I had the pleasure of attending Mike Daikubara’s workshop, Sketch Now Think Later, in Chicago last year. In the workshop we first sketched a Chicago hot dog, then the skyline, which was daunting, but less so with a hot dog in the middle of the page. Mike’s lessons appeal to the minimalist – take the supplies you can get by with, and don’t let yourself put up impediments to sketching.
Mike’s sketches are on his Instagram, on Urban Sketchers, and now in his book Sketch Now Think Later, which builds on his workshop.
I wondered how he would expand the workshop idea into a book – he does so skillfully, by laying out in the beginning of this slim book that his focus is on limited tools, limited techniques, and limited time. The sections of the book cover the tools he uses; line, color, and finishing techniques; real-life examples; and “thinking later.”
The book is filled with Mike’s own sketches, which he uses to illustrate each of the techniques. There are more in the Real-Life Examples chapter, to show specific examples of having little time, or having little energy, and how and where he dealt with it.
I highly recommend this book for the beginner or for experienced sketchers – there are so many good tips in here!
One of the ways the workshop and book helped me is with the “thinking later” part. I used to be pretty strict about only working on a sketch at the sketching site because it’s about the experience of being in that place. But now I see it can be an extension of that experience, and a way to think more about the experience and maybe internalize it in a different way. I’ve been watching other sketchers do this for years – Jim Richards, Swasky, Nancy Mardis – but I didn’t let myself join this club until recently.
I’m teaching a workshop at Flicker Street Studio on June 12 and 14 (it’s a 2-session workshop) about extending the sketching experience called Sketching Outside In. We’ll look at tools, tips, and tricks for getting visual information on site and finishing sketches your own way. This should be especially helpful for Memphis summers – it’s already too hot to be outside for very long. Why not do a quick sketch and then spend quality time with it and some air conditioning!
I recently went to the symphony — not something I normally do, simply because I usually only leave my house for 1) food or 2) art. But this fell under another category: friends. My good friend Terron sings in the symphony chorus and another good friend, Clay, invited me to go along (using Terron’s season ticket). So we went and saw (heard? I’m so visual) a work by Jean Sibelius that Clay described as “bombastic,” which meant that I loved it. Lots of twists and turns with the instruments being used — that is the extent of my symphonic music critique. But I enjoyed it thoroughly, and even thought I could hear Terron singing over everyone else.
And of course I sketched - that was always going to happen. The first sketch also shows a list from the Painterly Sketching workshop I mentioned in the last post. At the beginning of most classes I ask the students what they hope to get out of the class — this is what the Painterly Sketching students were looking for and I hope I helped them find it.