You could say that going out sketching is quite traditional and ordinary compared to the exciting changes I foretold in my previous blog.  However, it was the urban sketching that triggered these changes. I had got into a rut, life’s problems had become overwhelming. I had no inspiration or motivation.  All I knew was, I had to overcome this as art was my life.

I watched videos and read articles and experiences by other artists.  ‘A sketch a day’ seemed to be a popular solution. Then I came across urban sketching – what was this?  I checked it out on the internet and discovered that it was a world wide activity. Towns and cities all over the world had urban sketching groups, they went on regular ‘sketch crawls’, which means group-organised sketching in certain areas of interest.  These events led to large world wide events where many groups combined. I became interested in this way of recording my day or my journey. I also liked the fact that one of the rules of urban sketching is to only draw from observation – no photos. So it was very much hands on.

I didn’t even know if I could still draw, as I hadn’t done any drawing for about twenty five years, but I took a sketchbook out. Very discreetly and self consciously I attempted to draw. I was determined not to go out without my sketchbook. I sketched on buses, trains, in coffee shops and waiting areas.  It really sharpened up my observational skills. As my confidence and drawings improved, I decided to join the Birmingham Urban Sketchers, and also The Black Country Urban Sketchers.  I was now drawing buildings and all forms of architecture, with challenging perspective.

Pencil sketch of distant houses at Black Country Museum    Pencil sketch overlooking houses at Black Country Museum

I felt very self conscious when I went on sketch crawls, but I found such a mixed level of skills, it actually boosted my confidence.  Also this form of art did not require perfect drawing skills, the drawings were quick and spontaneous, recording a place or a moment in time.  The main thing was, I had finally got back into creating art!

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Urban Sketching – ‘Showing the world one drawing at a time’

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