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Sketching with Twin Cities Urban Sketchers in October 2016

October 28, 2016


Above: Working in my 8 x 8 inch Seawhite of Brighton Sketchbook I sketched the top of one of the old Brewery buildings in Indanthrone blue watercolor pencil (Faber-Castell) which I left dry. I blocked out the sky with a light blue 15 mm Montana Marker.

Last Saturday Twin Cities Urban Sketchers met at the Pierre Bottineau Community Library on the site of the former Grain Belt Brewery to discuss the Manchester Symposium, the upcoming Chicago Symposium, and then to sketch the surrounding area. Due to University of Minnesota Homecoming traffic diversions (I live in a student area), I missed part of the meeting, but I did get to say hi to the sketchers before we all dispersed. Some of the pages I did from 1:30 until our 4 p.m. throw down are simply odd, but the two spreads shown here show you a little of what I was up to as far as building sketches on this site.

It was a beautiful fall day, with dazzling fall light, 60 degree temperature, and only a light breeze. It was warm working in the sunlight.

If you live in the Twin Cities or near by this monthly sketch get-togeter is an excellent opportunity to meet fellow sketchers, learn more about the Urban Sketchers world wide network and events, and be inspired by some really fun sketches. The talent in this group is very deep and dedicated and at the same time very encouraging of newbies.

Sketch outs are typically held the third weekend of the month. The events alternate between Saturdays and Sundays and mornings and afternoons, in the hopes that people with scheduling conflicts can catch some of the meetings. The meetings are publicized on the group's blog and Facebook page (Twin Cities Urban Sketchers).

There are some sketch events coming up that will be announced soon, and yes we sketch all year! It's Minnesota.

Below: everywhere I walked there was incredible light. I decided to make a little study of one of the driveways at the old Brewery, then sketch a view down the street to a startlingly green, late fall, bit of grass by an overpass (I'm a city girl), and of course I find the one dog in the neighborhood, even if it is a block away.  On this spread I was working quickly with the Tombow Calligraphy Brush Pen which has a fine fiber-tip and water resistant ink. (There is a "Permanent" ink version of this pen which has a strong solvent odor and that's not the pen I was using.)


  1. Reply

    I really like the look of ink sketches only partially colored. Yesterday I did a little urban sketching and forgot everything I learned in your design class and all my old bad habits were back. Next time I will spend more time upfront with design before I start drawing. And I will spend some time reviewing what I have been learning about design of sketchbook pages. It really is a great class!!!

  2. Reply

    Thanks Pat. Don’t be too worried about your urban sketching and your old habits coming back—that’s something that can happen at any time. We just need to remind ourselves what our intentions are and our goals, and then we can refocus. So it’s an ongoing process. I’m glad that you enjoy By Design.

    • Sharon Nolfi
    • October 29, 2016

    I love the design of your first sketch. What do you mean in your text (on the spread) about the difficulty of registering for Chicago Symposium? I was thinking of going to that one – it would be my first. I’m a newbie and live in Los Angeles.

  3. Reply

    Sharon, Amber Sausen who helps run Twin Cities UrbanSketchers, and Daniel Green have both gone to almost all the symposiums and they have presented to different groups I’ve been in. They have explained that because there are so few spots and such high demand that you really have to be ready to register the moment the registration opens.

    So if you do intend to go find out when the registration opens (date and time) and be glued to your computer at that time, so you can register immediately. Good luck!

    More than that I can’t tell you because I have never attended, never tried to register, and I missed all that portion of the meeting because of road detours delaying me. I only know what I’ve explained here. But it has me worried whenever something is that “Tight.” It may turn out to be a piece of cake, but it might also be frustrating. I’m prepared to not get registered, and simply accept that.

    • Sharon Nolfi
    • October 29, 2016

    I’m thinking that it may be a scramble to register for the workshops, but that registering for the general symposium will be easier. Since it costs extra for the workshops, I may just register for the basic symposium to go to the larger events and hope to hang out with other sketchers. That would be enough for me, as I’ve taken online classes from some of the popular workshop presenters – Liz Steele, Marc Taro Holmes, Shari Blaukopf. Hoping to see you there….

    • Sharon Nolfi
    • October 29, 2016

    I’m enjoying your By Design class very much. Thanks for such a content-rich and thought-provoking course.

  4. Reply

    Originally it was difficult to simply sign up, according to people who attended in the past. But I understand there is now more of a two part system so that might help, registering for your workshops after your registration is in. It’s all rather complicated to me right now.

    I’m really only considering going because everyone is talking about riding the train down! I think that will be fun, sketching all the way.

    I might end up simply going to the zoo when I get there, because I lived in Chicago both as a child and as a teenager—we’ll see. But if I am going to go to one of these, and I would like to, it seems to me that the Chicago one is the one to go to.

    Maybe I’ll just have to go for extra days afterwards to visit all my favorite places too! Keep me posted if you go so we can connect.

  5. Reply

    I’m so glad you are enjoying it Sharon! Thank you.

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