Field notes: Walking and sketching
"Do you walk and sketch at the same time?"
When Peggy Burns' husband, Jim, asked me that question last week, I said no way. Who could do that? But I took his words as a challenge anyway. On my mental "to-do list" for the walk: To draw a sketch that would show Peggy Burns taking all those cool photographs she puts on her blog, Walking Seattle Neighborhoods, after each city excursion. (See my last column, A tourist in her own city.)
To complete the drawing, I kept my sketchbook open to the same page during the entire walk. Every time Peggy Burns stopped to take a photo, I positioned myself in a way that would give me the same vantage point. Then I would try to retain as much visual information as possible, adding lines to the drawing along the way.
After 8 or 10 bursts of sketching -- face profile, hat, left hand, right hand, left arm, right arm, coat, legs and feet -- the drawing was finished, minus the color, which I added later. (A benefit of adding color to a line drawing is that you can compensate for your mistakes. In the colored version, you'll notice that my misfired strokes to draw Peggy's right foot become less noticeable thanks to the color.)
I was gladly surprised with the resulting sketch and have to thank Peggy Burns' husband for asking me if sketching while walking is possible. Now I know it is!
Uniball Vision pen and watercolor on 11"x14" wirebound Stillman and Birn sketchbook, Alpha Series
You can browse a gallery of sketches and purchase prints.