On Saturday, drawing enthusiasts in Davis participated in the monthly Let’s Draw Davis! sketchcrawl. The event, which took place in and around Second and E Street, marked its one-year anniversary.
Sketchcrawls are, intuitively enough, periods of non-stop location-based observational drawing. The Davis sketchcrawls typically draw just a handful of people, from five to 30. But the 12 that attended last week constituted a mere fraction of participating drawers that day.
Coinciding with the event was the 33rd worldwide sketchcrawl, initiated in 2004 by San Francisco story artist and animator Enrico Casarosa.
A quick peek of an urban sketcher’s online forum reveals hundreds of drawings from Seoul to Sydney and many major cities throughout the world. Although these events ostensibly cater to professional drawers only, many submissions came from all walks of life.
“What a unique experience,” said sketchcrawl participant Carol Grismore. “I mean you sit here and you think, ‘OK, everybody all around the world on this very same day is sketching their environment.’ And then you get to see it online. It’s very cool.”
The sketchcrawls are part of the larger organization Urban Sketchers, a non-profit organization that was started by popular Seattle Times journalist and illustrator Gabi Campanario. The rising popularity of these sketchcrawls has brought on international symposiums – the most recent of which took place in Lisbon, Portugal – that connect drawers from a wide variety of professions.
Orchestrating the Davis SketchCrawl was Pete Scully, UC Davis statistics graduate coordinator by day and urban sketcher, also by day.
Given his prodigious body of work, chances are you’ve seen him hunched over himself drawing some quirky pocket of the city.
The downtown sketchcrawlers began by sketching the Mansion Square on E Street. Sketchers, some with their own collapsible stools, sought shade from the midday sun. It was a relaxing day for those who came.
“I came [anyway] because I just needed to ground myself and enjoy what’s around,” said Sandra Torguson, another participant.
Each sketcher drew at their own pace.
They next crossed the street to draw Orange Court, which houses eating establishments such as Sophia’s Thai Kitchen and the Dumpling House. Others scurried through the alleyways of neighboring blocks to draw the curiosities that lay within.
Everyone has to start somewhere.
“I grew up in my room drawing by myself,” Scully said.
Scully said that years of experience have since taught him that being around other people is the best way to learn.
At the end of the sketchcrawl, the remaining sketchers convened by the Cloud Forest Café entrance on D Street to examine each others’ drawing tablets, as well as to exchange some bits of advice.
“Everyone can draw a line. Everyone can draw a circle. Everything else is a matter of choice,” Scully said.
For more information on urban sketching and the next Davis sketchcrawl, which will take place Wednesday, visit urbansketchers.com and petescully.com.
RAMON SOLIS can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.