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The Classic Street Sketch and Other Philosophy

April 11, 2014


This unassuming sketch is a perfect example of why I’m hooked on Urban Sketching.

I’m waiting on the street corner, meeting people before a show. I’m there a few minutes early, and they’re a few minutes late. It ends up being 25 minutes I’m sitting there waiting.

But this was actually perfect! I could pull out my book and sketch the building on the corner of Sherbrooke and Guy – which happens to be a favorite of mine. (Though locals will see I took considerable artistic license). I’ve heard these red stone hulks are called railway style? Remnants of the lost empire of Canada’s rail barons. There’s a good one of these on the map for our Griffintown sketchcrawl on the upcoming 4th Sunday.

So we got up to the theater, and the damn show is sold out. Since when is a show at the MFA sold out? But this is actually even better! Because we can go get something to eat and I can take out my half pans and add some color.

My point is – isn’t that the classic urban sketch? Something you can do in any spare moment. A slice of life, as you find it. Time waiting isn’t lost – it’s turned into something creative.

I haven’t been carrying a book at all times lately  (because winter) – but I was inspired in Savannah when I saw Gabi Campanario make an entire drawing in the time it took the rest of us to find a restaurant on Google maps.

So that’s my self-refresher on what’s so awesome about carrying a sketchbook 24/7.


So, about the ‘Other Philosophy’ part –  you might be interested in a short interview with myself, conducted by Julie Prescesky over at Design Inkarnation on the topic of urban sketching and living as an artist. She asked some thought provoking questions!


6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 11, 2014 5:42 PM

    Loved the interview!

  2. Nathalie Z permalink
    April 12, 2014 6:56 AM

    Thanks for sharing this and a great interview.

  3. April 14, 2014 3:26 AM

    THIS is IT ! great little snapshot of urban sketching

  4. April 23, 2014 5:36 PM

    The interview was great! I try to make sure I always have a sketchbook or paper with me. Five minutes of “down time” is perfect to capture something.

  5. April 30, 2014 11:38 PM

    Great post, and yeah; urban sketching works on its own unique timeframe. I go out to sketch during lunch, and for sketching complex buildings, I’ll stake out a spot, spend ten or twenty minutes sketching, and go back the next day (or many days afterwards) to the same exact spot, and continue sketching from there. Of course, when you do this in Washington, DC, people get suspicious, and I was questioned by a federal agent once for sketching a particular office building that housed a sensitive law firm.

    • May 1, 2014 1:33 PM

      I always find it hilarious when we bump up against these things – but I suppose we’re doing something weird in public – people are going to get suspicious :) I think the bad guys would get more intel from google maps tho.

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