Playing for Change

Where do you find 100 People to sketch?

Last year I joined the challenge to sketch 100 people in a week, thinking I would never find that many people or that much time. Fiddlesticks! Go have a coffee somewhere or sketch your family/friends for the 100th time. And if it’s raining or you’re pressed for time or tired, turn on your computer or iPhone (it’s obviously already on, right?) Our world abounds with people to sketch. And we people are so very interesting with our funny facial expressions and ethnic characteristics and hats and slouchy postures and hairdos. As a sketch subject, it’s the antithesis of boring.


fountain pen and watercolor in spiral Field Watercolor Journal, 8 X 8″

Here’s a couple examples of my recent “people finds”. This fellow was playing along with the group on stage at the Sebastopol Farmer’s Market, which, if you’re local, is the premier people sketching spot all day every Sunday.


Four musicians I could see from my bench. I could have listened all day to the Andean folk sounds of Cuyuy. The guy on his knee on the left was playing a drum that I couldn’t see. The two next to him kept changing instruments. You just have to keep sketching whatever you have a good view of at the time and hope it comes out looking like an understandable scene!


Another day it was rainy and cold and I got an announcement from Playing for Change ,a music station I subscribe to, about a new recording. They record the same song performed by people all over the world at the same time and it’s so inspiring! Also, it’s great for people sketching, so I got out my beige toned Stillman + Birn sketchbook and a bit of gouache. Just hit pause and start drawing!

But if you’re going to try for 100 people in one week, you can do quickies in pencil or brush pen or any medium you want on any kind of paper. To my way of thinking this is not a contest. If you like to draw, it’s a way to give that draw muscle enough of a workout that by the end of the week you can say, “Wow! this drawing thing is getting easier and easier.”

The week starts tomorrow. Use the #OneWeek100People2018 hashtag if you share your sketches and are into that kind of thing. Or just do it for yourself. I’ll do it with you.


In My Toned Tan Sketchbook

Nice to start out with toned paper for a sketch. Come in with white for highlights and ink, watercolor and gouache for the darks and a touch of color. It’s a shortcut that saves time.


Pentel Pocket Brush Pen, watercolor and white Uniball Signo pen in Strathmore Toned Tan sketchbook, 5.5X8″

If I find myself at the end of the day needing a quick bit of art making  I’ll listen to music, find an image I can relate to, and do a sketch with the brush pen. I was watching a Clarence Becker performance for Playing for Change (I’m a subscriber) and was spellbound by the expressiveness not only of his singing but of his face! Didn’t begin to capture it here, but it was great trying.


Next night it was an email I got about kids and their families visiting the halls of Congress to deliver petitions (one was mine)  to Save PBS!


Next day I received pictures from my friends who have just become the happiest grandparents (taking turns holding baby).

So, honestly I got to enjoy a great performance, deliver petitions to Congress and hold a baby, without leaving my studio. I wonder what it will be tonight. . .