The PC folder where I store “sketchwaiting” sketches until I put them in a blog post was starting to bulge, so it’s time for a catch-up. It’s fun to see the passage of time – some of these go back more than six months – through the colors of my ever-changing Uglybooks.
Recently in a Facebook group that is not related to sketching, someone showed some doodles he was drawing to “kill time” while waiting for takeout food. Some may think of this activity as killing time, but I think of sketchwaiting as reviving otherwise dead time.
Urban sketchers who sketchwait are probably the only people in medical or dental waiting rooms who are a bit disappointed when they are called for their appointments; it means they can’t finish the sketch they surely started while sitting there.
My sketchwaiting tends to happen more while I’m waiting for takeout food or waiting to meet others. Sometimes I deliberately arrive a few minutes early to appointments so that I’ll have more sketchwaiting time.
While sketchwaiting, there’s always a little tension because you don’t know if you have a minute or 15 or 30. Enjoying that tension, I always sketch as if I have only a minute or two to wait. Any time on top of that is just frosting on the cake.
As you might guess, I appreciate the spontaneity that is integral to sketchwaiting. There’s no time to think about composition or color or good lighting. Just hit the page and run with it.
If a sketch is (inevitably) unfinished when the waiting ends, I don’t mind, nor do I feel frustrated. The abrupt end is then built into the sketch – a record of the few moments that were not wasted or “killed” but brought to life.