Stephanie’s Challenge


During her wonderful appearance on the Instagram live USk Talks show with Rob Sketcherman, Stephanie Bower issued a challenge: “Post any early sketch paired with any recent sketch (doesn’t have to be the same location), and talk about what you’ve learned along the way. Any Ah-ha moments? Be sure to pat yourself on the back for all your hard (but fun) work!! So rewarding, isn’t it? Why do you sketch?”

(FYI, USk Talks is Sundays at 9am PDT live on the USk Instagram account, linked above)

I drew constantly as a child, teen and young adult. I stopped after college when I got my first good camera, which then became my medium. Thus it was over 35 years since I’d last drawn regularly.

I discovered Urban Sketchers in early 2012 after retiring in August 2011. I went out sketching a couple times before I attended my first outing on 26 February 2012.  I’d had some colored pencils from a class I’d just taken.

Very first sketch upon returning to drawing, 23 Feb 2012

Sketched during my first sketch outing at the Stinson Mansion, 26 Feb 2012

This isn’t very recent but I considered it one of the better perspective sketches I’d done (though I can see some issues with it now).  It was done during the open sketch outing which was on the last day of Stephanie’s “Good Bones” workshop.  When I put it down, a couple of the students asked how I learned to do that.  My response:  Stephanie’s workshop 2 years ago!

I think in my early training and practice I didn’t do many perspective scenes.  I’ve learned so much from other Urban Sketchers… in workshops, online and in everyday sketch outings.

I learned to take on a complex building like this bit by bit.  Start with a big shape and build it out from there, so to speak!

For another comparison, here’s a sketch of my local water tower, done for the USk Flickr group weekly theme. 8 March 2012  By then I had a set of Koi watercolors (which I later ditched as quite unsatisfactory).

That theme came around again in 2017

I’ve belonged to only 2 or 3 groups in my life where I’ve felt I’m among “my people”. So much about Urban Sketchers is wonderful. It’s welcoming, accepting, encouraging, nonjudgmental and willingness to share attitudes are its good characteristics.

Urban Sketching has made my life better. I’ve met wonderful people.  It’s provided so much enjoyment in my retirement.

About redharparts

Born in Michigan. Attended undergrad and graduate universities there. I've lived in England, Germany, Southern California and now Washington (state). I'm a retired Medical Social Worker with a past specialty in Oncology. I've enjoyed exploring historical re-creation through the SCA. I costume in several fandoms. Lately I've returned to Art and have taken up Urban Sketching, a version of en plein air painting.
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4 Responses to Stephanie’s Challenge

  1. Such a wonderful snapshot of how things started….So cool to see this, and my, how you’ve improved! Keep soaring, Kate! And thank you so so much for the lovely shoutout… ♥️

  2. miatagrrl says:

    Wow, it’s cool to see the old sketches now! Like that fence — your first urban sketch ever!

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