The Pushing Your Sketching Boundaries – Online workshop was three days run across two consecutive weekends at the end of January 2021.
I’d previously attended a similar workshop called Park Life that was run by Celia Burgos and Isabel Carmona over the weekend of 10th and 11th August 2019. At the time I was studying Responding to a brief; you can see the outputs here.
What was massively different with this workshop is the coronavirus pandemic. Everything had to be online.
The workshop was run by three tutors:
- Isabel Carmona
- Marina Grechanik
- Victor Swasky
Participants were split into three groups of 5-people, and each group spent one full day working with each tutor.
Day 1 with Isabel
Day one was in two parts:
- The morning explored different drawing techniques to rapidly add shape and form to an image
- The afternoon was all about using colour with an emphasis on watercolour in the context of urban sketching
Visual reference came from a set of predefined locations using Google Earth and short looping video.
The method was interesting. All sketchers were asked to take photographs at different stages of the drawing. These were then uploaded into Google Classroom to provide a step by step view of how each drawing progressed.
Drawings are presented in chronological order.
Day 2 with Marina
Day two was about storytelling experimenting with a number of different techniques. It was divided into four parts:
- WHAT – techniques to help find a subject
- HOW – basic aspects of composition
- Choosing an appropriate technique
- Tell the story
Each section was introduced with examples from other practitioners.
The reference for all of the exercises used a single location in Tel Aviv that included people, traffic, building and monuments.
I wrote notes as I was going and these are reproduced in the order in which they were made.
Day 2 – Combining techniques – Liquid watercolour, Sharpie and fountain pen. A2 sized. Duration 40-minutes.
Day 3 with Swasky – to follow…
The third and final day workshop focused on different approaches to depicting objects in space.
The first part of the morning was a presentation of some of theoretical aspects of composition and perspective. The discussion was framed historically starting with cave paintings, medieval paintings through to the Renaissance and the rules governing the use of perspective. This provided the groundwork for a series of exercises that ran through the day.
Day 3 – Exercise 5 – Bringing it all together into a street view
I found the workshop really valuable in introducing different/new approaches and techniques. The use of technology to support the process was excellent and worked really well.
Key lessons for me:
- Drawing skyline and groundline as a rapid way to shape a drawing and then filling in
- Much more explicitly combining line and shape recognising each has a job to do AND stands alone i.e. my tendency is to frame everything with line
- I’m too timid using watercolour. I need to be brave and use strong pigment much earlier
- Using keywords and phrases to help identify strong subjects and stories is an excellent technique to combine with thumbnailing for composition and point of view
- Visual rhythm introduced me to a new compositional tool
- Thinking about perspective and explicitly breaking the rules was really refreshing. Although I do this anyway, it was really helpful to understand some of the technical aspects of how this works
- I really liked combining use of colour with line width/expression