Getting Sketchy in Falmouth
By: Erica Szuplat, June 19, 2012
Urban Sketchers - A sketch of a fellow sketcher by Karlene Lushy of the Portland, Oregon Urban Sketchers.
You’ll find them crouched under trees, relaxing on benches along Main Street, or next to you at the bar. Between 11 AM and 1 PM on Saturday, June 23, they could be anywhere from Peg Noonan Park to the Village Green.
They’ll be scribbling in their notebooks and peering at the scenes around them. They are urban sketchers on a sketch crawl.
Join the sketch crawl!
The first-ever Falmouth sketch crawl will meet up at the Katharine Lee Bates statue on the Falmouth Library Lawn.
Saturday, June 23 at 11 AM
Re-grouping at Coffee Obsession, 110 Palmer Avenue, Falmouth at 1 PM
“Urban sketchers” describes both the artists and the style in which they work. Not unlike a pub crawl, a “sketch crawl” refers to regular meetups occurring in cities across the world between like-minded creative people. They gather to draw on location and then share their creations with each other afterward, often at a cafe.
In recent years, networks of sketchers have grown via online communities. The nonprofit Urban Sketchers is likely the largest, consisting of hundreds of members from all over the world. Invited “correspondents” share their work on the website and more than 5,000 members post to the group’s Flickr page.
Recurrent meetups typically comprise five to 10 people for about four hours of sketching. Popular daylong events sponsored by groups like World Wide Sketchcrawl and The Big Draw can see anywhere from 50 to more than 100 “sketchers” at a single location.
Though many participants do work in a creative field during the day, they aren’t exclusively professional artists. Architects, interior and industrial designers and illustrators are well represented, but this type of sketching is something they do on their own time.
Sketch crawls are informal. Anyone can join, and it’s an interactive art experience in a non-exclusive and self-motivated environment.
One drawing at a time
The variety of art by urban sketchers is literally endless, from the realistic to the comic. Many people carry small sketchbooks with them and love line work, but the tools they use run the gamut: Chinese brushes, brush pens, traditional pencil, splatter watercolor, conte crayon or marker. Recently, sketchers have been pushing the boundaries and creating impressive images on iPads and with the Brushes app for iPhone.
Techniques may vary, but the indisputable definition of urban sketching is that the images are created on location. But unlike plein air painters, whose work leans toward the scenic, anything goes with urban sketchers. Images depict everyday environments: people waiting at the bus shelter, at the airport, shopping at farmers markets. Cars, architecture and other manmade objects are featured prominently.
From small details to the panoramic, the resulting images form an individual record of the moment, unrefined, with nothing posed.
A sketch of life
“Sketchers” typically tag the location of their images on Flickr maps and often provide a short written description, too, so browsing images becomes a way to experience the world. From the personal to the political, sketchers don’t shy away from difficult topics. Akin to visual journalists, sketchers have documented protests against the International Monetary Fund in Turkey, the Red Shirt demonstrations in Thailand and Occupy demonstrations around the world.
Many urban sketcher meetups take place in cities, where residents tend to spend more time outdoors in parks and in squares, waiting for transportation or simply hanging out on the stoop. Conversely, Cape residents tend to have their own back yards, drive to destinations, and hang out in public spaces less often. Thus, the inaugural Sketch Crawl Falmouth is scheduled concurrently with ArtsFalmouth’s Arts Alive Festival, which provides subject matter in artist tents, performer stages, food vendors, as well as the attending crowds.
Hugh Birmingham, owner of Coffee Obsession, welcomes the sketchers after the crawl and the Falmouth Cultural Council also supports this event.
For more information, check out Sketch Crawl Falmouth on Facebook.