Brisbane Sketchfest 2019

[By Chris Haldane in Sydney]

What a buzz there was on the first morning of Brisbane Sketchfest in October, as around 180 sketchers from every state in Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia and Asia poured into the City Hall, excited about what the next few days would bring and about meeting up with sketchers they’d only known online before!

The twelve tutors from Queensland, NSW and Asia began the event by showing their work, which was a great way to familiarize us with them before workshops began,  but also gave us insight into tutors we’d like to learn from in the future! Short group presentations followed, and it was so interesting to see not only what we all have in common as USKers in this part of the world, but also how where we live gives our groups their individual character.

The standard of teaching over the three days was outstanding. The choice of materials ranged from the usual ones like pencils, ink and watercolour in sketchbooks, to ipads and the more unexpected ones like the back of cereal boxes and blue masking tape (which earned a place in our final photo)! We were then able to put what we learned into practice at the evening Drink and Draws and in the afternoon sketchwalks.

My first workshop was with Peter Rush, a Sydney-based master of colour pencil sketching, using recycled materials and food boxes to draw on . We had lots of fun drawing alleys and places that are often overlooked by those seeking ‘pretty’ scenes (as above).

My next workshop was with Paul Wang, a wonderful teacher who is well known to many of you. He focused on windows as openings to stories behind the walls. Amongst other things, we learned how to render them in different lighting and weather conditions, and then how to show reflections and indicate space beyond.

And on the last day our workshop Trees with Texture and Tone was led by Brisbane-based Robyn Bauer, who has a real flair for capturing plant life in interesting ways. We used ink and pens to experiment and capture the character of trees. Halfway through we battled pouring rain, which was rather ironic when you think that Queensland is in the middle of its worst drought on record!

Brisbane is a beautiful city and we discovered some amazing locations and beautiful architecture, like this building beside the Botanic Gardens and the huge banyan trees that have their home there.

The USK Brisbane committee and volunteers are to be warmly congratulated on how seamlessly the event seemed to flow. Those who attended were so glad they did! Sketchfest has certainly strengthened friendships around our region and enhanced our sketching skills, and we say a big thank you for that!


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