Category Archives: Barcelona

USK Barcelona DAY 3 Florian & Arno

I have written about my other Barcelona Urban Sketching workshops  .
All of my Barcelona sketches are on flickr 

This was the final workshop of the Urban Sketching Symposium on the Saturday morning. It was Barcelona Perspectives: Percepting and drawing Architecture (Workshop J)
Location: Caixafòrum

“You always have to express what is there to see – but above all you always have to (and that’s far more difficult) see what is there to see.” (Le Corbusier, famous architect, in a speech to students, 1962)
Starting from this quotation, we want to teach the participants to see correctly, which – in the end – means to draw correctly. The workshop is about drawing architecture correctly. It is a beginner’s or advanced workshop.

Sample Exercises

We are using a frame that represents the sheet of the paper. We make sure about our position towards the building we’re going to draw with preparatory drawings. Walking through the city, we’re mostly in a perspective relation to its buildings. A grid tells us about spatial shortening through perspective. With the grid, we’re able to transfer the correct proportions. The pencil can be used to find the horizon, which is important to establish the vanishing points onto the paper. The frame and the grid (and far more other drawing supports) will be attached to a script we hand out to every participant.

Learning goals

  • Learn how to see correctly through tutorials about perception, image plane and common perspective drawing.
  • To develop a feeling for space and proportions.
  • Knowledge about the dependence between viewpoint, angle and composition.
  • Perspective skills with 1 and 2 vanishing points.
  • Get to know architecture through drawing
We all caught the Metro to the Caixafòrum and had a short walk the amazing Mies van de Rohe building. It was originally designed and built as the temporary German Pavilion for the Barcelona exposition (often called the Barcelona Pavilion) in 1929. There is now a 1986 reconstruction  built on the original site.
I knew nothing about the building, although I had heard of the architect.  It is an important building in the history of modern architecture, known for its simple form and its spectacular use of extravagant materials, such as marble, red onyx and travertine.
I have included a photograph to give you an idea of its beauty and simplicity. You can read much more about this building at its website
The clear plastic sheet with grid marks
 attached to our workshop notes

           a page from the workshop notes, showing how to use the grid
The Workshop began with an explanation of use of the grid and measuring from vanishing points. The first position that we sketched from had two vanishing points. Our page was to include the entire building from end to end. This is so very different from my usual approach to drawing buildings. I usually do not draw the entire building and also having disappearing edges that fade away.
This workshop was the most challenging for me. The other workshops had pushed my boundaries and opened my eyes to new ways of thinking and sketching. But here, I was way out of my comfort zone. I found it very “mathematical” , and my brain and body freeze when maths becomes involved in anything in life! So I really had to try very hard and often remind myself to relax and not stress.
This was made so much easier, as one of the other participants was Sue Pownall, who had been a flickr & facebook friend for a while. We finally got to meet and could talk and laugh our way through this workshop. Here is a link to her review of the day
I made a note in my sketchbook that it took me 25 mins to get the first 4 lines down on the page. “
          Panic – horizon ? agghh were was the horizon? are we just below it , yes? no?
It then to 10 minutes to get the next two lines
Over an hour later I had 24 lines/marks in the page. Half of these were wrong as Sue & I had changed our comparative measuring system halfway through. Florian and & Arno were VERY patient instructors
Sue Pownall & I showing off our completed sketches at the end of the Workshop

The second sketch was a lot easier as it only had one vanishing point. I almost felt like I knew what I was doing !

Sue watching Florian as he gave a demonstration of the sketch

Florian explaining concepts


USK Barcelona DAY 2 Richard Alomar

I have written about my other Barcelona Urban Sketching workshops  . Barry Jackson Marc Taro Holmes Luis Ruiz
 and I have one more workshop to write up –

All of my Barcelona sketches are on flickr

This one is Sketching Urban Place: People, Space and Street (Workshop G)  with Richard Alomar – It was very entertaining and very educational too !

Instructor: Richard Alomar (New York, USA)
Location: Plaça Reial

Workshop description

Urban spaces are designed by architects, landscape architects and engineers and, for the most part, used and experienced by non-designers. These manmade spaces have been conceived as “Places”. More than walls, streets and trees, they are outdoor rooms for people to move, talk, see and experience: They are the “Place” where life happens.

Sketches and sketchbooks can be used as a way to record these “Places”, beyond the traditional perspective cityscape or ornamental object drawing. Regardless of skill level (something that may take a while to develop) a sketcher can begin to experience “Place” and compose richer, more personally meaningful drawings by understanding the role of spatial structure, personal recollection and observation in the sketching process.

The workshop is structured around 3 activities:

  • Connect: Walk around the space. Understand the patterns, forms and urban elements, including people, void space and structures. 
  • Collect: Record your impressions of the space informally through words, mental mapping, thumbnail sketching, sequence sketching or other “reportage” formats.
  • Compose: Soak it all in. Talk it over with another sketcher. Start to sketch the space as a “Place”: A record of your experience of it. (This can be done in groups of 2 or 3 if needed).
  • Learning goals

    Student will:

  • Learn the spatial components of urban space.
  • Learn various sketching techniques to record initial impressions of “Place”.
  • Understand how to frame and compose a sketch to reflect their individual impressions.
  • Share with others their impressions and techniques.
  • Strengthen the importance of individual expression in sketching

“quick!  quick! quick ! ” (it was a fast paced workshop)
“1 pencil , 1 sketch book – what‘s that in your hand ?–a second pencil – put it away!” 

We walked along the street  and told to stop, draw a Thumbnail square in sketchbook . then have 30 seconds to draw the streetscene  we are looking down
wow !  But after a few of these, my mind started to get into thinking  and seeing in that mode. So instead of spending the first precious 15 of the 30 seconds in a “mind freeze” when we stopped, I could look up and see the street scenes as major shapes and lines and shadows. I started to learn to see what is important. We also added notes around the thumbnail sketch – street names, feelings, colours of buildings etc
We repeated this with two minute sketches 
We then looked at the difference between two  sketches how much difference between the 30 sec and the two minute sketch? how much more or less was capture the second time ?  


By the end of our walk we had captured some spaces and views of our journey in a series of quick sketches. Amazing


Things got interesting as we turned into La Rambla, a  tree-lined pedestrian mall stretching for 1.2 kilometers . It is crowded, busy and tourist packed
I promptly got separated from the rest of the group, with one of the other participants (and also instructor) Fred Lynch. We did have a map of the proposed route of the day,  and we walked up and down through the crowds and after 20 mins decided to write off the rest  of the  workshop and head back to the start. At the moment we looked up and there they were !!!

The group were working on a session on interpreting La Rambla in words and sketches 

This was easy as we just been discussing our thoughts of La Rambla ( they were not good thoughts )
The last part of the day . In the square – an urban space 







My takeaways – (these may not necessarily have been Richard’s aims of the day!)

  • The amount of information that you can capture in a sketch on a page in two minutes –

  • There is always something to draw (I am a great believer in this )

  • Thumbnails- love this idea but always forget to do it, I should prepare a page

USK Barcelona DAY 2 Barry Jackson


 I have written about the first two workshops I attended.
DAY 1 AM Luis Ruiz
DAY 1 PM Marc Taro Holmes

I registered for workshops that would assist and build my urban sketching . I took workshops that would push me past just “drawing a building on a page” . I want to capture the moment or to tell a story. So Barry’s workshop description seemed to fit that  – and it did !


Workshop O
X Hither, Thither and Yon
Barry Jackson
Location: Plaça Universitat

The slightly archaic English expression: ‘Hither, thither, and yon’ prefigures recent
concepts in perceptual psychology, which suggest that we experience the visual world (and representations of it) as three layers of space: usually labelled as ‘personal’, ‘action’ and ‘vista’ space. This workshop sets out to explore how we might exploit this concept when drawing on location.

Just so we’re clear: ‘Personal space’ is the band of space nearest to the viewer, extending perhaps 2 metres at most. ‘Action space’ extends perhaps 20-30m further – representing the furthest distance that the viewer could interact with by shouting, or throwing, perhaps. ‘Vista’ space is all the rest – everything that falls beyond the viewer’s sphere of influence.

Learning goals
The aim is not to promote a particular approach to drawing, but rather to make conscious stuff which is often non-conscious.
In learning outcomes terms, I hope someone participating in the workshop will develop:

  • An increased understanding of how they perceive the world
  • A specific understanding of the concepts of spatial depth and the ways in which it can be depicted
  • An increased repertoire of drawing skills to depict space
  • An increased skill in using the representation of depth to make engaging drawings
  • An increased confidence in the representation of depth

My experience 
On a hot day we walked to the nearby Placa Universitat and after explantions from Barry and a bit of discussion, each of the participants found a place on the plaza to sketch and explore the notions posed by Barry. I found a great view in full sun, leaning up against a large cement tree plant stand.


In my first sketch page I deliberately tried to sketch the scene giving equal emphasis to personal’, ‘action’ and ‘vista’ space – and found it impossible !  I already have ingrained ways of sketching and means of emphasising areas and features . It was a really interesting exercise in making me think about how I already sketch. And that is a good thing – to question what you do.  
In my second sketch I decided to emphasise the “thither” or “action” space. I used Cool Grey IV watercolour pencil to do the sketch, with more detail on the thither space and then added water to that area with a waterbrush . It really does make a difference. Working through this  process in a deliberate method made me think through a few things that I will mention soon in my “takeaways”
We then moved to another space in the University to put this into practice. I decided to sit in the shade  and feature the “hither” space by drawing a column right infront of me and its lichen and worn edges. Great fun. For those who know me will know that this is my comfort zone – close objects and the impression of detail. So today I got to include it in my urban sketching.

The photos above are our sketchbooks and some in the group (I hardly took any photographs at the Symposium – if anyone has any – I would love to get a copy) . There was some amazing sketches from this session I wish that I had the chance to look through these sketchbooks
my takeaways
  • I realised that my “thither/action” space is not  20-30 meters that Barry proposed in this workshop. Mine was whatever moved !!!! and that could go on and on. So perhaps tightening that “thither” space by using different mark marking will make subtle difference to my sketches
  • using different line, textures and colours in each of the different spaces .I think that this was a major “click” moment in the whole Symposium for me and I think this will make huge difference to me. It may not be immediately obvious in my sketches, but mentally it has changed the way I think.
  • for example colour – It was mentioned by Barry and others in the class had used colour in their pages to differentiate spaces.

Putting it all into practice – a week later on the Underground in London. The red figures in the foreground who entered my personal space  after I had drawn the other train passengers

USK Barcelona DAY 1 Marc Taro Holmes

My afternoon workshop on the first day was with Marc Taro Holmes
I’ve already written about my My DAY 1 morning workshop with Luis Ruiz

Workshop N 4- 7 pm

Instructor: Marc Holmes
Location: Rambla del Raval

Here are Marc’s Notes (click through to a pdf of Marc’s notes from the workshop):

The main thing to remember about drawing people in action is this: They are going to move before you’re ready. It’s inevitable. Real life never holds a pose. Once you are ok with that, urban sketching begins to open up for you. If your drawing process requires subjects to sit still, you will never be able to draw anyone outside of a subway car or cafe.

This workshop is based on capturing everything you need quickly – in mere seconds – and completing the sketch before your visual memory fades.
It helps to have a plan – a systematic approach – to avoid dithering about what to draw next, or how to draw it. We’re going to practice a method of working where each step adds information to the step before, always moving toward a finished sketch. Your subject can walk away at any stage in the process, but you’ll be able to finish based on whatever you have captured so far.
We will practice four simple steps, in this order: Gesture > Line > Blacks > Color

You can also think of this as: Pencil > Pen > Brush (Pen) > Watercolor
Our group started in a café (which was very empty due to rain, which got heavier and we had to find somewhere more sheltered) .The café sketch of a nearby diner started in pencil and then moved to pen and I had time to use my new Pentel Brush pen to add dark areas.
 pencil, pen and brushpen
we quickly walked to shelter  to continue

We learnt about sketching people as they walked towards us. You only had seconds to capture the essence of the person in a few lines on  paper before they either walked passed you or turned a corner. It took a few pages of seemingly meaningless scribbles to start to get the feel of how to try and get those important lines on and to feel a little more comfortable with what we are trying to achieve. I did 11 pages of “people walking towards me” sketches.
You also learn to pick your subjects – people who are walking slower are good !
pencil sketches and then one with pen and brush pen added – and the rain added
We then learnt to add further emphasis and detail with pen after the subject had moved on
The final part of Pencil > Pen > Brush (Pen) > Watercolor is the colour – oops  -In the above sketch I had used a pen of soluble ink  (instead of non-soluble).It certainly had an  interesting effect  and got lots of likes and comment online. But perhaps the drawing of a old woman, carrying a fan, cigarette in mouth is interesting however it is sketched-
and it was challenging as I used watercolour paint – and I haven’t done this …I usually use watercolour pencils

MY TAKEAWAYS from the workshop

  • I don’t have to finish the drawing just because subject moves on. As long as I have the essence of lines on the page I can continue

  • Drawing people walking towards me is a new challenge – aaarggg – I thought I was pretty savvy stalking people, drawing them as I walked behind them . This is a new challenge
  • You don’t have to draw legs. My figure drawing experience comes from life drawing lessons, where you always put the feet in to ground the figure. If you have the basic lines or essence on paper it can be enough to capture what the person is doing


USK Barcelona DAY 1 Luis Ruiz Workshop

The Urban Sketching Symposium is a three-day workshop at which artists from around the world meet to draw and learn together in the host city. It includes field sketching sessions, lectures, panels, exhibits and artists demos. Symposium participants get one-on-one interaction with local and international workshop instructors coming to the host city from every corner of the world.

Barcelona was the host city of this year’s event in July. Past Symposiums were held in Santo Domingo (2012), Lisbon (2011), and Portland, USA (2010)

Urban Sketchers, is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising the artistic, educational and storytelling value of on-location drawing, promoting its practice and helping sketchers around the world connect with each other.
In Sydney on March 25 in Sydney Liz, Chris & I synchronized our watches and stayed up til midnight to be one of the 150 participants to register and enroll in the workshops. Lots of emails between us all and Esther in Edinburgh ! But what a buzz

Symposium attendees chose up to five urban sketching workshops out of a rich menu that covers a wide range of subject matter, including perspective and architecture, picture design, storytelling and reportage, color techniques and more.

 What workshops I chose and why

Each workshop was well described on the website before and had stated goals In the end I successfully enrolled in workshops that I thought would help me build and grow my urban sketching knowledge. There were instructors whose art and blogs I had enjoyed and admired so much. However, some of them were teaching workshop themes that I did not want to learn in those three precious days. I managed to say hello to them at some time during the Symposium.

I took something valuable away from each workshop I enrolled in . It may not have always been the main aim of the workshop (sorry instructors) , but I took something away. I heard it described a “CLICK” moment and I think this sums it up – Either confirming. establishing in words something I was aware of, and tightening it up, new concept -opening my eyes.

There were also pre-workshop Panel sessions, Demos and Lectures from 2-4pm . I made a decision for my health not to go to these but instead to go back to lovely hotel, relax and rest my feet and head–.I also was going back to the hotel at 9pm when others were heading out to dinner. It was the best choice for me.

Here are some short (3-4 min) YouTube videos  I found online that show  the Urban Sketchers Symposium. They give you an idea of what it was like ! Brilliant

Now  that I am home it is up to me to put all the my Workshop experiences into practice. Some of the CLICK moments I can see on my pages or I know that I when I am applying it in my drawing.

My extraordinary experience


Day One began by going to the central CCCB centre and collecting the Symposium sponsor (ie goodies) bag and necktag with name in BIG LETTERS. You could spot a USK-er in the street and chat to them


We went back to our hotel to drop off out bag and I really didn’t get a chance to look though it properly til I got to London four days later) I had decided to use my usual Moleskine watercolor sketchbook everyday and do my workshops sessions a in a sponsors book, a specially embossed Stillman & Birn Heavy Weight Paper 150 gsm Ivory sketchbook that would take my watercolour pencils (the known) while learning the unknown. I did not want to challenge myself too much at once !

Then back to the Auditorium for the Opening Ceremony – a wonderful a warm welcome from the panel and Swasky. 

The we all headed  out to the  CCCB central forum that we would get to now so well. You then looked for your Workshop letter held in the air by the Instructor .

The workshops took place in emblematic Barcelona squares, streets and other public spaces such as Plaça Reial, Mercat de la Boqueria and Rambla del Raval, to name a few. Each workshop took 3 hours and was limited to a maximum of 17 participants) Each day had wonderful weather (except for that day it rained) It was 26 degrees – hat and sunburn cream each day.


It was a thrill to be in the wonderful Luis Riuz’s workshop
I wish I had taken more notes on paper on the day, but I was too busy living the moment and soaking it all up.

Workshop I 10 – 1pm 
Actors and Stage
Instructor: Luis Ruiz
Location: Pla dels Àngels, MACBA



Drawing in an urban context means being exposed multiple stimuli; the city is a complex environment from the visual point of view. You cannot capture on your sketchbook everything that is going on. It is perhaps preferable to select some story that has caught your attention and is worth to be told. The street and its architecture are the stage, and there each actor plays a role. And… actors are not always people! A building, a van, a dome or tower can play a role too.


Learning goals

  • Selecting what is important and what can be left out of the drawing.
  • Using the empty space of the paper as an active element.
  • Capturing the depth of the urban space: Actors play their role in the scenery.
  • Avoiding getting lost with the details. Do not draw everything!!
  • Leading the watcher’s eye to the desired place of the sketch

My Workshop Sketches

selecting what is important

Avoiding getting lost with the details. Do not draw everything!!

My Takeaway

Repetition – when sketching buildings down a street- don’t get lost in the details. Getting lost in the detail of architecture is something I struggle with and I now have a methods to put into place. For this sketch I did not even count the number of balconies and windows. Of course Sydney streets do not have those long buildings of Europe, but it is the concept that I can put in place.


The sketch above was THE BEST one hour –very self indulgent. At first, I thought that the washing and balcony was the feature of the little street, but it I realised it was the people in the street leading the eye. After getting the tight perspective right I added the people, then the repetition of he windows and balconies . Everything help directs the eye


Then we looked at each other sketchbooks – Amazing art by everyone!!
Then tapas lunch for all. I sketched mine of course (it was Esther’s as well, so she was patient to wait)

 all of my Barcelona sketches are on flickr



return from holidays

I have returned home after three weeks holiday in London and Barcelona.
For those who have been following my blog, you will be aware the BIG lead up and trip prep that occurred – including the weekly “drawing on an envelope” to my mum, who was my travelling companion and lives interstate, here is the notice board at her house with all my envelopes pinned on it.
all of my weekly envelopes to Mum from the 10 week countdown
The holiday exceeded all of my expectations and was filled with amazing experiences, sights, people, events and sketching.

Here we are in London outside the National Gallery – permanent grins on our faces
me sketching the Royal Albert hall from the steps in front of the Albert Memorial
I had always planned it to be a sketching holiday and much of the lead up was about my sketchkit,  as well as being a tourist and going to the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Barcelona
I filled two Moleskine watercolour sketchbooks with sketches on my three week holiday.
34 pages in Barcelona and 86 in London.
I have scanned and uploaded the Barcelona sketches and photos to flickr and USK BCN facebook photo album .
I will put a few up here on the blog

from the wonderful Luis Ruiz Workshop “Actors and Stage

and lunch after the workshop – Tapas

Santa Anna 13th Century church – sketching early one morning before a Workshop

About 250 of us gather at the Barcelona Arc de Triomphe for a group photo & sketch

Sketching doorways on my own
I have lots of other blog posts to come.
  • My sketchkit and travelling – lessons learnt
  • London sketches
I am not sure about how to go about releasing my London Sketches . I may do a few at a time chronologically through the trip. It is a lot to scan and add commentary and a lot for people to read.

UPDATE all London sketches are being put in the SET one or two a day

I hope you enjoy sharing my adventure  .It was truly amazing

Barcelona Urban Sketchers Sympoisum preparation

With less than two weeks til we fly from Australia to the UK, trip preparation is down to specifics. I am spending two weeks in London and also a week in Barcelona to attend the Urban Sketchers Symposium

We had a Barcelona meeting Tuesday night in Sydney – Liz, Chris, Shantele (who especially travelled from Lismore)  and I are all going. We talked travel, paints, and asked Liz questions about previous USK Symposiums that she had been to, and what we can expect.
me, Chris, Liz and Shantele

Over the three days of Symposium we have to opportunity to enrol in five workshops from a long and exciting list. The workshops take place in emblematic Barcelona squares, streets and other public spaces and each workshop takes 3 hours.  From the descriptions supplied , I enrolled in workshops that seemed to offer me the most to learn and grow in what I already do.  Although I am also looking forward to being pushed outside of my comfort zone. And I fully expect it!

Most of the workshop I am going do not require me to buy any special equipment – except Marc Taro Holmes Drawing People in Action  I have most on the list apart from paints(which are being kindly lent to me) and the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen. I could not find in Sydney, ordered it online from the USA and mailed FedEx Express International, so that I would receive it in a few days. I wanted to actually test it out it before I arrived ! I am glad I did as it will require getting used to and be fun too.
Pentel Pocket Brush pen


It has cartridges of ink that flow through the brush tip, which is harder than a paintbrush, but still has give in it to be able to make the variety of thick and fine lines.  These are my first test marks at the side of the page. My trip preparation included drawing my pen – lots of black !

When the pen arrived, it was highly over packaged  (for a pen) –  and all the packaging was not for protection  as the pen was placed on top of all the padding ! I then found where to buy them in Sydney city. At least I will know where to get refills!
an overpackaged pen
This week in the mail I also received my business cards and postcards that I had ordered through
The Symposium organisers (and Liz) advised us to bring some to the Barcelona to be able to exchange with all those many many sketchers we meet.They suggested business cards with our work on it, postcards, bookmarks (with our contact details) . Some bring their self published Blurb books, zines and stickers and buttons were also suggested as a popular giveaway to all our new friends
 I choose to have some of my gumleaf drawings printed on postcards and a few of the Sydney Harbour Bridge too – very Australian ! And I have many business cards which have my pencils drawn on them .I am so pleased with how these look – so professional !




Drawing on envelopes 3 weeks to go and INK

It is three weeks until we leave for London on holidays. And here is this weeks envelope to my interstate travelling companion.. Only two more envelopes to go !!! 
Trafalgar Square

Travelling with ink – the adventure so far….For the past two years I have used a Lamy Joy Safari ink pen. And I love it ! It suits my current drawing style so well. Previously I used PITT , Microns, and other ink pens, in the Fine range. I would be happy with them for a while and then they would get scratchy and my drawing would be uncomfortable and they just wouldn’t feel right. I think (my interpretation) was because of the hard flat edge of the ink pen as opposed to the flexible smooth nib of Lamy Safari Joy pen (introduced to me by Liz Steel – thank you Liz !) 

I use Noodlers Bullet Proof ink – it is waterproof, so once I draw the pen lines on, I can go over them with my watercolour pencils and then the waterbrush (after giving it a little time to dry). Noodlers have a huge range of ink colours, but not in the Bullet Proof range. I  have the Black. and have a Polar Brown as well.
MY DILEMMA  – I will be away for three weeks of constant drawing . I will need to refill my ink cartridge . So I will take ink. So far, (touch wood) I have never spilt my ink when refilling. This was a major concern, as I can see it happening and ink going all over the cream carpet in my (rented) apartment ! I can also envisage my ink leaking through my luggage. So after much discussion and advice , I have plan.
Instead of the glass ink bottle I have a small used plastic bottle from a hotel bathroom. (from Milan!!)  I am going to bubble wrap it,  put in another plastic jar  – all well sealed. and put it in my luggage in the hold of the plane.
BUT … along the way… I rinsed the bottle and then as a final wash, I poured boiling water into it. It immediately crumpled and twisted. At first I was dismayed, but then realised how very Gaudi -like it was. If you are not familiar with Gaudi have a look at this link and you will see why . Since I will be visiting Barcelona for the Urban Sketchers Symposium , the city of Gaudi architecture and design it then seemed inspired, and the lid still seals , So I am still going to use it ! 
and so I drew it !
Gaudi inspired travelling ink bottle

my Lamy Safari in action – always in my hand ! Eat and sketch

Urban Sketching Symposium in July

The 4th Urban Sketchers Symposium  is  being held 11 to 13 July  in the city of Barcelona this year.
And I am going !!

The Urban Sketching Symposium (USK) is a three-day workshop at which artists from around the world meet to draw and learn together in the host city. It includes field sketching sessions, lectures, panels, exhibits and artists demo

The event is organized by Urban Sketchers, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising the artistic, educational and storytelling value of on-location drawing, promoting its practice and helping sketchers around the world connect with each other.
Three  months to go …
For me, (I work as a Researcher in my day job) the preparation for a holiday is an exciting and important part of the adventure. Yesterday, I borrowed some travel books from the local library. I am only in Barcelona for a short time and I imagine that I will be swept away by the workshops and meeting so many people .However I wanted to look at books and maps of where we will be out and about sketching and  staying and read up the city.

The planning begins
I don’t actually look the drawing I have made of my new look. No one would recognise me from this, but the haircuts look like that – you get the idea

However, the majority of my holiday is in London, so I also borrowed lovely books on London to read. I have been there a few times and love it,  but it is so exciting to borrow the books and to start reading them. It feels like the holiday has already begun. I already have a bit of idea of what I want to do in London and I hope to even meet up with some UK sketchers. Of course,  I will be sketching my entire holiday continuously in  my sketchbook journal.

I am reading Danny Gregory’s “Illustrated  Journal” for further inspiration (as if that was needed!!)  and looking back at my recent Sketchbook Project “Paris 2007” as well.   
Last Monday three sketching friends & I stayed up til midnight Australian time to register in the USK workshops in Barcelona. We then spent half n hour on the phone to each other on a high of excitement
The workshops were full in two hours and registration closed. I am sorry that people missed out. It is obviously becoming a more well-known and sought after event each year.  For those that will be there – I am really looking forward to meetng you.
Attending this Urban Sketchers Symposium has special meaning for me as I had booked and planned to go the 2nd Urban Sketching Symposium in Lisbon in 2011. 
 I then got very sick and had to cancel (see my hospital stay drawings in the tab above or the full set on flickr) .However, I was honoured and overwhelmed when on her return from Lisbon, Liz Steel presented me with a mini Moleskine she had organised . It was filled with sketches made on location by many of the participants and instructors – these  people I want to meet and thank. You  can look through the whole sketchbook  and the lovely flickr comments I received. I get teary when I look at it.
But looking forward to this year, already we have had a few discussions , with hints and tips from Liz (as a seasoned Symposium attendee and instructor)  to Chris & I  about how approach the days and make the most of our time there.  And we have been asking her plenty of questions. The most difficult part of the Urban Sketching Symposium will be now to meet so many people in just the short space of time!