My attempt at the One Week 100 People Challenge

Can you sketch 100 people in a week? For most artists drawing 100 figures in five days would be difficult. So, I decided to give this challenge a go and see what I could accomplish.

The drawing challenge #OneWeek100People is organised by Marc Holmes and Liz Steel every year at the start of March. This year it was from the 6th to the 10th of March. Yes, it is a work week from Monday to Friday. That means you are creating twenty sketches of people per day.

The rules are simple, draw 100 people in 5 days. You can sketch them either from life or photographs. The level of complexity is up to you; simple line drawings are acceptable too. The aim of the project is for sustained practice, not perfection. Check out their Facebook group for tons of inspiration!

Materials I used

My goal this year was to master using ink to draw and paint. I saw this art challenge as a chance to learn this medium.

I started most of my sketches with charcoal pencil, keeping my lines loose with no details.

Next, I added outlines to the sketch using the Kuretake Brush Pens. I love these pens for the dynamic lines they can create and the flexibility it gives me as an artist. The pigment is dark, giving my drawings good contrast.

Materials for sketching

I also used two fineliners for details that the brush pens could not achieve. The Staedtler pigment liner and the Stabilo point 88 pens were my go-tos for fine lines.

I tried to use the white POSCA marker for highlights, but the pigment was not bright enough against the ink and did not give me the effect I wanted. I eventually gave up on using it.

For my first few people drawings, I used a Derwent water brush with some diluted India Ink to add the washes over my outlines. The ink did not flow freely; I had to squeeze hard to get the ink out of the tube. I found this method slow and cumbersome. However, I would not discount using water brushes as they are a great travel tool.

On the second day, I decided to try to create ink washes in a palette instead. I created a light-tone and mid-tone by diluting the India Ink with water. The washes over my drawings were much quicker and easier to do with this method, but I got carried away and added more detail than planned.

sketches of people

I also experimented with doing some of the people's sketches with Copic markers.

sketches of old ladies with markers

Challenges I faced

I did not plan on doing this art challenge. After watching a video by Taria's Sketchy Adventures, it was a spontaneous decision to attempt the #OneWeek100People drawings.

On the first day, I found most of my references on Pinterest and thought that would be enough to get through it. I forgot the importance of composing a good composition of the figures on the page. Attempting to compose the images on a page was complex, and the lack of planning slowed me down.

sketches of children

Check out my Pinterest Board for people drawing references.

I set a timer to do 12-15 minute sketches. But I found myself ignoring the timer. I enjoyed working with the ink washes so much that I ignored the timer. I could have easily accomplished my goal if I had stuck to my original time limit. Silly me!

Cafe sketches

On the 4th day, I was ready to sketch people from life. But I did not pick a good location. The cafe I went to was half empty. People were leaving as I got there. The right location is crucial for a successful drawing-from-life session.

sketch of a man in a chair

What I learned

By the third day of the challenge, I realised that I needed to make a plan and stick to it. I had only accomplished 38 drawings. The chances of completing the challenge with 100 drawings looked slim.

I think I set the bar too high for myself. There was nothing wrong with including a few simple line drawings along with more completed pieces.

sketches of people

I learnt that I need to decide the locations to sketch in advance. The following weekend I went to the beach and saw hundreds of captive subjects; it would have been the perfect place to draw. Make sure the locations for life drawings are heavily populated, so if whoever you are drawing leaves, you can draw another person.

I discovered that using one medium was the best decision in this venture. I feel like I learned so much in the past few days. I now have a good understanding of how to use Indian ink.

I also realised I needed to learn how to use my time more effectively. Perhaps if I had actually used the timer, I could have accomplished my goal.

Finally, I am sure you want to know...

Did you accomplish the #OneWeek100People?

I got halfway to 56 drawings. The 56th one was a self portrait, drawing my reflection off the french doors on the balcony. I am proud of what I accomplished anyway. It's a lot more than I would do in a week. I also gained so much knowledge on how to use Indian ink to sketch people.

Self-portrait sketch

Most importantly, I had so much fun trying this challenge.

I now know what I am capable of and want to see how I improve in the following year. I will try this art challenge next year and hopefully hit my goal of #OneWeek100People.

Will you join me?

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