Teaching at the 5th Urban Sketchers Symposium in Paraty, Brazil was an incredible experience. The diverse mix of attendees, their shared passion for urban sketching, and a beautiful city made for a dream mix. Add in some rain, trekking across the cobblestones of Paraty, and standing right in the middle of Chafariz Square to capture it’s energy, and it felt like an adventure.
We started each workshop by drawing quick, almost-blind-contour sketches of “easy” (read “not moving”) people. We kept them loose and fluid, and didn’t sweat the details (or the proportions). It was all gesture and quick capture. Next, we moved into what was the most challenging segment of the workshop: drawing people on the move. To make it easier to capture the repeated motion of a person walking, we positioned ourselves in the middle of one of Paraty’s narrow roads, where we could observe crowds moving up and down the street.
It takes quite a bit of focus to look at and draw movement as it happens, to capture weight and posture and where each limb is in relationship to the others. And then, to keep it loose and moving! But you can see from the sketches below that we ended up with some really encouraging results.
At this point, everyone got a break (drawing moving people is tiring!) while I did a demo sketch and talked through my thoughts on capturing people, place, light and color.
Here are some of a couple of my demo sketches.
For one final sketch everyone chose a spot from which to capture Chafariz Square: the place, it’s people and it’s sense of activity. Here are some engrossed sketchers, their sketches and some group shots .
And for those of you who asked for a copy of my workshop handout, here it is. Click here on the image below to go to dropbox and download it. (Wondering about the strange layout? You’ll need to print it double sided and fold it down the middle for it to make sense!)
A big thank you: to all the participants who made this possible, to Urban Sketchers for the incredible opportunity. And to all those that gave me valuable feedback both before and after the workshop. I learnt so much from the experience!