Travel-Sketching Oaxaca: Capturing Vignettes

A long, luxurious sketch is lovely. But what do you do when you travel with non-sketchers? Go on guided tours? Or when you watch a performance that won’t last very long? You find quicker ways to sketch.

Perhaps you capture the accordion who comes by while you eat lunch in a quick gesture drawing using a brushpen. It only takes a couple of  minutes.

Or, you create a page of vignettes as you move through your day. Meagan Burns joined me as we put the final touches to our agenda for the week. And when she ran off on a quick little errand, I pulled out my sketchbook, not knowing how long she would be gone, and started on a little sketch of the entrance to the Botanical Gardens. And when that was done, I decided to add a closeup of a detail… and then another one. And then she was back and we moved on (although I think she bought me a few extra minutes to finish up by taking photos of me sketching). Each little piece took only a few minutes, so it was something I felt I could tackle even in a short time. Too often, we pass up sketching something that catches our eye because there isn’t enough time…

The sketches are quick, sometimes a bit wonky, but they’re a memory, captured in minutes.

We did more vignette-capturing that day as we scouted locations.

Los Lavadoros is a beautiful hexagonal building that functioned as a laundry for a nunnery. Our tour guide could take us to it (it is now housed in a hotel) but we couldn’t settle down for a long sketch… Vignettes to the rescue, again, each solving a  problem, or capturing a little thought, detail, or response.

And one more vignetted collection, with our tour-guide, Suzanne in it as we opened our workshop with a guided tour of Oaxaca.

Pages of sketches like this mean so much to me. Each quick little vignette is a way to capture a memory. That black and white graphic in the middle of the page is all I could capture in a short time, but it will always remind me of this powerful mural (if you know who the artist is, I’d love to know) and of the somber significance of the number 43 in Mexico’s history.

The first post in this series from Oaxaca is here. More coming soon.

About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
This entry was posted in oaxaca, people, Sketch Journal, teaching, Travel, Workshop and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Travel-Sketching Oaxaca: Capturing Vignettes

  1. Nice drawings of people, and buildings in Mexico. I also like the photos you got of the murrals.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ali says:

    Lovely sketches. It reminds me I don’t need to have hours to get out my sketch book.
    The number 43 could be referring to the 43 students kidnapped in 2014.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ali, yes the 43 IS all about the kidnapping and killing of students. That bit is for sure. What I don’t know is the name of the artist who created this mural. And yes, 5 minutes for a tiny vignette: all of us have the time for that!


  3. miatagrrl says:

    These are such fun snippets of your travels! In Amsterdam, because of the heat, I made a lot of small sketches (2-3 inches) instead of my usual 5×8 size pages, and I covered so much more ground that way! I remember the feelings from a tiny sketch as much as from a larger sketch, so it is a very time-economical way to sketch during travels. I also tried this later when I was with family, and it worked great then too, because I could sneak in a quick one while others were still yammering about what to do. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am thoroughly enjoying your posts even though I’m looking at them in the wrong order!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Andrada Costoiu says:

    I love your sketches!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s