In Chicago!

July 19, 2017 | 10 Comments

LizSteel-Arrive-chicagoLast night I arrived in Chicago. I planned to get here early so I could have a few days on my own before everyone else arrived. So far it’s been a great decision as I feel relaxed!

Note: Sometimes on symposium trips I get a bit stressed out on the very first day as there are other people already in town and wanting to catch up.I spend a lot of time on my phone answering messages!

Note 2: Sorry the above photo is a little blurry though it accurately represents what I saw that first evening!

For the #oneweek100peoplesymposium challenge I managed to sketch 56 people in one sitting while I was waiting for my flight as I was delayed by 1 hour. I felt very rusty and a little bit anxious about the impact of the delay on my connection in Dallas, and I think this reflected in my linework. But by about #40 I was starting to get in the groove. I didn’t sketch any people as such on my 15 hour flight (just the view from my seat), and spent the whole time in DFW worrying about whether I would make my connecting flight due to some long lines. I was too tired for my second flight to do much sketching.

Arrived to my hotel around 7.30ish (I had a 30+ hour long Monday), dumped my bag in my room and then headed out to catch the last of the light. I sat on the steps of The Institute of Art for this sketch. I was pretty sleep deprived and knew my eye-hand coordination was a little out. But it’s always worth having a go, and trying to stay up till a reasonable hour on the first night after a long haul flight.

Then I walked up to The Bean for this quick line sketch.

BlickToday(Tuesday), I headed to get a local SIM. Thanks to Fernanda’s advice I got sorted out easily, and just popped into Blicks to have a look.

Note: I didn’t buy anything! I will wait until I have a buddy or two before going through in detail. But just for the record, I am much less of an art supply junkie these days. (Maybe the fact that I now live in a very small flat might have something to do with it).

I walked around The Loop and the Riverside walk and then waited outside the Institute of Art to meet up with a (non-sketching) friend. I was sitting in the shade of one of the urns so this was the best view I could sketch.

Lovely afternoon with my friend (thanks Tobi!) and then, before dinner, I headed back to Michigan Ave to find a ‘good’ building to sketch. So here it is – a fun study of the Fine Arts Building. I like sketching buildings like this – complex but with lots of variety and not too much repetition. Tomorrow I will tackle something harder. There are a lot of hard buildings to sketch here in Chicago!

Anyway, it’s just been a quick update for today. In summary, I am LOVING Chicago and it was good to spend most of the day walking around and getting a feel for this town.

I’m not sure how often I will be able to write an update article, but I will try.


  • Robin Westacott says:

    I grew up 2 1/2 hours south of Chicago and traveled there frequently as a child with my mom on day trips. I adore the architecture in downtown Chicago, especially anything by Louis Sullivan. Your sketches are wonderful and brought back happy memories. I hope you have a wonderful experience in one of my favorite cities.

    I am one of those people interested in your Buildings class, but need to take your other two classes first since I am a beginning sketcher. Thanks for including that recommendation in your recent newsletter / email about the Building’s class.

  • Stevie says:

    I’m so glad you’re in Chicago. This is going to be really fun to see, I work in the city and went to school downtown. I love the Monadnock Building at Jackson and Dearborn, but that might have something to do with housing a coffee shop I also adore. Inside is quite pretty in the passageway too, a lot of the railings and other decorations have been preserved.

    • Liz Steel says:

      Oh ah. I love that building too and walked past it yesterday but didn’t notice the coffee shop. Looking forward to meeting you somewhere

  • Kirk Whiteside says:

    Glad you are liking Chigo! It is a great town. Looking forward to all the Urban Sketcher postings to bring back memories of having lived not far from the Loop. Have a great time and Happy Sketching!

  • Bernadette says:

    Love your sketches! I am overwhelmed by the massive buildings but you have easily mastered them so impressively. I am encouraged to continue to try my best at such attempts of nearby buildings. I live in a suburb of Cleveland and we have many impressive structures here too. I will draw up courage to try. Thank you as always for posting.

  • Julana says:

    Love seeing your Instagram explorations of Chicago so far. She is a great city.
    As Roz Stendhal once wrote, ” Drawing is love.”
    It’s great to see Chicago receive attention, having watched USK’ers sketch Paraty, Singapore, and Manchester, the past few years.
    I wonder if you will be able to sketch the skyline from the end of Navy Pier, or even from out on Lake Michigan……
    Be safe.

  • It is always great to see how you settle in to enjoy sketching in a location. As always your buidings are impressive…hopefully after your workshop mine will be too. I’m arriving on Tuesday afternoon so I at least have part of one day before everything starts.

  • Bonnie Baskin says:

    I love that your speedy Bean sketch includes reflections 🙂

  • Angela says:

    It’s been so great to see you sketch my adopted home town, Liz, having followed you for so long. Thank you, and safe travels!

  • Elsie Hickey-Wilson says:

    It was wonderful to finally meet you in person in Chicago! I had a marvelous time at the Symposium!

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