top of page
Helen Capewell
OCA Learning Log
Student Number: 522802
Degree: Illustration
Current Level: 2

Exercise 3.2

Working with External Visual Impetus - People

Here are a series of doodles I made in my home, each time changing the time I allowed myself per drawing.

After the first two sketches I was beginning to feel more confident and so opted to use a fine liner pen without using pencil as a base. Treating these differently as each line will be a permanent dent that can't be erased. That said, when working fast, using an eraser is very rarely a possibility, and actually it is something I try to avoid as much as possible. I think my sketch style is forgiving for the mistakes as I don't focus on drawing one line at a time, I'm rapid and sketchy and tend to get many lines down in a short time, often not lifting the pen from the paper. I like to see those lines, so it would be a shame to use an eraser.

I really enjoyed the double pages above. Seeing that the drawings are flawed in the proportions and generally not that great (the picture I spent most time on as noted in the book) I actually don't feel bad about them. The bigger sketch on the right I had the most fun with as I was able to play on perspective based on the first eye. I loved including the furniture around the figure to give it depth. I'm really pleased with the result despite the face not looking good at all, my focus was the whole body.

I then jumped back to pencil and limited myself with the amount of lines used. I didn't set a number in particular, but I wanted to start with more and hopefully progress to less. My personal favourite in the above mini series is sketch number 2. It still looks to have a complex number of lines, but I really like the shapes made throughout. It was rapid and deliberate which in all feels confident.

Crowds and Activities

The tube. In any normal circumstance, the tube would be buzzing with people. We're not living in normal circumstances at the moment, which did make this exercise difficult, but not impossible. I was able to take a few train journeys for this exercise, which did amount to a collection of people watching drawings.


Saturday is Market day.

Feeling like I needed to do better at drawing crowds, I decided to get amongst the locals in the rush of the Saturday market. Throughout the pandemic, the market has remained a solid trooper in delivering fresh produce in a very well structured and safe format. People are able to continue doing their shopping in the outdoor space which brings a sense of normality during the chaos we currently live in. It's busy, but not nearly like it used to be, yet there's still a great energy of people shifting around quickly, which I felt would be great to try and capture. Of course, my expectation was to be successful on the one day. However I very quickly realised how much I had underestimated the challenge in drawing crowds that are busy with their activities. It's so difficult to draw on location, people that are constantly moving! I found the whole experience completely overwhelming!

I didn't capture nearly as much I had hoped, or intended. It was so overwhelming, I didn't know how to focus. I didn't know how to tackle to drawing. I started with the tents to gain some perspective, yet those didn't really help. I had people people walking towards me which I wanted to catch but it all happens so fast.

I wanted to step back and take a slower approach. I sat at a bus stop further down the road. Groups were less hectic and with the distance, I felt I could take it in slightly better.

How do others do this?

Should I focus on basic shapes? Perhaps I should have used colouring pencils to just scribble the action. It left me wondering how do people draw from life, real time situations like a protest. With so many people moving around, how does one focus?

Another Saturday at the Market!

Round two required a different perspective. I packed a limited number of coloured pencils, and a pen. I was going to be confident, I was not going to care about the result, and I was just going to relax. Let the busy movements hurry around me, and just drawing what felt right.


I definitely found the tube drawings to be easier. People were still here, and although they wouldn't be on the train for long, I would still find a moment of stillness that made for easy to digest drawings. This in contrast to a very hectic market felt like I had an hour to draw rather than a minute. During life drawing session when you are given 1 minute to draw, these surprisingly feel long enough, like it's amazing how much you can achieve in a minute! How different that feeling is when faced with a crowd!

I certainly felt the second attempt at these sketchbook sessions felt more at ease. I felt less strict at drawing complete forms, and instead drawing the movement, or energy.


bottom of page