Happy 2017, friends!
I hope you had a wonderful holiday season, and that the new year is off to an inspired start for you so far.
I just returned to Montevideo from the beautiful countryside of Uruguay, where I spent last week surrounded by open grassy fields and purple hills on the horizon. In addition to celebrating Christmas and New Year’s Eve with dear friends, I also had the chance to pause, reflect, and look forward to the year to come.
I’m grateful 2016 held many creative highlights for me—from illustrating a book cover for Penguin Random House to sketching Monet’s iconic Japanese bridge in his gardens at Giverny, France—but I have to confess something to you today:
I still regret that I didn’t get out and sketch as often as I wanted to last year.
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For me, sketching is about so much more than just the finished product. The process of sketching itself helps me be more present in the here and now; it makes me pay greater attention, and be more aware of sensory details.
Whenever I’m sketching, I listen more; I see more; and I remember more from each moment.
As though it were a dreamcatcher, I love how my sketchbook helps me catch more moments from my life.
And so, as I’ve been setting goals and intentions for 2017, there is one thing in particular I am determined to change—I want to get out and sketch on-location more regularly. Setting a weekly goal seemed slightly too ambitious, but a monthly sketching challenge felt more right and attainable. But here’s the thing—I don’t want to do this alone.
My friends, I’d like to invite you to join me in the Moment Catchers Project.
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Over the past few years, I’ve taken part in several “sketch crawls” organized by the wonderful Urban Sketchers organization. The premise of a sketch crawl is simple: A group of sketch artists meets up in a city, spends a couple of hours sketching, and then comes together at the end to share their sketches with each other.
My vision for the Moment Catchers Project is similar, except we’ll sketch on our own wherever we happen to be in the world, and then connect through social media to share our sketches with one another.
Anytime on the first Saturday of each month, beginning this Saturday, the 7th of January.
Anywhere you like, especially if it’s in your hometown. One of the greatest gifts that travel sketching has taught me is how to be more present and alive in my life—even when I’m not traveling. I hope you’ll take part in the challenge each month, whether you’re at home or on the road.
Note about cold weather sketching — If it’s particularly frosty for you outside right now, a few ideas of where to sketch include: your favorite cafe (preferably with a nice cup of steaming chai), a local museum, beautiful cathedral or historic building, or even the view from your front window.
Now this is the fun part—be sure to share your sketch online afterwards (especially on my two favorite platforms, Instagram and Facebook), and tag your photos and videos with the hashtag #momentcatchers. I’ll then collect the sketches and post a round-up of them all here on the blog, every Monday after our monthly sketching session.
I hope you’ll join me this Saturday for our first sketching challenge — and even more, that your sketchbook will be an extraordinary moment-catcher for you in 2017.
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