Monday, April 18, 2016


CLICK HERE for this painting.
It’s lots of fun to sketch in cafés, coffee shops and other public places. You can capture interesting people in unguarded moments. And it will improve your drawing and painting skills more than you could imagine.

A few simple tips will make it easy for anyone, even absolute beginners.

First, streamline your gear. I pack very light, yet everything I need is in the pocket-sized “stealth kit” shown below. In a figure painting workshop that I’ll be teaching soon I’ll share more about this little “stealth kit”. And I’ll demonstrate how I use it at times like this.

Below you can see my pocket “stealth kit”, the starting sketch, and the beginning of the color block-in. That’s all the farther I got before the woman hurried off, leaving just the guy who was still reading. But it was enough to enable me to finish the painting after she left.
My second tip is to lower your expectations. Be willing to fail. Because many sketches will fail due to people leaving or moving, changing conditions and other reasons. So don’t get hung up on perfectionism. The woman left before I finished but I was still able to complete this one.

Third, plan to make lots of quick starts. Even if there isn’t time to complete a sketch or painting. The more starts you make the more you’ll learn.

Fourth, look for someone who looks settled in. Remember that you may not have long; things can change quickly.

Fifth, start by capturing whatever caught your eye. The gesture of the figures. A hairstyle or clothing. Something unusual they’re doing, or whatever. Get that down first, so that if they leave before you’re done you will still have something interesting.

Finally, just have fun. That’s what sketching is all about, at least for me.

Email me at ( if you’d like to join my new figure workshop. We’ll meet on Saturday afternoons starting in a few weeks. And I have lots to share. Be there if you can!


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