Tuesday Tips & Tricks (Wes Douglas)
Congratulations! You've decided to join the Urban Sketchers Chicago (USk Chicago) group (or have recently been added) and now you might be wondering what's next. Here are some of my tips on how you can make your experience with USk Chicago a more fulfilling one.
1. Sketch something from your day. It could be from home, school, your work, during one of your breaks, or while you are traveling. Take a good clear photo of your sketch and share it on USK Chicago's Facebook page. If you have reservations about posting your work on the Internet, do this simple step and rest assured your work will be protected: Somewhere on your sketch, embed your name and the date you sketched it onto your sketch before you snap your photo. This way, your name will always be attached to your sketch. Consider an identifying stamp too.
2. Tell us a little something about one of your sketches, like the size, what drawing tools you used and the kind of sketchbook/paper you chose.
3. Ask a specific question to the community about your sketch. For example, I once posted a sketch of a stairway railing and I asked the group if my perspective was off or not. The amount of helpful and constructive feedback was very useful and gave me the positive kind of information I could use to effectively fix my sketch.
4. Don't hit the "LIKE" button. If you see another artist's sketch that you admire, write a thoughtful comment about a specific area you think works really well. To the artist who posted the sketch, this tells them a whole lot more than "LIKE" and it starts to build a conversation.
5. Ask another artist about what kinds of techniques they used to achieve their sketch or how they approach a sketch. My experience is that artists in this group love to talk about art skills and learn a few new things from each other as well. Plus, the very nature of a Facebook group is to be social and conversations go a long way toward strengthening the bond with other artists. The very fact that we are a social media group who actually meet face to face on a regular basis is what makes this group so special and unique.
6. Come out and join the group at one of our monthly Urban Sketchers Sketch Crawls. We call our events “Let's Sketch Chicago” and we meet in person at a designated location and time announced at the beginning of the month on Facebook. It is typically on the third weekend of the month and we alternate Saturdays and Sundays to accommodate more people’s schedules.
7. Volunteer for group activities. Our biggest event every summer is our USk Chicago Sketch Seminar. There are lots and lots of ways to volunteer – ranging from organizing and planning the event, spreading the word to local media, schools, art institutions, sponsors and to the larger population of artists who might want to attend. If you have a special skill that you would be interested to share in a workshop setting with other urban sketchers and painters, please think about becoming one of our workshop instructors. Ask me for more details. I can tell you from experience how incredibly fulfilling it is to affect people's lives with new skills and knowledge.