#UrbanSketching in and around Hull – Part 1

“Do not fail, as you go on, to draw something every day, for no matter how little it is it will be well worthwhile, and it will do you a world of good.”
Cennino Cennini, painter, 1370 – 1440, Author of “Il libro dell’arte” – The Craftsman’s Handbook ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cennino_Cennini *)

If you’ve read any of my previous posts about drawing you may have gleaned something of my opinion that students of art and design in many cases “want to” but find themselves “unable to” (for whatever reason) to commit putting down imagery on paper or to commit to any kind of drawing as an exploratory, explainatory or observational activity…

Kings Bar & Restaurant, Trinity Square, Hull. – this image became the poster for their open mic nite – https://apopheniainc.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/kings-open-mic-may.jpg

…mostly [I have found] this is due to a simple fear it seems, a fear of the critisism of their peers, a fear of being found “uncool”, or more often than not (and probably the hardest for them to admit) a fear of any genuine effort on their part only being rewarded with work that they themselves are then critical of, especially in comparisson to the work of those practitioners that they admire… in short, what Milton Glazer calls the “fear of failure”: See the video I posted previously http://tinyurl.com/3sl667f .

There is only one solution as Ira Glass puts it, “you need to produce a body of work”… you need not to give up after your first few difficult and perhaps dissapointing attempts but instead need to press on and churn out a huge number of drawings… 10,000 hours – laughs… just go back up to the top of this post and see that Cennini was giving the same advice some half a millenia ago.

There is no quick fix, no software drop-down or filter button that will bring your drawing up to scratch… you simply need to practice. And I don’t mean drawing from your imagination, or copying from photographs or other peoples art (though there is room for that last one to some extent), that can come later… no, I mean “drawing from observation”… learn to look, learn to see… (and try to get to grips with the mechanics of creating “the illusion of reality” in your drawings, perspective and light & shade).

Get out and draw the city around you, its architecture, its people, its water, trees, skylines and even its hidden and sometimes beautiful underbelly…

Student – “Yeah, but y’know, sitting there drawing on my own I feel y’know… a bit of an idiot.”

Tutor – “Ah… okay… so what if there were other people there? What if a colleague and I went out drawing, and invited you all along to different places around the city? …No formal tuition, just support in numbers and someone to discuss the practice of observational drawing with and any of the work produced at the end of each session…?”

Student – “Er…?”

So that’s what my colleague and fellow illustrator Domanic Li ( http://domanicli.blogspot.com/ ) and I decided to do…

And so we welcome all willing participants to…

All in all the response has been very good, we’ve met every Wednesday and Saturday for three weeks, a dozen people turning up on the first outing, between half a dozen and ten on each subsequent meet-up… and this coming Saturday will be “#UrbanSketching meet-up 6”. http://www.facebook.com/login/setashome.php?ref=home#!/event.php?eid=269739179706928

For me its been great, I’m now wandering around the city looking even more intently than before, “Wow, that would be great to draw!” etc. and several of the other participants have said the same…

Anyway, enough waffling, onto some of the images… Oh, and if you want to take a look at what the others have been up to head over to the facebook group @ http://www.facebook.com/groups/128387023918707/  There is some great work appearing…

#UrbanSketching meet-up 1 (Wednesday 27 July 2011) – Hull Rail Station/Anlaby Road (am) and The Marina and Humber Street Area (pm)

Love this building (above) … Joynsons, on the corner of Midland Street and Anlaby road opposite The Tower.

…and the back of the great looking NAPA building

So that was the morning… 10am until 12.30 ish… Then it was off for a cuppa and a chat about where to go next and we all agreed that the Marina area would be cool (so long as we could get across the Clive Sullivan Way of course)…

The Minerva Pub…

This one, drawn with my back to the Minerva, has had a little Photoshop thrown at it regarding the midtone etc…

Everyone relaxing after the first days efforts, but still drawing each other, sat outside the Green Bricks…

The Green Bricks…

Thursday 28th (no meet-up) I was waiting for a friend in town in Victoria Square, and sketchbook ever ready to go doodle some of the people there and part of the monument, just killing time…

That horn section are great… and the guy playing the accordian and his crazy dad dancing, laughs…

Her head turned out a little masculine I think…

#UrbanSketching meet-up 2 (Saturday 30th July 2011) – The River Hull, the boardwalk behind Wilberforce House, High Street (am & pm).

Really enjoyed drawing this building… in fact this was one of my favourite sessions so far…

This was fun but a little crazy trying to keep track of which branch I was drawing… plainly though this has nothing on Lopez Garcia and his Quince Tree… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XCURmTsYvs&feature=related

One of the quicker and more succesful images of the day… (above)

It would be nice to attempt a series of tall images like this with reflections, at different times of the day…

#UrbanSketching meet-up 3 (Wednesday 3rd August 2011) – The River Hull, Wincolmlee and Bankside (am & pm).

I missed this session due to other commitments… which was a shame as I was really looking forward to tackling some of the buildings down there again… I say again, as I’ve already been sketching down there… Here’s some images from that earlier visit instead…


I need to go back and do some more drawing around here…

#UrbanSketching meet-up 4 (Saturday 6th August 2011) – St. Stephens – Drawing People (am) and Ye Olde White Hart and Area (pm).

“You should often amuse yourself when you take a walk for recreation, in watching and taking note of the attitudes and actions of men as they talk and dispute, or laugh or come to blows with one another… noting these down with rapid strokes, in a little pocket-book which you ought always to carry with you.” – Leonardo da Vinci, 1452 – 1519

The kid at the top of the picture (below) was laid across her bags directly behind one of the the other sketches, totally mesmerised, unfortunately I only decided to draw her just before she moved… hence the poor sketch…

The sketch of Chris Wood (above, centre) was probably my best “capture” of the St Stephens drawings – see more of Chris’ work @ http://www.coroflot.com/ChrisWoodIllustrator

…and loved the girls body posture (bottom right, above)

Then away from the rainy Station to Ye Olde White Hart in Old Town… via M&S and St Mary’s to grab sketches of these stone faces…

…and then the pub courtyard.

This was much harder than it first looked…

But I’ll definitely draw there again…

#UrbanSketching meet-up 5 (Wednesday 10th August 2011) – Trinty Indoor Market (am) and nearby area (pm).

The Fruit Stands just as you enter the market… drawn from the tall seats in the Cafe… Sauausage and Egg sarnie on its way, mug of Bovril… awesome.

The opposite corner of the first room… stood in the freezer recess by the butcher’s stand…

These images (above), especially the details of the pews etc (below) where very quick, compositional reminders, for when I go back to spend more time there…


This last image was probably my most succesful image of the day… despite drawing it whilst being bombarded with ladybirds…

#UrbanSketching meet-up 6 (Saturday 6th August 2011) – Top of Whitfriargate/Monument Bridge (am) and surrounding area (pm).

The Dock Offices (now the Maritime Museum), City Hall and the tower above Neros, Victoria Square.

Kingston House, as seen from Dock Street.

… and finally the H Samuels/Isis Building on Monument Bridge showing some of the City Wall and Gate archaeology site (or “pit” as its known to the skater-punks and crew that hang out there… for example, *puts hood up and adopts sullen voice* “meetcher at pit yeah?”)

To be true to life on the day it should have giant wasps in the composition at eye-level as I was constantly surrounded by them… but I thought that might be distracting for the casual viewer…

I love this building, and intend, over time, to try drawing it from as many angles as possible (you can see another view of it here: https://apopheniainc.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/imag0364.jpg ) as it it looks different, changing its shape slightly depending on where you view it from… the gift that keeps on giving… and its such a great looking building…

Anyway… thats the first six UrbanSketching meets and what I churned out over less than a full weeks worth of drawing days…

From now on I’ll try to post each weeks sketches as I finish them…

…plus any other imagery I put down taken from observation…

Like this, drawn in my friends garden, chilling out with a mug of tea…

On a similar note Twitter activity would seem to suggest that two similar groups might be starting up, one in London and one in Liverpool… how cool is that?

*On Cennini – His advice on drawing and painting is sound, however, I also love his suggestion that “indulging too much in the company of women” causes wavering hands… =o

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~ by hesir on August 15, 2011.

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