Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Day In Sketches: An update on the project

After almost two weeks producing The Day In Sketches, it's become clear to me that the slideshow won't work on a 24-hour schedule. A lot of artists are sketching daily, but the subject matter isn't necessarily timely — a sketch of a building or a streetscape with nothing new to say about it doesn't cut it for this project.

More artists need to go draw timely events and stuff off the news, otherwise the report misses the point. Here are some examples of sketches that would make The Day In Sketches exciting: the scene at the hospital in Pretoria where Nelson Mandela is hospitalized, travelers in the Moscow airport where Edward Snowden is supposedly in transit, signs in Paris announcing the Tour de France, the floods in India and the protests in Brazil.

There are so many things going on in the world that we only see through video or photography. I would like to see them in sketches! I'm not only talking about the news that make the international headlines. Sketchers can also find timely topics on their own — that independently-owned record store struggling to stay open, the historic building being demolished, the contaminated river being ignored by politicians, the squatters in that foreclosed house in the neighborhood. And they need to share these sketches right away.

Until that happens, I'm going to do Day In Sketches only once a week, and see how it goes. I'd like to know what you all sketcher friends think about this. Please, feel free to comment here!


  1. I just got home from the vet. While I waited for the bad news I drew what I saw. It was urban, I was sketching. What I made was something personally meaningful, something that will now be a recorded memory of personally painful event. It's probably art. To you it would just look like a building with nothing new to add. And therefore by your definition not worthy of Urban Sketching. And that feels like a glaring ingratitude. I think I need to take down my Urban Sketcher declaration. After I go bury my dog.

    1. Amanda, I'm so sorry for your dog. It's very hard to lose a friend.

      I was once responsible for countless forum responsibilities on the Flickr site. There are dozens of unpaid volunteers in the USK organization with tireless energy and thankless responsibilities. Things slip through the cracks. We can't see everything. And feelings get hurt. And especially someone with high-level organization responsibilities like Gabi — he's the founder and also the organization spokesperson, leader and champion. We're also in the midst of symposium activity (lots of things to wrap-up).

      It's just not possible to view, read and draw attention to everyone — even if the circumstances are dire.

      Please stay committed to USK. I know that people **DO** appreciate your interest, contribution and wish you the best with your sketching.

      Again, I'm so sorry about your dog.

    2. Hi Amanda, I'm sorry to hear about your loss. There are many different ways to approach urban sketching, I'm just creating an outlet for one aspect of it, which is to draw events and things that are timely. I'm not saying sketches that tell personal stories are not good. They are great!

  2. Amanda, I think Urban Sketching is all about a sketchers emotional connection with their subject, whether it's a building, a cafe scene, discovering an exciting new city, breaking news reportage or in your case the unfortunate passing of your dog. Keep up the good work I say!

    At the same time I agree with Gabi's thoughts on The Day In Sketches, the focus here is pure news reportage, something that I find hugely appealing. There's something really compelling about drawn news and I'd love to see more of it in mainstream reporting. Keep at it Gabi, I look forward to seeing how The Day in Sketches evolves.

  3. I understand how difficult is to bring this different aproach to a drawing publication, not because of the subject, once I do bealive that there are many drawings from every place on earth every day that can aspire to be published in this site. For Gabi is really difficult to select them, mainly because the most apropriate ones are from someone that probably have no idea of this "Day in Sketches".
    Probably someone in Pretoria draw the journalists waiting for news from Mandela, just spending available time waiting for his own time in the doctor room... and the drawing is currently only in the sketchbook over the dinner table...
    Probably, its easier and more efficient if the urbansketchers that have reguraly drawings with this kind of approach, could send them directly to Gabi, for a daily or weekly selection.
    Drawings with an individual story, despite they are sometimes beatiful, dont fit in this project.
    My sugestion is to change probably the way of selection, even if the publication is only once in a week. Choosing perhaps some sketchers that normally draw this kind of daily situations, like Pedro Fernandes, a portuguese urbansketcher living in Istambul. I´m sure that you saw his drawings at:
    All the best

  4. "The Day in Sketches" site I looked at didn't have any copy to accompany the sketches. Though a sketch can tell part of the story, it is also important to get the reporting artists thoughts. This is a great idea and I hope it gains international traction.


  5. A great idea.
    If I remember correctly you posted a piece some time back about a book by Paul Hogarth: The Artist as Reporter. I obtained a copy and just looked at it again.
    There are some great examples that I think make your point. For example John Sloan who, like yourself, was a "reporter illustrator".

    It also seems that it would provide a clear separation from the Urban Sketcher's site. I hope it works out. If I can improve my speed I would love to at least try the approach.
    I appreciate your high standards.

    Ross Sutherland