Pages

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Experiencing the USk Symposium as a correspondent

Working as a USk Symposium correspondent was one of the most enriching experiences I have had in recent years. I got to experience this event I love in a way that is entirely different from being a participant.

Every evening I came back to my hotel room with a pack of new sketches and memories to share on the international USk blog. I made so many drawings that I hardly know where to begin posting, so I will only share some of my favourite sketches and moments here. You can find all the posts I wrote during the symposium here:

Pre-Symposium meet-up at the Robie House
Day 1: Welcome to America and Happy birthday USk!
Day 2: Happy mistakes, cityscapes made easy, intimate sketches and more
Day 3: A view, protests and colorful shirts
Day 4: Goodbye and see you in...

On registration day, I spent the morning with my two fellow correspondents, Wes Douglas from Chicago and Vincent Desplanche from France. Wes wanted to show us around the city, so we would find our bearings more easily the following days and so we could see some places we might not have the opportunity to go to.

This sketch was made at the Bean, the two gentlemen were focused on the monument and I on them (and Elizabeth Alley in the background).


Registration took place at the Goodman Centre, or the Hub, which was also where we gathered every day for morning announcements. The very first sketch I did there was an attempt at capturing the whole room, which didn't come out anywhere near what I wanted to do. I had a moment of panic and doubt about my ability to fulfill my correspondent tasks momentarily.

I spent that afternoon getting to know some of the local volunteers and documenting what they were doing, which helped me to find my bearings and my correspondent "style". I had been trying to do what I thought was expected of me instead of what I would naturally have done otherwise. 


The Hub was usually pretty calm during the day, but became more lively again in the evenings when the lectures took place. People were sitting everywhere, on the benches, on the floor, on big balls.


I particularly liked to capture moments I find so typical in urban sketching events, like this one where Mike Daikubara was sketching Cal, one of the volunteers, while I was sketching them and I'm pretty sure I saw someone sketching me as well.


Being a correspondent also meant running around a lot to catch as many workshops as possible. Wes, Vincent and I had 36 worshops to document, which meant an average of one per hour for each of us. The challenging part was to get from one location to another, specially when instructors decided to change locations. However, it was always worth the effort, given that each one of them had something interesting to teach. I got to catch glimpses of more workshops that I would have otherwise, some of which I would probably not have chosen to attend in the first place.

I made this sketch during Asnee Tasna's workshop, which was about sketching the cityscape with flat pointed pencils. I didn't have any with me, so Asnee was kind enough to give me one of his, teasing me that I should be careful not to hurt myself with the sharp tip. Cheeky guy, I loved him!


Here's another sketch from one of the workshops, this time João Catarino's. I only arrived at the end of the session, so I didn't hear what it was about in detail, I only know it was about capturing reflections in windows. I loved João's enthusiasm during the show and tell. He had this huge smile on his face and kept gesturing with glee.


Being a correspondent also meant being on my own a lot. Nobody else had the same schedule and I was left pretty much to my own devices. Which also meant that I could take the time to capture some unexpected events, like this protest held by hot dog vendors on a double decker bus in front of ABC News TV station. I love the unexpected, specially when I get to see grown men dressed as mustard dispensers and hot dogs.


In the evenings I often had dinner with different people, usually the ones I had just been hanging out with. They were quiet moments around dinner or a few drinks, great after a whole day of running around. I like this sketch because it shows two people, Lapin and Josiah, who had been admiring each other's work online for years and finally got to meet in person. And how about the fact that they were both wearing flowery shirts? These guys were meant to be friends.


To finish this post, here are two of my very last symposium sketches. After the announcement of Porto as next year's symposium host, and the many goodbyes at the Hub, the Portuguese crowd and a bunch of other sketchers went to the 2Twenty2 bar to celebrate. We played Jenga and sketched (what else?) until the bar closed.


We laughed, made plans for next year which we are not sure we can keep, and said our last goodbyes, knowing we would meet again to sketch together somewhere else in the world.