Urban Sketchers Symposium - Day 2

Day 2 began early with breakfast at the LaSalle Cafe Luna, across the street from the Roosevelt hotel, where I was staying. Naturally sketchers were there sketching each other. I did this quick sketch and later found out they were Mark Liebowitz  (sketchers are innovative...what's in your pocket?) of the NYC Urban Sketchers, Benedicte Caniell (did you get my scarf in...you did!), Kate Barber (iPad sketching is my latest thing) and Pat Gaignat (no need to put faces on people if you get the posture just right)...all long time sketchers. So nice, so inclusive and encouraging.

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I was off to the Goodman for instructions, then to meet up with our instructor in the plaza across the street, and walk to Crown Plaza as a group. Simo Capecchi's workshop was "Face to Face, Capturing live action with images and words." She focused on reportage sketching, capturing snapshots of people in action and including quotes. She encouraged us to interview people.

 Simo Capecchi, from Italy

Simo Capecchi, from Italy

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We did 20 minutes of "bad" warm-up sketches, connected a sequence of drawings into a theme or layout, and finally drew an all-in-one page, annotated. I used an accordion sketchbook and worked on panel scenes, then added the "overheard" quotes for a complete picture of the fountain and the people. My daughter Alicia joined me again to take pictures and listen in on conversations. It was a fun way to capture a moment in time.

 The people at Crown Plaza on a hot day in July.

The people at Crown Plaza on a hot day in July.

The drawings were made with a Tratto pen from Italy, water soluable and a gift from Simo. I made the accordion booklet from a large sheet of Arches watercolor paper.

Next a delicious lunch in an air-conditioned(yay!) restaurant nearby, then walked several blocks to the next demonstration.

 Doesn't Alicia look cute in that hat?!

Doesn't Alicia look cute in that hat?!

The afternoon demonstration was Jose' Louro from Portugal, "Draw Less, Show More". The key points:

  • Show people doing or feeling, and something just out of view.
  • Tell a story, but leave out meaningless details.
  • Use white space as the guest star.
  • Do warm-ups with blind contour drawing.
  • Always start with the human, they "live between the buildings".

How he uses his tools:

  • Holds his pen (cheap black felt tip) further back and loose in hand.
  • Use the side of pen.
  • Pushing and pulling the pen or pencil.
  • Place pen, look, look down, draw.
  • Only needs a few colored pencils...blue, orange, pink, tan, yellow and green.

"It's a lousy drawing, but never mind, okay?"

 Jose' Louro, from Portugal

Jose' Louro, from Portugal

A good demo, while Alicia went to the Harold Washington Library Center across the street. It was so loud under the elevated train at The Loop and so hot. I was feeling agitated and verrrry tired, so after the demonstration I went into the library to have some quiet and cool air and chat with Alicia. The architecture was interesting and the art and materials inside the library too, but a weird floor plan with a lot of wasted space. (Maybe I didn't "get it".)

Slideshow images: Owl on top, deep window casements, the number of dog tags of all lost in Vietnam, marble floor, inspirational quote, the main hall.

Alicia left to go home for the evening and I sketched using Jose's method while I could remember it. I tried to capture the El as it passed over the Harmony mural, and the man walking beneath it, oblivious of the noise and the train.

 The El, Jose'-Louro-style

The El, Jose'-Louro-style

I was fairly exhausted but mustered energy for the evening lectures: Mark Liebowitz "What's in your pocket?", Tapas Mitra "Ground rules in art", and others. Being anxious to sketch more I headed out to Michigan avenue and camped out on the steps of the Chicago Art Institute to do a night drawing of one of the lions in front. These two lion statues turned out to be my favorite sculptures of Chicago, of all the grand statues, fountains, sculptures, and public artwork...yes, even the Bean. And it's my favorite sketch of the trip.

 One of the Art Institute Lions

One of the Art Institute Lions

A few more impressions from Day 2:

 Textures and patterns from the Library

Textures and patterns from the Library

 Murals near my hotel

Murals near my hotel

Urban Sketchers Symposium - Day 1

I've been thinking about 2017, of course at this time year, and reflecting on the ups and downs.

The Urban Sketchers Symposium in Chicago was at the top of the "ups". In the last post I shared a little about Urban Sketchers in general, and the first half of the trip, visiting with my daughter Alicia and her family. Now for the jammed packed days of workshops. 

The first day of the Symposium started with the Architectural boat tour. Alicia, and I drove to the city after a teary goodbye to my Oswego family. Alicia has really wanted to do this since they moved to Chicago so the time was right. Get a good look at the architecture up close before sketching. It was such a good way to see all the variety of the Chicago skyline and especially the Riverwalk buildings. 

 Our happy faces at the end of the River Tour

Our happy faces at the end of the River Tour

We had a delicious lunch nearby and headed to the Goodman center "hub"  at Roosevelt University to register for the Symposium. A good morning and afternoon.

 A colorful Day 1 in Chicago

A colorful Day 1 in Chicago

The conference swag was amazing. The sponsors were very generous with the samples of drawing supplies. Simply awesome. 

 Swag!!!

Swag!!!

Gabi Campanario told of the beginnings of the Urban Sketchers 10 years ago, starting with a Flickr group of like-minded people who loved to record the world around them through drawings. It became a worldwide collective and growing movement.

Day 1 video of sketches above.

It was great to be with 500+ people who all love to draw, many of whom had already been drawing views of the city for several days already. I was jazzed. Alicia headed home that evening and I began exploring the city on my own, late, but wanting to draw.

I ended up at a so-so sushi place for a late dinner with this semi-scary sculpture as a dinner partner. Still I took in the colorful walls and walked out the door to capture this parking structure and mural. I feel happy that I had the energy for the first day after having been very sick only a few weeks before. Fingers-crossed that I can keep it up for a few days.

A few more Design impressions of Chicago from Day 1...murals, urban art, fixtures, patterns:

 Hotel light fixtures, street murals, graffiti sticker, restaurant wall.

Hotel light fixtures, street murals, graffiti sticker, restaurant wall.

#USkChicago2017

My first Urban Sketchers Symposium is done and in the bag. What a great experience! I'm full to the brim with sketching inspiration and techniques. So fun to be with my tribe...like-minded sketchbook artists from all over the world...in one place, to draw what we see, and encourage each other.

 We are 570+ people from 34 countries in Chicago to draw. I'm one of the pin dots near the statue.

We are 570+ people from 34 countries in Chicago to draw. I'm one of the pin dots near the statue.

We love to sketch. We love to talk about paper, pens, pencils and paint. We love to pull out a sketchbook in the most unlikely place even if it attracts attention. We love to "cherish our individual styles" and we love to "show the world one drawing at a time." See the full USK Manifesto. 

 A quick colored pencil sketch as we drove into the city

A quick colored pencil sketch as we drove into the city

Once a year the Urban Sketchers has a symposium somewhere in the world...this year Chicago, last in Manchester, England, and the year before in Singapore...eight gatherings in all so far. USK has been around in some form or other for ten years. Happy 10th Birthday, USK!

 Spruce Street Harbor Park, Philadelphia

Spruce Street Harbor Park, Philadelphia

There is an international organization and local affiliated chapters. I belong to Urban Sketchers Philadelphia and anyone can see what we're up to and when we meet by looking up and/or joining the Facebook group. We meet once a month in some interesting place in Philadelphia, PA. Such a great city to draw. Join us!

 At PHL airport, waiting for my flight makes me happy when I can sketch it

At PHL airport, waiting for my flight makes me happy when I can sketch it

I flew out the Saturday (July 22) before the conference to some family fun time with my daughter, Alicia  and her husband, Robert, and their family in Oswego, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. 

 Gotta be quick to capture cars on the highway

Gotta be quick to capture cars on the highway

One day we drove into the city with the girls to see what we could see at Navy Pier and the Chicago Children's museum (and eat yummy cupcakes!).

 Three cute granddaughters

Three cute granddaughters

Three-year-olds love fishing in the "stream" and paddling in the mini canoe at the Children's Museum at Navy Pier, four-year-olds love to tumble in gymnastics class, and six-year-olds love to laugh and punch in Karate class. They all love the slide at the big swimming pool and the backyard pool. We had a good time playing Legos, reading bedtime stories, and drawing together.

 Paints, brushes, pens, sketchbooks ready to go.

Paints, brushes, pens, sketchbooks ready to go.

But after a few days it was time to switch gears and join the sketchers in Chicago. I was ready. I had prepared my sketch kit, done a few warmup drawings of important Chicago landmarks, and packed light.

 Moo cards

Moo cards

I had my mini trading cards from Moo, hoping to make some new friends. Such a noob!

 Our #oswegofamily

Our #oswegofamily

And my +1 partner, my daughter Alicia, joined me in the city too. She was taking a mini vacation in her own hometown, and keeping a eye on me and my health (that's another story).

Next blog post...Day 1 of the 8th Annual Urban Sketchers Symposium in Chicago.