Last week, as part of my role as an admin for the Reading chapter of Urban Sketchers, I attended a community workshop taught by Isabel Carmona. You can read my write-up of the community workshops generally over on the Urban Sketchers Reading blog, here I’d like to show my own work from the day.
There were two parts to the workshop – the first concentrated on line and defining space via a skyline and a ground line with all solid objects between these limits and details only added there. The second part also concentrated on the objects between sky and ground but first defined them quickly using solid shapes (by scribbling with passion!) and only added line to include information not already defined by the solids (so no outlining of objects that already have a shape defined by the blocks of colour).
The first exercise involved repeatedly drawing continuous contour skylines without looking at the paper, noting how our speed of observation changes each time and how we might pick up on different details each time. Isabel described this exercise as taking a line for a walk and yoga for sketchers 🙂
We then added a ground line and reconciled the two while filling in the central details.
Next was defining the space through solids. We were to consider the weight and opacity of objects as we filled in the space, using different colours as we liked. My first piece I went a bit mad with colour but then settled for two colours in the second piece which seemed to work better – one colour for buildings / street furniture, and another colour for nature – trees, birds, people, etc.
The final exercise added linework back into the solid approach to define details and add needed information.
Isabel was great at helping us all to understand the scene in front of us, encouraged us to capture people even as they passed quickly by, and helped us to create a feeling of depth in our work by including objects and people close to us as well as the distant scene.
The day after the workshop I had a few more goes on my own trying to keep in mind the sky and ground line boundaries and the creation of depth. The techniques also apply very well to interior scenes as you can see in the above line sketch.