Sketch of the Entire Family, No Planning

Last night, after putting the kids to bed, I was smacked with an urge to try to draw my entire family. I’ve drawn my wife and I together, and I’ve drawn our girls a couple of times, but I haven’t done a sketch with all four of us as a group. Usually for something like this, I’d draw a grid to help me with proportions, but this time I wanted to dive right in. I really wasn’t sure how that would work out, because it’s outside my normal process.

As I started, I thought about all the great advice I’ve received from others through comments on prior posts. Some of the most memorable have been the recommendations to “keep it loose” and “gestural.” I think generally it’s true that the quality of my sketches worsens when I tighten up and worry too much about getting it right. When I can just let it flow, let the pencil go where it wants, I think the drawings are better. So last night, as I outlined the figures, I didn’t obsess about the basic lines.

I’m surprised to say, I’m fairly pleased with the results. The lines are a little more squiggly/more rough than usual, and I think the proportions aren’t quite accurate because I didn’t use a grid. But the drawing isn’t too shabby! We all look like ourselves, which was certainly the goal.


Even though this was actually looser and more free flowing than my usual approach, somehow the final result looks a little less confident or something. I think it’s because I wasn’t focused on clean, true lines as I normally would be. When I was outlining, then filling in fine details, I didn’t worry about whether lines were a bit more wobbly.

I’ll post a poll here too, to see what folks think of this style.


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