"pilot varsity"

Urban Sketchers New York

Let's start of with, sometimes I'm painfully shy. It takes a lot for me to start and have a lengthy conversation if I have a vague idea that I will see the person or group again. However, if it is a random person on the streets of New York I can be easy and outgoing to a fault. Pretty much every time I leave the house for any amount of time I can be certain that I'll strike up a conversation with a tourist, a shop keeper, security guard, etc. My girlfriend rolls her eyes at me every time I come home and I exclaim that I had a chat with random people. She's not surprised and I always am. Because I'm shy.

Yesterday I met some New York Urban Sketchers for the first time. I had been meaning to join them for most of the summer. Not only was I nervous about meeting them but I was going to draw in front of them. Whoa! But I did it. My loner, solitary sketching ways were challenged! And they were so kind and welcoming.

I met Mark first. He and I were both at the Pulitzer Fountain early. He saw my big sketchbook, came over and introduced himself. We started sketching right away. Then Carol came. She, amazingly enough, lives a block away from me. Denise arrived, then another first time sketcher Katie sat down with us. Elizabeth joined us and then we moved to our second location, the entrance area to the Central Park Zoo. Gene (I think that was his name! I didn't quite catch it) caught up to us there and that was our group.

I had a great time. I most definitely want to sketch with them again and often. Everyone in the group has a talent that I admire. They were all generous, offering tips and materials to experiment with. Mark let me borrow his water soluble graphite pencil and a water brush so that I could do some fast people sketching. Earlier he let me borrow his Pilot Vanishing Point and his bent nib (fude) fountain pens. At lunch everyone busted out their materials for me to try. There is an enthusiasm for art that is present in all of them.

In truly grateful that I braved the outing and for the welcome.

Note on the drawings below. I used my large Strathmore 9 x 12 Sketchbook with a blue Pilot Varsity fountain pen. There are some ink smears and I would like to keep working on the drawing with the Bergdorf Goodman building.