Sketching news roundup: Sevilla opera; Qatar; New York Reawakens book; On the Spot contributors wanted

Hello readers, greetings from Barcelona.

I’ll tell you why I am here in a second, but first, here’s a new roundup of inspiring sketching news:

Live from the opera

A scene from the opera “Robert Deveraux” drawn on the spot by Inma Serrano.

On November 4, during a general rehearsal of the opera “Robert Devereux” at the legendary Teatro de la Maestranza in Sevilla, 60 sketchers used small lamps to illuminate their sketchbooks as they recorded lively scenes and characters performing before their eyes.

I reached out to local artist Inma Serrano, one of the sketchers who participated in the group drawing session, to learn how things went and how the opportunity came about.

“It was a very exciting and intense experience, an absolute joy. The magic of the opera filled up the theater: the music from the orchestra, the voices from the choir, the spectacular choreography and costumes, the story unfolding scene by scene, and, of course, drawing as a group … for many of the sketchers present, it was their first chance to draw a live show.”

Serrano said the theater offers occasional access to rehearsals to different groups. After a formal request on behalf of USk Sevilla, the local Urban Sketchers chapter, the theater extended an invitation and the group put together a list of members interested in participating. They ranged from age 15 to 80.

Serrano said the theater staff was was very pleased with their sketching results and complimented the group via Instagram: “Mira qué maravilla!” (“Look at this wonder (of sketches)!”

Qatar sketchbook to become museum piece

“Qatar, Travel Book of Culture,” a commission by Qatar Museums, is the latest custom book by prolific French illustrator Lapin.

During the three intense weeks he spent exploring the tiny peninsula in the Persian Gulf last year, Lapin produced 160 sketchbook pages that capture a country most Western people know little about. From the futuristic skyscrapers in Doha, to deserts where monolithic sculptures created by Richard Serra dot the landscape, Lapin’s on-the-spot illustrations show a country where tradition and modernity share the spotlight.

Being commissioned by the museum meant having to show certain places in the book, like the state-of-the-art soccer stadium where much of the globe will set its eyes when the World Cup starts Sunday. But Lapin, who was offered his own private driver to get to places, was also free to sketch other aspects of the local culture that he found interesting, like a camel race.

Hear Lapin talk about that in this snippet I recorded at his Barcelona home the other day.

As a fan of Lapin’s work, I was disappointed to hear that the book may only be distributed in Qatar. But I was happy for him when he shared that the museum has acquired his original sketchbook for its permanent collection.

Sketcher Press update

Besides having dinner at chez Lapin, this is why I’m in Barcelona: to pick up copies of Rita Sabler’s “New York Reawakens” at SYL L’art gràfic, the fabulous art-book printing company that has handled the production of the first Sketcher Press book.

While most of the books are being shipped back to Sketcher Press HQ in Mill Creek, Washington, I’ll be taking several to Rendez-Vous Carnet de Voyage in a few days. Rendez-Vous is one of the largest and longest running festivals in the world bringing together travel sketchbook artists, publishers and fans of the genre.

If you backed the campaign to fund “New York Reawakens”, everything is on track for copies to start shipping by the end of the month. The book will also be available for purchase at very soon. For updates, sign up to Sketcher Press mailing list.

In other news:

  • Brooklyn-based artist Gavin Snider made the most original record of the New York Marathon last Sunday with this dynamic watercolor. Wish I had spotted him when I ran by!
  • People working at a food bank in Manchester are the subject of a pop-up exhibit by Manchester sketcher Len Grant. Grant said he is trying to drum up support and bring attention to individuals experiencing food insecurity in his hometown.
  • Urban Sketchers is reminding folks that the applications to become the 2023 Urban Sketchers Symposium correspondent are due Nov. 21. This is a program I spearheaded back in 2011 when I was very actively involved in the organization. It brings attention to the storytelling power of sketching. I’m glad the opportunity continues to be offered.


How to contribute to On The Spot

On the Spot wants to expand its team of contributors. To pitch a sketched story documenting places, people or culture, or an article related to urban sketching or reportage, email me at gabi@sketcherpress.comOn the Spot contributions are paid.

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Gabriel Campanario
Gabriel Campanario

Founder of Urban Sketchers, publisher at Sketcher Press and former columnist at The Seattle Times

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