Sometimes it helps to be a complainer, and a pretty vocal one. Because there are solutions to almost any problem. Solutions you may not hit upon by yourself, but a good friend might.
I sketch online for a half hour every week with Nina Khashchina. A couple of week ago we opened up the same street view in a random city of the world and sketched it. And I complained about how I feel no connection to this place. Nina suggested we “tour” a place she knows the next week. So yesterday, she took me through the streets of her hometown and we stopped and drew her University.
And through it all, I peppered Nina with questions about her years at University, and she shared her memories of it. And just like that, our half hour was up and I had the loveliest virtual sketching experience.
Is it drawing on location? Not by any stretch! I hope one day I will go sketch on these streets with Nina and she and I will go sketch together in India. But it made a huge difference to the virtual sketching experience to see it thorough the eyes of and the stories of a friend who knows the place well.
The sketch looks as though you did enjoy the experience….the conversation you had with Nina surely helped. I wonder if it was the sharing of her memories of her university or just sharing thoughts, reflections on a place that is chosen…like….my university was larger of smaller or in a state far from home or country like setting.
I think many things come into play: Nina and I sketch together regularly so this feels a bit like that. But also , she has a really deep association with the place and can tell me about things I cannot see in the picture: how big it feels, how the inside of the building has complicated spaces and high ceilings, how there are usually huge crowds in this gigantic square, how it was to be here in college: these are things that matter a LOT to me when I am on location in person. a personal experience is always great but a story will make a place come alive like nothing else can.
we have tried sharing thoughts while drawing random places virtually: it doesn’t come close.
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You have nailed exactly how I feel about sketching random locations on Google street views or maybe not random but selected by someone else: If I feel no connection to the place, it has no energy, and the sketching becomes a boring mechanical exercise. This is often my problem when I have taken classes (like landscape drawing), and the teacher hands out photos that we basically “copy.” I have not participated in any of the virtual USk outings for this reason. I’m glad you were able to find a connection through your “host.” 😉
I don’t consider any virtual settings urban sketching. it’s an oxymoron, to armchair visit someplace and call it urban sketching. This is just drawing from photos, on google maps. but with a friend that has a connection to them.
great alternative ! this might take a while before we can go and see and sketch ‘on’ site! your solution is brilliant and with USK members all over – it would be interesting to try ” Take me to your place’ kind of google sketching! Let me know if I can take you to Adelaide (where I live now) , Paris (where I am from) ….or Tokyo where I lived many years too. cheers
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Agnès, I will take you up one day ! I don’t consider this urban sketching at all, just another form of drawing from photos. Urban Sketching is a first-hand experience like nothing else!
A wonderful, inventive, and social solution – so well accomplished.