As a street sketcher I’ve wondered why there are so few resources for those of us who want to draw people on the streets. It seems that every other book is about drawing portraits. Another third talk about life drawing, mostly of naked people. What’s a guy to do if he wants to learn to quick-sketch people, doing real life things?
The answer comes in an amazing book, Quick Sketching, by Ron Husband, a 30 year veteran of Disney Studios. His day job is animation but, it seems, his hobby is drawing folks in the lunch room, in the mall, and everywhere else he finds them. He’s compiled a book of hundreds of his sketches and provides an amazing amount of information to help sketchers quickly sketch human behavior.
This is not your typical art book that spends a third of the book talking about materials. Ron assumes that you know that paper is the flat stuff and pencils and pens are the devices used to make marks on it. Ron is more about teaching you what to look for, how to depict the body in motion and how to simplify those images so they can be done quickly.
He begins by talking about the importance of quick-sketching, the goals of quick-sketching and some of his general philosophy. He moves on to discussions of simple shapes that, when added together, equal a human body. This is followed by a discussion of different body types.
There is a major section on analyzing action, thoughts on body language, and the value of props in quick-sketches. The rest of the book is composed of chapters on people standing, walking, dancing, doing sports, and working in various occupations. Each of these chapters discusses how clothing reponds to the positions and how balance is affected by the activity. Each chapter is heavily illustrated with sketches by Ron and these alone are worth the price of admission. There’s a separate chapter about sketching children and others that concentrate on animal sketching.
If you’re interested in quick-sketching people this book provides a lot of bang for the buck. It’s 343 pages of text are jam-packed with information and I can’t recommend it highly enough.