Sketch Prep

I’m getting ready for my annual European travels with myself and others in less than two months, so I hope you will join me! In preparation for the Portugal sketching segment in the Algarve (near Faro on the southern tip of Portugal), I have been sketching daily. Before then, I was following a number of Instagram sites and became overwhelmed by the incredible skill and agility of those who post their beautiful, lithe, watercolors. I decided not to be too discouraged by their talents. Everyone starts somewhere! So I got back in the saddle after a brief hiatus.

Portrait Party

Thanks to a “portrait party” sponsored by Arch Supplies in San Francisco, my interest in being the perpetual sketch artist was renewed. This second annual event was as delightful and entertaining as the first. Sketchers in groups of six warmed up with one-minutes gestures using the non-dominant hand, followed by sketches using the dominant one. Here were my results:

Hmm…maybe the non-dominant hand controls a sharper part of my brain…?? Each group then progressed to 10-minute sketches of each other in the group, with each person taking turns “posing”:

100 People in Five Days

The Portrait Party helped to launch the start of a frenzied affair to draw 100 people in five days. This is a challenge to stake out unsuspecting individuals in cafes, public transit, or hotels lounges while keeping yourself from being suspect. Unless you take a “stealth bomber” approach, you will end up with many unfinished sketches of people disappearing from your cone of vision. The panel above shows the entire string of sketches I completed in five days! Here is a slide show of the best of the ten sets and where they occurred:

The process was a bit unwieldy, but it forced me to be better, faster, cheaper (on my time). My favorites were the construction crew at Seventh and Irving and the sleeping “shoppers” at San Francisco Center!

As a novice sketcher, I hope you will bear with me as you mark my progress. In case you are still foggy about the subject matter of my blog posts, they normally focus on my current interests of cultural and historical travel; art, architecture and design; German as a learner of the language, and about food. Let me know if you have particular interests in any of these!

Beginning in June, my travels this year will include a special focus on UNESCO world sites in the Caucasus (Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia), Goethe Institute stints in Dresden and Vienna for a couple of weeks each, and sketching in Portugal. There will be a bonus stop in Italy too! This could be the last year I will be sharing my travels via blog posts, so please share your thoughts and comments. I love hearing from you particularly during my real-time travel posts.

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Featured Image Above: Sketching at the weekend San Francisco Ortega Library Tai Chi Group

8 thoughts on “Sketch Prep”

  1. Brilliant sketches, I can’t believe what you can do with your left hand. But why would your travels stop this year?? We’re still young—at heart.
    Bises, David C.


    1. I’m going to try my toes next. My travels won’t stop, but maybe writing as often as I have may be modified. Even lugging a laptop around on my back in airports and trying to organize pictures and text from my Iphone is ridiculously unsustainable. I’m afraid I’m going to miss a flight!! When are you coming “home”?!?


  2. I think you are ready to make small graphic novel and put it on YouTube. Do it , see what happens


  3. Enjoying your exploration of your artistic talent and you have inspired me to do some sketches. I like the daily challenge idea ask often lament i have no time. Thanks so much for sharing. I will continue to ‘watch’ with interest.


    1. Great! I put off sketching for a long time and finally told myself to stop making excuses. Sketching with others in a safe environment with no criticism has really helped! I will be taking my second full week of sketching this year and look forward to it. I hope you can be encouraged by the journey of self-discovery. Stay tuned and follow my travels especially during the week of July 3-10 in the Algarve in S. Portugal. I also meet weekly with a local cafe sketch meet-up so maybe there are some in your area. It’s a great way to meet fellow sketchers with similar goals. You can try them at or follow a group similar to our local sketch group at


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