The Urban Sketchers Symposium workshops started on the Thursday of my trip to Amsterdam, and I was so excited! My first workshop with was Karen Jiyun Sung, who I have been following on Instagram since first meeting her at the Manchester Symposium in 2016. She has a playful take on drawing from life and an economy of line that I was interested in learning more about.
The Workshop, Growing a Drawing: Making Sketches Beyond the Dimensions of the Paper, was about starting a drawing and adding paper to extend the drawing, but it was about more than that. It was about composing as you go, and made me think a bit about the mixed water media classes I've been teaching, where we start a painting and then make adjustments to the composition as we go. I also felt like Karen gave me permission to start wherever and see what happens, though I did spend a lot of time just looking first to get a sense of the area I wanted to focus on. That feels so natural to me and took away the pressure to start out with a composition in my mind.
Below are the sketch as it looked at the end of the workshop, and later after I added more darks to differentiate some areas and to make it look more like a finished drawing. I don't normally do that, but since it was a stand-alone work (as opposed to in a sketchbook), I felt compelled to.
(Also note the lovely old bedspread in my hotel room. It was too heavy for the very hot days I was there, but it sure was pretty.)
The exercise sort of liberated me, and I made several more sketches throughout the day that I was really happy with.
I also participated in the Skit Sketch - quick Pecha Kucha-like presentations about different sketching-related topics. My talk, How Is Sketching Like Technical Communication, was a shortened version of the talk I gave in May at the STC Summit in Denver. I was happy to share my ideas about practical sketching applications, and my fellow sketchers seemed interested in the idea of using sketching in practical ways.
In the sketch on the right I was sketching other presenters to calm my nerves before giving my talk. Sketching always makes me feel better, even when I'm nervous about giving a talk about sketching!
The pink sketch at the top is of the buildings across the canal again - such great subjects just right there out my window! I was testing a Derwent Paint Pen that came in our goodie bags and of course I was thrilled with the color.
Below the pink sketch is the view of my hotel room from my bed. I was on the top floor so the ceiling was slanted and had these lovely beams and lots of windows. I just kept sketching them until I started making mistakes and then I knew it was time to go to sleep.
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