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#OneWeek100People2019 : Flight Check?

March 12, 2019


I was sitting there cleaning some pens and packing a sketch kit – trying to remember the last time I went out drawing people? 

I know I grabbed a few sketches of sketchers last summer at the USK Mini Symposium in Chicago – but other than that – I haven’t gone out people sketching since 2018’s OneWeek100.

For a person who used to go life drawing three times a week, that’s a weird situation.

#OneWeek100People_Lunch01Frankly, I wasn’t even sure if I could do it anymore! You leave something for so long, you wonder if the skills magically vanish?

I headed out for lunch at the mall, with just a ballpoint and some typing paper, going back to the very basics. Just checking – is it still there?


5F6B182F-CC54-4332-9AF9-EFB43218CF94I’m happy to say, it’s like riding a bike. The fingers remember how to lay down lines.

But still – I’ve gone approximately a year without figure drawing – and not missed it that much – so what changed?

Besides everything: eldercare madness, job changes, retiring from teaching, retiring from freelance work, and taking up studio painting.


What does the new me, the artist I am today, want out of #OneWeek100People2019? 

(That’s the point of this post – all of us should take a moment to think on that, before the April 8-12th week is upon us!)

After this dry run, I’m confident I could hit the streets, find some events, and get back into the groove. I could just have fun! Use sketching to get out to some stuff I’ve been passing up. Go to life drawing, check out the art gallery. Or just wander and see what the street has to offer. It could be like the good old days!


But this year, I want to push myself a little further. After all, that’s what this blog is right? A place where you guys motivate me to keep learning in public :)

71B88487-BEC7-4DF6-AE1E-48D9EF1A9F02I’m going to try to make some of the figurative painting I’ve been thinking about for a few years. < Yes, that’s a little cryptic :) But let’s say I’m going to be pushing my figures in a Direct Watercolor approach – and I won’t be sticking to documentary / reportage. This year I want to be working without the pressure of live-sketching.

But I’m going into this cold. I don’t exactly have a solid plan for these imaginary awesome artworks. So you’re going to see me making it up as we go along.  

But that’s the beauty of these challenges. We’re all in it together, so we know what it’s like. Everybody is too busy doing it to be judging you for not meeting some imaginary goal. When we’re in the trenches together, everyone supports each other :)


Maybe some of you are thinking about your own week? Drop me a comment! What are you going to take on this year? What’s your plan for #OneWeek100People2019?

The floor is yours in the comments section!


39 Comments leave one →
  1. March 12, 2019 2:58 PM

    Love your thought process, glad I am not the only one who has these talks with myself. And it is good to note that we change, evolve, or something. My reason for doing the 100 is to get over my phobia of “what to do with the face” when I sketch people. I looks at yours and a lot of them have next to zero facial detail, I want to do that. Because I do the body passibly well, then think I need to do face, and end up with a blob of ink where a nose should be and a mouth that looks more like a slug.

    • March 12, 2019 3:29 PM

      Little faces! Too right :) Less is more :) Some of the missing detail here is a habit from ‘colorizing’ sketches. I won’t bother to paint these ones, but if I did add watercolor, I’d want to make some things with color only? I learned that for instance – the nasolabial folds ( on woman’s face should be color on color unless you want her to look 100 years old ;)

  2. Jason Mullins permalink
    March 12, 2019 3:04 PM

    Excellent stuff Mark! I always admire your ability to capture what you see through linework! You say ballpoint? Does not look like a true ballpoint but rather a rollerball pen…which are a little different…but hey, does not matter what YOU use…your drawings are always top notch! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and art and have a GREAT 2019!

    • March 12, 2019 3:30 PM

      Right, right – Uniball Signo. I brought a fountain pen, but couldn’t get it flowing nicely! Too long in the drawer.

  3. March 12, 2019 3:38 PM

    That’s great that you’ve found a way to tie back the challenge to your painting practice and make it relevant. I have a two-pronged approach this year: If that week magically clears up of a zillion non-art-related things, I’ll get ambitious and do 100 color-first people. And if life is crazy, then just 100 gesture drawings will be what it is:)

    • March 12, 2019 3:41 PM

      You have a tough time of it this year, if you have to travel right in the middle of it, maybe the end up being portraits on that long flight :) You could be famous on that plane.

  4. Linda Lebrun permalink
    March 12, 2019 3:39 PM

    So good to get your blog back in my inbox Marc, you inspire me

  5. Scott Ngov permalink
    March 12, 2019 4:34 PM

    I did this challenge a couple months ago while on a trip to Las Vegas. And I was able to reach 100 people pretty quickly. I wasn’t sure if this challenge was still around and I’m so glad that it is. This turn around my goal is to do exactly what this challenge is for; to progress my lines in a more expressive and organic way.

  6. March 12, 2019 5:21 PM

    First of all …..You have not lost it…your sketches inspire and I have missed you. This year my challenge is to draw 100 people from life. So I am trying to do it without photos. I will be doing a lot of travelling in late April and early May. So a good warm up for travel sketching. There are so many challenges out there, however this is the only one I enjoy doing.. It is short and relates to my favorite subject…people.

  7. Robin HF permalink
    March 12, 2019 5:21 PM

    So happy to hear your insight and excited to get started… always love drawing people in a quick contour style. Hoping to broaden my horizons towards watercolor images, with or without the lines… this would be a challenge Looking forward to it 👍🏼

    • March 12, 2019 5:27 PM

      Deffo color-no-lines for at least a few! Save some time to try it – if you get it in early, you can re-evaluate near the end if you show them :) Waiting a bit always makes them more loveable. (BTW< I saw on IG kids say Deffo/Definitely).

  8. Grimbot permalink
    March 12, 2019 5:21 PM

    Great to see you sketching again Marc. Such lovely lines!

  9. March 12, 2019 5:43 PM

    I’m so happy you are sketching and blogging again. This weekend I was reviewing your craftsy classes!

  10. Jean permalink
    March 12, 2019 6:22 PM

    I like your figure sketches very much! Thanks for posting and telling us about your journey!

  11. Carmela Sunnyvale permalink
    March 12, 2019 6:56 PM

    Hi Mark
    It is so heart-warming to have you back and following your dream. Although I only drew 25 faces last year, I became much more confident using direct-to ink–a big step for me in drawing people; plus I did see improvement. So I’ll be coming along for the challenge this year. My goal is to try direct-to-color. Thanks for inspiring and motivating us!

  12. cmcnamara1220 permalink
    March 12, 2019 8:01 PM

    I’ll be on call for jury duty during the challenge week! I need practice with gestures, including head positions. (Not sure about drawing faces in the building!) I’ll bring a basic kit—maybe a fountain pen or marker with water-soluble ink, a waterbrush for adding shading, and a handmade pamphlet sketchbook with watercolor paper. Simple and portable.

    This last year has been tough with husband’s surgeries and my teaching. I’ve been feeling guilty about not drawing, but I’ve done a few sketches in the last few weeks. Maybe the interest is coming back.

  13. March 12, 2019 8:33 PM

    I love line. You have such expressive lines! Sometimes, even when we move on, its good to revisit our roots!

  14. Gina Bisaillon permalink
    March 12, 2019 8:56 PM

    I have discovered sites with models to draw, so I think I may do 100 of those! I’m too chicken to draw live people!

  15. mac diarmid permalink
    March 12, 2019 10:03 PM

    you really still have chops!.. we have all missed you and your spontaneous and wonderful sketches…sometimes a change in lifestyle works its way into the art, like always.. deffo!…you are a fine mentor

  16. March 12, 2019 10:15 PM

    Well mainly, just glad to see you back in the blog-sphere Marc! You’ve been missed.

  17. osagegypsy permalink
    March 12, 2019 11:07 PM

    Gosh I needed this post! I was really good at life drawing when I was in a life drawing group. But it’s a 100 miles away now. I’ve done a few faces with the “Let’s Face It 2019” and they have been a real struggle.

    So my question is; do I have to be good at everything? I’ve been working for years to do it all. And I’m kinda exhausted.

    • Carmela Sunnyvale permalink
      March 13, 2019 10:51 AM

      No, you don’t have to excel at drawing everything. I’m good at faces/figures, but struggle with buildings. My mother was good at drawing people, too. Maybe our genes help determine our preferences. I’m good at plants, but not landscapes. I just accept that some things that I draw will be a challenge. Practice is a big help in improving my drawing skills.

    • March 18, 2019 4:17 PM

      Hye Osa – I see other people have chimed in! Yes for sure, just play to your own strengths and not worry about matching someone else. We don’t really worry what people draw, but we want you to experience two things > “You can draw faster than you think” and “The faster you draw the faster you learn.” – two things beginners never quite believe till they see it happen.

  18. Leonor Janeiro permalink
    March 13, 2019 5:54 AM

    Thanks for the challenge! I’m in. I’ll focus on silhouettes and movement. May be I’ll do direct watercolor and apply the water- connect colors to the figures. One hundred is a lot for just a week and I’ll not have time for faces.
    Let’s see what comes out.
    Leonor, Lisbon

  19. March 13, 2019 11:15 AM

    I’m new to this and I’ve been playing with painting people as shapes this week. Definitely easier than line drawing them, so I’m going with the direct to watercolor method too, I guess!

  20. Isabelle Falkner permalink
    March 13, 2019 6:07 PM

    Welcome aboard the bus again Marc. Well, if you can go back to people drawing after a year…. then I can have a go starting. I’ll have a go and hopefully see improvement and have fun. And meanwhile, yes, whatever we do don’t let’s get hung up on what others think of our efforts. I advise on which mobility scooters/ aids etc people can buy. They worry what others will think. I say: if it keeps your independence and gets you out and about that’s what matters. And… People are to busy thinking of themselves to think about you. It’s true, Marc. Don’t get hung up on what others may (or may not!) think. Who cares. Happy sketching.

    • March 18, 2019 4:14 PM

      OMG If I needed a mobility aid, you bet I’d not be caring about others!!!! hah! I have always said – I can’t wait till I need one of those and then I’ll have a built-in easel all the time :) < (I realize this stupid, but I also said I hope I go blind so I can be a writer, or I hope I lose my leg so I can be in zombie movies so it's not the dumbest thing I think).

  21. Beste permalink
    March 14, 2019 10:16 AM

    When I mentioned about this challenge to my coworkers and my husband, I saw not-so-pleased faces. As I understand, last year I complained about the stress of getting 20 people drawing done per day. So, primary goal for me this year is to do the challenge with a little bit of a grace so while I enjoy, other people around me do not have to suffer. Second goal would be to have more live drawings than last year. Your sketches are inspiring to say the least. Thanks for organizing the challenge again!

    • March 18, 2019 4:11 PM

      Hah! I bet my wife Laurel is also thinking ‘hmmm,,,another year of this eh?” – We do ask a lot of our families :) :) :) I suppose you must put up with some of their foibles too tho hey!

  22. Pam Johnson Brickell permalink
    March 14, 2019 4:09 PM

    I’ve always loved the honest self talk in your posts. Thank you for putting yourself out there!

  23. ibrame permalink
    March 15, 2019 4:15 AM

    J’aime beaucoup ces publications ,merci pour vos efforts amenagés.

  24. Richard permalink
    March 15, 2019 5:06 PM

    Glad to see you’re back on the grind. Did you use your single line sketching technique?

    • March 18, 2019 4:10 PM

      Well, I wouldn’t say entirely – sticking to a single line is a great exercise, (also, limiting yourself to 5 or 7 lines is another great one) – here I was just drawing naturally, making each line whatever length it called for.

      • Richard P Hall permalink
        March 18, 2019 5:09 PM

        Thanks for your reply. Still trying your single tech, it always turns out to be a glob. Love your work, art and writings.

  25. March 16, 2019 12:27 PM

    I’m floored on how these drawings seems so full of life and show the characters to be in motion, as if split from a movie. You half-expect them just to jump out of the screen…

    Thank you for sharing your talent!

  26. March 18, 2019 5:52 AM

    one excellent post Mr Holmes ,,,as much as theirs no solid plan for it we should still get along with it,,,superb

  27. Ellie permalink
    March 25, 2019 1:59 PM

    It’s so good to hear from you again, Marc!! You are an inspiration for all of us who need a kick-start, and put sketching or painting at the end of our To Do Today lists. Thanks so much.


  1. #OneWeek100People2019 Day Two: Selfie Series | Citizen Sketcher

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