Inspired to sketch outside

I admired the sketches people did during their travels and earned to be brave enough to pull out my sketchbook in public to record some of the places I find beautiful, interesting or memorable. Since I never done much drawing of the architectural subjects the thought of attempting to accurately sketch all the complexities of the outside world while being looked at was overwhelming.

I started slowly by doing short sketches on the outings with my family and since my daughter often joined me I felt less concerned about what others may think about my work, as most people seemed to concentrate on the cuteness of the two of us drawing together than on whatever we produced.
View from INTECH
I had some unexpected open conversations with people from the simple one with the employee at INTECH admiring the view I was sketching and sharing that she can see it from her office window, which made her very happy to go to work everyday; to a long and heartfelt one with the friend showing me his mom’s watercolour drawings, which she made during her visit to help out with the newborn despite never painting before in her life, and what these paintings meant to him now that she passed away. The comments people make seem to say much more about them than about my skill level or myself as a person.

Whenever I saw someone sketching outside I paid attention to the reaction of others and noticed that the sketchers aren’t always as conspicuous as I think – most people, at least in London, seem to be too busy with their own lives to pay too much attention to others.

The last push to sketching of the architectural subjects was reading David Gentleman’s “London, You’re Beautiful: An Artist Year”. In this book David Gentleman included some very quick simple sketches alongside more complex ones. All of them expressed his love for London and showed me that sometimes simplifying and trying to catch the initial impression is all that is needed. It is so easy to get caught up in trying to achieve a high level of life-like rendering and totally loose the sight of the purpose behind the sketch to preserve the memory of the place and my feelings towards it. Looking at his sketches made me want to pack my sketchbook & pen and head out outside to explore London via drawing. So whenever there is an opportunity I grab my sketching kit and head outside to capture some of the London’s sights in my last few months here.
Pen & watercolour sketch of Greenwich Foot Tunnel, London
“Drawing things makes them seem more real and makes me feel more alive. It also makes me pin down and remember things – landscapes, season, weather, occasions, incidents, people – that would otherwise have melted from my memory.”
― David Gentleman, London, You’re Beautiful: An Artist’s Year

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2 thoughts on “Inspired to sketch outside

  1. Jodi

    Fantastic sketches! I absolutely love that one in Greenwhich. Something about the composition and colour…Yes, I loved David Gentleman’s book as well and was also inspired by his loose, gestural lines. It made me realise I didn’t have to be so fussy and meticulous (although these are hard traits to train out of me!) and could just capture an impression or a feeling with a few strokes. I need to try this more often.

    Reply
    1. Zoya Post author

      Jodi, thank you. I want to attempt to sketch with watercolour one day without putting down any lines first with either pen or pencil – maybe birds as they don’t stay still for long.

      Reply

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