What Is Urban Sketching (for Me, So Far)? [Updated] –– Privilege to “Stop” / スケッチャーの特権?

Last year I wrote about what urban sketching was for me at the moment . There I said the definition would change as I experience more. So ...

Last year I wrote about what urban sketching was for me at the moment. There I said the definition would change as I experience more. So here is an updated version and it’s going to be all about my personal take on urban sketching.
昨年、アーバンスケッチを始めての所感をまとめた投稿をしましたが、今回はそのアップデート版です。非常に個人的な内容ですが、よかったら読んでみてください。

When I wrote the last post, “sharing” was everything for me. It was (and still is) fun seeing others’ amazing sketches, posting my own pieces, receiving reactions, and sometimes going drawing together. I enjoyed socializing through sketching. But over time the idea of urban sketching developed more internally and personally (It might go a little off the original intention of the activity though).
前回の記事を書いた時点では、わたしにとってアーバンスケッチは経験や物語のシェアがすべてでした。SNSを通じてスケッチを投稿しあい、時には一緒に描きにいくという交流が楽しかった(今ももちろん楽しいです)。それから半年ほど経ち、アーバンスケッチの意義はもう少し個人的、内面的なものに発展しています。

For me as a weekend sketcher, sketching is release from weekday stress. On my days off, I go out with a sketchbook and try to draw something. My typical weekend routine is settling in a coffee shop and drawing the surroundings (people, drink and food, interior, etc.).
基本的に休日にしかスケッチをしないので、スケッチは平日に疲れやストレスの溜まった自分への癒しです。たいていどこかコーヒー屋さんに入って、周りの人や景色を描いています。


Here is a sketch done through the routine.

While drawing, I often feel like I was the only one who “stops”. Of course, my hands are moving and my brain is thinking (How do I draw this? What color do I want to use?). But, at the same time, I’m pausing to observe and sort through things passing me one after another. In daily life, especially in the busy, busy Tokyo, everything moves really fast and you (or at least I) can hardly take time to digest what’s going on. But when you draw, you give yourself a chance to step away from the world and look carefully.
普段の生活は、特に東京にいると、忙しなく流れて、次々にいろんなことが起こります。そこで立ち止まって消化する時間は意外ととれません。でも絵を描くときは、一歩周囲から距離をとって、そこで起こる物事を観察しますよね。街中でスケッチをしていると、不思議なことに描いている自分だけが「止まっている」ような感覚になることがよくあります。


Here are two more example sketches.

I love drawing at cafes not only because I drink a lot of coffee but because in a cafe people share the same space and time, yet they concentrate on their own stuff. So there are a few different stories happening and people don’t really care about each other, of course about me either. I can see all the stories and get them on a page at a time. In such a situation, sometimes I even feel I’m isolated and that’s the feeling I love about sketching. I think it’s sketchers’ privilege –– privilege to stop, not overwhelmed by the world moving around you, though still being amid it.
カフェで描くのが好きなのは、コーヒーをよく飲むからというのももちろんあるのですが、同じ場所と時間を共有しつつも、みんながそれぞれ読書なりおしゃべりなり勉強なりに集中していて、いろんな物語・風景が同時に、でも互いに干渉せず流れていくのがおもしろいからでもあります。それを眺め、スケッチしていると、なんだか世界から切り離されたような感覚さえ覚えるのですが、その感覚こそ好きだったり。こうして立ち止まることができるのはスケッチャーの特権みたいなものだと最近思います。

Since I noticed that, I’ve been trying to make the most of the privilege. Working in Tokyo, I always feel rushed. So I go sketching to clear my overloaded head and pour my time into just enjoying drawing. I’ve started three things so far:

1. Playing with colored pencils
Normally I draw with pen and add watercolor washes. But, to be more devoted to having fun, sometimes I spread colored pencils and scribble with them just as I want to like a kid. Parks are perfect places for doing this. At last month’s meet-up in Yokohama, I sat down on the grass in Yamashita Park and tried drawing people chilling there.
ふだんはペン描き+水彩ですが、とにかく描くのを楽しみたい、子どものように遊びたいというときは、色鉛筆でらくがきしています。先月の横浜スケッチ会の際、試しに山下公園で色鉛筆スケッチをしてみたのですが、公園の芝生に座り込んで描くのはとても気分がいいですね。


And another example. These are literally just doodles, but I had much fun.
本当に子どものらくがきなんだけれど、それが楽しい。

2. Sketch journaling
Journaling is closely connected with the idea of urban sketching. Documenting what’s happening around you and telling a story are urban sketchers’ mission. But here journaling means something more personal. It’s recording your day for yourself.
アーバンスケッチはジャーナリズムと結びついていて、場所と時間を記録し、世に伝えるのがアーバンスケッチャーのミッションですが、わたしはもう少し個人的な意味合いでのスケッチジャーナルをしています。あくまで自分のために、その日見聞きしたこと、経験したことを記録するというかんじ。



My sketch journal is almost a sketch coffee journal. I fill a spread with different things I’ve seen, drawing in different styles and with different tools.
たいがいはコーヒージャーナルですが。

3. Casting spotlight on familiar views
There are so many things that I know very well but I’ve never paid attention to. These days I try to take time to spotlight those things.
よく知っている景色でも関心を払ってこなかったものって多いと思います。そういうものに着目して描いてみるのを最近少し意識的に行っています。

There is not plenty of time to draw always. I only had 10 to 15 minutes for this one. But at least while drawing, I’m devoting my time and eyes and everything to the view.
いつもたっぷり時間があるわけではなく、これは10-15分くらいで殴り描きしたもの。でも少なくとも描いている間は目の前の景色だけに集中できるのがよいです。


So here’s an updated version of what urban sketching is for me. I think I wrote in a bit too sentimental mood… But thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed:)
ということで非常に個人的な内容でしたが、読んでくださった方、ありがとうございました。アーバンスケッチとは?シリーズは、また時間が経って何か思いつくことがあれば書き加えていきたいなと思っています。毎度ながら長くなりましたが、楽しんでいただけていれば幸いです:)

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Urban Sketchers Japan: What Is Urban Sketching (for Me, So Far)? [Updated] –– Privilege to “Stop” / スケッチャーの特権?
What Is Urban Sketching (for Me, So Far)? [Updated] –– Privilege to “Stop” / スケッチャーの特権?
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Urban Sketchers Japan
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