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Friday
Apr212017

10 Top Tips on Drawing People 

This is the guy with the Mohican! Seen/drawn in a cafe in Dundee, Scotland.  

Drawing people is awesome. It's also very scary. Personally it has been my challenge over the past 10 years to overcome my fear of drawing people. Do you ever find that you're having a conversation with someone or just simply watching the world go by and think, "I wish I could draw that face!"or "WOW look at that dude with the Mohican... he's so interesting! I wish I could draw what's going on there!" Well I'm here to tell you that you can. Below you'll find 10 of my top methods that I use when drawing people. I hope that you find them useful & if you have any questions or top tips of your own please leave a comment below! If you would like more of my drawing wisdom in your inbox, feel free to join my list. Em x

 

woman on a train from Dundee, conveniently engrossed in her phone. 1. Keep a Sketchbook Close 

so you can action the desire

If you don't have, or can't afford a sketchbook, any surface and implement will do! For me the habit of keeping a sketchbook close by means that I can both seek out opportunities to draw and accept the ones that find their way to me. There is always time between events (that we fill with whateverness) but drawing is FUN, great for the mind and the heart. Public transport is an abundant resource of people to draw. 

Be kind to yourself and breathe through your doubt.

 

2. Just Breathe.

Be more AWESOME than your fear.

Take a deep breath and gather your drawing kit. That can be anything, but at the very least, a surface and and an implement. Pencil and paper will do. Everyone that draws people comes up against fear. I certainly do! Fear of the blank page, pressure that my drawing won't look like the person, pressure that my drawing won't be good enough. Poor drawing. It's feeling sad and it doesn't even exist yet!! This is the point at which many people stop. That's right! Before you've even begun. Push through these feelings because as your muscles develop more memory they get easier to sit with. You'll learn to be more AWESOME than your fear. Breathe. Again. 

3. LOOKING is necessary.

No judgement, just pure looking 

The most common cause of a drawing not looking like the subject is simply not looking. So that's a great place to begin. Take the time to really look and study your subject before putting the implement to the surface. Try as hard as you can not to dive in too quickly. Let your brain and your heart gather the information through your eyes before your hand has a chance to catch up. Remember to breathe. You wouldn't start a car in 5th gear and drawing is the same. You look left, right and left again and make sure you won't crash before you're even on the road! 

Blind Drawing of Urban Art Binge pals. Lols...sorry Debbie!4. Blind Contour Drawing 

FUN! and a great way to continue looking as much as you can without judgement

Keep you hand on the page & your eye on the subject. Naturally because you're not looking at your drawing it will be wonky! That's ok. Remember muscle memory!! 

John Mills Himself, Brisbane Australia

 5. Find a Crowd

Humans are a busy species in 2017

This works to your advantage when you're wanting to learn to draw them! Most of the time, in a crowded place, no one will notice you drawing away. If someone should notice, your AWESOME factor will increase exponentially.  

 

warmup sketch focusing on comfortable details like clothing

 

6. Begin with a Button

focusing on fabric is a great way to get your hand moving

Start by looking at and drawing a part of the body that makes you feel most comfortable. I often begin by drawing part of a person's clothing. It might be a button, the texture of fabric or a shoe. I choose this as a method because often times, my subject will begin to forget that I'm drawing them & by the time I get to the face we're deep in conversation. That said. I will often look up at my subject between the button and the page because that way, my heart and brain are in-taking visual information about the subject's facial expressions. When I'm ready to draw the face, I have a rough idea of what's going on. Remember my analogy of the car in gear, well this part is more about long distance vision. You can see further down the road before you've arrived. Drive slowly. With enough fuel in the tank you'll arrive at your destination. 

 

Focusing on the interaction between C and her frantic Jack Russell, Becky.7. Be selective

7. Be Selective

you can't draw everything in one drawing, and you don't need to

With each drawing that you do, try and simplify your intension before you begin. You are trying to communicate something through your drawing. Eventually this process of simplification and editing will become natural, but in the beginning you need to work hard at this part. The good news is, by work hard, I mean do nothing! At least nothing with your hands. Breathe. Observe. What is jumping out at you? What do you find most interesting about what you're looking at? If the answer is nothing then you have a problem...which may simply be that you're not interested in your subject matter. If that's the case, move on to something that you DO find interesting. Once you've decided what that is, then your drawing will have more clarity of intension. Keep it simple. Breathe.  

C wearing the colours of April in Fife8. Every Body is Beautiful

 and everybody is different 

This also means that each drawing of a person will be different. I think this is why drawing people is so challenging. Try and use your hands in an emotional way to express what it is you understand of the person you are drawing. What do you know of their character? Are they bold and fierce? Gentle and thoughtful? A melting pot of lots of character traits? Allow these thoughts and insights to travel through you and guide the marks that you make. With each drawing you do of a person you will discover more layers, if not their layers, then definitely your own. Be open. 

 

Life drawing is the BEST practice for drawing people9. Life Drawing 

is awesome

No matter what anyone will tell you, life drawing will never go out of fashion. In my humble opinion it's one of the coolest and most vital practices for artists and creative humans of any persuasion. The life drawing room is a safe space for people to gather, and have permission to look as much as they possibly can. This regular practice is a place for you to seek guidance and connection & to introduce you to the multiple forms a human body can take. It's an opportunity to test out ideas & media and take your hands for the artist's equivalent of a run! There should be a drop-in life drawing session not too far from you. If there is not, do yourself a favour and start one up. Letham Life Drawing in Fife, Scotland is my regular. 

Grandma, Darwina Fong10. Sleeping People

Draw your grandma. She's got time and she loves you xxx 

 

 

 

 

 

In Summary: 

1. Keep a sketchbook close
2. Just breathe
3. Looking is necessary
4. Blind contour drawing
5. Find a crowd
6. Begin with a button
7. Be selective
8. Every body is beautiful
9. Life Drawing
10. Draw your Grandma! 

Congratulations! You made it to the end of my list! I hope that you found something inspiring within and if you would like more of my drawing wisdom in your inbox or you'd like to get in touch about drawing workshops by yours truly jump on my list! or save my email for reference : emilyfongstudio@gmail.com. 

Bye for now,

Em x

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