Last week and the week before I taught a workshop at Flicker Street Studio called Painterly Sketching: Starting with Shapes. It was similar to a Painterly Sketching workshop I did last summer but I wanted the students to really focus on how they started their sketches.
What do you think about when you first start a sketch? Mike Daikubara’s book Sketch Now, Think Later suggests not thinking, but charging forward with pen. I love that approach and often use it myself, but when starting something like the city hall building, I like putting down one big shape first and then go in with pen. When dealing with perspective and weird shapes, this approach simplifies it and helps my brain deal with it.
The top sketch is from a sketchwalk that the Memphis Urban Sketchers did in March. We followed the route of the 1968 Sanitation Workers Strike, starting from Clayborn Temple (in the header) and ending up at City Hall. Our City Hall is very, well... vertical. Breaking down into these simple shapes helped me to sketch it.
I did the bottom sketches at the 2013 Urban Sketchers Symposium in Barcelona. After taking workshops from Inma Serrano, Jim Richards, Marc Holmes, and Virginia Hein (and maybe one other I’m forgetting?), it was easy for me to tackle perspective with a big block of color, and to make quick sketches that captured place and time.
I hope to teach more workshops about “painterly sketching” - using a loose approach to make energetic sketches. But coming up next at Flicker Street Studio is a workshop called Sketching Outside In. We’ll learn tools, tips, and tricks for getting all of the visual information you need on-site and finishing your sketch your own way. It is inspired by all of the sketchers I’ve mentioned in this post, and more. I love learning from other sketchers! Visit flickerstreetstudio.com to sign up for the two-night workshop, June 12 & 14.