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I bought a book a few years ago. It’s called “The Art of Urban Sketching: Drawing On Location Around The World.” It contains hundreds of sketches from artists all around the world. It shows their unique styles and perspectives.
I consumed the whole book in one day. It propelled me to begin Urban Sketching myself. When I get unmotivated, I think about why I started and why I should continue.
What is Urban Sketching?
Urban Sketching is the practice of creating art on location in an urban area. Basically, you find a location and start creating. The tools that urban sketcher use varies from artist to artist. In my opinion, the location doesn’t have to be “urban” or metropolitan; it can be anywhere inside or outside!
My reasons for urban sketching:
The main reason I enjoy urban sketching is that it forces me to get outdoors and explore the city I’m in. And once I get a collection of sketches, I feel compelled to research new places to go to and sketch. Over time, I’ve become more aware of my surroundings and appreciate all that a city has to offer.
I would definitely categorize myself as a homebody. Once I started sketching on location, I got to go places I never would have otherwise. I now seek out new places constantly. When I’m driving, I might see a cool building or large sculpture and think, “I want to sketch that!”
There is no better way to get better at drawing than by practice. The more I sketch and paint, the more well-trained my eye and hand become. As I use my watercolors and pastels, I learn what looks good together and how to blend to make the exact color I want.
If you are too afraid to start sketching because you think it won’t be good, just remember that you can’t get better if you don’t start and practice. It’s inevitable that you will get better with practice. You just have to put the time in.
Sketching on location is a way to keep a record of what is around you at that point in time. As time passes, new buildings are built and others are taken down. The skyline of a city changes rapidly. Events come and go.
You aren’t just documenting the location but who you are in the current time and place. As you create, it’s an expression of how you feel and react to your surroundings. Everything from the colors you choose to the perspective you draw is a record of who you are. I think that’s pretty remarkable.
I like to try new materials and techniques quite frequently. If I get new watercolors, I get to use them. If I get a new pen, I get to test it out and see how it performs. When I learn a new technique, I get to try it out and see if it works for me.
Urban sketching gives me a reason to try things out. My style evolves with each new thing I try. Most experiments work out, but some don’t. You won’t know until you try.
Do you currently sketch on location or are you thinking about starting? What’s your reason to create?
~ Jojo 🙂