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.

Out of my comfort zone in Singapore

Stephanie Bower, Seattle

As I look ahead to Manchester 2016, I find I'm also looking back to Singapore 2015!

The USk Symposium is great on so many levels--to meet other sketchers from around the world (who are also willing to get up before dawn to sketch the streets, to draw while walking-talking-drinking-eating, to sit on the ground to get just the right angle, to sketch until you are about to drop--are we a little obsessive?  YES, and it's so great!!), to be inspired by new people and new places, and at its core, to get to learn from and sketch next to people whose work I so admire.


In Singapore, I gave a lecture on perspective (my thanks to all who attended) and got to take three workshops.  It was really hard to decide which ones, as so many looked great, but in the end I settled on what I felt I most needed to learn.  So I steeled myself for what was certain to be an OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE experience--which is actually a huge benefit of these workshops...to be gently pushed into unfamiliar sketching territory by a really good teacher.


1-- First Singapore workshop was Nina Johansson's "Light in the Spaces in Between:  A Watercolor Workshop"In addition to her beautiful linework, I love the glow that Nina gets in her sketches using really saturated and luminous colors.  


We started with a pencil stone study, then a color study--I had to work hard to leave a key portion white and build up contrasts in other parts of the sketch.  






And in the final sketch of our subject, I tried to let the yellow-green paint vary in color and sink to the bottom, as if pulled down by gravity...it's harder than it looks!





2-- The next Singapore workshop was Shari Blaukopf's "Big Brush Colour: Capturing that First Impression".
There are no words for how much I admire Shari's sketching...her sense of 2-d composition is exquisite, and I love how she applies paint--the watercolor feels wet in the sketch--by tilting her paper, the colors pool and sink and feel like a real water media, mixing and blending in all kids of brilliant happy accidents (or are they???) And together, with great composition and beautiful painting, she can make the most mundane subject look like fine art.

We took a little sliver of a view of downtown framed by trees, and first did value studies. This is a step I usually skip out of impatience, so it was good to do. I liked trying two variations on composition to see which held the most promise.




Then color, doing my best to emulate Shari...





3-- And in my third and final workshop, I was REALLY out of my comfort zone...drawing people in Suhita Shirodkar's "Capturing Chaos: Drawing a Crowd".

Suhita is amazing...she doesn't stand back and draw people from afar, she gets right up in front of them and so quickly captures a sense of their body in motion, midst the chaos, which in this case is a flower market in front of a temple.  This was really hard for me, and I struggled with sketching people...you can tell I cheated and relied heavily on the architectural backdrop to pull this sketch together!






Alas, I will never be able to sketch like Nina, Shari, or Suhita, but it was great fun to try for a few hours.  I figure, if you can get one good take-away out of a workshop, you're doing well. You likely won't produce a masterpiece (I can't quite believe I'm actually posting these sketches), but you'll get a great experience...and I did!

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