We had the first of our series of 10x10 workshops on Saturday here in Johannesburg, joining the celebrations around the world of the 10th anniversary of Urban Sketchers. I started off the three 'Little Stories' classes in the pleasant and relaxed setting of the Second Cup restaurant, with simple concepts of shape, space, focus and drawing faces. Quite a lot to get through... I knew some of our participants hadn't sketched at all, or not for a long time, but wanted there to be enough to work on for the regular sketchers to build onto their skills.
This was my handout booklet to remind everyone what we covered - ellipses, basic shapes, ways to create an illusion of space and focus, and faces - pointing to artists such as Toulouse-Lautrec and Daumier - and USker Melanie Reim - for expression and character.
To try and get over inhibitions about sketching their companions, we had a quick 'Portrait Party' with one side of the table sketching the other, with a timer on for just two minutes, and then swopping over for revenge!
It was satisfying, and a relief - nobody seemed bored or intimidated - to see the concentration around the table as everyone came to grips with getting all the elements in fore- middle- and background, onto a page.
I did a quick demo of making loose watercolour shapes and then drawing over them with line, using the flowers on the table, and suddenly we had a lot of flower studies in between the tablescapes, but they made for a colourful final display. The Urban Sketchers Johannesburg rubber stamp caused a lot of excitement, the highlight ,apparently, for some!
And it was over...a super group of enthusiastic partakers and really wonderful results... all my prepping and unnecessary worrying worthwhile, thanks everyone!
Histories, Relics & Collections of SketchesOur second workshop was held on Wednesday - yesterday - at Lindfield House, a Victorian home and museum, led by excellent regular Joburg Sketcher Leonora Venter.
The session started with a tour of the many rooms of the museum by its curator and co-founder Katharine Love - her grandmother and mother started the collection and she has maintained and built on it. She is a fount of knowledge of Victorian customs and antiquities, but we'll have to go another time to hear all the stories, there was sketching to be done..
Once everyone had made their thumbnails, they planned out a full or double page spread with light pencil shapes. Leonora then explained how to work out the boundaries of each object with light 'markers' and to measure ratios, proportions and angles within these shapes, working from bigger to smaller, and looking at positive and negative shapes.
Then came the work - and fun - of filling in the details and building up contrast using darker pencil lines, pen or wash, before going on to the other drawings in their 'collection', adding text if they wanted to and had time. There are so many Victorian gadgets, curiosities, furnishings and objets d'art in this amazing old house it would take a lifetime to sketch them all.
Leonora's lovely demonstration sketch of her collected items on a practice run a few weeks before - and the sketchbook display on the lawn afterwards.