sketching as the sun sets

view from the hotel

Oh, the sketching stops for no one. Day One of the Symposium was not over yet. Still, I had a chance to relax in the hotel with some noodles and a cup of tea. I looked out of the window and drew part of the view opposite while talking on the phone. Then, as the evening came, I copied the sunset onto some brown paper and pottered off to Powell’s Books. Wow! What a place! I didn’t sketch there, I was too busy looking at books. That place is huge, a bookshop lover’s dream. A little while before, I had visited Reading Frenzy, to catch up on some of Portland’s well-known zine culture. I bought one local zine, and I really enjoyed it. I’ve considered (because it’s been suggested) that I turn some of my series into zines, and that is on the table in the foreseeable future, so it was good to see what other people are doing out there.
portland sunset

And so on to Portland’s famous beer culture. I stopped into Deschutes Brewery, where several other Urban Sketchers were already camped out, and caught up on some great conversation and a few more attempts at people-sketching. Below are Lapin, Don Colley from Chicago, and Frank Ching.

lapindon colleyfrank ching

Don and I went on to Jake’s Crawfish for a beer and a last sketch of the day. It was an interesting looking place and we both sketched the same scene. His work is great, very dramatic and full of life, and he sketches in a huge old book filled with incredible drawings. It was a pleasure to watch him sketch and learn from him.

jake's crawfish

Exhausted, i got back to the hotel and posted a photo of the day one sketchbook. Phew! And there were still two more days of full-on sketching to come…

some of today's sketches

Symposium blog:

drawing in the dark

matthew brehmat matthew brehm's lecture

It was almost complete darkness when I was drawing these. The only light was from the projector, illustrating Matthew Brehm’s excellent lecture on the history of sketching as a social activity, and from the laptop of the guy changing the slides. Well, it wasn’t going to stop me from getting another couple of sketches in, and what a fun exercise. I had no idea what they actually looked like until I got outside into the light; I’m pleased with the results!!

It’s funny; normally, I would draw in a lecture or meeting if I was bored, but this is the Urban Sketcher’s Symposium, and the rules are on their head. Matthew’s lecture was very, very interesting. As an architectural teacher he takes students to Rome every year, and compared his own experiences alongside the grand tours of a couple of centuries ago, as well as looking at old drawing clubs and how the newer phenomenon of blogging and posting your art on flickr and such sites has created a new global community of artists, which has in turn given birth to Urban Sketchers and the Symposium itself. (Which he described as the ‘Woodstock of Sketching’) What I enjoyed was his focus on the connections that drawing has forged between us, not just right now but also to the sketchers of the past – those people walking around cities drawing things, just as we are now, having those same thought processes that compel them to do so. That’s what I was thinking about, anyhow, as I drew these people in the dark.

Symposium blog: