On Saturday, a few of my SketchCrawl North chums helped me out by agreeing to be guinea-pigs. I needed to try out the speed-sketching workshop I'm going to deliver at the Urban Sketchers Symposium next week.
I introduced the afternoon with a look through my sketching kit and we swapped tips on favourite media, then we got to work...
I next asked them to forget line totally and look at tone. We each chose 2 colours, one darker than the other, in pastels, coloured pencils or watercolour, then used them to describe a scene or subject, disregarding naturalistic colour, assigning them instead to tones (if you want to try this yourself, try squinting: it really helps you to sort out the darker and lighter areas).
Between each session, we came together to look at and discuss the results. Many people found this one hard, but still enjoyed the challenge.
I showed sketches I had done at last year's symposium, for Richard Camara's 'Lining Over Colour' workshop, which has greatly influenced my technique. Applying colour first is a wonderfully simple way of loosening up your style.
During the final 30 minutes, we created not a single image but an 'impression' made up of several quick observations, bound together by areas of handwritten text.
Text is a great compositional tool, but also a way of incorporating non-visual aspects, to help capture a particular moment in time: smells, sounds, snatches of conversation etc.
When all the hard work was over, we cleared the table, put the kettle on and laid out a feast to reward ourselves. Everyone contributed something (there was some amazing home-baking). We chatted and laughed and stuffed ourselves silly (especially me - mmm, those chilly brownies...).
I must have worked them hard, because not even Matthew stopped to draw the food!!