Underground People by Charlie O'Shields

So since it’s a day of taking people up on their challenges, I decided to both try a fast and loose doodlewash (as I’ve been continually challenged to do by Aggie Lim) and actually include people in my sketch (which I’ve been asked to do by Kirk from Dumb Sketch Daily). I guess I could have titled this then, “Fast and Loose People” but that has an entirely different connotation.

As many of you know, drawing people scares me and this is only the second time I’ve really attempted it (The first was a #DrawingAugust sketch that I now realize I never even posted to my blog!). I think the fear of drawing people comes from the fact that when I mess up proportions on a person I’m actually scared by my own sketch. I see others who exaggerate or alter their people sketches to great effect, but mine never seem cool or interesting, just horribly unnatural and quite often terrifying.

So since I was already skipping a lot of the detail in this one, I thought it was only proper to put not one, but four people in this doodlewash just to prove I’m actually attempting the challenge. This is what the metro station in Lyon, France looked like during a not-so-peak time. Each person was only a few feet from the other, completely in their own world, whether on the phone (which was likely not getting a signal) or staring at some made-up point in the distance.

It always feels a bit lonely waiting for a subway, even when you’re with someone. It’s just a means to an end and something people tend to tune out as not actually being part of their day. Unless, of course, that “weird thing” happens on the subway so you can tell your friends about it later. Otherwise, we all just become underground people, finding new ways to ignore each other, while we silently wait for the next train to come.

Posted by:Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world!

23 replies on “Underground People

  1. These are great! Why so fearful? These are way better than I could hope to do. They show a lot of personality. I love this whole image. I’d say you’ve succeeded at making them cool and interesting, plus you’ve given scale to that space. Nicely done!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. You’ve done well! It’s ironic that I like painting portraits – except that my perfectionism drives me crazy – but like you I really don’t like putting much simpler representations of people in my sketches for all the same reasons you list.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I take the subway every day and you’ve captured the look of individuals just waiting for the train in their own worlds.
    Now I want to see a post called “Fast and Loose People”. I know you can do it Charlie!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your people look like they are REAL people! Mine are more like well, let’s just say, mine don’t look real. 😏 I like your description too – it is amazing how many of us go through our days not “present.” Good work Charlie!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww Jill that’s sooo sweet of you to say!! They’re definitely people-like, but I have lots of practice ahead! They don’t have to look real! Hehe It really only matters that they work in the composition and make people think…hey, those are people! Then I figure we’ve done just fine! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. …this is a very encouraging depiction of a difficult subject because it is so transitory and time-challenging. Part of the angst in drawing people always (for me anyway) is the notion that they’re going to move any second, before I’ve had time to depict them. It serves to make me anxious, and that’s not conducive to a good result. But doing it frequently in different settings alleviates that as the familiarity of the task improves things. NICE JOB.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Lance!!! Totally agree… like all things in this crazy art journey it just comes down to practice, practice, practice! I find my getting more confident the more I try. But drawing people will just come a bit slower for me since I don’t like to practice them as much! 😉


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