urban sketching 101.

9 Apr 2012 § 3 Comments

CultureRun, a start-up that organizes workshops and classes with the aim of “making learning a lifestyle“, recently held an ‘Urban Sketching’ workshop over the weekend, led by urban sketcher, Jun. A long-buried desire to improve my close-to-zilch drawing skills (it has regressed so far since art classes in Form 3!), compounded by the sheer horror and embarrassment of how amateurish my sketches turned out during my short-lived obsession with Draw Something was definitely the push factor that made me sign up almost immediately when the ad posted by CultureRun appeared on my Facebook wall (the boyfriend got dragged into this as collateral damage coz I wanted company, heh!).

And so, on a bright and breezy Saturday afternoon, a group of 6 people from diverse backgrounds with a common interest in drawing gathered at the outdoor area of The Bee @ Publika for a two and a half hour class on the basics of urban sketching. Following a round of introductions and casual chit-chat, Jun kicked off the class by equipping us with the tools of the trade – a sketchbook and a 0.5mm black waterproof pen. We spent the first half of the class going through the basics of sketching and water coloring – from creating a color doughnut, to shading and composition techniques, as well as recommendations on the type of paper and water colors that we can use.

Midway through the class, we made a very short ‘field trip’ to Restore where we were given 15 minutes to sketch anything that caught our eye at the store. I gather this was supposed to be an easy simulation of actual urban sketching where more often than not, we would be sketching in the midst of a bustling crowd without the privilege of time. I wandered around and found myself drawn to a couple of vintage boxes and decided to focus on those – unfortunately, one part of my subject was literally sold off to a customer while I was in the midst of sketching so I had to draw half of it from memory! When our allocated time was up, we headed back to The Bee to complete our sketches with watercolors, followed by a quick post-mortem on what we had drawn. It was definitely interesting to see what objects the other participants had chosen – my personal favourite was a really detailed sketch of a motorcycle drawn in strong, confident lines by one of the guys, Shawn.

Boxes. Perspective = #fail.

The class concluded with Jun giving us tips and answering our numerous questions as well as showing us some of his beautiful sketches. As someone who still draws a person’s face with a ‘L’ representing the nose (yes, go ahead and laugh!), I’ve always envied people who could put pen – or brush – to paper and produce masterpieces, and his obvious flair for drawing had me questioning myself silently – why oh why did I not draw (pun unintended!) the artist card in the talent pool?!?

Quick sketches by the boyfriend.

Doodling and making quick notes.

Seeing as I was still feeling rather pumped-up and excited post-class, the boyfriend swung by Cziplee on the way home so that I could pick up some watercolors, brushes and one spanking new Moleskine. I figured…a blank Moleskine with fresh crisp pages sitting upon my desk should be enough to guilt-trip me into not letting this class go to waste. With some patience, perseverance and practice, may there be some marked improvements in my drawing skills in the coming weeks…hopefully before this goes the same way as my other short-lived pursuits…


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