‘Sketching People’ Book Review

Something I’m particularly keen to try is urban sketching, and there are many titles to choose from, each with their own perspective.  Sketching People; An urban sketcher’s guide to drawing figures and faces by children’s book illustrator, author, and Urban Sketchers Yorkshire (UK) correspondent, Lynne Chapman captured my interest.  As a follower of Lynne’s blog An Illustrator’s Life for Me! and a ‘student’ on her Expressive Picture Book Characters Craftsy course, to say I was excited would be an understatement!

Lynne Chapman, Sketching People (Search Press, 2016)

The Basic Premise

The following statement was taken from the back cover:

“Lynne Chapman shows you how to capture figures with immediacy and honesty. There is plenty of straightforward, practical help to give beginner sketchers the confidence to draw all sorts of people in a variety of situations.”

My ‘Blunt’ Review

If you have ever attempted to draw people in an urban setting you’ll understand how challenging it can be. The human form is complex enough before you add in motion, and a social context.  My own urban sketches of people have so far been uninspiring, even unsuccessful, heavily influenced by my many years of life-drawing classes.  I’m used to people staying relatively still for extended periods, so I’m aware I need to develop a whole new skillset for drawing adventures outside the studio.

The first few spreads of this book are dedicated to explaining the what? and why? of Urban Sketching. The remainder is divided into four key chapters which cover the how? such as materials, capturing details correctly, where to draw people, and dealing with movement.

This book is jam-packed with informative advice and examples from Lynne’s own sketchbooks and those of other practicing Urban Sketchers from around the world. There are many styles, approaches and subjects to take inspiration from, and Lynne’s chatty, approachable personality shines through in her informative commentaries.  There are also step-by-step demonstrations dotted throughout each chapter, so you can see how simple techniques can give the illusion of a more complicated drawing.

I loved the balance of text to illustration in this book, and the huge variety of artists and work represented. Urban Sketching is about capturing your own perspective, and Lynne truly understands the obstacles that beginners may fear.  Her suggestions and examples will alleviate some of them.  Practice in the field should alleviate the others!

If, like me, you’re venturing into this genre for the first time, or have some experience and would like to improve your people drawing skills, I would recommend this book. Affordably priced at £12.99, this is one title I will definitely buy.

The post ‘Sketching People’ Book Review first appeared on Filbert and Smudge.

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