Urban Sketching in York

Upon arrival to York my first few pictures I snapped. I am forever in love with this city!

First sketch in York

This trip was not about sketching or being a tourist first time in York, rather a more personal one. One that included lots of errands and many, many shopping trips with tedious amounts of heavy carrying. Nevertheless, I made sure I had my minimal kit on me every time I went out and about. Thinking, if I can get away with a sketch or two it would be worth while dragging the kit around. I got out with THREE ! Win, win in my books.

Needless to say I did end up dragging my kit around along all the other things I had to carry not stopping once to sketch so many amazing facades and window shops that demand to be sketched in their own right.So when my return date approached and I found myself in a cute little cafe eating brunch without any sketches under my sleeve. I decided to do one. Even though I was limited to only one view, a very humble one I may add. I was so cold shaking in the back garden of the cafe, eating the best halloumi and hummus sandwich I ever had. And there it was, my first sketch in York! In case you are salivating for the halloumi sandwich I’m raving about and you find yourself in York, this is the place I am talking about. Here you go. You’re welcome!

Main lessons learnt from Urban Sketching in York

Few days passed and all I had was one sketch in my sketchbook. Fast forward I find myself on the last day of the trip heading to Betty’s Tea Room for breakfast before I leave this beautiful city behind. I was early and had few minutes to spare while the little voice at the back of my head kept nagging the fact that I haven’t sketched. So, in a whim I decided that I will just stop, take out my sketchbook and sketch without thinking anything that grabs my attention. That colour would just have to wait. I did it! One sketch standing in a very busy, narrow street. Pen no pencil line first. Being on a time restriction meant I had to do it giving my never ending calculative brain a break. So, things like I don’t have my stool, I forgot my water pot, where will I set up my things in a narrow road just had to wait.The sketch was executed in about ten minute or so and I was on my way to Betty’s ( I am told that if you are in York this is the place not miss!).

Reaching Betty’s I was greeted with a long waiting line to get in. Not hesitating for a second, I grabbed the sketchbook again and decided to sketch the view that was available while standing in the line. There you go! Sketch number three was born. The facade and front shop of one of my favorite shops. Lakeland! By the time I finished it, it was time to get in and enjoy the most amazing afternoon tea, in my case eaten at breakfast.

So it all boils to… lessons learnt:

  • Don’t overthink it.
  • Go pen in first, forget about pencil lines.
  • Let the sketch inform it’s direction, aka composition.
  • It’s ok to add colour later .
  • Decide what direction to go with depending on the time given.
  • Being on restricted time amounts to loose lively sketches.
  • Stop waiting for the perfect opportunity to present itself.
  • Dive in, Head first!

Had I approached my sketching with all the above, I might have ended with many more sketches from York. But hey, that’s how we learn and grow. So stop waiting and start sketching !

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