I am away at the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Brazil for a few weeks!


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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Rewind! Portland Symposium July 2010

As it is too hard to post to my blog while I am in Brazil, I thought it would be a good chance to revisit the previous Urban Sketchers (USK)Symposiums - I have been to all of them. These Rewind! posts are my own reflection on what I got out of the events at the time and/or the impact on my work now. It is not a full description so please excuse the lack of links to the names referred to. Please look up the Archive section on the side bar to read the full descriptions that I wrote at the time 


The first symposium had a very friendly relaxed feel to it while at the same time totally pumping with creative energy. Amazing to meet so many online friends and make many more friends. The closing event when all the sketchbooks were put on display showed a staggering quality AND quantity of work- many people filling an accordion fold moleskine sketchbook over the 3 days.


The night before we had a correspondent dinner - there were 15 of us in total I think. An expanded version of the night before in Seattle - need I say more!


The big thing that I got from this first symposium was CONFIDENCE! Confidence to go for it, confidence to sit on the street and sketch, and how to build confidence in my own work (because it is mine!)

It was also the first time I had really done any art workshops (ok, I had done 1 previously) and so I absorbed everything like a sponge! So much to pick up from everyone around - not just the instructors! I also learnt that at events like these sometimes everything is a little too much and not to put pressure on yourself to produce your best... but just absorb as much as possible.


First morning I managed to sketch the Mayor of Portland!
I had just finished doing Veronica's drawing people workshop. I had been a little overwhelmed, using a different sketchbook...but during lunch when someone said that was the Mayor - I didn't think, I just drew!


Back in 2010 I wasn't a fan of perspective (ie. avoided it whenever I could) - so Frank Ching's workshop was great. His voice was in my head for the rest of my 10 weeks of sketching this trip.


More dinner sketches....


Two sketches from Matt Brehm's workshop. Working small and playing with composition of the page
 

And then a simple single sketch that I planned more carefully.


Feeling very frustrated that I wasn't sketching any architecture - crazy quick sketches in between sessions.


I got my complicated building fix on my extra day in Portland on the Monday after the symposium.

This first symposium did so much for my sketching and I was able to implement what I had learnt - to absorb it and make it mine - in the 10 weeks following as I sketched my way through these destinations.


Kansas City


New York


Scotland - including the Isle of Lewis and Harris


 England - tour of  great houses and teahouses


 Venice


Rome - standing on the narrow, busy streets.

I would never have had the confidence to do all of this without the encouragement I got from sketching with others in Portland.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Rewind! When Urban Sketchers became real: Seattle July 2010

As it is too hard to post to my blog while I am in Brazil, I thought it would be a good chance to revisit the previous Urban Sketchers (USK)Symposiums - I have been to all of them. These Rewind! posts are my own reflection on what I got out of the events at the time and/or the impact on my work now. It is not a full description so please excuse the lack of links to the names referred to. Please look up the Archive section on the side bar to read the full descriptions that I wrote at the time

 
July 2010 was the start of my long service trip of 11 weeks. I was able to time it with the first USK Symposium in Portland and visiting friends in Seattle. The night before we headed down to Portland Gabi organised a dinner for the USKers in town.


This was the first time I had met anyone from the online world. Back then Urban Sketchers was only beginning and was mainly just the blog where the correspondents posted to.

To meet these correspondents was so mind blowing. I felt I had already met the person behind the sketchers through following their sketchers online but it was so much better to meet the person behind the work. I felt so honoured to be hanging out with these amazing sketchers!

Was a crazy evening of talk talk talk... and then silence as we were all sketching.

The rest were all sketching each other so I sketched the food - they all paused to watch me sketch and eat at the same time. I remember Isobel saying to me "we all have our strengths and weaknesses - online we only see the strengths" This helped me a lot -  as I did feel a bit inadequate not having the confidence to sketch the others.


Gabi's sketch from the dinner... VERY exciting to be sketched by Gabi, and Lapin and Isobel, and Tia AND Gerard!

Of all the incredible USK experiences I have had over the years - as the first, this event is still at the top. It was the day when USK became real to me.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A few recent pages - a little trip Prep

Been a touch busy lately…but of course still sketching a little in my book.
No time for my traditional trip prep sketches as such but a few have sneaked in.

Here is my new travel kettle. I had to throw my old one out in Barcelona after it started leaking. Of course you think this is the height of foolishness to take this… in fact it is a necessity but not because of tea. My neck needs heat and best way is the good old hot water bottle. AND of course a cup of tea does not go astray at all after a hard days travel.

And more importantly on the left side there is two GREAT quotes that I have come across lately (hope you can read my writing)
This page is an example of how to design a mainly text page


A working page of my clothes. It is NOT the final choice but exploring the options… thanks to Sueli for giving me a local update on the weather. I didn't make a new dress this trip…but I did manage a skirt. So I am happy!
But I am a little sad that the purple floral dress that has been to 4 symposiums and countless other trips has been retired to home wear now. (too sad and faded!)


A 'half baked' page - very quick sketches. I am not sure the pages are finished in the usual sense.
I have lowered my own standards. I normally take loose leaf tea with me… but really teabags are so much more convenient!
And a quick coffee at the cafe where T2 used to be.


Coffee (two in a row hey?) and a little building detail at Balmain organic cafe/shop. Very quick sketch…
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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Teacup Giveaway for Everyone!



As promised… here is a giveaway for everyone!

How to Draw a Teacup  is an instruction I have put together containing the things I think about when I sketch a teacup. And "embrace the wonkiness" is one of them. No perfect ellipses in this sheet!
Please feel free to share and if you want to print out you can download a pdf.
Click to download How to Draw a Teacup as a pdf

I just want to say thank you to all the people that left lovely comments on my "Pink Melbourne Cup" giveaway post. Over 250 - totally blew me away. I am so excited by hearing from many old time blog followers and having lots of new ones join too. And I feel very humbled by all your comments - thank you!!!!!!  I really feel like I have received WAY MORE than I was giving away.
Looking forward to packaging up my teacup to Teresa and sending to Portugal.

This page shows how my architectural brain wants to understand the form of the teacup and saucer in a VISUAL way. I am not drawing technically using perspective setups but I have studied the geometries of the shapes in front of me. In particular  - notice the setout of the saucer. It is normally higher than the foot of the cup - once I had this ah ha moment I found it easier to work out what was going wrong at times.

I know some of you will have your own way of drawing ellipses... I would be delighted if you added these to this post.... this page summarises my personal way that I have developed for the unique application of tea and saucer. I suppose one could say I have had a bit of practice at this subject matter!

I know many people say 'just draw what you see' and while I totally agree with that… if you have a little visual understanding it helps you see better.  I am not thinking 'cup' and 'saucer'  - which is normally called 'drawing what you THINK you see' - I am looking at the geometries of the shapes I SEE.

This is the basis of the way I approach sketching - why I am able to sketch quickly… and it is the way I teach sketching.

I like to teach as visually as possible often using diagrams and notated sketches. And this is the basis for my upcoming Sketching Now course. Join my mailing list, if you haven't already done so,  to keep up to date with the latest news.

I am heading to Brazil very shortly for the Urban Sketchers Symposium but there will be more details when I get back.
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And the winner is.....



Teresa!

Congratulations!  My pink Melbourne Cup will be coming to you soon!

Please contact me lizsteel {at} gmail {dot} com and let me know your address.

And for everyone else... stay tuned for another post later in the day!
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