I know many people are scared of sketching in public. They really want to become urban sketchers but are afraid that people might see them or even worse, come up and speak to them! But honestly once you get over that fear, you might find that these interactions with locals becomes the best part – well, it certainly is for me.
In Lesson 2 of my SketchingNow Buildings course I include a demonstration filmed on location in Venice. At the end of the demo this lovely Italian guy comes up to see what I am doing. The whole conversation was recorded on video! It really was just the best way to finish off what was a truly wonderful experience.
Sketching in public is daunting when you first start, but it is really worth the effort!
Here two essential mindsets for urban sketching that I included in Foundations (a course designed to teach people the essential skills for sketching on location):
1. Never compare sketching on location with sketching in the controlled environment at home.
Interruptions will happen so be prepared for them. People will stop you right at a critical moment to tell you all about their aunt who was an artist, a truck will come and block your view, the sun will move (or disappear), the wind will blow your page over, it will start raining, you will start to get uncomfortable or cold or hot or hungry.
Ah! this is all part of the experience, so embrace it as an essential element of the process and get excited that these stories will be encoded in your lines.
2. Don’t worry about what people will think of you and your work.
You might think I am fearless but I do sometimes worry that I appear to others as a complete nutter! However, most times the desire to sketch is stronger than this fear. It gets easier the more you do it, and once you have developed enough confidence in yourself it doesn’t matter what others think. I am not referring to the confidence that you will produce a masterpiece every time, because that is a completely impossible goal, but the confidence that comes from loving the process.
You do’t have to be a master to start, and you shouldn’t need to be afraid to say to anyone, “I have just started sketching and this is what I have been doing”, and show them your sketchbook. An experienced artist will encourage you to keep going and most other people will be full of admiration and wish they ‘had your talent’.
So, I would love to hear from YOU.
Are you afraid to sketch in public – what is your major fear?
Or have you managed to get over the fear and how?
Do you only sketch when you are with other sketchers (which by the way is a great way to start!) or are you comfortable with going out on your own?