Royal Ontario Museum

As luck would have it, I met a really nice fellow urban sketchers, Brenda, founder of the USK Kitchener group (in Ontario) while attending The 4th International Urban Sketching Symposium in Barcelona. She's the founder of the Urban Sketchers group in Kitchener, ON.  We recently met again on the other side of the Atlantic, at the Royal Ontario Museum to sketch together.  

I'd never been to this museum before. It's an older building with a modern minimalist extension at the front, which I was told caused a bit of controversy when it was built. It's like the Toronto version of the Louvre pyramid in Paris.  I love its angular shape, it's very dynamic. There are also neat benches for people to sit and take the city in or just read a book like the lady on the left.  

Inside, there were a group of art students drawing various statues and busts while we were there. They had a set amount of time to draw their chosen piece and then had to switch place to draw another statue from another angle. 

I really like the dinosaur area with the giant bones. It's such a fascinating thing to see and imagine these giant creature roaming the earth a long time ago. They are not the easiest thing to draw, but they are fun. It's like studying their anatomy. I'll have to go back again and spend more time there, specially in the winter. 

MJ @ USK BCN - Day 1

The day started with registration at the CCCB. The organizers had arranged for people to line up according to their last names to get their badges and their bag of goodies. People were already sketching the event as it was happening. I'm amazed at how easily some sketchers can set up their watercolors and just get to it. You can see Suhita Shirodkar above who was one of the correspondents along with Lapin for the event, sketching away. It was very inspiring to see how quickly and effectively they were able to depict what was happening around them.

We each got a bag of goodies : sketchbook, pens, pencils, markers, watercolors, etc. I must say, I was very impressed with the amount of stuff we received from the sponsors. I already started to play with some of them since I got back home. 

Then we had a morning panel with the organizers to welcome us to the symposium. I believe all the instructors were also on stage. Many people were sketching as well, so I decided to do a quick sketch as well with a simple pen. 

WORKSHOP: Actors and Stage with Luis Ruiz at Pla dels Àngels
The first workshop I took was focused on composition. Using the architecture as a stage and moving elements (i.e. people, cars, pets, etc) as the actors. I thought it was a really neat concept to be able to tell a story with the sketches like that. As an exercise we had to draw the same scene twice : One time emphasizing on the stage and the other time, emphasizing the actors. 
Above are my results. The first thing I noticed is that people draw and paint really fast. I tend to be a little slow so I didn't even bother with colors. I just added some shade afterwards. A lot of seasoned urban sketcher use watercolors and since I hadn't really used that medium before, I decided to stick to the basics : pen and brush pens. I wasn't super happy with the first four drawings, but I took in a lot of great information. I realized quickly that for me this was going to be about learning new techniques and philosophy.

I love that after each task we all came together to share our drawings. There were some great artists in my group. Notice how finished the watercolor drawings look. They are not as precise as the pen drawing but you get a real sense of the place very effectively. I was starting to understand why watercolors seems to be the medium of choice with urban sketchers.

We had a final task where we put everything we learned together in one final drawing. Luis gave me some great tips about how to give my drawing more depth and layer it by suggesting what to emphasize and what to de-emphasize with simple shading. This was my result. It's SO much better than the first four drawings and I didn't even use colors.

Here are the final results from fellow sketchers :

DEMO : Digital Urban Sketching with Josu Maroto & Monica Cid at Cercle Artistic de Sant Lluc
The presenters showed us the programs they used to create digital sketches as well their tools and methods. It's too bad it was a demo as opposed to a workshop. It would have been interesting to try it out but there just wasn't enough time. Still I can see the benefits of using a tablet for some digital sketching and what tool work better then others. The most important thing I took away from this is that I need to use a better stylus to get better results. 

WORKSHOP : Designing Barcelona with Veronica Lawlor at L'Illa de la Discordia
Unfortunately I missed this class :( . I was at the right place but at the wrong time. Probably the jet lag thing was getting to me. But I had a great first day nonetheless and met great people on the first day, some of which I was able to l keep in touch with as well. 

TGIM Sketchnote 19

The TGIM sketchnotes are back :) My favorite quote/aha moment from this episode is "Don't walk in other people's limitations". It's something I constantly have to remind myself because I tend to do that from time to time. And when I look at various things that I've done, I can also identify moments when I expect it and got it, and other moments when I didn't expect it and didn't get it. Some of the latest things that I got because I expected them were to adopt Newton, start drawing a lot more and better, participate to an urban sketcher symposium and move to Toronto. Next on my list is to make something great out of my own calling and gift so that I keep growing towards Phenomenal and so that others  can benefit from what I create. It's great to have virtual mentors like ET to show you the way. 

MJ @ USK BCN - Day 0

I'm really happy I was able to go to my first International Urban Sketching Symposium this month. What a great event! July has been a very busy month, as we also moved from Ottawa to Toronto just before taking off for Spain. So I really didn't have time to post too much on the blog. Now I finally get some time to report on my experience of this event. It was truly inspiring and I gained a lot from it. 

Days before leaving I found a neat little travel backpack at DeSerres while purchasing a couple art supplies for the symposium. It was a bit like getting ready to go back to school. This bag was the perfect find. It has a lot of storage compartments to stay organized and is made for traveling. It fits nicely under the seats in the plane. The bag was designed by Luca Artioli and Marco Pulga for Lexon

Despite being exhausted on travel day, I managed to do a couple quick urban sketches to warm up for the event. I used a simple black pen. My very first sketch was about passengers waiting to board the plane. It's interesting to see the coming and going of people from all over the world in an airport. 

We arrive a little early in the morning in Barcelona. It was 7:30AM, local time. After a quick tour around our hotel, we spend a bit of time at the hotel bar. I used the spare time to sketch an area of the bar. It was beautifully designed with a lot of neat details. There wasn't a lot of people at the time since it was early, but we were able to get some complementary juices and coffee.


Barcelona went by so fast. I barely had a chance to visit the town (must go back). With that said, I waited four years to  come back to Ibiza and the time has finally come for a little R&R on this beautiful island. :) I will be back soon with updates on the symposium, Sketchnotes and more.

USK Barcelona 2013

It's been really busy over the past few weeks, specially this week! Where did time go? So much to blog about, but there's just not enough time. And now I'm rushing to get ready for  USK Barcelona 2013 and cross off one task in my creative list. I'm really excited about this. Only a few more days before the symposium and I have a lot of catching up to do on the facebook page and the facebook group. Sound like it's going to be a lot of fun and very informative. More soon. 

TGIM sketchnote 16

It's the end of the second quarter already. That went fast! Energy and effort are two things I can always use more of. I remember the first time I saw ET's videos last year, thinking "I need to get to that level of energy". So I'm working on it. I'm not where he is yet, but I'm definitely closer than I was last year. Obviously, from looking at his journey, it works. 

I also recently bought the audiobook of Secret to Success. I knew it would be worth the wait. As soon as I learned that ET was going to narrate his own book, I had to have it. I'll do a review in the near future, but it's an awesome audiobook. ET definitely put in effort and energy.