Thursday, October 14, 2021

T&T Thursday


Halloween Fun in Chicago 2016

Urban Sketching Haiku

By Barbara Weeks

We often talk of about the many values in keeping a sketchbook. There are many, but what about the sheer fun of keeping a sketchbook? There’s a lot to gain from that, too!

The Japanese poetry form, haiku focuses on moments in the environment and connects them to the human condition. They are concise, using only the number of syllables that can be said in one breath. They are expressive, capturing those fleeting moments for us to appreciate. 

Sounds like Urban Sketching to me!

Many of us Urban Sketchers  carry a  small sketchbook with us wherever we go. We capture fleeting moments of our days – waiting in line, catching a quick cup of coffee, on the train or bus.  We draw our connection with the world around us.There is a need to be fast and concise! Yes, but not perfect.


1. Think Small - It can no bigger than the size of a credit card or smaller.

This sketch is about 2.25” x 2” sketch of the view from Starbucks in the Presidio in San Francisco. It’s the Palace of Fine Arts. I scribbled a few lines while I waited in line and threw on the color when I got back to my car.  Pencil and watercolor, total time 3 minutes!

2. Keep It Simple - avoid details and the need for perfection. (The need for perfection can rob us of the fun and spontainaity of sketching) 
Think simple shapes and values.

Sketches done on a road trip to Mystic, Connecticut. (Another benefit, sketching in the car also keeps me from “backseat driving”!)

3. Focus - what catches your attention?

These sketches were done while waiting for my granddaughter at the allergist. I love to people watch!

What are the benefits of speed sketching?
  • Improved drawing skills
  • Focus
  • Increased spontaneity and freshness in your sketches
  • Rapid planning of ideas for larger sketches or future paintings
  • Great for fast travel sketching especially when traveling with non-sketchers.
  • They’re fun

Poetry of speed sketching –Capturing quick moments of the day and recording a response to them. 

I call them Tone Poems. 

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