Monday, May 25, 2015

Digital Sketching Demo, Art On the Square, Belleville, IL

 Art On the Square, one of the first art fairs of the year in the St. Louis area takes place the weekend after Mothers Day in Belleville, IL, my hometown. In previous years I have been an exhibitor and in 2011 created a watercolor for the fair's official poster. Each year our local artists' guild has a tented booth in which members provide live demonstrations of their work throughout all three days of the festival. This year my demonstration was live urban sketching on an iPad mounted to a tripod. I connected it to a monitor which visitors could watch as I sketched. The sketch at the top was made using an app called Paper 53 and the app's blue tooth powered stylus called Pencil. Paper and Pencil are very natural sketching tools in that your work is made in virtual sketchbooks in which the pages turn. It does not utilize other digital painting devices like layers, filters, hue & saturation settings, etc. The metaphor is an elegant one.
This image was made with an app called Brushes. Brushes does have layers, brush dynamics and many other digital painting capabilities much like Photoshop. In fact for this piece I stepped out into the street and snapped a photo with the iPad camera and loaded the image into Brushes as the bottom layer of my sketch. After painting over the reference image for a start I turned the photo off and finished the sketch with brighter colors, lost and found edges, simpler shapes & other painterly tricks. I ordinarily prefer not to work that way but this was a demo. My purpose was to show the differences in the apps, capabilities of the device and the fun of urban sketching, showing the world one drawing at a time.

Mike sketching on iPad at Art On the Square, 2015. Photo by Roger Popwell.


  1. Impressive demonstration, Michael. I love your results! The apron? Is virtual painting messy?

  2. Thanks Marcia! It is true that your fingers don't get ink on them when working digitally so the apron isn't really necessary however the pockets do come in handy for holding stylus, actual sketchbook and snacks. The real reason though is all the demonstrators were asked to wear our artist guild branded apparel in the booth:-)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...