Singapore 2015 Sketchbook part 3: The Symposium Days

August 12, 2015 | Leave your thoughts

Following on from my posts:
Initial Review of the whole trip
Sketchbook Part 1: The first two days in Singapore
Sketchbook part 2: Leading up to the Symposium

Finally we get to the Symposium!

As one of only four people that have been to all six USK symposiums I often share these two general principles
1. As a participant don’t expect to do good work. You are trying new things and stretching.
2. As an instructor you are teaching most of the time so don’t expect to sketch much.

And third… there are no words to describe the intensity of the creative energy and buzz at one of these events. No matter how tired and exhausted you are… you will find the energy (somehow) to keep going!

I thought I would simply dump the pages that I did during the 4 days of the symposium here in the one post… thinking that I didn’t sketch as much as I had done on the other days. But it turns out that I sketched more than I expected – no wonder I was so tired! But to see them all in one post without a moment to breathe in between the various days is a good way to share the experience with you all!

I taught a 3.5 hour workshop called Pointless Perspective and Coloured Shapes on three occasions over the 4 days. I have included my very rough teaching pages in this collection. They contain very quick exercise demos that I did and some rough thick watercolour pencil diagrams explaining some perspective principles. I did quick demos to explain the exercises which are developing some core skills (ie. not finished works) and rough messy pencil diagrams (rather than fine precise ones) to show that perspective on location doesn’t need to be precise. At the end of the workshops I did a quick demo in my current loose approach (shape first, then line then shape then line etc) to pull together some of the ideas and questions and to show that even though I don’t set up perspective these days I am thinking about it all the time. Hope to share more about my workshops later.

Day 1: Excitement starts
1. Before the instructor meeting at 10.30 (I think) I went with Suhita, Gail Wong, Virginia Hein and Frank Ching to Little India to sketch
2. Instructor briefing meeting – so many people to see again and new people to meet!
3. A few hours to chill (and sketch) while registration started. Went to Waterloo St with Inma and Miguel from Spain and Matthew Brehm (USA) to sketch the temples.
4. (out of order in my sketchbook) Some ‘AC time’ – a slow lunch in a shopping mall including a little sketching of the sketchers. I turned to the back of my book and worked bigger.
5. Before the first sketchwalk in Purvis St began, a group of us instructors started sketching Raffles Hotel and then as Purivs St was packed I ended up having a little time out in a local cafe Rabbit Owl Depot with Paul and the Hong Kong gang (so it wasn’t really time out but I got a coffee hit!)
6. Opening ceremony – incomplete sketch as Lapin offered to sketch me!
7. Big group for dinner (6 or 7 tables worth of USKers??) Tried to sketch the group food and a few people before calling it a night and returning to my hotel early.


Day 2: Double teaching day!
1. 7am sketching with Nina and Suhita. We caught a cab to the blue mosque and I did a sketch for the silent auction and then two really quick ones in my book.
2. Teaching my workshop first time and a small demo.
3. Collapse in my hotel room for an hour break but somehow I had the energy and desire to sketch my lunch!
4. Afternoon workshop teaching including a bigger demo.
5. Less successful attempts at sketching my dinner…but I was in very good company (Rob Sketcherman and Ben Luk and the HK group so wanted to talk as well as eat and sketch…and oh! look over Rob’s shoulder while he worked his magic on the ipad) and then shared cake for supper.
HUGE day!


Day 3: My day off (off from teaching that is – not sketching!)
1. Somehow managed to get up at 7am for our morning sketching session. Marc, Ben and Stephanie joined us… plus a lot of others later on. This was the only day that I felt the morning session really hit the spot like it did last year in Paraty, Brazil.
2. Great time doing Melanie Reim’s workshop on calligraphy and moment. I tried to write down everything she said! Wow! lots to think about.
3. After a quiet lunch with Amber (no idea how we two managed to have lunch together like that)  and a little time out back at that cafe again I headed to Ricard Alomar’s lecture – which was great. I intended to sketch and write a few quotes but ended up taking notes, many notes and making a very messy unplanned spread (one of the limitations of using a big watercolour sketchbook).
4. Another amazing activity/workshop playing with Ignatius Yeo’s Folded Pens (more about this later).
5. Huge dinner (in terms of numbers) Chilli Crab etc at a local eating place and then we went for dessert (sesame balls sketched on a different page) at a place that was packed so we could hang around sketching each other to the wee hours – I think this was a good thing!
Another huge day!


Day 4: Less sketching – sketching fatigue hitting?
1. 7am sketching turned out to be very busy and social but always good to get the hand moving regardless of the result!
2. Final teaching of workshop. I thought I was going really well sticking to my schedule but didn’t get to do the final demo as I shared a lot more perspective tips with the group.
3. Crashed to my hotel room again for an hour rest (no sketch)
4. Big crit with Nina (no sketch) but so much fun!!!
5. Quiet time in that Rabbit Owl Cafe AGAIN (no sketch)
6. Arrived very late to the mega final sketchwalk and didn’t start sketch till the last 20 minutes… but very happy with what I achieved. I am normally doing a last minute panic sketch for the silent auction so it was nice to be able to chill a little this year on the final afternoon.
7. Closing ceremony, final dinner and late night ‘supper’ (well just an expensive tea) and some serious art chats (no sketch)


Wow!!! All in four days! Of course I have completely missed explaining all the conversations, meeting and greeting of other sketchers (and photos and more photos!) that occurred during the same period. Or the looking through peoples sketchbooks or the hearing what they picked up in the workshops that they did….

This video – the “official” video – is a great summary of all the different things that happened during the symposium! Wow! (oops I already said that before!)

SketchingNow Online Sketching Courses: Foundations Self Directed course start today!

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