After-Sketching Sketching

By Marc Taro Holmes in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

There are only a few doodles from the workshop trip to Brazil I haven’t posted yet: The party sketches.

After all the official workshops and stand-and-deliver painting demos are done, it’s an Urban Sketchers tradition to hang out and draw each other over dinner. This is social drawing time, so it tends to be simple pen doodles. Just a Pilot G-Tec 0.4mm ballpoint in this case. It’s a chance for some great conversation, with friends who don’t mind if you draw them obsessively.

This particular day Liz Steel and I had gone out to demo for our friend Rafa and his students from Federal University. He took us out for our first taste of Feijoada and then on a sketchwalk through Rio’s historic Santa Teresa neighborhood, (past a big police checkpoint, which is common in Rio), and down to the Rio Scenarium for a night of sketching and Samba.

These may not be the great artworks that go on gallery walls – but they’re the best memories of a sketchers workshop. I’m just now (20 years on in drawing) starting to feel like I can sketch spontaneous portraits. I’ve been practicing getting likenesses. (More on that in future posts). And it’s a great relief to be able to do it. Drawing people you know personally is kind of nerve wracking. What if they turn out funny looking?

Fortunately everyone I know is already funny looking. No! wait. What I mean is, fortunately fellow urban sketchers are good natured about it. Nobody cares if the drawings turn out odd, because we know that’s the only way to learn – making a lot of odd looking people – until you get the hang of it.

This was the night Laurel captured my favorite USK photo of all time – so here it is again, just because I think these guys look so cool.


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