On Saturday I got to be part of a lovely event in Covent Garden, which was brought about by Moleskine
in collaboration with Urban Sketchers
. I was absolutely stoked to be asked to contribute, to the event, in way of presenting a 'learning session' to anyone interested in Urban Sketching. I was surprised, to be asked, too, as I'm not normally recognised for that kind of sketching - although I am an active member of Urban Sketchers Yorkshire
- I suspect I was invited because I am a prolific Moleskine user and fan.
And so, I found myself up at an ungodly hour and on the six o'clock train down to London.
Which is, of course, when I started drawing.
My first stop, on arrival in the city, was a Timberyard café
in Covent Garden, where I met the Moleskine team and the other three sketchers, Adebanji Alade
, James Hobbs
and Olha Pryymak,
taking part in the event. This, too, was a privilege as I have admired these guys work, from afar, for years. Then we were joined by members of the press and bloggers to discuss all things Urban Sketching, before moving on to our venues.
James and I were based at the wonderful London Graphic Centre
for the day. I'd never visited before, but it really is a must for pen/stationery/notebook geeks (you know who you are). If you're in London, and you are such a geek, don't miss this place. Three or four stories of awesomeness, I have no idea how I didn't spend a fortune. Well, I do; I was kept busy, drawing the day.
In the afternoon it was time for my Learning Session, in which I talked about my journey from being a secret private drawer to taking that leap, joining an Urban Sketchers group, and drawing outdoors and in public. I also discussed some of my coping strategies for making that move, how it has changed my drawing and how it's changed how I view the world (now EVERYTHING is a drawing opportunity). Then we took to the streets for some more sketching.
It was a perfect way to spend an afternoon. And, again, it is another reason I love 'sketchcrawling' - just getting in that zone with a bunch of people who are passionate about drawing, talking, not talking, but always sketching. There were sketchers of all ages, too. Above are a couple of my sketches of the youngest sketchers.
Now, I know what you're thinking, and, no, there aren't that many moose roaming the streets of London. This one was on the wall of a flower shop
- the one that Emily is drawing above. I know it's not what you might expect of Urban Sketching, but that was part of my class; there are no rules when it comes to creating. Just get out and draw.
If you feel intimidated by the big picture, by drawing a whole scene or street or building, then start by drawing little bits of it. Just draw the signs, or the bins, or the windows, or the people. The rest will come. You can add the rest of the scene in later. If you want. But, if you are curious about drawing outside, stop putting things in your way. I speak from experience. I came up with so many excuses for not doing what I wanted to do, but finally letting go of that was the best thing.
I don't have all the drawings that I made, to share, here, as at the end of the day we tore them out of our books and hung them at the London Graphic Centre and the Moleskine shop. We didn't just tear up our sketchbooks though. No siree, we'd been drawing in Moleskine's new square Sketch Album
which has perforated pages. Another great idea from Moleskine. Above are a couple of drawings by James and myself.
And, finally our day was finished. It was exhausting but exhilarating. There is nothing I enjoy more than talking about and sharing my love for drawing. I wish I could do this every day of the week. I guess I, kind of, do that online - which is great and all well and good - but, there is something about doing it with real live actual people!
As Adebanji finished his last sketch of the day, James and I went for a final coffee before I got my train home. But, as always with obsessive sketchers, a view from the window of Stanfords
bookshop café proved to be too tempting. So, I squeezed one last drawing in before departing.
A big thanks to Moleskine and to Urban Sketchers for letting me be a part of this Moleskine Story, to the other artists and everyone who came along to sketch on the day. I enjoyed it immensely. Thanks y'all.
Did, I say that was my last sketch of the day? I was lying. What else do you do on a train journey?
One observation I will have; if you are on the same train, in the same carriage, as a VERY drunk man then it's very comforting to be sat at the same table as a huge tattooed body builder. Even if he is wearing pink.
Great post, Andrea !
Awesome! I'm so sorry to have missed this. Hopefully there'll be something similar happening again soon that I am able to get to! I did get out on Sunday and do a couple of (very rough) sketches outside for the first time though so I'm quite proud of myself for that!
Oh,lordy! Drunks make me nervous!
What a day! Would have loved to be there...
Aside from the new square format Moleskine, what size do you usually work in? I'm in the US so inches measurements are helpful, we don't do metric, sorry.
I love the London Graphic Centre! Looks like you had a fantastic day - I think that last sketch is just wonderful!
What a great day! :)
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