Sketching People

Sketching beach figures

A crowded beach is a great place for sketching people. I didn’t have a notebook with me, so I took photos for reference and sketched when I got home.

Yesterday at the pool I was prepared with a notebook. Sitting near the diving boards, I sketched the people waiting in line. But they move!

Sketching at the poolSketching at the pool

Finished feels so good!

Watercolor beach painting

I’m thankful for today’s snow day and the break from everyday life. That and a few days of sketching figures gave me the push to finally finish this beach scene with the three girls playing in the surf. I’ve been afraid to finish this one – afraid of ruining it. As I sat down to work on it, I thought, “Done is better than unfinished, no matter what the result.” And the more I work on painting figures, and getting the shadows right, the more I’ll learn.


I use watercolor pencils to draw the figures. Just wet the lines and it disappears!

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“Paint quick and don’t overwork it” (note to self)


There is inspiration everywhere you look at the beach – the sand, sea, and sky. Lately I’ve been noticing the endless supply of figures – in all shapes and sizes. Occasionally I’ll pull out a small sketchbook, but usually I take photos to draw later.

The female lifeguard caught my eye, because that was me 30 years ago! I’m trying to work fast and loose. This is the type of painting that paralyzes me. Afraid to ruin it, I take forever, and if I finish, it looks stiff and lifeless. So, my goal is to push through and finish today whatever the result.

Figure Drawing – update on my Summer project

I keep a sketchbook in my beach bag and try to pull it out while we are at the beach. I wish people would stop moving! – lol. Last week I realized I’d forgotten a pencil. So, I snapped a couple of photos of people by the shore. When I got home I sketched them. They were easier to draw – since they were staying still. 🙂

Here are my previous posts on this subject:
1. Figure Drawing – My Summer Project
2. Figure Drawing – the inside of the body

Figure Drawing – the inside of the body


I know, you’re probably laughing at my picture right now, but I thought sketching the inside of the body would be a helpful exercise. I started with a skeleton sketch, then laid tracing paper over it and sketched in some of the muscles. I’m hoping this will help me next time I sketch a figure.

Currently, I’m using a book I found at the library, “Drawing Figures,” by Ray Smith. But I’m looking for others. If anyone has any recommendations on books or videos – that would be great!

I’ve done a couple of sketches of the kids this past week.


I’m already excited about my progress on my summer project (figure drawing)! To give credit where credit is due – Here is a link to a post on “A Thing Created,” which talks about understanding the skull underneath the face for portrait drawings. Thank you Erisha!

Figure Drawing – My Summer Project

figure drawing
I realized the other day that even though there are a couple of weeks left til the kids are out of school – I only have 3 days of quiet “me” time left! Ahhhh! I’ve been doing so well since I made my creative resolution. I can’t let it fall apart now. 🙂

With this in my mind, I went paper shopping and took my time looking at all the art products in the store. As soon as I saw the figure drawing books, I knew how I was going to stay motivated this summer. I needed a summer project and it was going to be figure drawing.

When I got home I took the wooden figure from my daughter’s room and started my first sketch. Later on, I took out a book from the library to help me with my project.

My weekly checklist is getting longer and longer by the minute! lol. But I’m excited to see how I can progress in figure drawing if I can keep at it over the next 13 weeks. I’ll keep you posted!