Doing something for the first time is hard. You're not sure if you can. You don't know the right people. You are wondering what to bring or what to wear. Add in strangers and performance and it seems like a recipe for awkwardness.
The good news is that joining a sketchcrawl is easy.
Showing up is first thing to do (and possibly the hardest.) If you can do that, everything else will just flow. And do show up on time/early. That's when people gather and talk informally- it's a good way to meet other sketchers. First timers are welcome.
There's no secret handshake or Urban Sketchers badge- your ticket is a piece of paper and a pencil. Look around for people carrying notebooks or backpacks and you'll know you've found us. Sidle up to a group, eavesdrop if you like, but don't be afraid to say hi, we're a nice bunch of people. It's that simple.
As for materials, you can get started with the most useful and cheapest art materials: a Dixon Tigcongeroga #2 pencil and some white paper. (Many sketchers come with a notebook of mixed media paper, a pencil, some Micron pens, and a small watercolor set, but don't let your lack of art supplies stop you.)
After a critical mass has arrived, there's a brief time when we introduce ourselves, then disperse to sketch for about two hours. (Bring an extra layer of clothing or a hat, sitting still and drawing for a long time can be chilly.) Some people like to sketch alone. Sometimes I find that sketching with others lets me learn new techniques or is just more fun.
When the time is up, we have a "throw down," where people put their notebooks out for others to see what they drew.
It sounds intimidating to put your artwork out for public viewing. Let me assure you that there is no more welcoming community than Urban Sketchers. The focus is always on what people like. Among our group, variety is valued. Participation and enthusiasm count.
Sharing creates community: It gives people ideas about how to be better artists, it forms bonds of trust, and it's just fun to see.
So now that you know what a sketchcrawl is all about, won't you come out and join us in 2022?