Urban Sketching with Stuco Design

I recently had the opportunity to go urban sketching on a sunny eve in Glasgow with staff from Michael Laird Architects, led by Stuart Kerr of Stuco Design. After an inspiring talk from Stuart, mainly about how important drawing is (I could not agree more of course!) for all sorts of reasons, including for your mental health, we then went out beer and pencils in hand, to start drawing from the urban environment. Something I don’t do very much of, whenever I have I usually get a bit overwhelmed with how much there is to take in, as soon as you start looking there is detail, and perspective, and pattern and light everywhere!! Aaah! My tip - focus on a small area/ zoomed in section, to start with anyway.

We started with some very loose exercises, given I have done a fair amount of teaching, it was so enjoyable and refreshing to be on the other side of it.

We then did a couple of slightly longer drawings - although the longest one was probably still only about 10 minutes… not enough time to get much detail down, but it forces you to work quickly and try and capture what you see in front of you.

Looking at everyones drawings afterwards, who were mainly architects, it was really interesting and insightful to see how differently we approached it! Mine lacked any real sense of form or perspective or anything accurate! But instead I was looking for light and colour and pattern and not paying too much attention to how many windows there were… for example. Haha! So fascinating how we see things differently, and why we should keep training ourselves, especially in new environments like this setting.

Stuart also showed us some of his Moleskine sketchbooks, filled to the brim with incredible and detailed line drawings, all from life, of his day to day surroundings. With intricate lines and quirky compositions. I really was inspired to get back into the habit of drawing in a little sketchbook every day. I do draw often, but it is quite different doing it for a commission or to create a final artwork, there is something magic in drawing from life, on a daily basis and literally slowing down to do so. To stop and take in your surroundings. I really would encourage it, whether you are creative or not, just start looking, start drawing, and whatever you do, don’t judge or criticise what you create, instead try to treat it as an exercise.

Below are the sketches I did, they are roughly in the order I did them. I think the first ones were 10 second drawings, and the line ones were blind drawings (drawn with your eyes closed!). Which should give you an idea of how quickly they were all done! I would definitely recommend working in this way, at least to start with anyway, it forces you to loosen up and not overthink what you are drawing. (The sketch at the start of this post is probably my favourite one from that night).

Thank you Stuart, what a lovely way to spend an evening!

Hopefully I will have more sketch-booking to share with you on here over the coming months :)