SketchCrawl Inc.?

The good news is, the next announced sketchcrawl is October 16th.  I may organize one around Salem, MA.  It could be cool.

Well, maybe.

Right now, I’m on the fence. The email I rec’d from SketchCrawl.com was very different from the fun, wide-open, no-rules announcements of the past.

First, there was this:

– A key thing, help us spread the word!
If you are reading this, we are sure you have a number of friends that might be interested in this as much as you are. Tell them about SketchCrawl! Let’s share this idea with the rest of the globe. No borders.

“No borders.”  I like that reminder. The idea of a global, art-based event always delights me.

So, I was in a happy mood, already thinking about where I’d like to organize a sketchcrawl in October.

Then, I reached the list of rules that weren’t on previous SketchCrawl announcements.  Here they are, cut-and-pasted from the email.

When you participate, please remember to:

-Notify us of any sketchcrawl events (as applicable)
-Link back to sketchcrawl.com
-Give credit to Enrico Casarosa as the founder
-Must be a non-profit event
-Include sketches in sketchcrawl.com/forums and Flickr pool (as applicable)
-Try and time your sketchcrawls with the World Wide dates we promote at sketchcrawl.com

Those sound reasonable enough, individually, but — in combination — they seem a little too much like corporate rules.

I did a quick check.  So far, the U.S. Trademark Database doesn’t show anything when I search for “sketchcrawl,” so the term “sketchcrawl” is still free to use without trademark-type restrictions.

However, it bothers me that I even thought to do that.

I may have to come up with a new word for these kinds of adventures.  I’m fine with giving the founder credit voluntarily, linking back to the official site, and so on, but… I dunno about this email from them.  Something in those rules feels a little hinky*.

Maybe it’s just the times, y’know?  Maybe I’m being hypersensitive. I’m seeing people staking out their own territory, trying to make money off things that were initially created to be free, fun and cool.  I don’t want to see SketchCrawls edging in that direction. It’d be like someone slapping a trademark on Earth Day.

I’m watching what’s going on, cautiously.

*”Hinky” is a reference to a term used by one of my favorite characters in the TV show, NCIS, to indicate something that’s not quite right.   (No, I don’t usually watch NCIS. I don’t like crime shows.  However, the character in the show… she’s truly cool.)

Sketchcrawl – 15 May 2010

May 15th is the next Sketchcrawl — a worldwide drawing marathon. (For info: http://www.sketchcrawl.com/ )

Basically, a sketchcrawl is a full-day of drawing — in a journal or on some other art support such as paper, canvas, etc. — usually done as part of a stroll around a particular area.

A list of suggested materials is at the Sketchcrawl.com website, http://www.sketchcrawl.com/blog/?page_id=4

If you’d like a homemade mini-watercolor palettes, here’s one very cool idea:
http://www.craigcassidy.com/projects/watercolor_case/

Also, Idle Minutes’ blog used to have a similar, great approach. She was using a mint tin (like an Altoids tin) for an even smaller watercolor palette. Unfortunately, that webpage seems to be gone now, but the text of it is at the Wayback Machine:
http://web.archive.org/web/20070816163808/http://www.idleminutes.com/index.php/2006/05/20/make-a-mini-watercolor-palette/

In July 2009, I participated in a sketchcrawl around Boston’s Freedom Trail. (You can see my sketches starting at http://aisling.net/sketchcrawl-notes-1-11-july-09/) I love-love-LOVE sketchcrawls… in the nice weather, that is!

I’ll be speaking at a (non-art) conference in Canada during the May 15th weekend, so I’m not able to participate in this upcoming global sketchcrawl. However, between now & then, I plan to go on at least one independent sketchcrawl around where I live.

Sketchcrawls are great practice for creating travel journals, too. The materials & techniques are generally the same, so why not try a sketchcrawl somewhere near your home?

When I travel, I often take my journaling supplies onto the plane and begin (and conclude) my travel journals during those flights. (Just remember the four-ounce rule on liquids… no big containers of gel medium, glue, or tubes of paint.)

“Sketchcrawls!” will be the theme of my first/newest zine as I’m relaunching my art zines. So, if you have art or (especially) articles related to sketchcrawls — materials and techniques — I’m interested in including them.  Remember that my zines are generally b&w, so any art should look good when photocopied.

— from my post to the AJ2 list

Sketchcrawl notes (1) – 11 July 09

My sketchcrawl day started at about 8:30 a.m. when I arrived at Alewife MBTA station.  I’d been on the road for nearly two hours, so it was a relief to park the car and begin the day’s adventures.

My first sketch was on the train.  I decided to take photos at each sketch location — when possible — to document the day in sketches and photos.

Also, like my travel journals, I kept my receipts in my sketchbook, as well.  You can see one of them, below, on the page facing my first sketch.

(The flash increased the contrast.)
(The flash increased the contrast.)
Sketch with felt-tip pens
Sketch with felt-tip pens

I wasn’t entirely happy with the b&w effect of monochrome felt tip pens.  So, when I arrived at the sketchcrawl meetup location (Visitors Ctr at Boston Common), I switched to pencil… and almost immediately regretted it.  I didn’t finish that sketch.

2-visitorsctr
Start of a pencil sketch at Bsn Visitors Ctr

After that, I returned to felt tip pen.  For the line drawing, I was using the waterproof Pigma Micron pen, 08.  However, even though it’s technically waterproof, I let the ink dry thoroughly before adding any color.

Man in Colonial garb on his way to work.
Man in Colonial garb on his way to work.

The next two sketches — on one page — were drawn from the same location as the previous sketch.  Mostly, I was using up time in case any late arrivals for the sketchcrawl showed up.

Man on park bench; people waiting in line.
Man on park bench; people waiting in line.

After that, I walked up towards the State House, following the Freedom Trail route.  Along the way, I paused to sketch a man walking along a tree-covered path. (The photo was taken after the sketch, when the man was out of sight and a woman in yellow was strolling the same path.)

Next, I stopped at the top of the hill, where a man was setting up his beverage stand.

Beverage stand at top of hill
Beverage stand at top of hill
Cool and shady path across Boston Common.
Cool and shady path across Boston Common.
My two sketches
My two sketches

Sketchcrawl notes (2) – 11 July 09

As I left Boston Common, the State House was glistening in the sun.  It’s both majestic and approachable at the same time.  I like that.

My photo of the State House.
My photo of the State House.
A couple of details of the State House, as I listened to a nearby tour.
A couple of details of the State House, as I listened to a nearby tour.
Robert Gould Shaw Memorial
Robert Gould Shaw Memorial

The Shaw Memorial is an amazing work of art, conveying depth with clever use of detailing and perspective.  In shadow, it didn’t photograph well, but I can still remember my mother explaining the art techniques to me, every time we passed this site.

It was time for breakfast, but the nearby BK wasn’t open yet.  I opted for Dunkin’ Donuts… but their credit card machine and ovens were all broken.  I ordered a glazed donut just to have something to eat, but it’s never smart to start the day with that much sugar!

Park Street Church
Park Street Church

My next stop was the church at the corner of Park Street.  I decided to try sketching it from an unusual angle, looking directly up from the sidewalk in front of its door.

A challenging perspective!
A challenging perspective!

My next stop was the Old Granary Burial Ground.  It has wonderful history, and the light and shadow give it a very timeless quality.

Old Granary Burial Ground
Old Granary Burial Ground
My hasty sketch
My hasty sketch

Sketchcrawl notes (3) – 11 July 09

The crowds were increasing, and it was time to find more quiet places to sketch.

King's Chapel -  A Freedom Trail stop
King's Chapel - A Freedom Trail stop
My very hasty sketch of King's Chapel
My very hasty sketch of King's Chapel

King’s Chapel is a lovely old church, and it is still in use for services.  Since it was Saturday, we could visit and spend time sketching.  Suggested donation is $1 to visit, and you’ll receive an interesting brochure explaining the site’s history.

The front of the church looks old and very spiritual.
The front of the church looks old and very spiritual.
I enjoyed sketching inside the chapel, listening to others talk about its history.
I enjoyed sketching inside the chapel, listening to others talk about its history.

By the time I left the chapel and continued along the Freedom Trail, the crowds had increased dramatically.  It became more difficult to find any place to sketch without blocking foot traffic.

So, I visited a few more locations, and found respite at the Arch Street chapel.  I used to go to church there when I was little, and my mother and I were in the city for shopping or a concert.

The Madonna figure in the chapel, with red candles in front of her.
The Madonna figure in the chapel, with red candles in front of her.

After that, I returned to a couple of Freedom Trail sites, hoping the crowds had diminished.  If anything, the sidewalks were more crowded.  At times, I had to step off the curb to keep walking, as tourists stopped to take photos and blocked traffic.

But, everyone was happy.  It was a busy day, but a fun one.  During the day, I think I heard Italian more than any other language, followed by English and then Russian and German.

It was time for lunch, and McDonald’s seemed the simplest — and least crowded — option.

I continued to sketch, and added color to my earlier sketches.  I’d brought all kinds of art supplies with me, but liked watercolor pencils for adding color.

Even fast food offers an opportunity to sketch!
Even fast food offers an opportunity to sketch!

Sketchcrawl Day – 11 July 09

After lunch, the crowds were massive as I approached the USS Constitution.  So, I had to choose between switching to photos or going somewhere else to sketch comfortably.  I chose the former.

These are some of my photos from the remainder of the day.

I love the contrasts in downtown Boston!
I love the contrasts in downtown Boston!
More contrasts - Aged buildings, old lights and new architecture.
More contrasts – Aged buildings, old lights and new architecture.
Boston's Old City Hall
Boston’s Old City Hall
Haymarket - Great bargains!
Haymarket - Great bargains!
One of the Tall Ships - the Picton Castle
One of the Tall Ships - the Picton Castle

The best $1.70 of the day was spent taking the water shuttle (on the T) from Charlestown Navy Yard to Long Wharf. (The one-way fare is just $1.70.  Really.)  The view — including the Picton Castle photo shown above — was incredible, and the cool breezes were wonderful.

Tip: Get shuttle tickets early if you’re there for a Tall Ships event.  I stood in line for over an hour.  It was definitely worthwhile, but next time I’ll purchase my tickets in the morning, before the crowds arrive.