The Phoenix Network:
About  |  Advertise
Adult  |  Moonsigns  |  Band Guide  |  Blogs  |  In Pictures
Big Fat Whale  |  Failure  |  Hoopleville  |  Idiot Box  |  Lifestyle Features

Drawing attention

Of pints and pens
By GEORGIANA COHEN  |  October 24, 2008

SKETCH AND FETCH: SketchCrawl 20 organizer David Marshall’s on-the-spot depiction of last year’s event.

If you drop by a Cambridge bar this Saturday afternoon and ask the bartender to draw you a pint, be forewarned: the guy on the next stool might take you literally.

Such is the danger if one stumbles upon SketchCrawl 20, where both professional artists and casual doodlers will come together to amble, imbibe, and illustrate the scenes around them.

SketchCrawls began four years ago in San Francisco, when artist Enrico Casarosa embarked on a “drawing marathon” around the city. For future outings, he brought along others. Now, SketchCrawl has become an irregularly scheduled international event (Casarosa handles the scheduling and numbering), with people organizing at to lead crawls in cities ranging from Vancouver to Melbourne to Phoenix. More than 60 cities are set to take part in this weekend’s event.

David Marshall, a Charlestown-based artist and Web designer who’s leading the SketchCrawl 20’s Cambridge sortie, got involved with SketchCrawl because he had fallen out of the habit of drawing regularly and wanted to “get the old ink out.” His first SketchCrawl was in December 2006 — just Marshall and one other artist. At SketchCrawl 16 this past November in Cambridge, Marshall recruited a handful of friends to join him. The best parts, he recalls, were the drawings contributed by waitresses and the conversations he had with some of his subjects.

“It’s the people that make it fun,” says Marshall. But let’s face it: sketching other people in public can be, well, sketchy. Marshall acknowledges there is an inherent invasion of privacy that comes with capturing someone else’s personal moments on paper without their knowledge. For Marshall, though, the potential for social interaction is worth it.

“[Drawing] is a very solitary thing,” he says, “but when you decide to go against the grain and make what’s supposed to be private public, it’s the closest thing we’ll ever have to what a performing artist has.”

Marshall has taken it upon himself to build local SketchCrawl participation, encouraging artists of all skill levels to join up. For him, it’s not about expertise — it's about enjoying yourself.

“One thing I think the art industry has done is create such a stench of pretension that you forget this is supposed to be fun,” says Marshall. “The beer and the laughing — that stuff helps.”

But by the end of the crawl, who knows if these artists will be able to walk a straight line, much less draw one.

The Cambridge edition of SketchCrawl 20 begins at noon on October 25 at the Middle East, 480 Mass Ave, and will head down Mass Ave toward Harvard Square.

Related: The Cambridge Castle of Comedy, Cambridge vs. Anthony Galluccio, The political virgins, More more >
  Topics: Lifestyle Features , David Marshall
  • Share:
  • Share this entry with Facebook
  • Share this entry with Digg
  • Share this entry with Delicious
  • RSS feed
  • Email this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Best Music Poll 2009 winners
Today's Event Picks
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   NOT-SO-SURE GUYS  |  March 19, 2009
    It’s a few days after Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday, and Rebecca Watson is posted up at the Asgard, a popular bar down the road from MIT, passing out leaflets promoting an upcoming “Skeptics in the Pub” event.
  •   HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT  |  January 26, 2009
    "So easy to learn, so hard to win." That's how Somerville resident Brian Loring describes the timeless game of rock-paper-scissors.
  •   REAL TIME SAVERS  |  December 17, 2008
    Breaking news: scientists have eradicated the social malady known as "watch tan." The cure, of course, was the advent of the cell phone.
  •   COMICS AND CRAFTS UNITE  |  December 12, 2008
    What differentiates Comicazi-con from this past month's Boston Comic Con, sponsored by Framingham's Bedrock Comics, is the big-tent approach. Comicazi-con won't be focusing solely on comics, but will include local merchants.
  •   GEEKY GIFTS 101  |  December 11, 2008
    “Smelly Yankee Candle for Grandma? Check. Tie for Dad? Got it. Toy dump truck for Tommy? Yup. Man, this holiday shopping stuff is easy. Now, who’s next? . . . Um. . . Hmmm.”

 See all articles by: GEORGIANA COHEN

RSS Feed of for the most popular articles
 Most Viewed   Most Emailed 

  |  Sign In  |  Register
Phoenix Media/Communications Group:
Copyright © 2009 The Phoenix Media/Communications Group