Greetings, Friends. Visitors to the pub today are in for a special treat. I know that most of us have seen the sketches that Claudia has used to accompany some of her poetry. I have quietly admired these sketches and thought it would be fun to write in response to one of them. I will include a few of Claudia’s sketches in this article, but Claudia has given us permission to use any of the sketches on her Flickr page, as long as you attribute her!
I thought rather than just feature Claudia’s sketches it would be fun to learn a few things about her interest, so I asked her some questions:
I am wondering how you became interested in sketching, Claudia. Was it a childhood interest or one you developed later in life?
“I remember as a child, I always loved doodling just for fun – I also loved art in school but we never went to a gallery or a museum with my parents when I was a kid – so it just got lost along the way somehow and I started sketching about 9 months ago after reading Felix Scheinberger’s book Urban Watercolor Sketching.”
How very cool! In my opinion you have made a lot of progress in only nine months. And I look forward to following your progress in the months to come. Smiles. Could you describe the tools that you use for sketching, Claudia.
“The good thing is – you don’t need much equipment to sketch. I use a small Schmincke watercolor travel box (usually 12 colors but I squished in some more in the middle row…), a size 10 travel brush, a black pen, a foldable Swedish army mug for the water and a sketchbook (Seawhite of Brighton being my fav brand – I bought 5 of them in Edinburgh..) – that’s it.
You have a lot of variety in your subject matter. Of all the things out there, how you decide what to draw?
“I try to capture the small things along the way – sometimes I draw just a cup or on my flight from Edinburgh to Basel I sketched the safety card and crisp bag in the seat net before me. I don’t like sketching landscapes and sketching the “big” things scares me…”
I have noticed some of your sketches of small things. There is one sketch of a messenger bag you have done that I particularly like. Smiles. I have noticed that often your sketches really complement your poetry. So I wonder if one inspires the other. Does a sketch inspire a poem, or a poem inspire a sketch?
“Poetry and sketching are not really connected for me in an obvious way. I never write poetry inspired by my sketches and I never sketch inspired by a poem. I think what makes them flow together in the end is that they’re both snapshots of my life, of the things around me.”
Wow, that amazes me, Claudia. You have written a few poems where I have felt sure the sketch must have inspired the poem. Do you find any similarities between sketching and writing poetry?
“Yes, I do. I think there are quite some similarities – for me it’s the magic how you see things – how you look at things closely and allow the everyday to surprise you – and how you interpret what you see – be it in a poem or in a sketch.”
I know you attended two Urban Sketcher workshops this summer. What was that experience like?
“It’s just very cool – I met so many great people and you have that common interest. I love to see how everyone approaches things differently and how everyone has their own unique style. And I learned so much about sketching and perspective and how to look at things in those two workshops.”
Now that you have been sketching a while and even taking workshops, do you any goals? Are you interested in exploring other media such as oils or acrylic or pastels?
“I always love to experiment – watercolor is easy – it doesn’t make a mess – I even used it on the plane – think that is why I prefer it to acrylics or oil or pastels. For the moment I have no plans with my sketches – I share them in the Urban Sketchers flickr group or on FB with the people that were with me in the Oxford workshop – that’s it for the moment – I just enjoy exploring the path…smiles”
Thinking of the Oxford workshop you recently attended, I know that at such workshops participants do a lot of sketching in public. And I know you do this when you are not in a workshop as well. I myself think it might be a bit embarrassing to just sit somewhere and sketch. How do you feel about being a public sketcher?
“Funny that you ask this – on my Scotland trip, I was sketching in the castle courtyard of St. Andrews and there were some people from Holland who even took pictures of me while I was sketching – from all angles – I found that a bit weird but they were very nice and we ended up having a nice chat. So I don’t mind – usually I don’t even see them cause I tend to forget the world around me a bit when I sketch.”
In conclusion, Claudia, is there anything else you would like to share with Poetics readers / writers today?
“For me sketching is about seeing things. I tend to be unfocused and unconcentrated at times and I’m not very good with details. Sometimes I just don’t see the things around me. Sketching (and also poetry) forces me to focus and really look at things. That helps me to calm down/to process things – the funny thing is that as soon as I start sketching I start to hum – I don’t know what this is – my fellow sketchers always find that very funny… smiles.”
Thank you for a wonderful interview, Claudia, giving us insights into the development of your interest and into your writing process. Now it is time to write poetry. Again, choose any of the sketches on Claudia’s Flickr page for inspiration, and go from there. I really look forward to reading what each of you comes up with.
What to do after you have written:
• Post your poem to your blog
• Add a link to your poem via the ‘Mr Linky’ below
• Read and comment on other people’s work to let them know it’s being read
• Share via your favorite social media platforms
• Above all- have fun!