Urban Sketching Essentials: Drawing People and Crowds Made Simple

James Richards, Author, Urban Sketcher, Travel Artist, Designer

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12 Lessons (1h 33m)
    • 1. Introduction

      2:00
    • 2. Gallery of Examples Part 1

      7:18
    • 3. Gallery of Examples Part 2

      6:59
    • 4. Tools and Materials

      11:41
    • 5. Building the Quick Sketch Figure

      12:37
    • 6. Sketch Figure Proportions

      3:09
    • 7. Using Eyeline and Sense of Depth

      6:31
    • 8. Line Drawing Demo Part 1

      8:47
    • 9. Line Drawing Demo Part 2

      9:53
    • 10. Adding Color Part 1

      9:21
    • 11. Adding Color Part 2

      10:21
    • 12. Your Class Project

      3:57
104 students are watching this class

Project Description

Your project for this class is to create a loose, lively sketch of a group of seven to ten people (or more!) using the easy, step-by-step approach you learned in this class.  Your sketch can be drawn by watching people on location, from a photo, an internet image or from your imagination. Remember to relax and enjoy the process—this is a judgement-free zone.

I suggest you draw on a piece of letter-sized white bond paper if you want a black and white drawing.  If you want to add watercolor washes as I did, use 140 lb. cold pressed watercolor paper, sized about 9 inches by 12 inches.  Use a fine line pen with waterproof ink such as the humble Uni-ball EYE, a MICRON or PITT Artist Pen (Fine), along with a thicker black pen to quickly cover dark areas.  For this, I like the PITT Artist Brush Pen, because the ink is waterproof and permanent.  Take it step-by-step:

  1. Start by drawing a horizontal eye-level line,
  2. Build the first figure with the head (a simple oval) on the eye-level line—then add trunk, then legs, then arms, and then details.
  3. Repeat the process to create more figures. Make sure all heads are on the eye level line, but vary the size and level of detail in the figures—more detail in the larger (closer) figures, less detail in the smaller (more distant) figures.  This trick will immediately give your sketch the illusion of depth!
  4. If you like, add some very simplified context—a lightly sketched rectangle or two for background buildings, a statue (which is just another person, right?), a streetlight or other elements. Add some darks for contrast and a little color as demonstrated during the class, and you’re done!
  5. Post your finished sketch to the gallery. If you decide to share your work on Instagram, you may tag me using my Instagram handle @jrsketchbook.

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