Next Sketch Outing

Sept. 22: Columbia City

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Chasing 100 People at Bellevue Square

The decision weighed heavily on my mind. For more than a week, the other USk Seattle admins and I have been discussing whether we should go ahead with outings or cancel. Every day, updates from the health department grow increasingly alarming, and authorities urge anyone in higher-risk groups (including those of us over 60) to stay home if possible. With growing concern about COVID-19, was it reckless to gather? Even on my way to Bellevue Square, where I had initiated an ad hoc outing for the annual #OneWeek100People challenge, I was trepidatious.

Upon arrival, however, I was happy that we didn’t cancel. After feeling gloomy all week, it felt good to see friends and sketch together. The mall was emptier than I had ever seen, and we laughed sardonically that we’d be hard pressed to find a hundred people!

Bellevue Square is an ideal people-sketching mall. Wide-open multiple levels enable easy views looking up, down or across. In addition, stairways are an interesting challenge. I chose to stand, but other sketchers enjoyed using the many tables and convenient seating throughout the mall.

I had done 25 sketches yesterday. Hitting my groove almost immediately at the mall, I decided to finish my remaining 75 in the 2½ hours of the outing. One hundred done!

As in previous years, my goal was to avoid portraits or details and focus strictly on making simple gestures that capture individuals, not generic stick figures. It was also an excellent opportunity to study the movement of walking, especially people coming toward or going away from me. I tried to draw the subtle differences in their legs to show that they are walking, not standing.

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