Category Archives: Urban Sketching Symposium

USK Day 1 Hunting and Gathering FRED LYNCH

Hunting & Gathering: Sketching Vignettes and Lists

Thursday afternoon with Fred Lynch . Have a look at this great short video of Fred describing his Workshop.

Day 1 – the afternoon.

As I write this I am recalling how I spent the time between morning and afternoon Workshops –  I remember now – finding hot food and trying to get warm. After sitting out in the open in the morning on a carpark floor, I was pleased that Fred Lynch’s Workshop Hunting & Gathering: Sketching Vignettes and Lists was based indoors (although we did go outside at intervals)

I choose this workshop as I hoped it would assist me to capture the essence of a place without having to sketch the whole scene.  It did this, but was also the most challenging Workshop I attended as I had think about  technique and what I put on the page .



After an introduction to and discussion of vignettes , including examples of what they are, we were given 20 minutes to go out and sketch. We had to sketch a 4 thumbnail sketches  of one object, from 4 different views or focus. I chose the facade of a nearby building, zooming in on some features, or stepping back to show more of the building.

vignette longer study



The second sketching session was a longer study of one of our initial thumbnail sketches. This   challenged me as it involved the interaction of the white of the page and blocking out silhouetted shapes. In this case the image had to speak, to make a statement, to tell. My usual style is the ‘unfinished’ look where edges fade away,. That is the visual equivalent of the edge of the vignette saying ‘blah blah bl…” instead of telling a whole story . It was very difficult not to fall back into the familiar. I found it difficult to know where to find the hard edge to stop.



This was great fun. In the ‘classroom’ we discussed things about Manchester that were different from home. Some unusual suggestions were made. We then went  out to hunt for something to sketch  a visual list. This was easy  as I knew it would be a building feature. We do have chimneys in Melbourne (it was 12 degrees yesterday in our Spring) , but there were so many unusual chimneys in the one block that I wanted to draw them.  I don’t know why I sketched them so small on the page ! I found these easier to give distinct hard edges to.


  • lists can reveal more than a whole scene
  • they are an alternative way of describing a place by and showing your interest and communicating it to people
  • it is hard to change your normal style in three hours

USK Day 1 Cars in the city LAPIN & GERARD MICHEL

Cars in the city

Thursday morning with Lapin and Gerard Michel Read more About the instructors

This workshop  was originally to be co-taught with Florian Afflerbach (Flaf) , well known as a  sketcher of cars who sadly passed away earlier this year. A tribute wall of sketches of cars in fish eye style was at the Benzie Building at Symposium

Part 1 Car Portraits (quck sketch)


Gerard explained the elipse of wheels and axels – going through the axis of the wheels . Of course it all makes sense now !



The first part of the  Workshop was to sketch a car from a distance of about a metre or so, maybe a little more. We sat on the sidewalk or near a car and sketched three quarter view. The instructors  provided an example of how to work out the shape using simple boxes and we worked from that . I have no idea what I  wrote  here at the end of the page or what I was trying to make a note of. I think we had about 10 minutes each sketch.

and then the rain got heavier…so we moved

Part 2 (detailed sketch)

We found a nearby carpark and choose the car of our choice . I tried to find something interesting or obscure ( does nobody drive a gogomobile or a P1800S or Old Bentley to work ?) but a nice shiny black AUDI A5 was sporty enough for me. A hour here.


I sat at the far end of the carpark and was adding  lines to the page. After a while, Lapin arrived and said no – move closer, move closer to the car. I was really close – but you can see how it changes the view of the car.

We were encouraged to start with the headlight and then draw organically through the reflections in the light (including your self if you were there). I found this very difficult without the context of the rest of the car, so sketched it in pencil. There is an immense amount of comparative measuring involved , as nothing your mind tells you is correct actually is!

I am so proud of this sketch, I cannot believed that I produced something so amazing that is outside my comfort zone. It is a character and almost a monster car. Each time I look  at it I amaze myself .


We gathered to discuss what we had learned, but the parking attendant in charge of the car-park turned up and moved us on as it was a private carpark. oops .

Part 3 Cars in the City

We walked around the corner and found a sheltered area outside an office for the final part of the Workshop (and asked permission to use it). It had a row of parked cars and the city skyline (thanks to some building demolition). This final part was about drawing cars in context with the city around them. Gerard explained how to add depth by adding the foreground anchor to help understand the perspective of the scene. Cold and raining . an hour here.



I was more comfortable with this scene. I enjoy drawing cars. But the challenge here was how and what to emphasize. I decided where to add colour right at the end of the session.

dscf1199 dscf1204 dscf1205


  • The perspective of an object can dramatically change as you get closer to it or you change your angle or height.
  • Draw what you see and the perspective can figures itself out
  • Dress warmly as you are going to sit on the ground outside

Manchester Urban Sketching Symposium 2016

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 !

27Jul2016 Symposium opening event

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 .30jul2016-usk-morning-meeting1
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






my UK holiday sketching journey begins

I am not sure where to begin sharing my sketches and stories from my recent three week holiday to England from Australia, which included the Manchester Urban Sketching Symposium, a week in Manchester, York and London. I have so many wonderful memories associated with each sketch.

I have started scanning the first of three sketchbooks.

My sketching for holidays always begins months in advance. I like the excitement of the countdown to a holiday, the research it involves  and the little things that need to be purchased that let you now you are going on a holiday . I have already written about these:

and that is before the plane leaves the ground !

When I leave, I already have in mind some the opportunities I may have and the scenes I may draw although I do not know what some specifically look like. These are fairly controlled situations and usually involve a lot of waiting time.

  • on the bus to the airport
  • at the airport
  • on the plane
  • my hotel – the exterior and the room, breakfast if it is included

These are the sketches I that I am including today. They are only a selection.  I am adding them all to flickr albums .

Each sketch is a specific memory of time and place, although some are contain generic shapes and objects (airplanes ). The more I draw these the better I get and the more comfortable I am with the process and limitations of time/space/equipment.

23Jul2016 to the airport

On the Skybus on the way to Melbourne airport.

It is a 20 minute bus journey to Melbourne airport . From previous experience, I know that I will have a view of the luggage racks or the back of someone’s head in front of me.

23Jul2016 at the airport

Melbourne airport . our plane !

At the airport there are always lots of planes to draw. It is great if I can draw the plan I am flying in (as in this case), but any plane will do. They involve lots of strange shapes (at the nose of the plane) and inconceivable foreshortening for the rest of it (lots of measuring and comparing size and angles). I usually end up with the wing going off the page . I wrote the notes on the page later to try and remember the process of customs and immigration and what we had to do when.

23Jul2016 on the plane Melb to Abu Dhabi23Jul2016 on the plane Melb to Abu Dhabi 2






22 hours of flight provides lots of drawing time – the people, their shoes, the food and more. How often are you given time like this ! I can easily spend the time trying different techniques. However I am also distracted by the movies,  reading, and discussing our upcoming travel adventure.

28Jul2016 The Midland Hotel

Midland Hotel . Manchester

We were staying in Manchester for a week. I thought that would be plenty of time to sketch the exterior of the stunning Midland Hotel, as well as the interior of the rooms. As usual there was not. Life was so busy and I was still completing the drawings  on the day we were leaving. This drawing was completed in four sessions of between 15 and 30 minutes. I would  leave the hotel at 8ish , walk across the road and sit on the same bench at the back of Central Library and add a few more lines and colour. My new best friends are Venetian red and Dark Sepia Faber Castell watercolour pencils. But more about that later…..

I hope you enjoy joining me on my sketching journey . Please let me know if there is anything you would like me to talk about. I could talk on and on about travel sketching .




Return from UK holiday – catching up

I have just returned from 3 weeks holiday in England, which involved a lot of sketching. Slighty jet-legged, I am sorting out, catching up, reliving wonderful holiday memories and planning ahead. The sketches on this page are a few that I have scanned today.

27Jul2016 Manchester Town Hall rooftop

I travelled to Manchester for the Urban Sketching Symposium and then to York and then to London.27Jul2016 Symposium opening event

The holiday was wonderful and very special. I was overwhelmed with the history that surrounded me and the architecture of these three cities. I travelled with my very very patient mother, who understood and accommodated my sketching as we travelled – it is so easy to get distracted and ‘need’ to sketch something as you pass by it.

1Aug2016 York The Shambles

1Aug2016 York Micklegate Bar

I filled almost three sketchbooks (Moleskine 13 x 19 cm) with travel sketches in those three weeks. I now have the long task of scanning them. But before I can do that, many of the pages need to be ‘finished’ . This usually involves adding the date, heading, transcribing my scribbled pencil notes into the page in pen. Sometimes I want to find out more information about the place I have sketched and look online for details. I usually don’t add anymore to the sketch that I did on location, unless it is to add a bit more colour, or intensity to some areas.

5Aug2016 London Russell Square 5Aug2016 London Trafalgar Square



Once scanned, I will add them all into an Album on my flickr site, and a few on this blog.

Many people have been sharing their sketches and summaries and videos of their Symposium experiences on facebook and their blogs. I am looking forward to spending time looking through these one day.

I had decided not to blog, scan or try and keep up with any social media while I was away. I wanted to spend my time experiencing the sights, meeting people and sketching. However I did end up posting one drawing a day to Instagram. I am alissaduke1 if you want to see them. I also shared these to my facebook page Alissa Duke Art.

stocking up for travel sketching

I have I started thinking about my art gear for my upcoming three week holiday in the UK, and have purchased and ordered some supplies. Some had to be ordered online and I bought extras to stock up for home as well.


I am going to attend the Urban Sketching Symposium in Manchester for three days, and will I be continuously sketching for the entire time.  I sketch daily now and will have even more to draw when I am away.

I’ll be taking my current pencil wrap (same old one as my new one did not get made), filled with  new Faber Castell LONG pencils. I’ve bought new watercolours pencil and will take doubles of a few that I am prone to use/loose.  Payne Grey, Ivory, Light Yellow Ochre.

I also bought some new watercolour pencil colours that I have been advised for UK trees, buildings  – Sap Green, Hookers Green, Alizarin Crimson.


I am taking three Moleskine 13 x 19 cm Watercolour Sketchbooks. I have already started the first one by holiday sketching- drawing my new suitcase, some British pounds. I’ll sketch my clothes before I go. Then at the airport, on the plane ….


My eraser is specific – it fits in my pencilwrap in a pencil space. TOMBOW Mono Zero 2.5 x 5 mm


I’ll take two waterbrushes – one in use and one spare. I use ZIG Brush H20 Medium Tip. It has a filter that slows the flow of water. This suits my drawing style, as I don’t flood the page with water and colour and I like to work in small areas on the page.


And a spare sharpener.  Blunt pencils make for a bad drawing – so much of my drawing of objects relies on the hint of detail,  which a sharp, fine line provides.

Of course, this is just my usual sketching gear. I am enrolled in four workshops and four activities at Manchester Urban Sketching Symposium. They will all challenge me and build my techniques and skills but are all suited to my drawing based approach. I will buy some extra art gear in Manchester when I get there. I am sure to get ideas from the other 500 sketchers there !

my travelling Visconti ink pot

I am excited to be writing this blog post about my new travelling ink pot – because it means that I am travelling !!!

13May2016 draw a suitcase13April2016 GBP

In seven weeks I will be flying overseas. We are going to England, flying directly to Manchester for the Urban Sketching Symposium … more about that later.


4Jun16 travelling ink potl

The Visconti travelling ink pot, eyedropper and my Lamy pen

I have recently purchased a Visconti travelling ink pot to carry and refill the ink for my Lamy Safari Joy pen. I will be sketching furiously for three weeks in England and will need to refill the ink in my pen during that time. It is like an old-fashioned fountain pen where you dip the pen into the ink bottle and draw the ink up into the pen. At about $100 (more than twice the price of the pen) the travelling ink pot was a little investment, but it will bring me the peace of mind that I  will not open my suitcase to a leaked/broken ink bottle. It is vacuum sealed and received excellent reviews.

My last overseas holiday was three years ago to Barcelona for a previous Urban Sketching Symposium. To transport my ink, I  used a small interesting plastic bottle wrapped in bubble wrap, put in another plastic jar, sealed in a plastic bag. Secure, but it took up valuable luggage space. See my post from three years ago to read more about it

I will start using my new travelling ink pot now, so that I can  figure out how it works ! I will be refilling with Noodlers Bulletproof Black ink until I finish the bottle. Noodlers is not stocked in Australia anymore and I have purchased DeAtramentis Black Document Ink as a replacement product.

Over the next few weeks/months my weekly blog will be about my Melbourne Rare Book Week  activities, Urban Sketching Symposium and  as well as drawing in the countdown to holidays.



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