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The Unconventional Sketching Convention
Wow! Those of us lucky to attend the first every SketchKon are still coming down from the art-induced contact high! But I really expected nothing less. It’s what happens when you round up so many artists, sketchbooks, creative people, art instructors, workshops, art makers and their supplies, inspiring speakers and passionate community members sharing their creativity all in one place!
There were unexpected moments, energizing moments and downright powerful moments. Each in turn helped me figure out how I want to focus my creativity going forward and I want to share a few of those here with you! Because no matter if you were at SketchKon in person or get to soak up the inspiration with me here and now, there is no limit or confines to how inspiration can reach you if you are open to the possibilities.
I’ll be carrying these artful moments with me to the studio in the hopes that they are like sparks that catch fire (in a safe, non-combustible way) as I embark on my next round of creative projects. As always, I hope it is the same for you!
Sweet Goodness, A Lot of Sketching
If SketchKon had one common denominator underlying most of its experiences and situations, it was definitely the sketching! There was sketching while we listened to artist talks. Sketching outside in sunny Pasadena. There was sketching inside. We sketched each other. We sketched ourselves as Prashant Miranda shows in the picture below. There was sketching still lifes. We sketched monsters and portraits, architecture and food. We sketched in color, and in black and white.
Working Up a Sweat with Crescent RENDR No Show Thru Paper!
I was caught on camera giving the Crescent RENDR No Show Thru Paper a workout. This paper is impenetrable as far as I can tell, no matter what you use on its surface. I tried all kinds of pens and markers and saw how even with inks and spray paint the surface stays intact. That means no lost pages in your sketchbook to mourn because of marks bleeding through. Great surface!
Talking the Talk with The Blue Walk
When I saw that The Blue Walk art tours had a booth at SketchKon and that their motto was “travel at the speed of you” I knew I had to know more. I was able to speak with Jeanette of The Blue Walk; art instructor Jane LaFazio, who has led workshops in the most amazing, inspiring places on Earth with The Blue Walk; and Pat, an attendee at SketchKon who told me about how friendship, art journaling and vacation all came together for her in a recent Blue Walk trip to Paris!
Sketching Monsters with the Help of Compressed Air
I still remember my favorite sketching exercise from childhood. My teacher came around with a black marker and made a random mark on each student’s otherwise blank paper. I saw so many things in that one mark though I eventually settled on drawing Fred Flintstone’s face. But the point is, a stray mark can be the beginning of an awesome art session. Stefan Bucher showed just that to his SketchKon students in his workshop, where a drip of ink was given a blast of compressed air and all kinds of monsters were born! Such a fun session! Check out the video I took of some of the students at work!
Watching Artists I Love at Work
For me, SketchKon also gave me the opportunity to have several fan girl moments. The first was with instructor and artist Gina Rossi Armfield in her Poetry in Motion session. Gina had everyone rapt as she talked passionately about how the written word conveys emotions, thoughts, and images. Gina confided how poetry has taken form and sparked her own work and inspired us all to incorporate the poetic word into our own pieces so that it becomes part of the images we create. I was honored to introduce her at several sessions and play Vana White with her as she gave out a bunch of awesome swag to her fans.
I also got inspired (repeatedly!) by artist Gigi Chen. Once when she introduced the idea of pareidolia (or seeing things in things) to a packed house of SketchKoners and taught them the inspiring process she uses to sketch creatively and without limits.
The other was when Gigi talked about her Bowerbird body of artwork, in which empathizing and even mirroring the behavior of animals has led her to new ways of seeing the world as well as changing the way she thinks of herself as a creator. We explored how objects and their placement can tell a story and brainstormed what objects are symbolically important to each of us and how we can include them in our own “bowers” as a way of expressing ourselves!
Cheers to what comes next!
SketchKon II?! I know so many of us would mark our calendars right now if it meant being able to have such an inspiring artistic experience like SketchKon once again. It was some kind of artistic boogaloo to be sure and I will speak for all the attendees, artists, instructors and staff who made such an awesome event possible when I say I can’t wait to see what comes next!