Urban Sketching: How to draw people | Lasse Voss | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Urban Sketching: How to draw people

teacher avatar Lasse Voss, Actor & Illustrator

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (31m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Tools & Materials

    • 3. Figure Proportions

    • 4. Eye-line & Perspective

    • 5. Final sketch part 1: Sketching people

    • 6. Final sketch part 2: Background

    • 7. Final sketch part 3: Adding colors

    • 8. Final Thoughts

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels
  • Beg/Int level
  • Int/Adv level

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

If you wanna learn how to draw people in an urban sketching style, you'd come to the right place.
In this class I will teach you how to draw simple lively sketches of people and crowds.

You only need 3 things to get started:

  • Some thick paper of your own choice
  • A black pen with waterproof ink
  • And some watercolor of your own choice

We will begin the class by talking about the materials i use and why i use them - before going into the actual lessons of how you draw people. We will cover the most important topics such as figure proportions, eye-line, perspective and last but not at least - how to draw a final sketch completed with people and background.


Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Lasse Voss

Actor & Illustrator


Hi there! I'm Lasse Voss and i'm an actor and illustrator based in copenhagen, Denmark. I've been illustrating professionally for more than 10 years as a freelancer, I've illustrated for some of the largest companies in Denmark and I've been teaching art for about 4 years. 

I can't wait to share some different classes with you!

Music: https://www.bensound.com

See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • Exceeded!
  • Yes
  • Somewhat
  • Not really
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Introduction: Urban sketching is about capturing the moment. To do that, we have to draw fast. My name is Lasse Voss. I'm an actor and an illustrator based in Denmark. In this class, I will teach you how to draw people in an urban sketching style. I have been illustrating professionally for the last 10 years. I have illustrated in more than 25 books, and I've illustrated some of the largest companies in Denmark. I only use three materials. Thick paper, a black pen, waterproof, and some watercolor. That's all you need. The human body is quite difficult to draw. But let's try to make it simple. Let's get started. 2. Tools & Materials: Let's talk a bit about the tools and the materials I use. All I use is: thick paper, a black pen waterproof, and some watercolor. I don't use pencils and it's not like you can't use pencils, I just don't prefer it. The problem with pencils is that you make this rough sketch and then you take your black pen and you refine it, you shouldn't refine your sketch because urban sketching is all about capturing the moment. The thing that tricks our mind to think that this is realistic is that it's actually as rough as it is. So if you are going to focus on the details, it probably won't work. 3. Figure Proportions: Human body is quite difficult to draw. Let's try to make it simple. A male is eight head-tall. A female is about seven, seven-and-half head-tall. A child is roughly above five heads tall and teenage is about six to seven heads tall. So let me show you what I mean. Let's start off by drawing a male, a male character is about eight heads tall. So that means that if we want to draw a man, let's save this tow and divided into eight sections. Just about there that means that this is his head. This is his upper body and this is his legs. That's basically a man. A woman, is about seven to seven and a half heads tall. So let's put her at seven here. It's divided into about seven sections. Suddenly that let's draw some hair there we have a female. A child is roughly about five heads tall. So let's do that and about here. Divide it into about five sections here we have the head and the body and legs. A teenage girl is about six heads tall let's try that. Let's draw some female here on shoulders,nice little body, and some legs. That would be a female teenager. A male teenager is roughly the same height as their moms. So that's about seven heads tall. Let's try that. That would basically be the proportions of human beings. 4. Eye-line & Perspective: Eye line and perspective. An eye line is when you see people from. What I mean is, if you're sitting down, you're about three feet tall, right? Something like that. When you're looking at people standing up, you will look at their belly button. When you stand up, this depends on how tall you are, but let's say like around five or six feet tall, that is your new eye line. That means that you will be around the same height as everyone else in the room. Perspective in a nutshell, basically just means that the closer an object is to you, the larger it looks and the further away the smaller it looks. That's basic but just push back to. Let me show you what I mean. The eye line is where we are looking at other people. If we just standing tall, the eye line will probably be a little bit above the center. Let's draw in some people. Let's draw one right here. Say he is about this tall, he is just walking in his feet, and that's about him. Alright, that's the first one. Let's draw one who is just there, a little bit closer. Let's, let's draw one who was very close actually. Maybe we only see like this much of him, that's it. I don't see much more than that. Let's draw one is like really far away. Let's draw a little woman here. Just like that. You see their heads is all on this eye level line, which means that they are all about, let's say five or six feet tall, something like that. Let's draw some more people. There is one here in the background. Maybe a little one here as well. That's about it, and a little one here and let's draw a woman here. She's just about that tall. She has her bag right here, so about that and a hand, and this hand to swing out like that, and she's walking away, something like that. Let's draw a little one here. Right there, really small one like [inaudible] right there. That's how to draw people with the same eye line as you. If we were, let's say, sitting down and watching people, then we would move the eye level line down a bit. Let's draw a little line right here. This time the eye line is about other people's waist, which means that if we were going to draw a tall man right here with a hat, so it will be something like that. Alright, so this is our first man. Let's say we would draw someone who was farther away this time because of the eye line is right down here. Both the head and the feet will move closer to that line. Let's draw some old man further away, just about here. You're seeing, both the feet and the head is closer to that line. Let's draw in some more people. Let's draw a female right next to him, like right here, they are the same height. They're holding hands right here, so they're sweet and they are over there. Let's draw an old man right here. Maybe he has this little stick with him and a little six pence right there. You draw some really small people, like way further back. Just like that. Let's say we have a female right here, walking the dog right there. That's it. That is how you move the eye line around so you can make some interesting scenes. 5. Final sketch part 1: Sketching people: I think this is the moment where you are ready to sketch in your own illustration from start to finish. I'll split this up in three parts. The first part is me sketching some people in. The second part is me drawing the background, a building, maybe a flag, something like that, and the third part is just me coloring in the sketch. Let's sketch in some people. The first thing I'm going to do, is drawing the eye line. I will draw it straight in the middle. Right here. Something like that. The next thing I'm going to do is just sketch in some rough people. So you could start off by drawing a head, and a nice body right here, and leg, just like that. The other leg in behind first one. Let's say he's pointing to watch something. I'm not sure what he's pointing at, but he's pointing at something. The other arm right there. There we go. Let's just put in some hair. The next one, I'm going to draw a female slightly further away. Just here, walking in another direction. Let's draw in a bag, right here, and something like that. That looks nice. Let's draw someone in the foreground, so I'm going to draw female again I guess, right here. She's really close too much, something like that. I'm going to draw just the top of her body just like that, something like that. Maybe she has a school bag, something like that. Yes. I like that. It's cool. Let's try some shades. Just like that. Make a zipper right here and a little pocket, something like that. That looks nice. Let's draw some more people. A little person here just like that, posing a little bit. Another character here standing with this side here, with a little hat on, little cap, something like that. That looks nice. Let's draw some people in here and they're just small people further away just like that. Maybe we can draw a family. This is dad and mother something like that. Maybe he's holding his little child here. Let's draw another person right here. The last one, walking here with a little hat. Something like that. With this handbag, with a little stick right there. Let's draw the last little person here in the background right there. I like that. 6. Final sketch part 2: Background: Let's move on and draw a background. I'll sketch in a simple building just using some simple shapes like squares. I will start off by making the building around here. Let's see how far off it should go. I think I like that. Something like that. Right in between here, right there. Yeah, that's good. Let's draw in a few lines here and there. Make some details something like that. Let's do the same here. Let's put in a door like he's pointing towards the door. Let's shade this in completely black. Let's draw some more details. Right here. Yeah, that is good. Lets draw in some stairs just like that. Just simple lines. Let's make the line out here and a line out here. That is good. Let's draw a bit more on this building. I'm going to draw a few lines here. Want to cross just like that. Let's do something like this. Let's draw in some details once again. Yeah, these details. Something like that. Let's draw a final little one up here, right there. Yeah, that's good. Let's draw another one of those few details and little a flag on top. Just like that. Let's draw in some windows. I put three on this side. Maybe two here. Let's do something different. Let's draw in this window. Yeah, I like that with small ones below. Just like that. Let's make some details here just like that. Let's make some more details. Let's put in some lines, horizontal lines just like that. The further away they are, the smaller they will get. That's perspective. Just like that. Let's draw these in-between here. Just connect that. Let's draw in some trees in the background just to get some nature. Let's draw a little tree there. Lets make a slightly large one just like that. The same in the other side, like right here and right there. Maybe a small one something in between right there. Just a little bit of right there. Little bit. That's the final sketch in the next lesson, we'll color it in. 7. Final sketch part 3: Adding colors: Let's start coloring. I like orange and teals, so I figured that we could make this like sunset colors in the background here, like the skies. Who like that? Just slightly, not too much. It's important to keep some white space here and there. Just color it in just like this, just nice and quick. Don't have to be too beautiful, something like that. Just to make it a little warmer, I like some orange. I'm going to put some orange in, just here, just around the building, just behind that, and down here, so like that. The building, I'm going to make this soft teal, so it's a very soft color, not that strong. Just like that. I'm using this same here for the stairs, and here. Just like that, they're soft colors. Just to make some shadows, I'm going to use a little dark teal, just like that. Just to make it a bit more contrasty, something like that. I will do the same in this side, not all the way around, just slightly. It's right there. Just like that. I like that. Then I will color in some trees here, and on the right side, make this soft green. Watch how I'm leaving some white space; that makes the drawing look much more natural and interesting. Just put a bit more color, just here at the bottom, just like that. Same here, here, there. Let's draw in these bushes just like that. These shadows will be dark purple, just to make it interesting to look at. Doesn't have to be all that natural colors all the time. Just a little bit of purple right there, maybe in the windows, just the one side here, same here, just in all the windows. Just like that. Maybe on the bottom, just like that. The rest of it, I will just use this soft orangey color, just like that. It doesn't have to be perfect, just need to shade in the colors. Just like that. Let's color in the people, so a bit of purple there, and maybe this one is purple, just like that. It doesn't have to be purple all the way to sell the idea. This should be enough. Dark orangey color, let's use this here. I like that. Here as well. Just a little of the legs here, just like that. A bit here, there you go, and over here. Let's use this soft brown just right there, in here, and there, there. I like that. Just like that. This is how I draw an urban sketch with people. 8. Final Thoughts: The three best advice I can give you is, to draw as much as possible, to draw as fast as possible, and to draw with your shoulder instead of your wrist. What I mean by that is, if you want to draw smooth lines like really smooth, then you need to use your shoulder and your arm in one motion. Also if you draw circles, it's the same principle. When you use your wrist, it won't work. It will probably take you about two weeks to adapt to this method. Every single illustrator in the world uses this method. My name is Lasse Voss, I hope you enjoyed it and thanks for watching.