Try This! - Start with a Circle

My notebooks are sketchbooks. The thing I draw most are people and I almost always start with a circle. A head. When sketching for fun, I try to just let my pencil take the lead. It’s surprising who springs to life from the tip of my pencil.

I will ask myself questions about this new person. The questions start very generally:

  • Who is this?
  • What does he or she do?
  • Where does he or she come from?  

Then I think about the odd little quirks that would make them more real:

  • Would he eat his salami sandwich with or without the crust?  
  • Is her room messy? 
  • Why is he afraid of Pugs?  
  • Why would she name her hamster Puddles?

Once I have some of these answers, the person in my sketch is now a character. Then I use the answers to build a story around that character.

Remember, just start with a circle!

Click to Enlarge this Sketchbook Page

Click to Enlarge this Sketchbook Page

Click to Enlarge this Sketchbook Page

Donna Farrell is a freelance artist, web designer, and mom living in Western New York. Her most recently illustrated book is CHOCOLATE MILK, POR FAVOR, written by Maria Dismondy (April 2015). You can find Donna online at

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