Urban Sketching

Being Part of a Group

Group of members outside St Pauls
"Our drawings tell the story of our surroundings, the places we live"

If you are carrying a camera and taking a picture, people will rarely take an interest in you, unless you are outside a military establishment. Sit down with a sketchpad and a pencil and before long there is someone at your shoulder passing comment. Or not. That feels like the severest criticism, but probably not. It is easy to feel a bit exposed and awkward.

Being in a group gives you the support you need. If you do not have a background in Art or just starting to explore sketching as a hobby, you can feel quite vulnerable on your own.

Supportive, helpful and constructive discussion with other sketchers really helps develop confidence. At the end of each drawing session we have what we call a throw down, when all the sketchers lay out their drawings on a convenient surface, usually the ground, but steps and low walls provide a better vantage. You could be shy in a situation like this, however, the quantity of work provides anonymity, and passing comments are generally complimentary or inquisitive about technique, location and method.

Passers by often show interest and express their surprise at our sudden incursion. Their curiosity leads to conversations and quite often to new participants. I remember one person joining us with the lined notepad, biro and highlighter he had with him.

Drawing of Trinty Bouy Wharf

Two drawings made at different times at Trinty Bouy Wharf of the Lightship 95 Recording Studio, experimenting with different techniques.

Drawing of Trinty Bouy Wharf