It has been four weeks since I returned from my UK holiday and even longer since I attended the Urban Sketching Symposium in Manchester . I am still slowly scanning my sketches . I feel the need to catch up and share my experiences from the Symposium before it becomes a distant memory. To do this I plan to post a blog one day a week this week on the Workshops I attended.
What is the Urban Sketching Symposium
The Urban Sketching Symposium is a three-day event where people from around the world meet to draw and learn together in the host city. (This year it was Manchester). It includes on location sketching workshops, activities, lectures, panels, exhibits and artists demos. Symposium participants get one-on-one interaction with local and international workshop instructors. We got to choose urban sketching workshops out of a rich menu that covered a wide range of subject matter, including perspective and architecture, picture design, storytelling and reportage, colour techniques and more. This year there were 478 participants from 44 countries !!!!
Who are Urban Sketchers
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.
USK in Manchester
In October 2015 when the location of Manchester was announced, I booked my flight. In January I successfully registered for a ticket and in March chose the workshops I wanted to attend. I registered for 4 workshops of 26 on offer and 3 activities of the 9 . I did not go to any Lectures or Demos , which was just as well, as I don’t think I would have had the time or energy. Today I am reliving the excitement of the event itself. Tomorrow the Workshop blogs begin.
Just some of the wonderful sponsor products in the Symposium goody bag.
My extraordinary experience
Registration .The Wednesday day before Symposium I joined other Urban Sketchers and collected my Symposium sponsor (ie goodies) bag and necktag with name in BIG LETTERS from the Manchester School of Arts Benzie Building. This building would be the starting and ending venue over the next few days. With the name tag on you could spot a USK-er in the street and chat to them. Once again, I really didn’t get a chance to look though the goody bag properly until I got home. I had decided to use my usual Moleskine watercolor sketchbook everyday and my watercolour pencils (the known) while learning the unknown. I did not want to challenge myself too much at once !
The Opening Reception at Manchester Town Hall . Sketching from the back of the room.
The string quartet were surrounded by about 20 people sketching them
The Opening Reception was held on Wednesday evening in the magnificent 19th century Neo Gothic Manchester Town Hall with its crystal chandeliers, mural walls and organ . An grand venue to start our four day adventure. We were met by waiters bearing trays of wine glasses. There was an amazing buzz in the room as people met, chatted, mingled and talked (and sketched too). I felt that this set the scene for the collegiate and welcoming feel of Symposium.
Each morning would begin at 9am with a half hour morning meeting, which was a lovely way to bring people together, continuing that ‘buzz’ as well as providing any practical updates.
It is exhilarating to be with so many like minded people and to see sketchers everywhere – and for those of us who had travelled (the majority of us) it was all in a new exciting city .
Over the next three days I drew the grand Midland Hotel (where I was staying) each morning from 8.00 for about 15 – 30 minutes. I sketched at the morning USK meeting, ending the day with another Symposium event (Peveril of the Peak or the Closing Ceremony). There were morning and afternoon Symposium Workshops and Activities which were challenging as I tried to absorb new and different concepts or techniques in just three hours. During this time I was also meeting new people and seeing friends. All of this time I was carried along my the excitement and energy of the people and the event.
If you are curious about what actually happens, there are a number of videos online
A five minute video by Urban Sketchers
or 5 , 15 minute videos by Parka as he travels with his camera around various events. Capturing snippets of the day.
Day Before USK Symposium in Manchester (26 Jul 2016)
USK Manchester Day 1 (27 Jul 2016)
USK Manchester Day 2 (28 Jul 2016)
USK Manchester Day 3 (29 July 2016)
USK Manchester Day 4 (30 July 2016)
Over the next week I will be sharing my experiences of the following Urban Sketching Symposium events
- Cars in the City Workshop
- Hunting and Gathering : Sketching Vignettes and lists Workshop
- From Macro to Micro- a visual story of building Workshop
- Soaring Spaces Workshop
- Recording a musical city Activity
- Making time for postcards Activity
- Pub crawl- Draw if you’re sober Activity
- Lettering, Line and Balance Activity