Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Let's draw: 'People' Saturday sketch meeting 27 March 2021

"People are always missing from my drawings."

(Could this be you?)

Hosted by John Webb

St Paul's
All sketches by John Webb

As Urban Sketchers our default setting tends to be the built environment. But if it were not for people, there would be no need for places. People come first, then come places. So drawing people in places is a legitimate urban sketch. Indeed, places without people would be unnatural. So why are they missing from the greater proportion of our drawings? 

Richmond Park

Are we like some photographers who will wait hours to get a ‘good shot’ without people, believing that ‘people spoil the picture’? Not in my case. For me it's simply that drawing figures is a challenge. 

Kensington busker

I’m sure I’m not alone in having trouble with people (read that as you will!). But people are a big asset in a setting -- they give a sense of scale and direction, lend interest to a composition, and add life and a bit of fun. This isn’t portraiture or long-pose life drawing, but the human part of the urban scene...whether people are sitting, standing, cycling, contemplating, reading or running, or playing instruments or sports.

Some of us are old enough to remember dry-transfer figures available by the sheet to rub onto graphic illustrations, their frozen-rigid postures instantly recognisable. Or the stylised, hand drawn carrot-shaped figures loved by architects. 

There's an equally wide variety of styles and techniques dotted about on our social media pages. At the end of this day, there’s a lot for us to enjoy and take inspiration from. 

Lord's Cricket Ground

Plan for the day

This will be our second sketch meeting with an online element (our first virtual session, 'Naughty and Nice' on 13 February 2021, was a delight). Please draw whatever and wherever you can on the day, while observing current COVID restrictions, and post the results on social media in the usual way.

As always, we will be sketching from life -- but you are most welcome to join us to say hello and for an online introduction to the March challenge.

You can stay and sketch together -- sketch yourself, whoever is in your household, whoever walks past your window, or anyone you see if you venture out and about -- or join us later for show and tell. 


We will host a Zoom meeting around the 'People' theme. First, John will introduce the session with a few words on his ideas about sketching people. You are then free to go and draw. The Zoom link will remain live throughout the day, so that anyone who wishes to do so can stay in the Zoom session and sketch together at home. We may throw in a few in-the-moment challenges!

2.45 - 3pm

We will gather again on Zoom for a show and tell. The Zoom link will remain open for a while, so anyone who wishes to can have a virtual drink together afterwards. 

Our first virtual sketch meeting, 13 February 2021

How to join in

If you are interested in joining the Zoom meeting, please let us know via our email address. Put 'March Sketch Meeting' in the subject line of your message, and we will send you the Zoom link and passcode.

Wait, there's more!

If you are sketching from London and drawing a specific place in your neighbourhoods, your sketches can be included in the Our London interactive sketch map. We can then see who is where and get a sense of place. It may help sketchers to know who is very local to them when, in future, we are able to meet again in small groups.

We are very interested to know what you think of these new ideas, which we hope will combine our desire to continue to sketch in situ with the social element we all miss.

And if you'd like to see what we have planned for the coming months, have a look at the USk London programme for 2021.

Happy sketching!

Metropole waiters


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