Monday, 8 April 2013

End-to-End SketchJamming: Sheffield Music Festivals

Over the Easter weekend, we had (bizarrely) two music festivals here: the Sheffield Sessions folk festival and CADS Blues and Beer Festival. It was clearly too good a SketchJam opportunity to miss!

We sketchers gathered up our drawing gear and got stuck in on Saturday afternoon at The Shakespeare pub. Les and I sketched there last year. This year we were five strong. 

It was a tiny room, full from the start. Despite this, more and more musicians turned up during the first hour, squeezing into every corner, standing up or sitting on instrument cases, joining in with whatever music was in progress.

I soon found I could only see bits and pieces, around the people sitting in front of me, so I had to move the pints aside and sit up on a table. Luckily, it turned out to be very comfortable up there.

The music was wonderful and the musicians such a joy to draw. I love the challenge of trying to capture the energy and movement, as well as the difficulty of making sense of hands that are in constant motion.

It all died down about 5.30 and most of the musicians and sketchers left. Les and I were waiting for our other halves, before moving on to the blues festival in the evening, so we stayed behind. Which was lucky because, less than an hour later, a fresh batch of musicians began to trickle in. They took turns playing for one another, or helped out by adding harmonies or accompaniment:

The blues event later in the evening was completely different. We were in a basement gig space, painted black, with a tiny stage in one corner. It wasn't too packed, but the audience were all standing and the light was very low - neither of which were ideal for sketching. 

I gave it a go anyway. Standing up meant just one pencil at a time, but there was no way to use colour in the dark anyway. Luckily I had a tin full of little, pre-sharpened end-stubs of soft graphite sticks. I filled my pockets and I worked my way through them, drawing as best I could.   

I couldn't tell whether what I was doing was really working, because I couldn't judge tonal values or see much of my mark-making, but could see enough to be able to gauge space on the page, which was enough. I was encouraged when John used the torch on his phone to reveal that the drawings were in fact looking pretty good.

After the first band though, I once again found my view disappearing and, being short, I was only getting glimpses between heads. Under normal circumstances, I might well have given up drawing at this point but, because we had been out since lunchtime (and it was by now about 10pm), I had drunk more lager than I would generally...

By now any residual self-consciousness was long gone, so I climbed up onto a ledge at the side of the room, which gave me a view over the audience's heads:

We started home just after midnight, with the event still in full swing behind us. Unfortunately, because it was that evening when the clocks went forward, it was actually getting on for two in the morning by the time my head hit the pillow. What a great day though - a big thanks to my sketch-buddy Les for suggesting it!

You can see some of the other sketches people did in the afternoon on the SketchCrawl North page. There are also lots of my other sketchbooks on my website.

If you would like to come along to a sketching event, just drop me an email and I'll put you on the list for my e-newsletter, which will give you all the information you need to join us. 

Events are free and untaught: it's all for fun. We are just a bunch of people who enjoy sharing the experience of drawing together on location.


Anonymous said...

i love the energy lynne! good job!

Bridget Hunter said...

Great spontaneous pencil work.

M+K said...


Me said...

tres bonne!! i know its so hard to draw musicians as they are moving etc...these art terrific.