Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Urban Sketchers and the Art of Drawing

I have just spent a week in Lisbon visiting in the musical festival Optimus Alive. Whilst there, I thought about my recent visit to Spain and continued to draw at every opportunity. One day, quite aptly, I found this book: 
It is one of the best books I have bought in a while and a great souvenir for what has been the most exciting discovery that I have made on my journey of creativity so far - how useful, exhilirating, challenging and relaxing drawing can be! Full of beautiful and inspiring words and images, the book has been put together by the contributors of It documents workshops, essays, stories and sketchbook images, of those that took part in the 2nd International  Symposium of Urban Sketchers in Lisbon last July. The words ring lyrical and true, filling me with so much enthusiasm for more drawing! There is something really nice about looking at and sharing in sketchbook work, and as one of the contributors Matthew Brehm puts it:
Drawing itself is best approached as a learning process. A few suggestions for continuing this are: 
1. Draw regularly - every day if possible - and study the drawings of others.2. Practice by copying sketches from books and other sources. This is an excellent way to learn new techniques and build your repertoire of sketching skills.3. Carry images of sketches you would like to learn from. Keep a few of these in your sketchbook and refer to them when you're actually out there sketching.4. Draw small, using thumbnail sketches to explore composition and value. More frequent, shorter duration sketches are generally better practice than larger, longer, less frequent drawings.5. Invite constructive criticism of your drawings, and avoid the tendency to be protective or shy about your work. Share your sketches online and offer your own criticism of your work, which will let others know that you wont take offense if they make helpful suggestions.6. Try using media that you haven't used before, or haven't used in sometime. If you are 'comfortable' with a particular medium, perhaps it's time to try something else for a while.
This notion of sharing and looking reminds me of the brilliant website In the Make and this article on the interest in studio cultureFull of interviews and images of American artists and makers, In the Make has introduced me to the work of Fran Sigel and Wendy McNaughton who create very different but interesting work.

Fran Siegel
Wendy McNaughton
I will be keeping my eye on and uploading some of my own work on there for feedback too! The Urban Sketchers em Lisboa - Desenhando a Cidade has introduced me to a lot of exciting illustrators/sketchers/bloggers and drawers whom I will no doubt be researching and posting about in the coming weeks so watch this space!

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