How to sketch people in public – people sketching – episode 1

[Opening Theme Music] Hello everyone, Will Terrell here. Thank you
for watching this video. Today this video I’m doing is an actual live sketch of somebody
that we saw in Walmart. I get a lot of questions about how we do live sketching in public places,
how do you do it without people noticing, without them getting upset with you, or how
do you do it quickly because people don’t just sit there. So this video is basically
just some tips on how I go about doing it, and everybody’s different so you’ll have to
find your own way, what you’re comfortable with. First of all, one thing a lot of people
tell me is that when they start sketching people in public, or they try to, it’s very…they
get frustrated that it’s not as easy as it looks, and that’s perfectly natural. I mean,
I’ve been sketching people in public for a long time, but I can never do more than one
or two sketches in my sketchbook before I get frustrated, and put it away and go home
and work on something else. And I’d always look at other artist’s work and be frustrated
at how they made it look so easy. But the truth is, it’s just like anything. You have
to get where you can have fun doing it and you’re not doing it just to have a sketchbook
or just to do a few sketches, you’re doing it because you actually enjoy it. But the
way I was able to get there is I found a friend named Brandon Green. You can check out his
work at, and I’ll put a link in the notes for you. But
before that I’d always drawn mostly by myself, and that’s kind of, ya know, it’s not as fun. It’s really nice to have somebody else there
that, you look at their sketches and you’re like: “Oh that’s awesome, I think I could
do that!” and so you know you kind of push each other to grow and even better is when
you can be witness to the wildlife together [laughs]. In fact when we’re sketching at Walmart . we
sketch at all places, we sketch at malls and restaurants and stuff. but Walmart’s pretty
much the best because you’ve got the people of Walmart, you’ve got the wildlife there,
but we sit at the counters in the restaurant inside Walmart that face all the cash registers.
And so when you see somebody with a fancy hat, or suspenders, or a crazy mustache or
something like that, you can call out: “Mustache line two!” you know? Or “Mullet!” Ya know,
we actually saw a guy with a double mullet which is pretty amazing, and we called him
out “Double mullet line one!” and everybody draws the person on that line. So, it becomes
a fun little game and you can figure out you know, like: “Asian Danny DeVito” or, you come
up with little slogans and stuff, so when you actual see the Asian Danny DeVito and
it looks exactly like Asian Danny DeVito, you’re like: “OH MY GOD!” So it’s nice to
have people to do it with. So the sketch I’m working on right now is
basically a memory sketch. I only had about twenty seconds to see the guy. He was actually
standing behind me and we both picked him out as having the most amazing mustache in
the world. So I looked at him a little bit and tried to take a mental note of what I
wanted to draw from him. Number one was I wanted to capture the mustache, how it looked
like,ya know, it was blowing in the wind even though he was standing perfectly still inside.
I wanted to capture the leatheriness of his neck. And I wanted to capture how his eyebrows
seemed to be growing around his glasses. So those were the three things that I wanted
to put into the drawing. As soon as I knew what I wanted to do with it, I did my best
to capture the likeness. I tried to capture the slope of his nose, and the slope of his
chin. As you can see it kind of juts out, a little tiny chin. And from there, it’s sort
of like me turning him, instead of a caricature, I’m turning him into a character. So it’s
not…like if you were to see the actual person, it might look similar to him, but it’s not
going to look exactly like him. And I’d say that about half of my sketches in public are
like that, ’cause unless someone’s sitting there for several minutes, you’re not going
to get a lot of time to look at them. And you really don’t wanna get too bogged down
in the details of it. I mean it’s better to find a good photo online, or sneak a photo
or something, and draw when you have time to do it. But when you’re live sketching you’re
just trying to just let your mind flow and let the drawing come out and do your best
to capture their personality. When I first started sketching with Brandon, it was a little
over a year ago, I really struggled with being able to do sketching. Like I said, I’d get
frustrated that it wouldn’t come out like I wanted, and that lasted for about six months,
where I really had to make myself sit down and draw someone everywhere that I went. I
mean I was enjoying it, it was just frustrating. And then somewhere after that six months it
just clicked and I started really…like, I needed to do it. I was getting good likenesses,
I was able to turn ’em more into characters, and people were starting to like my drawings
more, and notice them more. So, it was worth the struggle of going through it and I’m really
glad I had somebody to help me get through that, where I wasn’t just drawing, I was actually
hanging out with somebody and having fun with it. And I’ve had that experience before when
I lived in California, in San Diego, I was fortunate to sketch with a sketch club out
there with Court Jones and Steve Fishwick, and Stephen Silver would come draw with us
from time to time, and lots and lots of talented caricature artist from SeaWorld park that
I worked at. I was there for one summer and I learned a lot just from being around other
artists and having the ritual of drawing every day. That was amazing. So I’ve always tried
to do it, but it’s not until recently that it just flows. And I can honestly attribute
that to repetition. This is my fourth sketchbook since I started live sketching regularly about
a year ago, and it was after somewhere in the middle of the second sketchbook that things
started to really click. So, my biggest recommendation is just to be patient with yourself and try
and make it fun, make it a game where you’re not beatin’ yourself up if it doesn’t look
like somebody, you’re just trying to do lots of good drawings, or lots of bad drawings
even. Just get used to the ritual of drawing people and practicing, and developing your
eye and developing your photographic memory where you can see something and picture it
in your head and reproduce it onto the page. And that’s the best way to go. You’ve got
to be patient with it and look at the long-run. You know? Like make it a goal to finish a
whole sketchbook in, ya know, three months. Or two months. Or even faster than that. And
you’ll really start to see yourself grow leaps and bounds. Well that’s it for this video. I really appreciate
everybody checking it out. I hope you got something out of it. I actually video taped
me coloring this one too so I may post that one later on. I appreciate you watching the
video, thanks for checking it out. Also thank you everyone for the comments and e-mails
I’ve been getting. I really enjoy hearing what you think about it, about the videos
and that you’re getting something out of it. I look forward to doing more, and thank you
for the support, and keep smiling. [Closing Theme Music]


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