Ready, steady, SKETCH! Manchester artists embrace Urban Sketching to capture city’s gems and skylines

By David Keane

Manchester artists armed with brushes, pencils and pastels are embracing the worldwide phenomenon of drawing towns, cities and villages on the hoof.

Eager sketchers who are looking to join them and indulge their inner Lowry can now attend ‘sketch crawls’ at a variety of different locations across the city.

Manchester School of Art lecturer Simone Ridyard is one of the founding members of the Manchester Urban Sketching Group after being introduced to the movement in Singapore.

Since learning of the global community she revealed that she has become obsessed with capturing the world around her and now carries a sketchbook with her wherever she goes.

Speaking to MM ahead of her workshop at the Selfridges Festival of Imagination she said: “Urban Sketching is drawing on location and only drawing what you can see from life, it is about embracing and enjoying drawing and not worrying about what other people think.

“I’m enthralled with this type of reportage drawing. I think it’s the combination of the structured drawing and then the more expressive use of colour, which I find quite thrilling!”

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The movement started in Seattle on Flickr back in 2007 by journalist Gabriel Campanario and has now spread across the world.

Simone said that the Manchester Urban Sketching Group is a small but committed group of artists who capture the city’s buildings, wildlife and waterways.

She explained: “I think there is great enthusiasm for urban sketching as a way of communicating through drawing and I particularly like the support that our group gives each other.”

TALENTED: Manchester Urban Sketchers posing with their work

The works that sketchers complete are often uploaded to social networking sites such as Flickr and Facebook where they are seen by people all over the world.

“I often upload my sketches to Flickr and it’s amazing to see that people in places such as Singapore are liking and sharing it,” Simone added.

Simone said that the Urban Sketching Facebook page is a great place to share drawings and gain an insight into what other groups are doing.

She said: “I have drawn for most of my life, but for the past year and a half since I started Urban Sketching I have been completely addicted.

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“The beauty of it is when you finish a session you all put your work together as a group and you give nice feedback.

“It really becomes addictive I carry a notebook with me everywhere!”

For more information about Manchester’s Urban Sketchers click here

The Selfridges Festival of Imagination is running in store until February 20 with a range of creative workshops and talks. For more information on the festival click here.

Pictures courtesy of Manchester Urban Sketchers, with thanks

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