International SketchCrawl #30 SYDNEY Manly Beach – Preparation I

January 16, 2011

Sketching at The Beach

Next weekend, I’m aiming to participate in an event organised by the Sydney Sketch Club in conjunction with the 30th SketchCrawl which is an international activity. As a Cronulla beach kid, from the days just prior to Puberty Blues, I know The Beach as well as anyone in this city. I rarely go back because of potential exposure to the sun and I’ve never gone to Manly more than a dozen times in my life. I know the local SketchCrawl wants to present our beach culture to the world but I personally find it a bit tasteless to glorify social behaviours leading to potentially fatal medical outcomes but Sydneysiders are remarkably adept at dancing with death in this and similar ways.

Sketching with Minimal Materials

Interested in blocky overlapping and repeating forms at the moment, especially the way perspective can impact on one’s observation powers, I know I’m unlikely to draw people this time round. Also I’m influenced these days as much by the way in which sketching media can be scanned/uploaded digitally than anything else. I’m virtually on the point now of road-testing a different medium every time I sit down to sketch/draw. Yesterday at Darling Harbour saw a bizarre and totally left-field combination of marker and graphite pencil with a spot of coloured pencil. Today, I’m roadtesting some oil-based three-pencils (sanguine-white-black), admittedly sticking to my current white cartridge paper sketchbook, because I’m close to finishing it as part of The Artist Notebook Project (Fibre Arts Australia) and posting it off to the co-ordinator in Tamworth.

So here’s today’s sketch – I’d like to do more but the heat and humidity are again very fierce today – , copied from a newspaper article, done with PITT (Faber-Castell, Germany) pencils: Black, (not much) Sepia, Sanguine and (used as more of a blender here on white paper) White. Being oil-based, they oliagenate around the paper somewhat – the black definitely starts out as a comforting grey, unless you force it to reveal the black. Now in deference to potential summer colours involving people, I’ve added Rexel Cumberland Derwent Studio (Derwent, UK) yellow (Gold 3) and blue, which are intensely-coloured coloured pencils. There is nothing delicate about these coloured pencils; they may or may not relate to the current range of their Inktense drawing pencils. There is of course something incongruous about using so quintessentially-North Hemisphere pencils such as Three Pencils to depict an Australian beach, but I may just give these a go!

There is of course another angle to today’s sketch. While they may be a bunch of thirty-something guys living in inner city Sydney (tattoos, beards, working boots and casual shorts), the influence of half a nation cleaning up mud and water after this week’s floods is very strong. As we speak, Australia is not in fact standing around as artist’s models this weekend.

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