Lisbon Symposium

going_there borromini_snails

I am home again, after attending the 2nd Urban Sketchers Symposium in Lisbon. I gave the “Unfinished business” workshop there, together with José Louro, and both the teaching part and meeting all these sketchers from all over the world was such a great experience! Now I´m all inspired, my head full of ideas and techniques to try out, and flipping through other peoples´ sketchbooks have left me with a brain full of sodapop, keeping me awake at night!


I didn´t get as much time to draw as I would have liked, since I was teaching, and that was frustrating – Lisbon is one of the most inspiring cities I have seen so far. It´s got a jaded beauty that I find completely irresistible, and every street seem to offer endless views for drawing. I must come back again, and make sure I have a lot of time on my hands…

camoes largo_camoes

Largo Camões, the square where our workshop was, had a quite unique atmosphere – it was surrounded by four busy streets, full of cars, people and trams, a bustling place, very noisy and alive, but on the square itself, life seemed rather slow. People were mostly just sitting around, having a coffee in the shadow by the ‘Refresco’ kiosk or gossiping with their neighbors, and the contrast to the busy streets around the square was quite striking. The participants in our workshop (quite a bunch – we had three sessions in three days, all in all around 60 participants) made a great job telling the story of this place on their sketchbook pages.


The days in Lisbon were filled with workshops, lectures and and a lot of opportunities to hang out with other sketchers – very inspiring indeed. I tagged along on two other workshops as well, Cityscapes with Marc Taro Holmes and Filipe Leal de Faria, and Lisbon Perspectives with Gérard Michel and Florian Afflerbach. Both were very enriching, and seeing these guys drawing and explaining their techniques really made my day. Plus I got to sketch with the other participants, which is always a great experience.


The three days of the Symposium passed too quickly, of course, and I have had such great fun, learned so much and met so many fantastic people! I could have gone on for a few more days, easily, but during the flight home I discovered that I was actually quite exhausted – I couldn´t keep my eyes open or my head up for one second!


I want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who was at the Symposium for making it such a great experience, it was fantastic to finally get to meet you all! And I´d like to kiss the ground in front of the feet of all the people in Lisbon who worked so hard to make this happen – you did an awesome job, I am so grateful for your efforts!

And to you who weren´t there – now you know you have to go next time, right?


All drawings made on 14 x 20,5 cm Plano 270 g drawing paper sketchbook pages, with Snowman waterproof drawing pens (a Japanese brand of pens that I found in Lisbon – never seen them before, but I needed to buy them since the heat/humidity/whatever did something funny with my paper so the Platinum Carbon ink started to creep on it, which never happened before).

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