The first I heard of Sketchcrawl was on Quirky Artist's blog early last year. Then on nearly my last day in Melbourne this January I started chatting to Janice-Marie Hook on the tram because I was admiring the handmade labyrinth book she was sketching in. She was on her way home from the Melbourne Sketchcrawl that very day! I had missed out, but was inspired to organise (together with my housemate Adrienne Grant) a group in Hamilton to participate in the next worldwide Sketchcrawl, which was yesterday.
I was also inspired by Janice-Marie to make a labyrinth book like hers to use on my sketchcrawl. It's one of the structures I'll be teaching in my 'introduction to making handmade books' course next semester. It was just the right size to fill with an afternoon of sketching.
We met up outside the Public Library in Garden Place. Cafe table umbrellas are good to warm up the sketching with.
Then we sketched the Farmers Market happening outside the Council buildings. There were buskers playing lively folky recorder and lots of people bustling about. Sitting there in the sun with our group of sketchers I felt part of a moment of quite cosmopolitan culture in Hamilton.
Next stop was Casa Bella Lane, where we got sushi and sketched by the fountain.
I resisted the temptation to shop for as long as I could by first drawing this lovely 1960's coat on a headless manniquin.
Last stop was sitting outside the Belgian, back at Garden Place, with beer and battered chips. Finally some boys joined our all-girl group of sketchers. We kept drawing until the light was almost gone. Someone pointed out that I was wearing the right shoes for the event.
It's a funny thing, because I've never really done my drawing in the company of others doing the same thing. Just seeing what other people do, and being part of conversations about drawing, was a great confidence builder. I don't think any of us on Sketch Crawl the Tron yesterday feel we have a natural talent for drawing. We all started out self-conscious and embarrassed about the marks we were making.
I think not having any really 'good' sketchers among us (ie someone who can consistently dash off something easily recognisable) freed us all up. We gradually stopped being so shy, and shared and laughed about our efforts more and more. As the day wore on I played around with different approaches and techniques. I got to see that my persistance with pattern, Anna's loose playfulness, Adrienne's dogged pursuit of form, are each in our own way, as valid as a natural talent for drawing.
As soon as we can organise a scanner, more sketches from Sketch Crawl the Tron will be posted to www.sketchcrawl.com. They will also be on exhibit in the Window Gallery on Ward St for a couple of weeks.