Yesterday the Memphis Urban Sketchers went to the library to sketch - this is the Benjamin Hooks or Central Library. We are never sure what the weather will be like at the beginning of December, and yesterday did not disappoint with unexpected 70-degree weather. A few people went outside to sketch, but I went up to the top floor to sketch the view and a dichroic glass public art piece by Ed Carpenter.
And here's a sketch from earlier in the year that I haven't posted here yet. It's from the Memphis Urban Sketchers' September gathering at the Memphis Farmers Market. It was definitely higher than 70 degrees that day!
This is the story of how Kristen Haas Curtis and I made a thing together, #bythebones, a game of randomized constraints that helps you create diary comics. If you’ve never tried diary comics, this is a fun way to start. If you have, it’s a good way to challenge yourself or get out of a rut.
I’ve been making comics on and off kind of forever. Comics run in my family, so I made them a bit as a kid, and then about four or five years ago I started feeling the need to tell stories with words and images. This June I committed to making diary comics, and Kristen and I devised #bythebones as a way to help with layout and structure, and to overcomplicate things in a fun way.
You can find the full instructions at Kristen's site, hellomizk.com, and you can follow her diary comics and other comics on Twitter (@hellomizk) and Instagram (@hellomizk).
Here are a few examples of my #bythebones comics from the last couple of months, and I'll be posting new ones this week on Instagram and Twitter. If you decide to play along, please use the hashtag #bythebones. Good luck and have fun!
I sketched the top two at the symphony in September. It was the Memphis Symphony Orchestra's opening show for the season and it was fantastic!
The bottom one is of the Rhodes College Jazz Band, which opened for the Sun Ra Arkestra.
Friday night I got to see the Sun Ra Arkestra with my friends. It was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen or heard. They continue, even after Sun Ra's passing, to be an amazing band that can play jazz standards and can throw in discordant notes and singing about space and the occasional old man screaming into a microphone. It was perfect.
The multi-colored pencil was a good choice, though I wore it down to a nub by the end. I regret not having a sparkly pen because they were all in sequins!
The Memphis Urban Sketchers were the guests of Paper & Clay and Question the Answer on Saturday and it was So Fun! We schedule extra Saturday sketches during October because the weather is usually so lovely, but it was chilly and drizzly on Saturday. Which was perfect! It was so cozy in the studio/shop, and the back door was open revealing a perfect view of the Broad Avenue water tower. We all settled in with coffee and snacks and mimosas (provided by our hostesses!) and played with the adorable studio puppy as we sketched the shop, inside and out.
The pink bubble wrap hanging from the ceiling was a popular subject, as was the water tower. I loved getting a chance to sketch the kilns.
The work of both of these women - Brit’s ceramics (Paper & Clay) and Lauren’s jewelry (Question the Answer) - is really amazing and everyone should visit them at their physical shop and online (please google them as I cannot figure out how to add links via my Weebly app on my iPad) and buy all of their stuff.
(Stillman & Birn Alpha, ink and watercolor)
A couple of weeks ago I went with some friends to Snow Lake in Mississippi just to have a couple of days away from regular stuff. We went out on a pontoon boat, floated in the lake, kayaked and did one of those balance board things. We watched Moonstruck, ate a lot of cheese, drank a lot of wine, and just had a lovely visit with each other.
I made the sketch on the left before breakfast on Saturday morning, using watercolor only in preparation for my Sketching with Watercolor class at Flicker Street Studio – I can never seem to leave class prep behind.
On the boat that morning I sketched a few friends with my multi-colored pencil.
After boating and trying the balance board and drinking a little bit of wine I made this sketch that looks messy but feels accurate – it was a bright, sunny, lovely, relaxing day.
I think the every day/everyday practice of sketching informs your big sketching opportunities (like sketching iconic places/travel sketching), maybe even more than the other way around. At the Urban Sketchers Symposium we talk about capturing the stories of the places we visit, but the sketches we do during an average day tell a story, too. I try to think of daily sketching like that - what am I doing today that I can capture in a quick sketch. I often sketch my coffee cup in the morning, and when I run errands I try to take a few minutes to sketch where I am. If I'm consistent, I end up with a page that describes a little bit of my day or my week. It's not exciting or exotic, but it's my life.