Friday, March 6, 2015

The Corner Coffee Shop, Elmhurst, IL

Well it seems as though I have lost it. 

I had one comment that has haunted me about this sketch and I can't find it. But I will never forget the basic message. It was about a year ago that I first posted this image of this Corner Coffee Shop. It is a period piece of architecture in Elmhurst and I had to capture it as a sketch. I posted it and received an appreciated number of accolades and "likes" from my fellow urban sketchers. Here was the image in question:

But then I had one comment that cut through all the clutter. Andrew Banks, a professional illustrator among us whose opinion I greatly value, had delivered the most important feedback of my time here at urban sketchers. He simply told me that he could not figure out the source of the light in my sketch because my shadows conflicted each other. He was absolutely right too. At the time I was not in the right frame of mind to truly appreciate his comment. I had fallen hopelessly in love with my own sketch.

But now, after reading Andrew's recent Tuesday Tips & Tricks about revisiting your old sketchbooks with fresh eyes, I did just that and headed straight for this sketch. I had to redo this sketch and do it the right way. Outside of adding color in this second approach, I went back to my reference photos and studied the lighting from that day.

I think I am a much better illustrator now because Andrew thought enough to call out what bothered him about my sketch and it affected me so deeply that I had to act. That is the real power of being an Urban Sketcher and belonging to this group of peers who are all interested in getting better. That is why we are here.

I encourage you to offer constructive and receive criticism in the spirit of improving your craft. Your "Andrew" is in this group and you will become a better artist because of it.


  1. Growing is what makes life fun! Thanks for sharing one of your growth experiences!

    1. Thank you Debra. It truly is a humbling experience to admit that I was wrong and to realize I needed to go back and make it right. From now on, there will be little voices like Andrew's that will challenge whether I am done with a sketch or not. Just as Andrew wrote in his post, I can probably go back through my old sketches and find those where I may not have put my best effort forward. Thanks for checking out my post.

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