draw

  5. June 2, 2015 12:35 PM

    Your Craftsy lessons are outstanding. Watching how you work around a moving subject cannot be taught in any book. It has to be experienced. Worth more than words can say. Thank you for sharing your talent and teaching method. Well done!

  6. June 2, 2015 1:26 PM

    These are wonderful gestural style studies. I am impressed by the detail and character you invest in your sketches in such a short period of time. I am currently working through painting 100 Crazy Critters on my art blog (Pict Ink – rather than my personal blog) and I think when that series of 100 is done I am going to work on faces. But no way could I manage 100 in a week. Yours really is an impressive achievement.

    • June 2, 2015 1:45 PM

      I’m quite sure you could do it! You just have to make a deal with yourself in advance: Quality doesn’t matter – only Quantity is the goal – and like magic, you will get both :)

      You won’t dare do a 30 second portrait in ink until you can detach yourself from need for a good drawing :)

      • June 2, 2015 1:49 PM

        I have done 30 second ink drawings in a life drawing class but my skills are now completely rusty. It was also a gestural drawing of the pose rather than anything approaching a portrait. My usual nemesis with art comes into play here as always: time. Closely followed by four kids. Maybe some day though.

        • June 2, 2015 1:50 PM

          Well I hope one day you’ll give it a go for laughs!

          • June 2, 2015 1:51 PM

            Ha ha! I am sure there would be many laughs to be had. Thanks for the encouragement. :D

  7. amats123 permalink
    June 2, 2015 8:32 PM

    What a superb post Marc! More of these please!

  8. June 2, 2015 11:08 PM

    Ok, Marc…..you’re on! Will take the challenge with a sketching friend…beginning on Saturday. A more modest goal, though….50 in 7 days! Got a small book so ready to roll! Thankyou for the great post!

  9. June 3, 2015 11:04 AM

    This is a fantastic idea. I’m planning on heading into the big city today, I would love to do this.

  10. June 17, 2015 11:42 AM

    These are amazing! They are so… vivid is the word I’m searching for I think. In my opinion you did a good job observing and I bet you got the essence on paper. I’m so inspired, I will start with such sketches, too! Thanks for showing :)

  11. MarcB permalink
    August 24, 2015 7:39 PM

    I’m a rusty (60+), dusty sketcher, and the scribbly style you show works very well for me.
    I’m very inspired, and I thank you. I’m going to try and emulate your volume based approach, but will use fibre-tipped fine-line pens. Hope it works out….

  12. March 11, 2016 2:29 AM

    Marc, thank you for sharing and being such an inspiration for a sometimes lonely urban sketcher in Luxembourg! ;-)

Trackbacks

  1. Singapore Workshop Results: Street Portraits and Crowd Shots | Citizen Sketcher
  2. Internal Travelogue: Working from Imagination | Citizen Sketcher

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