A New Chapter: Urban Sketchers Philadelphia

Our sketching group has now become the new Urban Sketchers Regional Chapter of Philadelphia! We were approved a few weeks ago; evidently we are very excited about this opportunity.

When we moved to the States three years ago we immediately looked up for sketching groups in the area. Urban sketching is a great way to get to know places and meet new friends. To my surprise, Urban Sketchers didn’t have a regional chapter in Philadelphia. I then used Meetup.com to find any sketching groups. 

All the groups I joined there were more about landscape painting. I met very good artists, and sketched with them a few times. However, I don’t consider myself a painter or a watercolorist. So we decided to create an urban sketching group, Sketching Philadelphia. 

We have grown slowly, but in the last few months we’ve gotten more momentum. We established a steady schedule, activated our social media outlets, recruited a third administrator and applied to become the Urban Sketchers Regional Chapter of Philadelphia. And we were approved!

We hold an official sketching outing every second Saturday of the month at different places across the city of Philadelphia. Attendance is growing as well; thirteen sketchers showed up for our last event. The events are free, fun and we meet new friends. 

You can join us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, @USKPhiladelphia.

Here are some of my sketches with @USKPhiladelphia:

 

Marking With Markers

Here is my second YouTube video, in which I sketch with Copic Sketch Markers. I’ve been dabbling with markers for architectural presentations for years now, but for the last few years I’ve been using them more often, especially on location. I know how intimidating these are, so I want to share some of the things I’ve learned. 

1. Never use the fine tip. Some markers come with two tips, usually a chisel tip and a fine tip. You can achieve many strokes with the chisel tip, so the fine tip is unnecessary. Trying to fill in a color block with the fine tip yields terrible results. 

2. Do not buy a basic set. Basic sets come with only six to twelve colors, so it is very difficult to achieve something that looks good with such palettes. Unless you are a product designer who uses color simply as a highlight, a basic set is not worth it. A few values of greys provide more versatility and are way less expensive. If you fall in love with markers after using grayscales for a while, then go ahead and get a color set. 

3. Copic is king. I’ve used a lot of marker brands, but my favorite is Copic. These markers cost about twice as other markers (such as Prismacolor) but they are refillable and have replaceable nibs. A bottle of ink will cost about the same amount of a new marker, but will refill them about 13 times. No-brainer. 

4. Jump one or two. You don’t need all the greyscale values. You can jump either one or two values within the same family. For example, I use Neutral Grays, N0, N2, N,4, N6, N8. You could also use N0, N3 and N6 but gradations are not as smooth. To achieve the missing values you do a second layer after they dry. I also sometimes just use a black marker, pulling or pushing values to create a high contrast image rather than a line drawing. 

5. Streaks or not. I like juicy markers, but I prefer to see the strokes rather than an even color. Sketches get a wonderful character if your strokes are confident. On the contrary, if you prefer even blocks of color, you need to keep the area wet by continuously going over with the marker. It’s something similar to wet-and-wet watercolors, so edges will be a little blurred. It takes a lot of time and patience. 

Also here are some sketches I’ve done on location with markers: 




Sushi Night

 

Last night we had our neighbors come in to make sushi. They all helped, but I know my limitations, so I documented the get together instead. Lots of fun, tasty food, a great way to end the work week.

Katie’s Komets

  

Esteban has joined a wheelchair basketball team in Philadelphia, Katie’s Komets. Here he is in a layup drill during his first official practice. The team’s page is http://katieskomets.org

Lunchtime Sketching

  
The nice weather is finally here, perfect for outdoor sketching.