I found the sweet spot between colored pencils and watercolors today at the Dixon. Everything about this outing was sweet! The weather was perfect. I saw several friends while I was there. I sat in the sun and sketched.
I'm so glad I put colored pencils back in my every day bag. They feel really good right now. But now I'm wondering - should I try regular colored pencils as opposed to watercolor pencils? I need to try more brands to see if there's anything I like better than the ones I currently use, Derwent. If you have a favorite, let me know!
I've been following a hashtag on Instagram, #walktosee, started by British illustrator Helen Stephens to showcase drawings of daily walks. It has inspired me to walk with my sketchbook more, though mostly it's just been around the Dixon Gardens (not that there's anything wrong with that). But it's also just very inspiring - for a social media hashtag, the posts are consistently good and I have learned so much from everyone's sketches.
There are a number of other British illustrators who use this hashtag and there is this consistent feeling I get from these sketches that inspires me to slow down and to really enjoy the moment. Also they inspire me to use colored pencils!
That's what I did today when I went out looking for an open restaurant to order lunch. I saw that Casablanca was open so I pulled into a good parking spot (yes, I was driving, not walking) with a view of the Clark Tower, called in my order, and spent 15 minutes sketching this. After I got home I added a little white gouache, but you can't really see it in this scan.
You should follow along, and even post your own! Helen features #walktosee drawings each week or so in her Instagram stories - she's on Instagram as @helenstephenslion.
The Dixon Gallery and Gardens is showing work by Memphis Urban Sketchers now through July! "First Saturdays" (because we meet on the first Saturday of the month - get it?!) shows work by over 20 local sketchers - framed work, sketchbooks, and scanned work displayed digitally as a nod to the Internet-only beginnings of Urban Sketchers. Go see it - it's delightful!
Last week was another round of #oneweek100people, an annual challenge to sketch 100 people, started by Marc Taro Holmes, Suhita Shirodkar, and Liz Steel. Sketchers set their own parameters, usually things they want to work on, like starting with watercolor or using a particular pen.
Once again I did not get to 100, but I'm okay with that. It was a weird week and I was just grateful to have a reason to make time to sketch. My approach was to get information using very few lines, so I used my favorite Pigma Graphic 01 (my "fat pen").
In the middle of the week I had a sketching dinner with Christina Huntington and Martha Kelly. What a treat! I didn't draw them to add to my 100 people, though - the items in Christina's house were too interesting to not sketch.
One day I had the time to add watercolor and I'm really happy with how those turned out.
On Friday I had lunch at the Dixon and sketched a few people in the cafe with my HI-TEC-C Coleto multi-pen - that's always a fun way to draw people. When I left the museum I saw this long line of people waiting for a food truck and I figured that was my opportunity to make it up to 50.
I do love this challenge - it always reminds me how much I enjoy sketching people and I end up sketching people more when it's over. On Monday morning I sketched people in a meeting!
I went to New Orleans again, with some of the best people, as usual, for pre-Mardi Gras Mardi Gras. We like to go a couple of weeks before fat Tuesday because it's just as fun but slightly calmer and slightly less expensive.
Sketching at the parades is fun, but I struggled with what supplies to use. The activity of the parades requires sketching quickly, but it also feels important to differentiate people from background, floats from bystanders, etc. So I would end up holding several pens and colored pencils, but didn't feel satisfied with my results that first night.
On day two I remembered my multi-pen (HI-TEC-C Coleta with 5 colors). Though I used to sketch with it often, it had fallen out of rotation. Luckily, I always carry one in my purse! I had a great time sketching with it, just clicking from color to color and really playing up the scribbles. I quickly ran out of blue-black! When I came back home I ordered every color available, and I now carry several multi-pens in my purse. I'll need some kind of holster for them next year!
Went to Felix's, or course.
We stayed in Uptown in a house a block from Magazine Street. This church was catty-cornered to where we stayed. I put down the color first, then added ink with my Lamy Safari and carbon black ink. There were at least two other churches we could see from our porch, so we heard a lot of church bells.
I feel like I didn't sketch as much this time, but I think I always feel like that. I also always feel like it is over too soon, and this year was no exception.
Sketchwork is sketches and work about sketching - teaching, making art, art supplies, books, sketchers, artists, Urban Sketchers, Memphis Urban Sketchers, and traveling.