Workshop 16: Focus Your Sketching Stories

Instructors: Isabel Carmona Andreau & Len Grant

What makes one sketch stand out above

How can you really start to tell a
story with your drawings?

This workshop is about finding a
personal Sketch Focus that helps to
push your sketching to the next level.It’s about considering the range of
choices we make so our drawings truly tell a story.

We will borrow techniques from the
worlds of photography and painting to give a sharper clarity to what we want to
say in a very personal way.

We will explore how to translate our
first impressions of a place into meaningful sketches that convey that initial
thought. We will use quick thumbnail sketches to investigate a potentially
overwhelming space. And finally create full size sketches that tell our stories
of a place.

Workshop Schedule

The Royal Exchange Theatre is steeped in history as Len will
explain and, at first glance, is a challenging subject for the urban sketcher.
We’ll start by noting our first impressions of the space: what we see and how
we feel.

The first section of the workshop – composition options – will
then consider specific composition techniques from photography and see how they
might translate into our sketching world. In particular Len will look at the
rule of thirds (and when to break it); leading lines; as well as symmetry,
pattern and using ‘natural’ frames.

You will explore these composition options in a series of
thumbnail sketches, combining them with your first impressions. You may ask
yourself, “What am I saying with the elements of this sketch? Am I talking
about the space as a whole, or a specific action within it? What is the minimum
I need to include in the drawing to tell the story clearly?”

 In the second section of the workshop Isabel demonstrates how
our choices of applying colour affect the mood of the picture. Will our sketch
focus on light and shade, charged hues or subdued colours? Will it be
monochrome or a riot of colour? Through another series of thumbnails it will
become clear how these colour options convey different atmospheres.

Isabel normally works by putting down colour first as it helps
avoid the fear of spoiling a drawing when ‘colouring in’.


In the third section of the workshop you will choose one or two
of your previous thumbnails to develop more fully. The final sketches will
combine the composition and colour options with a focus on what you want to say
about where you are, the storytelling.

These longer works will also allow reaction to what’s happening
in front of you. The light and weather – even indoors – and the people
surrounding us, can all affect our sketch.

By looking and adjusting to what we see, hear and feel we will
continue to add layers of colour and other marks that will complete our sketch
and push it to express what we want.  A
final check against our initial compositional thumbnails can help us decide
whether anything is missing.

The Royal Exchange Theatre and surrounding spaces are well used
by the public so you will be encouraged to convey the ‘vibe’ on your visit and
to say something about what you have learnt about one of Manchester’s most
extraordinary venues.

During each section of the workshop there will be an
introduction of the ideas and demonstrations by the instructors, personal
tailored assistance and a review of the group’s work after each stage.


Learning Goals

to develop your own way of representing what you
see/hear/feel of a space with confidence.

making compositional thumbnails

learning about various composition options

making colour study thumbnails

learning about tone, contrast, hue, value, in reference
to colour

developing your studies into more intricate sketches in
full colour

control colour to your desired effect

focusing/adjusting your storytelling to what you want
to say

making a large variety of colour marks that adapt to
what you want to represent


Supply List

Please bring

A medium sized or larger sketchbook – either
watercolour paper or one that can take a few watercolour washes

Pens: preferably not too thin, 0.5 minimum – brush pens
(colour or black)

Colour markers or other quick colour dry medium –
pencils, crayons

Watercolours, a small set with brushes (and water
container) or water brush


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