Skip to content

#OneWeek100People 2020 : All Posts Collected


Day One: Eyes on the Prize


Welcome to day one of #OneWeek100People, 2020.

I like to start with a big push – get all 100 people on the first day. That way I can be free to mess about for the rest of the week :)

Well – to be honest, I hit that goal in year one, and then I meant to do it in year two and didn’t pace myself. I wasted half the day at a motorcycle show, drawing the bikes instead of the people. In year three I was just busy with life. So this year four, I said – alright! – all 100, first day, or bust!

But, as you can see, I didn’t exactly sprain my wrist doing it :)

I think I spent three or four hours actually drawing. Depending how you count it (lots of sketching while snacking). So that’s approximately 100 x two minute drawings.

That kind of seems like a waste of time when you say it.

A whole day of doodling!

BUT! In my defense – I was *thinking* about watercolor the whole time.

I really wanted to be doing big paintings filled with dozens of people – but I didn’t want to carry a drawing board or an easel as I ran round the city. Today was all about travelling light and getting to 100.

I figured – I’ll spend the day doing silhouettes in pen – and IMAGINE the watercolor I’ll do later.

All these little shapes I’ve sketched are imitations – visualizations – of how I’d make a figure in wash.

A few years ago, during our 30×30 painting event, I realised some of my favorite paintings come from bad photos.

Dark, blurry cellphone photos – they’re perfect. The less you have – the easier it is to simplify.

Another trick is to get further away. Or paint a backlit subject. These are ways to give yourself LESS complexity to look at.

All these tricks can help you supress unnecessary detail.

With my little pen silhouettes, I’ve left out everything except the major form.

Painting from doodles is almost too easy! It’s certainly a fun way to get a solid sketch.

Ok – so, instead of reading about what I’m doing – how about a video demonstration?

This short video shows how I make the figure, all-in-one-go. Fusing brushstrokes to get a solid, blended shape – but – leaving white gaps in just the right places.

Ok! So that’s my ‘homework’ for this year’s #OneWeek100People.

I hope other people have specific things they hope to get out of the event?

You don’t have to do it like me!

If you’re trying to be a portrait painter – by all means, do 100 heads. If you’re trying to be a comic book artist – do 100 characters from imagination.

As with all of these online challenges – you should do whatever you need, to develop the skills you see yourself using in five years.

Otherwise five years will come around and you won’t find yourself making the works of art you imagined.

So please – post your sketches up to the Facebook group – (or just leave a comment here) and share with us!



Day Two : From Silhouettes to Puzzle-People

Hey Everyone! It’s day two of #OneWeek100People 2020.

How’s your sketching going? It’s only Tuesday – you’ve got loads of time yet!

I’m still working on the my street scenes.

I hope to have something to show tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s some more of my practice, practice, practice.

Like a lot of you I’m sure, I collect people on Instagram who post great self-portraits.

This is @Pinsent_Tailoring. He makes and models historical costumes. I think I could sketch almost everything he posts.

I know this is kind of a side-jaunt from my own #OneWeek100People – but you know – I’m always a little nervous before I do some ‘important paintings’.

Watercolor – it’s NOT like riding a bike.

It’s more like – idk – playing violin? olympic fencing? Something where you lose your timing and delicacy if you spend any significant time away.

So, remember in yesterday’s video – the bit about doing the skin tone in the right order? How I want the hair to be dry-ish by the time I come back for the features?

That’s the same thing that’s going on here. Each of these sketches is a little puzzle. What shape-blocks can I paint, wet-to-wet – where I want the shapes to fuse – and where do I make the hard/dry edges.

But mostly, it’s about leaving a gap for the face.

The hair, or a hat – then a white face-gap – then the collar or a scarf – that leaves me a nice dry fire-break.

As I’m taking a little more care to be illustrative – I’m taking more time here, fussing the reserved white-flecks in the color blocks. It’s those sharp whites that make the drawing.

This one from @creepy.julia was a little nerve-wracking.

Following my system, I painted all the hair in one go. That meant cutting a silhouette around both faces and their joined hands, the getting to the gowns – painted wetter to pull out pigment from the hair – and only then coming back into the white spaces and using a few strokes to make fingers and faces.

That’s a lot of anticipation before I find out if I’d drawn the hands well enough!

I picked the photographer up top (from @leicamaniatic) for the same reason. The enjoyed all the stacked negative shapes I’d have to cut around – BEFORE coming back to make the fingers.

If you can build a person out of these puzzle pieces of color – learning when to let wet touch wet, and when to keep a dry spot – well, that’s the trick isn’t it?

Sometimes, if the subject is strongly side-lit – (this is @teresadelsole by @unfioresullaluna – not very well drawn here – she looks like ScarJo) – you can use the background color to ‘close off’ the edge of the face.

If you imagine this sketch without the background, can you see how the left side of the face is ‘open’ to the white paper?

So, that’s some more of my learnings for #OneWeek100People

The puzzle pieces! The Interlocking shapes in a figure!

Hard edges OUTSIDE a shape, soft, fused edges INSIDE.

Only leave white gaps where you absolutely need them.

See how there are sharp white edges on @FannyRosie’s scarf, and fingers?

But not inside the shadowy hat? Not between her lower arm and torso?

Those are shadowed spaces – so they need to fuse together.

Hard vs. Soft choices.

This is why I’m gravitating away from pen and ink drawing. (Sorry! I know some of you still love the fountain pen best of all).

I’ve realized – watercolor gives you the ability to choose – when to use a line, when to use a shape. When to be hard, when to be soft.

This sketch of @takerukohara_sono1 – I’m very happy with the variety of puzzle pieces.

The face is razor sharp outside, but softer inside. The highlight on the hair is sharp, but within it, soft low contrast shapes. The scarf, fused to hair, but, soft inside it’s shape, but held separate from the body with line. The backpack fuses into the coat, but has just enough inside shapes to show it’s weight, it’s drape, hint at straps and buckles. And all this is done without using exaggerated color to break up shapes.

Fun hey?

All the puzzle pieces should snap together almost without thinking.


Day Three : Silhouettes on the Street


[La Vitrine, Montreal 18×24”, cropped]

Day Three, #OneWeek100People, 2020.

When I started thinking about my project for 2020  – I thought – OK – what’s the point of all this practice sketching people?

I’m not terribly interested in portraiture right this moment. I don’t have any reportage projects lined up. That’s not something you run into every day.

So – what do I want to do with these 100 watercolor silhouettes?

The next logical step is to put them on the street :)

Where can you find this kind of mood? People reduced to back-lit everyman-shapes.

In the city at night. Down on Montreal’s famous Saint Catherine’s, with the neon storefronts and LED panels.

It wasn’t thinking about this exact building – La Vitrine – a relatively new arts-and-culture project, built, I’d say, five years ago? As part of a revitalization of Montreal’s historic red light district.

But when I found it – with the walls cycling between, red to purple to a minty-techno-green. It’s pretty much perfect.

It’s still cold in Montreal. So this painting was made at home, based on some terrible photos shot from the hip as people crossed the busy intersection.

My goal in the studio is always is to paint as close as possible, the way I would do it on location. Down to using the same paper, the same size brushes and the same miniature palette.

I don’t want the fact I’m working from reference, to lead me into producing something I can’t make in real life.

It’s a slippery slope – studio painting.

I’ve been painting at home so much this last year or two, I start to think – what’s the point of getting out and working in the world? It’s so *easy* here at home. I can paint so big! I can take my time, they can get more and more complicated.

But there’s something bugging me in the back of my mind. I’m not sure I want to make *better* (or bigger) paintings.

I’m certainly not about being more realistic, or more polished. I do want to take on greater complexity – but at the same time I want a sense of immediacy. Like you’re in the moment.

The jury is still out on this instinct.

I’m not 100% sure what I’m talking about here.

I’m trying to remind myself – don’t make declarations about what’s good or bad in painting any more. It only means you have to back-pedal when you change your mind.

But this is getting somewhere :) The speed, and vitality of the execution is part of the effect.

It’s all about being in a place, capturing the atmosphere without getting tied down to the specific details that might make it into everyday boring real life


I have one more of these that I’m going to post. But I also have another day of painting in my plan – so let’s leave it here and see what else I get.

I am starting to feel the ‘stretch’ I wanted out of this week-long sketching blitz!

I hope it’s working for you too.

Please check in and link me some images of whatever you’re doing. Lets support and inspire each other to make the most out of #OneWeek100People!



Day Four : In the Zone


Day Four, #OneWeek100People 2020:

I said it already, but watercolor is not at all like riding a bike. You spend even a month away from it, and you lose your sensitivity. Your dexterity. I imagine this is the reason musicians are always doing scales, athletes are constantly training.

I was missing something in the previous days sketches. (I only posted my favorite one :) Some of them seemed a bit lacking confidence –  too much reliance on under-drawing. Which leads to that feeling of coloring between the lines.

I still did a bit of sketching here, but more what I’d call a scribble. Just the loosest gesture line, almost a Dot Plot. (another here). This is the level of under-drawing I prefer. With too much planning, your figures become ‘second-hand’. Traced –  not fresh, bold statements.

If you’re taking too much care – if you’re painting too slowly – when you finally fuse one shape to the next – sometimes they’ve gone too dry to properly flood together.

And if you’ve filled the entire silhouette – effectively outlined the figure – you can’t have any ‘lost’ edges.

So! All that to say – This One is Much Better!

Speed is in fact, one of your tools. Confidence. Even aggression!

This is my clear favorite of the 100-and-some people painted I this week.

Those massive faux-fur hoods are part of the street-style in Montreal right now. Doesn’t it just look lusciously fuzzy?

They look great, but I don’t know they don’t get hit crossing the street. You must not be able to see anything under there.

This is of course, Montréal’s Chinatown gate, on St. Laurent and René Levesque. Just a block down from yesterday’s La Vitrine.

I’ve painted it before – but I like this rendition better :)

Night has more drama!

So – do you think it’s too rough?

I kind of like it.

It’s an important skill for an artist – to like everything you paint.

You have to love your own work. Don’t be shy, or self-effacing. If YOU don’t love your own work, nobody else is going to give you enough motivation to continue. Day in, day out, slowly slowly growing your skills – for what? The day you sell a piece? The day you paint something you’ll want on your wall forever?

Those days come and go, and you still have to keep painting. It’s not like you get there and you’ve won the race. You get to stop? Nope!

It has to be that thing where ‘The Work is the Reward’.

The feeling when those two big strokes dragged the night sky into the roof of the gate. That was an actual heart-leaping moment. So close to disaster. But then it’s not.

The joy of painting sounds hokey. But I think it’s a real thing.

There’s nothing like seeing a perfect brush stroke happen in front of you :)

So that’s been my #OneWeek100People for this year.

I’m going to call it done on this one! I can imagine I’ll beat this one tomorrow :)

Like many of us, I used the permission given by the group project to push aside work I *should* be doing, and after a few days of practice and play, I made it back Into the zone. The unconscious (dare I say effortless) flow of direct watercolor.

I guess that’s been a pretty good week all around.

Thanks for playing along and helping motivate me – and I’ll be hanging around the finish line (here and on the Facebook group) to watch all of you posting your last few 100 people.

Thanks Everyone!


[ Girls’ Night Out, 18×24”,  Watercolor on Cellulose Paper ]


Day Five : Thanks Everyone!


Another year of #OneWeek100People is crossing the finish line!

I’m sitting here at the computer, watching people posting up on the Facebook group. Most are saying they’ve hit their 100, a few that they need the weekend to finish, but either way, it’s been a great experience.

I must say, it’s so rewarding to be part of a group activity like this. Seeing everyone’s work appear each day – and watching your own number tick up –  it keeps you excited – and motivated to keep sketching, even with so much going on in our busy lives.

Besides all the great drawings, I’ve seen few fun ideas this year. I’m just going to link a few highlights (I hope direct-links to Facebook work for you, but if not there’s great stuff to be found all over just by searching the hashtag #OneWeek100People )

Paula Raudenbush – An ‘Advent Calender’ – See all your sketches fill up the page

Fabien Bartz – Hand Made Miniature Sketchbook

StanCreative – Put Everyone in a Single Picture

Barbara Eguchi – Keychain Sketchbook

So yes!

Really, I just want to thank everyone who participated this year.

I know everyone has benefited from seeing all your artwork and ideas, and all the creative ways you find subjects to draw. It’s been a terrific celebration of learning-by-doing :)

Thanks everyone for all your enthusiasm!

I hope we will see you next March!



%d bloggers like this: