Winnipeg, Canada (2021)
Paris, France (2018)

Manitoba, Canada (2021)
Doha, Qatar (2019)
Doha, Qatar (2019)
Doha, Qatar (2018)
Tbilisi, Georgia (2019)
Nice, France (2018)
Doha, Qatar (2021)
Amsterdam, Netherlands (2019)
London, U.K. (2017)

The Story of Karakters:

“Karakters” began with a cheap lined notepad (above). Purchased at a subway station in London, it is full of characters sketches that I drew that same afternoon while people-watching at a coffee shop.

I had been at a writers and illustrators conference the day before and now had time to roam and wander London *ALONE*, a city that I used to live in for a while. Bliss. The cheap notepad and pen would do for an afternoon of sketching. In hindsight, its ephemeral nature invited uninhibited drawings; no pressure for perfection, just instinctual and automated lines.

I captured a variety of people and their oddities/postures/mannerism, all in the moment that they entered and left the frame of the coffee shop window. The characters were distinct, yet because of the quick and responsive marks, the drawings were more telling of myself and reflective of my own way of moving and how I translate visual input.

The advice to budding drawers and even experienced illustrators is often to “draw, draw, draw!”, but how to observe that experience and be aware of personal patterns…is less explicit.

My coffee shop experience could have occurred at any intersection of London, or any other city. Therefore, I’ve earmarked it and have grown the process into workshops and classes, sharing concepts and techniques with participants to nurture their own fluid movements and awareness of personal patterns.

Live drawing is also simply enjoyable and provides a little escape, like a jog for the mind, regardless if participants are novice or professional. By observing and drawing others we are more acutely aware of ourselves.

Join the next Karakter Drawing evening!

Info will be shared via Instagram @charlene_kasdorf
Open to all drawers, novice or experienced. No cost for this community-building initiative.


Tools: Choose a pencil, pen, or brush, digital or analogue, any colour. It is helpful if it can make at least two types of marks: small/large, light/dark, thick/thin.
Sketchbook: Any little notebook or sketchbook will do. (Muji sells little ones for 7 QR.)

Some suggestions for seeing-drawing people:

Take a moment to scribble; make some marks. See the page with your movement on it!

(Sometimes called a contour or keyline)
Observe and outline the whole person, or just a portion.

Solid Shapes:
Draw any component of a person as a solid shape. Eg. clothing item, hair, beard, skin, etc.

See and draw the pattern or texture of the shape.
Maybe skip the outline/keyline and leave space for the mind to “fill in” gaps!

Forget the eraser:
Make confident marks and lines; explore heavier and softer weights.

Distinct and interesting characters are more important than accurate representations, (toss the idea of a photocopy look-alike!).

Draw strangers!
They don’t judge! Exaggerate, emphasise, and enjoy!

* If these suggestions makes it more difficult to draw in your own way, disregard them all!