A few years ago, I decided that I am not that strong at sketching people's likeness and yet my friends were still coming up to me and asking me to paint a portrait of their child. What I discovered was that many of these kids were involved in activities (such as sports and band) where there was plenty of action to convey the child's personality. No longer did I need to show the likeness of the subject and yet everyone knew exactly who was portrayed in the picture. This also allowed me to loosen up my sketch style because I was now trying to capture the emotion of the moment, not the accuracy of a person's face. Sports are really helpful because identities are determined by the number on their jersey since most contact sports require some kind of helmet or head gear. These are a few examples of this looser style.
How does this relate to "Urban Sketching" you might ask? Urban Sketching is the activity of capturing a scene from an urban setting, whether that be architecture, nature (such as parks and forest preserves), people going about their lives (there is a whole list of urban activities that people can be caught doing that are just made for the urban sketcher), modes of transportation and any combination of all of these. Most of the sporting arenas where I have captured these activities have been on college campuses in the Chicagoland area. While these are predominantly studies of the human figure, they are definitely not static images.
All of these sketches were started as pencil roughs, followed by some kind of felt tip marker or brush pen. The only exception is the hockey scene which was painted in acrylics.
Elmhurst College Men's Lacrosse Team
Recreational racquetball matches, Northern Illinois University
The hero of this shot is #24, Tyler Shanks
Master cooking class: student is on the right