I knew about people who do travel sketch books – instead of taking photos they sketch. I knew about plein air painters who set up their easels and paint nature. I didn’t know about the groups of artists who take to the streets all over the world and sketch.
They call themselves Urban Sketchers. The supplies need to be portable and compact – small sketchbooks, pencil, pen and watercolor seem to be the main tools of the trade. People and buildings are the main focus.
You have to be fast and just capture the essence of what you see. People move, get up, leave. Sometimes I draw the arm of one person on the body of the other, furiously freeze a tiny moment in time hoping people don’t get up, come over and demand I stop staring at them. Then I “clean up” the mini sketches – erase lines, add a splash of color.
At the POP (Painting on the Patio) gathering yesterday I couldn’t get inspired to paint so I pulled out my mini sketchbook and “cleaned up” some of my sketches:
Can’t call myself an Urban Sketcher cuz I don’t sit on street corners or stand by light poles. I sketch people while I wait for doctors’ appointments, get my computer fixed or tires rotated.
Since I live in the suburbs it seems a bit pretentious to call my self a suburban sketcher. Stealth Sketcher is much more like it.