Learn to observe the world more deeply—with curiosity, empathy, and joy—as you sketch the stories unfolding all around you.
In Drawn on the Way, Sarah Nisbett shares her techniques for creating captivating line drawings that capture the moments and moods that you encounter on the train, in a café, outdoors, anywhere: a young woman lost in thought, a pair of hands clasped on a lap, a peppy beagle, a pair of jeans-clad crossed legs. Sarah invites you to see the people, animals, places, and objects you draw with compassionate curiosity—as more than a stranger or inanimate object, but as someone or something with a story worth knowing or imagining.
Even if you are inexperienced at drawing or don’t consider yourself an artist, you can learn how to create sketches from start to finish employing techniques such as contour drawing, using line work to add texture, and adding spot color—and discover how each sketch tells a story. You’ll begin to focus on important details that reveal something about the subject you’re drawing: the graceful drape of a hand over a purse, the shy way someone tucks their feet underneath them.
As you unplug, set aside perfectionism, and explore the world through drawing, you’ll learn:
- How to translate what you see into a compelling drawing
- How to silence your inner critic and find joy in drawing what captures your interest
- Techniques for drawing figures and creating quick portraits
- How to find the emotion in objects by asking questions
- How to draw scenes and backgrounds without becoming overwhelmed
- How to quickly and expressively render the natural world, including plants and animals
- How key details can take a sketch from plain to captivating
- Ways to find the extraordinary in the everyday
- How to transform mistakes into likeable elements
- Tips for becoming a visual storyteller
- Life lessons learned from years of live drawing
We spend most of our lives on the way, rushing and running from place to place, task to task. When we have a spare minute, we usually reach for our phones and shut everything else out. The techniques, projects, and ideas in Drawn on the Way are designed to help you be more mindful about drawing, to capture the people, places, and things you encounter each day. By doing that, you’ll connect with humanity in a deeper, more meaningful way—and discover a lot about yourself.
Sarah Nisbett is a self-taught live sketch artist and illustrator who loves drawing the people, fashions, pets, and animals that she encounters on the way.
A former opera singer, Sarah has a bachelor’s degree in art history from the University of Michigan and a master of music degree in vocal performance from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ. After a successful career as an opera singer, she worked in advertising, and now pursues art full time as an illustrator and live sketch artist.
Drawn on the Way, her website and Instagram account, began while Sarah was commuting on the F train in New York City one evening in 2012, and decided to draw a fellow passenger who captured her attention. Sarah often gives her sketches to the person she’s drawn, believing that this small act of sharing brings joy.