October 03, 2017

Caught Sketching!

After I attended the Society for Technical Communication annual Summit in Washington DC in May, the good people at the STC asked me to write an article for their magazine, Intercom. I was honored but nervous. They asked me to write specifically about the sketch notes I was making at the Summit, so writing about sketching made it a bit easier. I have great editors available to me, so that eased my mind as well. I guess I felt so at ease that after I turned it in I sort of lost track of it until I came across it last week!

Here's the article - if you click on it you can see it bigger and read it.

September 10, 2017

Me and My Sketchbook View the Eclipse *

On Eclipse Day I was headed to the Dixon Gallery and Gardens to participate in the viewing from their lawn, but then I saw the Clark Tower and knew that's where I should be. It was like a party - there were food trucks and people milling around outside with their eclipse glasses and yelling "Wooooo!" whenever the clouds moved out of the way of viewing.

(* With apologies to Lee Smith - I could not help myself.)

September 09, 2017

Symposium Day 7 - Bonus Sketching!

After a morning meeting of the Urban Sketchers Advisory Board, I had hours and hours to sketch before my flight! What a treat!

I sketched the Art Institute as though it was a completely flat box.

I got to use some gouache! This is my favorite sketch from the trip.

I love the differences in my sketch and Orling's - I described them as quiet (mine), and expressive (hers), much like our different personalities.

Then it was time to go and all of a sudden it was just me after spending six days with 500 people!

I sketched on the airplane until my last Pigma Graphic ran out of ink!

September 08, 2017

Symposium Day 6 - The Last Day!

On Saturday I took Mike Daikubara's workshop Draw Now Think Later. I wrote about it and the big post-symposium change that came from it here.

This workshop was so fun! We all sketched the hot dog and then the skyline. Putting the hot dog down first made the skyline so much less intimidating, it was amazing!

After a rest and a quick lunch with some other sketchers, I went to Grant Park for the final sketch crawl. I again took a long time to start my sketch and was busy visiting and passing out macarons, so I didn't have time for much sketching. But the truth is, the Urban Sketchers Symposium isn't always about sketching!

We gathered for the final group photo - almost 500 sketchers!

Everyone at the Symposium was inspired by Maru Godas who taught a workshop called Gouache Like a Child. I was blown away by her sketches, and inspired to try gouache and to use a large sketchbook. These are the colors she used in her workshop for future reference.

And then we found out where it will be next year! See you in Porto!

September 07, 2017

Symposium Day 5 - Business and Perspective and Demonstrations and Thai Food and Pens

Friday morning a few of us took a Lyft to the bank to take care of some Urban Sketchers business. It was my final official business as a board officer! It was also really fun for a trip to the bank, because of the lovely people I was with.

Then we had a delicious lunch at the Revival Food Hall.

My afternoon workshop was An Urban Sketcher's Guide to Figuring Out Perspective with Simone Ridyard.

I have been using the concepts of perspective for so long without really thinking about it anymore that it was nice to get to know it again, and to work with pencil, which I tend to eschew.

I wish I'd had more time for my final sketch - I took too long to start! Or maybe I could have used less paper? Nah. It was fun anyway.

Rita Sabler gave a great talk about sketching demonstrations. She has really put herself out there to document rallies and protests, and has amazing sketches to show for it.

After Rita impressed us, Hugo Costa charmed us with his talk about making a sketch a day.

Then a big dinner at Thai Spoon while passing around sketchbooks and testing out pens. This might be the best part of the Symposium.

September 06, 2017

Symposium Day 4 - Workshops!

I started the day taking Trees and the City with Shari Blaukopf. I was excited about it because Shari is a master at watercolors.

But we started with some ink sketches. At the first workshop of the first day of the Symposium, I always feel like I've forgotten how to sketch, so these trees are a bit more tentative than my usual sketches.

Winsor and Newton donated watercolors for the workshop, so we each got a palette and tubes of a couple of blues, yellow, red, and burnt sienna. Notice I didn't say green! We worked on mixing greens, and mixing colors on the paper.

I've been sketching with watercolor kits for so long that I can't remember when I last painted with watercolors straight from the tube. It was fun! Such a different experience moving that juicy paint around.

Which is also why my final sketch ended up looking a bit like an acrylic painting. But I like it! It was fun.

Here are our final sketches. I'm surprised we got that much done with all of the chatting we were doing.

After lunch and a long walk I took a demo with Peggy Wong who taught us all about making our own sketchbooks!

August 28, 2017

Symposium Day 3 - The Bean and Symposium Check-In

Once again I had a whole morning with no one to look after but myself. For days I had been looking at other sketchers' posts of their sketches of "the Bean," aka Cloud Gate by Anish Kapoor*. And though it looked intimidating, I decided to give it a try on my free morning. It was a lot less difficult than I thought it would be, and I ended up pretty pleased with my sketch.

I headed over to the Symposium meeting spot to check in. Since I didn't have to spend all morning registering people, I spent all morning talking to people and visiting with old friends. I even went to the sketch crawl very late because I was so busy visiting. This small mash-up of buildings and people, and the Chicago-style hot dog are my only sketches from the afternoon.

The second sketch on this page is from Gabi Campanario's keynote speech. Gabi founded Urban Sketchers ten years ago, and he told us how it came about and took off.

After the opening speech we headed over to the Exchequer bar for the drink and draw. Looks like there was more drinking than drawing!

Hello from Chicago!

* Cloud Gate is by Anish Kapoor and the nearby Crown Fountain is by Jaume Plensa. I told someone at the Symposium they are both by Plensa, and then later realized my mistake :)

August 25, 2017

Symposium Day 2 - Sketching the Robie House

Here are about 30 sketchers on our way to Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House!

Not working on the Symposium meant I could do whatever! Luckily I was invited to sketch at the Robie house with a group of instructors and symposium staff, because I might not have known what I wanted to do otherwise.

All of those instructors were there - talk about intimidating! So I found a far spot and used the "painterly sketching" idea I taught at a Flicker Street Studio workshop in June - I put down a light wash of color first to establish the shapes, then I put ink and more color on top.

We went inside to sketch with pencil only - I used my red and blue Mitsubishi pencil. Those bricks were mesmerizing.

The sideways thing is a crazy shower.

These windows!

After all of that sketching a few of us went on the river walk and saw more of the city. Back at the hotel I ran into a group going to get a drink so I went along and ended up at a rooftop bar.

Had to sketch a bit of that view!

Bonus: cool floor.

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