I first heard of Urban Sketching a year ago, but was too busy to go there! This year I am going to have a bash at it.
Urban Sketching is world-wide and the idea is to re-connect artists to drawing from life rather than from photos or other people’s drawings.
This is from the Urban Sketcher’s London Blog: Urban Sketchers is a network of artists around the world who draw the cities where they live and travel to. Our mission is to “Show the World, One Drawing at a Time.” Visit our main blog for more information.
I am going to my first Urban Sketchers Crawl at the V&A on 7th March. It’s fun collecting the equipment, even though I could improvise, but having just had a birthday it seemed a good excuse to get a proper set. I always take my water colours when I travel anyway, but they are a bit bulky for just sitting in the middle of London and I wanted a Field-set (badly).
I bought a no-name-brand empty paintbox at Jackson’s as well as some empty pans. I usually use pans and tubes, so when the pans run out of paint, I refill them from a tube. I then use the tubes if I need paint for a wash etc. So I had most of the colours anyway. You just put a dollop of paint into the pan and leave the lid open so that it can dry out. Much cheaper than buying individual pans! I label the pans with a fat felt tip otherwise when I’ve sloshed around, fine writing gets lost! Label them before filling them of course, and stick them down with some blu-tack. I got a 12 pan box and can just squeeze 14 pans in.
Artists’ colours are wonderful, but if you are starting out, the Winsor and Newton Cotman’s set is good, and is often available from larger art stores on a “special” and it comes with a paintbrush. Some of the colours are artists quality anyway (the ones that are cheaper to produce), but I have got spoilt by developing a particular choice of palette! My grand daughters each have a little Cotman’s set – but they are great for adults as well. Then as the pans empty you can replace them with your exact choice of colour.
The Urban Sketchers all meet for a crawl at a venue – usually outside especially in Summer, and draw in a sketch book, then get together to all look at the work. There is a website on Flikr. where they post their work and it is just a vibrant exciting thing to do.
I’ll tell you a bit more about my colours and equipment as I go along. This is going to be good for me – to have to draw super-fast! I can get quite hung-up on detail! I guess that for me there will probably be more Village Sketching than Urban Sketching!