Location Drawing: an introduction

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”―Thomas Merten

What is “location drawing”?
The short answer is: drawing out in the world from life. In this case “life” refers to real time observation rather than working from photographs.

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Location drawing excludes traditional “life drawing” in a studio with a professional model. It also leaves out “still life” subject matter although objects can play an important role in many compositions.

Why location drawing?

Learn to see.
Sketchers walk the world with a heightened sense of awareness. Sketchers find beauty in the mundane, even in the “ugly.” The longer you look at something, the better you see and the more you know to do.

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Meditate.
Having trouble slowing down? Sketching requires you to sit still. After a little practice, you can get lost in it.

Create profound memories.
For me, drawing captures an experience far deeper than snapping yet another photo. I remember not only what I saw, but what it sounded like that day. I can feel it again. Sketching can be a very powerful journal.

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Increase your drawing skills.
Location drawing most often comes with a time limit. The people move, the light changes, your butt starts getting sore.   Skills are greatly increased in terms of speed and fluidity when the clock is ticking.

Connect with the community.
It may take some getting used to, but people love to watch artists at work. You may not always have an audience but it is an elemental aspect to location drawing. When I traveled to Burma, it was my way of connecting to the people without having a common language.

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Speaking of community, check out Urban Sketchers. It is a world-wide movement which has location drawing at the core of its manifesto. Additionally the members are committed to sharing the work with others. Check out the website and facebook page for inspiration and to see an amazing array of styles.