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  • Hi

    Sunday, July 17, 2011 - 14:09

    I've left it a little late to introduce myself as I am leaving for Lisbon tomorrow, but I just wanted to say hi. 

    I have worked as a free lance illustrator for 14 years, but since going back to college I have become more and more interested in drawing on location. It will be weird to be surrounded by so many people who are in to the same thing as me, but I am really looking forward to meeting everyone and learning from you all.  See you in a few days.


  • Sunday, July 17, 2011 - 11:33

    São Paulo illustrator João Pinheiro will attend the Symposium thanks to a scholarship from the Urban Sketchers nonprofit. João, 29, has been a contributor of the Urban Sketchers blog since the beginning in November of 2008. As the Symposium Correspondent, he will record the event with his drawings.

    Tell us about your work.

    I’m involved in editorial illustration projects, collaborating with magazines, picture books and newspapers. Last year I started illustrating children's books, which has been very rewarding. I released my third book of this genre this year and I have six more titles expected to be finalized by the end of 2011. The second half of my first graphic novel, Kerouac, about the American writer, is also coming up. This project took three years to complete, so I'm really excited to see it in print. Currently working as a freelance illustrator and I can balance the division of working hours and hours devoted to my personal studies and projects. 

    When did you start drawing on location?

    Initially I started making drawings of observation as an exercise only, encouraged by my art teachers in college. But I did not consider these drawings as finished works, in that time, 1999, only thought of them as sketches, annotation of ideas that could later be used or not in projects of paintings and illustrations. In my mind they had no artistic value and were part of the process behind the construction of a work, a step that remains invisible after the finished work. Over time. after filling out some books, explore new themes, I realized that my drawings of observation had evolved, had improved my stroke and I had acquired a taste for observing, I began to establish new connections and it added to my personality and taste. I also started to bring that spontaneity and expression of sketches to my commercial work, for I knew that even with all my imperfections that could provide instant trace. They seemed more personal and appropriate for what I understand and I seek as an artist. In about three years, I started to devote more time and attention to the sketches and now my personal work comes, almost in its entirety, from notebooks and drawings of observation. 

    What are you looking forward on experience in Lisbon?

    Well, I'm an obsessive portrait of my city, Sao Paulo, Brazil. I've walked a lot around my city. I know every corner of São Paulo (but of course there is always more to learn in a city like São Paulo, it seems, no end). My drawing style, I think, has much to do with São Paulo and my life here and so today, I feel the need to broaden my themes, challenges, broaden my horizons. The opportunity to be a correspondent in Lisbon symposium will be very important in order to see how my drawing will react in a completely new, with a different architecture, people with other accents, new light, new colors. I'm anxious to find out. I will be there to learn and share experiences with my fellow urban sketchers. I'll have the opportunity to meet people from all over the world who share the same passion for urban sketching and this, in my view, is the most important point. After this experience, I look forward to search for new challenges in my homeland. 

    What's your advice to someone who is just starting out as an urban sketcher?

    The hardest thing is to start. After you take this initial step, things begin to flow. Then continue ... draw, draw, draw ... it comes a time when it becomes natural and drawing becomes part of your life entirely. 

    How often do you go urban sketching?

    I'm currently dedicating time every day for this activity. Time at least 2 hours. 

    What subjects do you like to draw?

    I like to draw people on the subway, ancient architecture, eccentric, electric poles and trees. I especially like the non-tourist places, like neighborhoods, abandoned and damaged by local time. At the subway people are stopped, distracted, thinking, reading ... I like to draw these people while they are relaxed, abstracted in his own inner self. The center of Sao Paulo is good because it has everything: luxury building, crumbling old buildings, historical sites, camels, shops, offices, bars, malls, workers of all categories, a large crowd and dense, old and new walking side by side. I can not explain in words, but the center fascinates me the truth. 
    In the periphery, away from the downtown area, site of the working class, a contrast, less glamorous city that has a rich and unique culture. I believe that those who live on the periphery have a very particular vision of the world, which differs from residents of other locations (center and middle-class and upper-class neighborhoods). The architecture is descojuntada, makeshift, precarious and therefore fascinating whole. People relate more warmly. 

    What are your main drawing tools and notebooks or paper?

    I like disposable pens, brush and ink on paper nankim with a smooth surface. I like drawing expressive lines and black shadows. 

    In addition to urban sketching, what other hobbies do you have?

    I study music in a conservatory, since the beginning of this year. When I'm not drawing, I am often strumming my guitar. 

    Follow João’s work on his blog and flickr

  • Sunday, July 17, 2011 - 00:52

    Manuel João Ramos teaches Anthropology at ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon. He’s also a researcher in African Studies at the Centre of African Studies at the same institute.

    Manuel was born in the same quarter of Lisbon where he lives today. He will teach the workshop Urban Ethnography

    When did you start sketching on location?

    I believe sketching on location has started with being conscious of drawing. My first memory is me drawing my parents on a train, while I was travelling with them on a train, at age 3.

    Tell us about one of your most memorable urban sketching experiences, what did you draw and where?

    For me, drawing in the Maghreb is always an enticing experience. It's a social activity and one that is a must for every would-be urban sketcher.

    How often do you go urban sketching? Do you have a specific time of day or week when you practice drawing on location?

    Urban sketching is an essential part of my travels. Due to my professional duties I tend to travel a lot, so I sketch a lot.

    Tell us more about your workshop.

    My second, unpaid, job is working in a civil rights association defending pedestrian rights in urban streets. Also, a part of my research, I'm interested in usage conflicts in roads and streets. So, my proposal for a "walkshop" is to capture postures, movements, tensions, between street users, and particularly how people appropriate themselves of public space: car drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, etc.

    What urban subjects do you like to sketch the most?

    I don't think I have a preference. I draw buildings, street furniture, people, ducks in parks alike. 

    What are your primary sketching tools and sketchbooks or paper, what do you like about them?

    I generally draw with a uniball permanent ink pen on any paper that's available. I like the immediacy and availability of tools and media. 

    Besides urban sketching, what other hobbies do you have?

    Urban sketching is hardly a hobby for me. Playing music is an hobby.

  • Monday, July 18, 2011 - 14:59

    I have learnt from previous posts that this is the time of the year for sardines and snails, and I thought I'd start this thread especially about food and drink for people to post their tips and suggestions with particular emphasis on things which are typical of the area, delicious, and preferably not too expensive.

    open thread
  • Sunday, July 17, 2011 - 15:26

    Artist an historian Ruth Rosengarten was born in Israel, went to school in South Africa, and later lived in Portugal. Now she calls the English countryside home.

    Ruth will give the lecture titled "Passing By, Stopping, Walking On: Urban Sketching in Context."

    Tell us about your daily job. What do you do for a living?

    I'm an artist and art historian - I cobble together a living out of various aspects of these two very pleasurable activities - writing texts (sometimes books), taking photographs, drawing, and work that combines all three. I used to paint a great deal, but now seem to prefer drawing and working with watercolour (and sometimes text) and collage too, but I will pick up the paints again, some time - lots of canvases waiting for me in the studio. I write mostly, though not exclusively, about modern and contemporary art. (Doing some translation from Portuguese to English also sometimes helps to keep the wolf at bay!)

    When did you start sketching on location?

    I've always sketched a little bit 'on location' and a lot in the studio - I don't consider myself properly speaking a locational sketcher although I do it, and as I live in the countryside and spend a great deal of time in and around my home/studio, am not really an urban sketcher! I don't enjoy the fact that other people look at what one is doing - ie that one becomes an object of observation, though I know that most urban sketchers don't mind that at all - but I do like drawing in gardens or the countryside, and also in cafés/restaurants - having a table makes things a lot easier! 

    How often do you go urban sketching? Do you have a specific time of day or week when you practice drawing on location?

    No specific time of day, no specific frequency - at the moment, I'm taking a lot of photographs, drawing less - other periods the relationship is reversed. It's too much of a hassle carrying around sketching and photographic paraphernalia!

    What are your primary sketching tools and sketchbooks or paper, what do you like about them?

    Pencil and pencil crayons or ink pen and brush marker in sketchbooks - Moleskine is nice, but not the only good one, but I do like its parchment like colour and smooth texture - paper with more of a tooth and heavier is good for watercolour - I love using watercolour too, though it can get a bit messy. I'm also a technophile, so am fascinated by the new technologies - iPad, Wacom – and the possibilities of combining virtual drawing with photography in a kind of un-messy collage/montage. People talk a lot about computer based media not having the touch and feel and grain and accident of 'real' technologies - paper, ink, tip of pen and so on - but I think one has to see them as two separate, and complementary forms of making.

    Follow Ruth's work on her blog Tempus Fugit.

  • Saturday, October 1, 2011 - 17:40
    Pedro Cabral

    This post is special for Liz Steel and other tea


    In Portugal you can have the best pastries in the
    world (absolutely) but tea is not a national passion. It is not easy to have a
    good tea in Lisboa.

    Everywhere tea it will be brewed not with mineral but with with tap water and, usualy. too hot.

    In most places if you ask for a tea you will have an
    herbal tea. If you say you want a real tea nobody will understand. You have to
    say you want a black or a green tea (in most places no other qualities of tea
    are known).

    Close to the Symposium grounds are three tea shops
    that make difference:

    Gourmet: R 1º de Dezembro

    O Chá do
    Carmo: Largo do Carmo

    First Flush: R do Crucifixo (sells tea leafs but you
    can’t drink it there and it is rather expensive)

    If it is not too hot, we can have some tea there.

    See you soon.

  • Saturday, October 1, 2011 - 17:22

    Hello sketchers,

    As previously announced here and via e-mail, we have now closed the workshops list and have emailed it to to all participants. The PDF file you should have received shows the choices you made as of 17h00 GMT Thursday, July 14. Any changes made after the cut-off time will not be reflected. Participants who were on overbooked workshops have been reassigned to workshops where there was availability.

    When we are in Lisbon, please talk to me if you want to make a change or plan to drop out of a session. It's very important that you let me know if you plan to drop out of a session! If you give me enough notice, I could accomodate someone else who may have wanted to be in that session.

    Thank you for your cooperation and helping make the Symposium a great experience for everyone! 

    See you next week!

    gabi campanario

    P.S. #1: If you didn't receive the workshop list pdf file, email me and I'll resend it to you.

    P.S. #2: The Symposium is now full with 150 participants registered. We'll start a waiting list in case we have cancellations. Email-us if you want to be added to the waiting list.

  • Saturday, October 1, 2011 - 16:54
    Marc Taro Holmes

    Gearing up to head to Lisbon! This is kind of overkill for a painting trip - but I'll be there for 10 days travelling around and painting.

    It's really more paint that I'd ever need. Too many brushes. A dozen unnecessary backup pens. Three times as much paper as I expect to use, and the iPhone.

    I'm going to work larger this trip - thus the attractive sheet of blue coroplast duct-taped onto my watercolor easel. It's actually a pretty nice surface for taping down loose sheets. I used to use blocks in the field - but as I go larger, they simply got too heavy. This is ugly - but as light as possible. And water proof. (The 'easel' is the black plastic slabs under the paper towels.  People always ask - it's an E. Michaels En Plein Air Pro - which is just two small surfaces that attach to a camera tripod).

    The other tripods are my WalkStool (invaluable!) and a nice ultralight from Velbon. It's unique as it's super light weight, but for some crazy reason is designed for an 8 foot tall photographer.  So it holds the iPhone up out of my way while capturing a timelapse. I'm sure I wont be messing with that during my demos, but later in the week I hope to get some footage.

  • Friday, July 15, 2011 - 11:35
    Rosário Félix

    A small fountain in my neighborhood!

  • Friday, July 15, 2011 - 10:29

    Ketta Linhares is an artisan book binder especializing in Laloran sketchbooks. To create a sketchbook, she puts herself in the mindset of the designer or writer who will be using it. “I imagine their pen travelling through each page. When I finish it, I review all the pages as if they have been already used.” 

    Ketta, 28, was born in East-Timor and has lived in Portugal since she was 4. She will teach the workshop How to make a sketchbook. Here’s our Q&A with Ketta. 

    When did you start sketching on location?

    I started to draw by the influence of Mário Linhares. It was about 9 years ago. While Mário was drawing, I was waiting patiently. I observed the entire process, from choosing the model to the final result. Sometimes I even counted the time. This happened until I realized that I also could enjoy this time spent, reflecting on the paper my perspective on the world. 

    Tell us about one of your most memorable urban sketching experiences, what did you draw and where?

    It happened when I was working with children. They are difficult to draw because they move a lot. They are very curious and while I was drawing some of them, others were peeking over my shoulder! When I finished the drawing they were talking about who was who in the drawing. From then on I dedicated myself to draw plants and landscapes.

    What's your advice for someone who is just starting out as an urban sketcher?

    The first step for someone who is starting to draw on sketchbooks is to overcome the bias of “I am no good at it” or “Drawing is a gift that few have.” The second step is to use their notebook as an experimental laboratory, where the drawing comes out from a mixture of unique stories with their own feelings. The third step is to get hold of their own notebook, meaning that the sketcher is the only one who can decode the drawings that were built throughout their sketchbooks. From here on, anything is possible. Nothing is ugly or beautiful. Nothing is right or wrong.

    How often do you go urban sketching?

    I draw once or twice a week, because I have little time. But the aim is to devote as much time as possible to find a balance between the look and the wrist, in order to get a satisfactory final result.

    Tell us more about your workshop.

    This workshop will allow each participant to make their own sketchbook from the beginning, that is, each one will grow a space where their sketches can travel at will. They will have the opportunity to learn how to make a notebook with simple materials, from the use of the ruler and the x-acto to the use of a needle and a thread. All of this at the sound of African music. 

    What subjects do you like to sketch the most?

    I love to draw plants. They are like landscapes. “They do not move and they do not complain about the outcome,” as Eduardo Salavisa says. I am happier when I draw a plant than when I draw a person or a building. My sketches are freer, because I do not worry about portraying realistically what my eyes see.

    What are your primary sketching tools and sketchbooks or paper, what do you like about them?

    I usually use a Pilot 0.4 pen. It allows me to draw thin lines and with more details. It is not waterproof, but still I like its effect when I use watercolour right away. I use a Laloran sketchbook, made by myself, which allows me to try-out the size of the sketchbook and the type of paper that I want.

    Besides urban sketching, what other hobbies do you have?

    Whenever I can, I travel just for the pleasure of experiencing other cultures. But one of my main hobbies is to develop constantly projects in my mind. In general, they are humanitarian projects. Usually I share them with my husband. Some are revealed. Others are saved for later. I have been dreaming about a project where the Laloran sketchbooks mingle with children from other cultures.  

    Follow Ketta's bookbinding work at Cadernos Laloran and her sketches at Urban Sketchers Portugal.