Meet the Correspondent: Luis Ruiz > Malaga, Spain$show=/search/label/Luis%20Ruiz

"Since I was a child, I have always loved drawing. As an architect, I was trained to sketch on site in my first year of my studies. I have always considered sketching a wonderful tool in my job to understand things, more in the field of spatial relations than in their material aspect. On the other hand, I have always brought a sketchbook with me in my travels as a much more effective way of keeping a memory than a photograph. But lately my travel sketches tended to be too few and too quick. I have recently found Urban Sketchers, and then discovered the immense joy of sketching outside with no particular task. Reading Usk’s manifesto, I feel especially sensitive with the point of keeping a record of time and place, and I’m changing from sketching just architecture to understand the city as a big scenario for human activity. I live in Málaga, a city in the south of Spain with more than half a million residents and 2,500 years of age; but also the center of a busy and lively metropolitan area, home of an active harbour and a big tourist destination. Now that I have two small children and I do not travel as much as before, I’m trying to show this mixture of old and new in my drawings. It is so rewarding to share my work with so many excellent artists and receive continuous feedback from other members! And, last but not least, to learn from other parts of the world. I'm delighted to join Urban Sketchers." • Luis' art on flickr.

Workshop H: Challenge through limitations

Calle Hostos and Ruins and Hospital San Nicolas de Bari

Nina Johansson

Workshop description
All sketchers tend to find their own way of drawing after a while, and we all have our comfort zones in which we feel at ease working. Through this, I believe that we also develop our own ways of seeing — some look for perspective lines first, some for high contrasts, others for colors, etc. We form habits of how to capture things when we sketch. This is all good and well, it lets us find our own style, to put a personal touch on our work. But it may also lead to getting stuck in a manner. For some, this comfort zone becomes a restraint, and we don't let ourselves develop other ways of seeing and working, because we are afraid of making "bad work," or loosing our personal style.

I believe it's good to challenge yourself out of this comfort every once in a while, to develop both your drawing abilities and your way of looking at the world around you. Personality and style will always show through in your work, no matter what tools or techniques you use, and hopefully these exercises will let you experience just that.

In this workshop I will give participants some limitations in their ways of working, so that they are forced to solve drawing problems in new ways. I believe that giving yourself some challenges outside your normal range of drawing, will have you trying out new solutions, will force you to think differently and possibly, in the end, broaden your comfort zone to include some new techniques and ways of seeing.

The limitations we will work with will be based on very different things, i.e. tools, technique, color, composition, point of view, format, values, etc. Each participant will get a pamphlet with a number of exercises to try, and each and everyone can choose exercises that fit their situation best (i.e. that is most challenging for them) and after a short introduction I will walk around to each participant to give feedback and discuss ways of solving drawing problems.

The pamphlet will contain enough exercises to keep everyone busy during the whole workshop, and those who don't finish the exercises during the workshop will be able to continue working on their own afterwards with the pamphlet as a guide.

Learning goals
  • I'd like for participants to discover that they can draw in more ways than their usual "everyday manner" without losing the personality and uniqueness in their work. I want to push everyone a bit and hopefully make them discover the fun in taking on drawing challenges that are a bit difficult.
  • I want them to get out of their usual routines and try out new ways of seeing and working, and in the end broaden their comfort zones.
  • I want participants to discover how challenges of this kind can set the mind free, despite the limitations in the exercises. I hope for this to become something that they will keep doing every now and then, to possibly develop some new drawing habits.

Reference images

"My intent is that my workshops will let everyone start from where they are right now, and bring their own personality and ways to express themselves into the workshop, and move on from there. It is important for me to let everyone find their own way of solving problems within the workshop, at their own pace. I aim to make it possible for every participant to find something useful in my workshops to take with them and develop in their own way afterwards."
—Nina Johansson



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Test USk Blog: Workshop H: Challenge through limitations
Workshop H: Challenge through limitations
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