I found myself procrastinating to start with these exercises. The process of sketching people is completely out of my comfort zone. I found it extremely hard to attempt it, as what I draw won’t really look like the person I’m trying to draw.

I prefer drawing people in cartoon style instead of sketching them as they really are. I guess with more practise I might find it easier, but at the moment it is not my favourite activity. When I draw people, the exact shape and features look out of proportion in my drawings.

I’m not good at sketching people the way they actually look like. Therefore, I usually try to avoid it. After reading the following paragraph from James Hobbs’ book, “Sketch your world”, I decided to give it a go: “Whatever you are interested in drawing, human figures often make an appearance, and for that reason it is a subject worth tackling rather than editing them out from your composition. They may just make it on to the peripheries of your drawings of architecture to give a sense of scale, they may be part of a crowded blur passing through the main focus of your work, or they may be the full-on close-up portrait of a sleeping train passenger. Whichever it is, it is worth letting people in to your sketchbook.”

I like the following sentence from; the book, “You are drawing life, and taking people-watching to a new level”. I have always loved people-watching, but since I’ve started this course, I’ve been looking at my surroundings and people from a different perspective. I pay more attention to the way they move; to the various different positions they sit/ stand/ sleep in; their range of facial expressions; the way they react in different ways according to their moods; the detail of their clothing style and accessories; different viewpoints; etc.

I enjoyed reading about Asako Masunouchi’s sketchbooks in the book, “Sketchbooks, The hidden art of designers, Illustrators and creatives”. I love her thoughts about drawing people, “I draw pretty much anything. I don’t have rules, but I do avoid dirty themes, and while I constantly draw people, I never ask people to model, as I like to draw them as they are, in their natural environment, unaware that they are being sketched. Drawing people makes me imagine their lives, their situations. I like their dynamic element.”

I used the following topics from the book “Sketch your world, Essential techniques for drawing on location” by James Hobbs as guidance: “People”; “Finding subjects”; People in cafes”; “People and Movement”; “Sketching People on the go”; “Profile: Marina Grechanik”; “Profile: Steve Wilkin”. Reading the following inspired me to give it a go: “Drawing people is one of the most challenging and yet fulfilling opportunities for an artist on the move.”; “Capturing the position of the future, its attitude, and the fall of its weight in a believable and proportioned way comes with close observation and regular practise.”. According to the freelance graphic designer and illustrator Marina Grechanik, “A likeness doesn’t have to be like a photograph. I’m trying to capture the essence of the character as I think it is.” I guess the only way I might improve, is if I start practising and hopefully eventually develop my own style.

Oscar Wilde wrote, “Every portrait painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not the sitter” in the book, “The Picture of Dorian Gray” (1891). According to the book, “Thinking Visually for Illustrators”, “A portrait is a representation of a person that can also highlight the personality, identity or psyche of the illustrator, who can utilise the form to make their own visual statements”. Although this exercise is about sketching people in public (and not a portrait), I do think the sketch made is only a representation of the Illustrators’ interpretation and perspective of a person they’re sketching.






NAME: Juanita du Toit


COURSE: Illustration 1: Illustration Sketchbooks

The Open College of the Arts (University for the Creative Arts)

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