Tale of Three Urban Sketchers in the Beautiful City of ‘s-Hertogenbosch
On the first and second of July 2023 about 150 urban sketchers gathered to sketch and paint in the historic city called ‘s-Hertogenbosch (Den Bosch) in the Netherlands. This was the second national sketch day of the year being hosted by the amazing team of Urban Sketchers Netherlands.
Let’s take a step back
I managed to register for an entrance ticket on the 24th of May at 19:00 while I was on the train. I really wanted to attend and reserve a spot at the workshop about perspective so I kept on refreshing the page. The tickets were booked shortly after that and luckily I managed to secure a spot for myself.
It was a great way to start a new month. I was looking forward to it since the previous national sketch day in Amsterdam because its an amazing opportunity to meet new people, learn something new and visit new places.
In this blog, I will share my experience after attending the first day. I have also invited two other urban sketchers to share their experience after attending both days of the national urban sketching event in Den Bosch.
On the first day, we met at the Haar Naam is Lola restaurant for registration and kick-off of the day. First thing on the agenda for me was to join the Perspective Workshop hosted by Rene Fijten at the Huis73 library. During the workshop we learnt about where our horizon line is, how every line we draw need to meet at one point in the distance, and how to differentiate the distance an object has from another.
Next step was for us to step outside and put all we learnt into practice in the real world! Unfortunately, the weather was not so kind to us and therefore after five minutes of walking to a simple yet beautiful alley next to the St. John’s Cathedral, it started raining. I took a picture of the building to finish my sketch at home. Honestly speaking, I saw a few problems with my sketch after I painted it. I took a mental note and will try again soon.
As I mentioned earlier, I have asked two other fellow urban sketchers to share their experience of the weekend. I asked a three questions from each. Allow me to introduce them to you:
Maaike | Travel Sketcher
Maaike loves to travel — she has visited over 40 countries and as she goes off to her adventures, she takes her sketchbook and art supplies with her wherever she goes. She has a distinct way of bringing architecture to life in her sketchbooks and never shies away being bold with her choices of colors and mediums. Let’s find out about her experience this weekend.
1. Which 3 words best expresses your weekend?
Inspiring | Gezellig | Community
- Inspiring: it is always nice to see all of the different ideas and people at work
- Gezellig: love catching up with people and just having a great time — Den Bosch is also just very gezellig
- Community: so great to be connected through a common hobby
2. What did you learn?
I joined the workshop, learned about perspective. I draw from sight and feeling but it is really nice to be able to make a drawing work better technically by knowing the rules
3. What will you tell someone who is doubting to try or only recently starting with Urban Sketching?
Join our get-togethers! Its welcome to anyone, any level and always a great time. Learn from others, talk about materials, and just have fun.
Suzanne | Urban Sketcher
Suzanne is a passionate about urban sketching. She has an eye for using beautiful colors as the background on her sketchbook. She has a recent passion for using Neocolors II from Caran d’Ache colors which results in the most mesmerizing artworks. Let’s find out about her experience this weekend.
1) Which 3 words best expresses your weekend?
Colorful | Inspiring | Welcoming
- Colorful: Because I joined the workshop hosted by Nino van Vuuren using Neocolors II pastels from Caran d’Ache and because of the bright mix of people that assembles on these sketch days. All the people from different cities (and even countries), together with all the different drawing styles really made the weekend pop with color.
- Inspiring: I really liked that the organization gave us two challenges to jump-start the sketching process. This was a great inspiration to approach a scene in a new way. The Neocolor II workshop also inspired me greatly to start selecting my own color palette. And lastly the sketches from all others gave me a lot of ideas of things I also want to try in one of my sketches.
- Welcoming: As always, the atmosphere this weekend was amazing. It always makes me so happy to see all the sketchers together and that everybody is willing to show their sketchbooks, favorite art materials and just share urban sketching tips. It was also great that the residents of Den Bosch met us with so much enthusiasm in their city.
2) What did you learn?
I learned that sketching in the drizzling rain can be fun and that the rain actually helps to work a bit looser, think less, and just sketch what you observe. From the workshop, I learned a lot about ways to use the lovely pastels but I especially loved learning from Nino about how to organize our colors based on tonal values and around the color wheel. This really helped in selecting and creating nice color palettes. That is something I hope to apply soon in making sketches that are a bit more free and with colors that more represent the feeling of a scene instead of just realistic colors.
3) What will you tell someone who is doubting to try or only recently starting with Urban Sketching?
Just try it! I remember I was quite nervous when I joined my first sketch event about 2 years ago. I felt that I could not draw at all and especially not en-plein air in front of other (more experienced) people. But I am so glad that I joined this event! Although I still had no clue what I was doing, I learned so much from observing what others had sketched and I got a lot of useful tips about materials and techniques. Nowadays I really enjoy urban sketching, either at sketch events or by myself. I hope that any new urban sketcher knows that they are welcome to join an event, just try to draw anything, make mistakes, and especially enjoy the process and the company of people that share your hobby.
I would like to thank Maaike and Suzanne for agreeing to share their experience and photos of their beautiful sketches made throughout the National Sketch Day weekend in Den Bosch. Hope you enjoyed reading and got inspired by their work as much as me. Lastly, I would like to thank the Urban Sketching NL team for organizing such an amazing weekend and bringing all creatives from around the Netherlands together.
Are you curious about Urban Sketching in the Netherlands but not sure if there is an active group in your city? I encourage you to check out this page. If you are not based in the Netherlands or planning to travel abroad, check the website of the Urban Sketchers. There is a very strong global community of Urban Sketchers active in over 390 cities around the world! So chances are that you can find another fellow sketcher/group wherever you are located. I am hoping that by sharing my experience and learnings, I can inspire you to take the step and try Urban Sketching or another hobby you have been wanting to try. The first step is always the hardest, but I can assure you that the outcome is rewarding.
Lastly, I would like to invite you to join me in my creative journey. I occasionally share my process and final artworks on my Instagram page. Feel free to drop by and say hi!
Interested in reading this blog in the Dutch language? Please read it here.
I hope that you enjoyed this blog and it helped you in your journey. I write a blog on a monthly basis and publish them on the first Friday of the month. These blogs are about my experiences along with tips and tricks as an artist and human being. If my blogs interest you, please consider Buying me a Coffee. This way, I can continue to provide you with more content every month on medium, Instagram & YouTube page! Feel free to also share the link to this blog on social media with those around you who you might think be interested in reading it. Thank you for supporting my passion.