Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Urban Sketchers’ Manifesto No. 1, Part 1

Urban Sketchers’ Manifesto No. 1: We draw on location, indoors or out, capturing what we see from direct observation.

5/8/12, fountain pen

From direct observation is the operative phrase here. It’s tempting to capture a person or scene first with a photograph, then sketch from the photo leisurely in the comfort of my studio. I sometimes do this when I want to practice a technique or medium that would be difficult to use on location, or when the person I want to draw is no longer living. But it always feels like cheating, and frankly, it also feels dull. When I sketch from life, it never feels that way.

This senior gentleman didn’t particularly catch my eye. He just happened to sit directly across from me in the doctor’s office waiting room, so he was an easy target. Engrossed in his book, he hardly moved at all – an ideal model. In the 10 or so minutes I took to sketch him, I started thinking about what kind of man wears a suit to a medical appointment, and then I became curious about the thick, hardbound book he was reading.

So much of life doesn’t seem interesting until I start to sketch it.

(This is one of a series of blog posts about how I have interpreted the Urban Sketchers manifesto.)


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