Saturday, April 5, 2014

Sketcher in Residence, Part 3

4/5/14 Platinum Carbon ink, Pitt Artists Brush Pens, Zig marker,
watercolor, Canson XL 140 lb. paper
Today was my third and last Urban Sketcher in Residency at the Museum of History and Industry. Again, I was hoping for a dry day to sketch outdoors, but it rained. Like last time, I lingered over lunch at MOHAI’s Compass Café (I had my favorite Radiatore, which is glorified mac ‘n’ cheese, but it’s got both Beecher’s and Tilamook cheeses. . . yummmm!) while sketching the beautiful old clock through the window.

Since it was probably my last opportunity to be in the museum before Gabi Campanario’s “Drawn to Seattle” exhibit ends in May, I wandered slowly through the whole exhibit again. Each time I look at his sketches, I notice more details I missed previously, I learn a little more about sketching, and I learn a little more about my hometown.

During my gig in the visitors sketching area, I met a woman – not yet a sketcher but wanting to be – who was seeing Gabi’s show for the third time so far, getting more and more inspired to sketch each time. She asked me a lot of questions about how to get started and get over the intimidation of the blank sketchbook page. She’d taken classes, but she couldn’t bring herself to do it on her own. She enjoyed seeing sketches online on the Urban Sketchers blog, but they, too, were intimidating – all those gorgeous buildings that she could see were drawn by architects, she said.

My suggestions to her included my usual personal philosophy and attitude about sketching – to practice every day or as often as possible, carry a sketchbook at all times etc. But most important, I told her, was to find subject matter that resonated with her. I told her about my own experience over the many years that I had tried to learn to draw, when the habit never “stuck.” Like she had, I had taken drawing classes, but putting shading on a bunch of cubes stacked up in a classroom bored me silly, and I felt no compulsion to practice. I mentioned that it wasn’t until I discovered urban sketching – first through the Seattle Sketcher’s column and then through the Urban Sketchers blog – that I finally saw subject matter that resonated with me. So my main advice to her was to find things to draw that she is drawn to – and then the practice becomes a joy.

My thanks to Gabi and MOHAI for giving me these opportunities to be an Urban Sketcher in Residence!


  1. I am so glad your sketching and Gabi's exhibit inspired the woman. It sounds like you gave her some great advice and I hope she follows it. Looking at the Urban Sketchers blogs can be quite intimidating, since so many of the urban sketchers seem to be architects and their buildings are so perfectly drawn. I appreciate those, but even more I enjoy the sketches that are not so perfectly drawn but have heart and feeling in them. They are more of a personal experience.

  2. Well done. I really like your sketch of the clock. Having a figure in the frame gives it the needed sense of size.
    Good advice. She might also find Danny Gregory's book(s) and blog helpful.


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