Saturday, May 12, 2012

Urban Sketchers’ Manifesto No. 7

Urban Sketchers’ Manifesto No. 7: We share our drawings online.
5/3/12, fountain pen, Hand Book sketchbook

When I first became aware of urban sketchers posting their drawings on blogs, Flickr and other online communities, my reaction was twofold: inspiration (Wow! I want to do that!) and intimidation (Whoa, I could never do that.). That being both the ability to draw at a certain perceived skill level and the courage to post drawings online.

Although, in general, urban sketchers seem to have a wide variety of backgrounds, I noticed that many are professional architects, and their drawings make that clear. Nothing is quite so impressive as a building rendered with perfect perspective. I integrated my two reactions and said to myself, Well, I’ll probably never be able to draw like that, but maybe I’ll practice, and if I ever get that good, I’ll start posting my drawings online.

As I continued my daily drawing practice for a few months, I started seeing improvement. Not a lot, but enough to convince me that practicing makes a difference. I would skim through the sketches I had done, see the ones that I was pleased with as well as the ones that were lame, and felt frustrated that my progress wasn’t continual.

4/26/12, F-C Pitt Artists Pen, Hand Book Sketchbook
It was around that time that I had an insight about the sketches I had been seeing online: I’ll bet most people are posting only the drawings they are pleased with and leaving the lame ones in the privacy of their closed sketchbooks! A-ha! Whether or not my insight was correct, it was the secret to eliminating intimidation and viewing the sketches of others for inspiration only. I want to do that! And I’m going to!

That’s when I began posting my own sketches online. I started with forums like the Sketching Forum and Wet Canvas, where I felt that I could tiptoe quietly, and maybe not many people would see me. That turned out to be safe.

A short time later I began this blog and vowed that I would publish sketches I’m pleased with as well as ones that I think are lame – without necessarily identifying which is which. Still safe! So maybe posting sketches online isn’t so dangerous after all.

Yesterday I posted my first sketches to the Seattle UrbanSketchers Flickr group. I see my own drawings right there next to everyone else’s. I want to do that, and I am.

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

5/9/12, Copic Multiliner SP, Akashiya Sai and Thin Line, Tombow blender, Hand Book sketchbook

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