Urban Sketching When You Don’t Have Time: Draw Now!

[Guest post by Sophie Baxter in Halifax, UK] When asked “Why did you decide to start drawing that view? What does it mean to you?” by someone wanting to know the story behind one of my drawings, I struggled to answer. I didn’t have a story.

I just happened to have 20 minutes waiting for my husband and kids. So I took my sketchbook out to start drawing. The building had no significance to me – although now I have drawn it, I do feel a special connection to it.

Albert Dock in Liverpool

A quick drawing of Halifax Town Hall 

while out shopping.

For years I had dipped in and out of drawing with various excuses:

· Not enough time

· Too many children to look after

· No studio space

· Not the right materials

· Too messy

· Takes too long to set up

· Have nothing good enough to draw

· Lack of inspiration

· Not talented enough

· Need to take a class to get better before I could start properly

I would draw when:

· I have more time

· The children have grown

· I have a studio

· I get the right inspiration

· I enroll in the right class

· I have the right tools

Eventually the penny dropped. If I wanted to start drawing, I NEEDED to DRAW NOW. I could use every spare bit of time I had to draw – it would add up, and I would build up a drawing practice.

So that’s what I did:

· Waiting at the doctors? Start drawing.

· On the train? Start drawing.

· Meeting a friend in a cafe? Arrive early and… start drawing.

· Waiting for kids to come out of school? Start drawing.

That was nearly two years ago. All the little bits of time did add up, and I now have piles of drawings to show for it.

To make the best use of the little time I have, I’ve kept my kit simple and accessible at all times. Zero set up time = more drawing time. I use pens, watercolours and pencils, and I draw in sketchbooks that I can keep in my handbag or around the house. I can use them when I am out and about or draw whatever takes my fancy at home.

It has been a fun journey so far. The more I draw, the more I want to draw. I have built up my skills and improved, too. I will carry on that journey and let my sketchbooks, pens and watercolour guide me along, one drawing at a time! I don’t know where it will lead me, but I am excited!

Sophie Baxter lives in Halifax (UK), where she runs a family
business with her husband. In her spare time she loves to sketch in pen,
pencils and watercolour. You can visit her web site or
follow her on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.


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