Review: Sketching People in Motion by Marc Taro Holmes (Craftsy course)

Marc Taro Holmes is a freelance illustrator and sketcher who has art directed video games for 15 years before he switched careers. You can see his work on his Citizen Sketcher blog and also on the Urban Sketchers main blog where he is a correspondent. I've met him during the Urban Sketching Symposium in Barcelona in 2013. He's a friendly guy who always seems to be dress in some sort of black top.

When I saw that he has a video tutorial course on Craftsy, I thought why not feature it. And so I bought the course.

Marc's course is called Sketching People in Motion.

The 145 minute course is split into 7 chapters, namely:

  • The Pencil Gesture
  • Adding Ink
  • Brushwork & Hatching
  • Adding Color
  • Advanced Techniques: Water-Soluble Ink
  • Advanced Techniques: Direct to Watercolor
  • Capturing Multiple People

The course is about observational people sketching. Basically, it's about drawing who and what you see in from of you.

While the course is targeted at beginners, it would benefit you greatly if you already have some basic drawing skills, at least in proportion drawing which will be extremely helpful in this course.

There are three levels of difficulty in the course. The first level would sketching someone who's rather stationary, such as someone sitting in a cafe.

The next level goes on to capturing the gestures of someone who's moving a bit more, such as musicians in a band.

Lastly, the most challenging level is to draw fast moving subjects, such as cyclists or kids playing ball.

The course also covers different drawing tools that you can use, namely the pencil, ink, ink wash and watercolour.

At any of the difficulty level, you'll be introduced to how Marc approaches the scene and subject. He talks about the tips and techniques to quickly put down the first lines, or to capture the gestural pose. There are many useful points that I picked up during the course, such as using anchor points to lock in the poses of the figures, or interesting techniques like using water-soluble ink for that extra looseness or to create a tone.

One thing to note is Marc's style is very loose and gestural. I think it's even more so for figure drawings than the location sketches he post on his blog.

The goal of the course is to get you comfortable with drawing people on location, to utilize the techniques taught to quickly capture whatever you see on the paper. The specifics and details are of secondary importance. Capturing the pose and the mood of the subject is more important.

The demonstrations are lively and Marc is always explaining what he's doing. You can also ask questions directly to the side of the video and get response from Marc or other students, and you can also see the work posted by other students as well. This is a more hands-on course because it invites you to go out and draw.

The official retail price of the course is USD $29.99. Look out for occasional discounts that might appear and take advantage of that.

It's a good course for those who want to learn more about sketching people on location.

Over 1,000 students have signed up for the course and you can check out their reviews on Craftsy, or enroll in the course and start sketching.

Check out other video courses from Craftsy that I've featured at

Disclosure: This course was provided to me by Craftsy for review purposes. You can support Parka Blogs by using the affiliate links as I get a little commission from each sale. :-)


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