July 18, 2017

Symposium Sketching Supplies! (and Accidental Sketchbook Review)

I am so excited about attending the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Chicago as a participant! For the last several years I've helped organize the Symposium so, while they were all great, there was a lot more responsibility than sketching.

Here are the sketching supplies I'll have with me next week in Chicago...


This is a new bag I just put together of all of the things I like to be able to grab in a hurry.
(left to right)
• watercolor kit made by Peggy Wong and filled with my current favorite assortment of pigments
• Palomino Blackwing pencil
• red/blue Mitsubishi pencil
• Sakura Pigma Sensei C10 chisel pen
• Kuretake waterbrush pen
• Sailor Fude DE Mannen Brush Style Fountain Pen (This is new to me. I bought it for one of the workshops I'm taking.)
• My favorite! Sakura Pigma Graphic 1 (aka my fat pen)


This is my regular purse bag that keeps finding more things in it.
(left to right)
• two travel brushes (The bigger one is new to me. I bought it for one of the workshops I'm taking.)
• another fat pen
• Pentel brush pen (black, and like a fountain pen with a cartridge)
• brush pen filled with diluted sumi ink
• Pentel ink brush pen (gray, and it comes in the brush pen)
• white Uni-ball Signo pen
Pentel Aquash waterbrush pen filled with Dr. PH Marten's watercolor
• variety of colored pencils, some watercolor, some not
• Palomino Blackwing pencil
• Kuretake waterbrush pen
Also along the top - a water cup, clips, and double-sided tape.

I'll also have a few extra things requested by instructors, like fine-tip pens, 6B pencils, and an eraser.

Sketchbooks... I prefer carrying one small sketchbook at all times, but I know I'll need to make larger sketches and some of the instructors specified watercolor paper, and some specified cheap paper for thumbnails. So I know I'll use the small Stillman & Birn Alpha (top left) for all-day everyday, and probably the Barcelona souvenir Moleskine watercolor paper accordion sketchbook. But, I love the Stillman & Birn Zeta (bottom left) - nice thick smooth white paper. Yum! Definitely the Moleskine Cahier journal that's under the Barcelona sketchbook, for thumbnails and such.

Stillman & Birn and Moleskine are two for my favorite sketchbooks. Stillman & Birn sent me some of the new softcover books to test out. It took me a minute to get used to the different format, but I love that they are lighter than the hardcover, and the paper is as good as ever. The way they open can be a little clumsy - they don't always want to crease in the right place - but that is not important to me. I like my sketchbooks messy as they are part of my everyday life and therefore not precious. The soft cover makes it easier for them to be everyday sketchbooks.

Moleskines are just good all the way around. I use a cahier journal every day - several actually, for different projects. For years Moleskine was my go-to sketchbook, but these days I prefer bright white paper.

My other favorite sketchbook, not pictured here, is Laloran. They are handmade in Portugal with high-quality paper, and are beautifully bound. I buy a few every year and pick them up at the Symposium, so I will have more soon!

Well this post turned into a sketchbook review, but what can I say - I do like to talk about sketching materials! Another reason I'm excited about the Symposium next week - it will give me a chance to share sketching tips and supply recommendations and to learn from all of the amazing sketchers from around the world!

July 13, 2017

#oneweek100peopleSymposium (edited)

One week. One hundred people. Who's in?!

Liz Steel and Marc Taro Holmes started this sketching challenge in March, and with the Urban Sketchers Symposium coming up in Chicago, I thought we should do this again. I need the practice!

For the week of July 17-21*, I am going to work on making sketches of 100 people and post them** using the hashtag #oneweek100peopleSymposium***. Feel free to join in!

* I know, I know. It's just five days, not a week. But that's how it was structured last time.

** You can find me on Instagram @elizabethalley and on Twitter @alleyelizabeth and on Facebook.

*** Marc suggested changing it to help us get fired up about the Symposium!

Painterly Sketching Sketches

In my post yesterday I mentioned the Painterly Sketching workshop I taught at Flicker Street Studio last month. These are some sketches I did in preparation for it. I really enjoy this concept, because the color you put down initially doesn't have to be neat or exact. It's there as a guide to build on.




After the workshop I went to Casablanca to pick up dinner (after a big nap, that is), and while waiting for my order I practiced what I preached. I started with colored pencils to block out the shapes, then added the people and the details. I like that this works for quick sketches as well as longer sketches.


July 12, 2017

Memphis Urban Sketchers at Whole Foods

On Saturday the Memphis Urban Sketchers met at Whole Foods for some comfortable indoor sketching. (It's so hot here.)

Here's my warm-up sketch. Warming up is so important when you know you're going to be sketching for a couple of hours.




There was so much to sketch it was hard to choose! I wandered into the entrance and there were these gorgeous tomatoes, onions, and watermelons. I approached it with the concept I taught in the Painterly Sketching workshop at Flicker Street a couple of weeks ago. I put down the big shapes in watercolor - red/orange for tomatoes, onion-color for onions (sort of a yellow ochre plus burnt sienna maybe?), and green for watercolor. Then I went over them with more watercolor and colored pencils. So much fun!


With time for a couple more sketches I found some more produce, then sketched the whole fish. Some of the other sketchers and I talked about how you how you have to take advantage of having whole fish to draw when you can.


July 07, 2017

Coffee and Crepe Myrtles


















I really did think this girl was breaking up with the guy she was with, but then I realized she was just very animated.