Perhaps you can imagine entry into another culture? Languages serenade you with lilting accents and harmonious tones. Friends from Social Media look once, then twice as we recognize one another from our avatars. Everyone is there to learn and be inspired and we were not to be disappointed. The evening began with a welcome from the four organizers. Their smiles were contagious as the standing room only group of attendees applauded in congratulations. ISC 17 was really happening and everyone was ready to jump in. We were introduced to the topics and organization for the evening. The options were fantastic but when I realized that the Urban Sketching & Perspective session would actually take a walk through Hamburg’s famous Schanzenviertel my choice was made.
Thorsten Kleier and Fabian Bartz did not disappoint. We started with an introduction to the use of perspective, one that was both practical and technical. Perspective, an elusive skill, is something I am eager to add to my tool kt. Each of us was gifted with a sketchbook from airship notebooks and some colored pencils. We had a tutorial, which was invaluable as a starting point and were off.
We walked a few blocks to a famous location. There, with a corner pub offering sidewalk seating, we proceeded to overtake the street and attempt to draw what we were looking at. Passerby and participant alike, blended into the landscape and became one in the sea of activity. Concentrating, I lost touch with the city around me, then, looking up for a rolling pencil I realized that I was focused too much on the intricate details of the building. The mesmerizing cornices and doorframes. At this rate, my urban sketch would be simply a series of disconnected edges. Fellow sketchers, propped on top of metal newspaper stands, chatted with me over the need to let go of the detail to see the larger lines, and diminishing streetscape. Perspective indeed, it was unforgettable.
My friend, Mario Foglio had joined our group after the lecture portion had begun. Mario had facilitated an International Sketchnote hangout in September of 2016 on Sketchnote travelogues. At that time he shared with the group that he had taken a class on perspective to enhance his travel journals. He said he was renewed by the course and that he had joined a generous group of sketchers as part of a sketch mob in Milan. I have never forgotten that. Mauro sat propped against a street lamp in Hamburg concentrating on the buildings in front of him. There was majesty in the street shadowed by the setting sun, majesty in his reclining, and in his concentration. He amassed quite an audience. This event was breathtaking for me and when the time came to gather back together and return to the group I was reluctant to leave its magic behind.
The rest of the evening held reunions and laughter. Fascinating conversations and shared journeys. ISC 17 would set sail the next morning with a magic all its own, but for this evening friends and acquaintances from far and wide shared the united energy of generous creativity with open arms and ready hearts.