Sketching on Location | 06 |How to Polish Your Sketch

drawing a crowd scene final sketchIt’s time to learn how to polish your sketch, so here is a look at our work so far in this series on drawing a crowd scene:

drawing crowd scenes male figure

Step .01

In this video on drawing a crowd scene, we will be exploring finishing techniques that pop your drawing off the page. We use three new tools, a grey Prismacolor marker [50% cool grey], the Pilot Sign pen and a white pencil crayon for highlights.Step .02

We’ll start with the gray marker and going in and marking all the shadow areas of the drawing. This is intended to be fast and simple. The light source enters from screen right and shines to screen left.

sketching on location female figure

how to draw crowds outlines

Step .03

Using the black sign pen on the outline really helps to provide these sketches with a finished look.

When drawing a crowd scene, this really helps define the silhouette as well.

It can also help modify the shape as well and add a little more definitional that may have been missed on the first pass.

Step .04

I try to be selective with where I add the black outline.

If you aren’t selective, everything starts to looks uniform and becomes less interesting.


Contrast is key to making an interesting drawing. You can outline either before or after you go in with tone, it is up to you as there is no ‘right or wrong’ time to do this step.


Step .05

The girl in the far background was shaded completely to provide for a stronger sense of depth and contrast. She is further away, therefore less visible to the viewer.As the artist, you have the ability to steer the viewer’s eye to wherever you want on the page.

So the first pass was all about shape and this second tonal pass has us thinking about depth and lighting now.Step .06

As for when to add tonal effects to your drawing, it is something that you can do away from the original location if you want as most of the lighting information is already captured in the initial drawing pass.


This step takes as much time as the initial drawing, so you may want to devote your ‘on location’ time solely to capturing poses and people.


Step .07

The marker really offers allot of contrast and strengthens the image visually. In general though, the marker is used for very simple shading. You can get more detailed but quite often that is captured with the line work.Step .08

For darker edges, like where the pants are under the coat, you can do a second pass with the marker to darken it up. These markers are translucent and by hitting it a second time makes for a darker tone.


Thanks for checking out this series on drawing a crowd scene and polishing your sketch. Please check out our final video of this series!