Sunday 11 August 2013

Urban Sketching Symposium - Inma's Workshop

A bit more about the Urban Sketchers symposium in Barcelona, as promised...

I have gone right off drawing buildings. I love the relative freedom of expression you have when you are drawing landscape or people, the fluidity of line, the fact that you don't have to worry about how many windows there are, or whether the perspective is right. 

Which is why I SO enjoyed Inma Serrano's workshop in Barcelona: Rhythm in the City. She showed us how there doesn't need to be any difference when it comes to buildings - just treat them as if they were alive.

We started though, by drawing people: 

We were in a big square, in front of the cathedral, so people were constantly milling about, taking photos, chatting, or standing around in groups. Inma explained how, if you want to catch someone's brief pose, you can use watercolour, just one colour, to quickly capture the main shape, then use a watercolour pencil to add just enough line to pick out details, while the paint is still wet. This worked a treat and was good fun.

Then Inma did a demonstration, which was truly inspiring. 

She drew the cathedral, but in a completely unconventional way. The idea was to sketch the building, not as a piece of architecture, all straight lines and equally-spaced windows, but to draw it as though it was also alive: as though it were a monster. 

I thought her sketch was gorgeous. Below is how the final spread looked later, when she had finished adding colour and other sketches into it. Actually, though I love the wild colour, I think I prefer the stage before - it's more raw. Everyone got very excited during the demo: we couldn't wait to give it a go ourselves. 

Inma said she never measures, not even with her eye - she just feels her way from one part of the building to another, expressing the shapes as she goes. We all got stuck in and tried it:

I enjoyed this technique so much. I love the idea of drawing architecture just like I draw mountains. It was so liberating and, like all good ideas, I couldn't think why I hadn't thought of it before!

This was my version of the catherdral:

The next afternoon was the final SketchCrawl, at the Arc de Triumf, and I used Inma's approach. I was absolutely delighted with the way it turned out: 

It was this way of thinking about buildings which allowed me to draw York Minster so happily when I got back home to England. I tackled views like this vaulted ceiling, which I would never have considered previously, because I would have found it way too boring, having to spend ions carefully working out the construction and perspective. Instead I worked instinctively, just like I was shown, and had a great time! 

If you would like to read about the Sketches That Sing workshop from the symposium, which was about helping to add freedom and life to your sketches, click here. Or you can take a peek at the rest of my Barcelona sketchbooks. Have fun!


Observe Closely said...

EXCELLENT report, Lynn! I had a smile on my face the entire time I was reading it. ( And through a re-reading as well.) Something is telling me this is a pivitol lesson: relax and just feel a building. It's alive too.

Thank you a million for posting! I appreciate it very much.


Lynne the Pencil said...

Great feedback - thanks so much Jan. Glad my excitement comes across :-)

MiataGrrl said...

Lynne, I had the very same experience in Inma's workshop -- it was so liberating! This blog post I wrote includes similar comments:

Michael Martin said...

Thanks so much for posting this. I like your enthusiasm and your joy in others enthusiasm. (if you see what I mean)

Neta Hagiladi said...

Hi Lynne, I just love your cathedral monster, bursting with yellow! And to see the arc afterwards, such a contagious, liberating approach!

Don McNulty said...

Thanks Lynne, this is going to be a turning point for me, I have always felt I should be accurate with buildings but when I measure and am careful the drawing dies, dead, but I felt guilty not doing it. Now I have some validation for just "closing my eyes and singing" , thanks so much. I love your drawings.

Lynne the Pencil said...

Wonderful Don - get those lungs filled and sing your heart out! :-)

Inma Serrano said...

I have just read this review and I have to thank you very much. I find very interesting to see the impression from your point of view. It's great that you were able to find a different way to draw and watch the architecture and biuldings. Thank you again. Pleased too for your results. They are really good!

Lynne the Pencil said...

Thanks Inma :-)

Yours was my favourite session, because it really helped with something that I needed to sort out. Ever since the workshop I have remained unintimidated by splendid buildings. Which is great, as they are a joy to draw once you relax and have fun. That's why I wanted to share your ideas with others!

So thank you again x

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Robert Smith said...

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