An email interview with the Manila Bulletin
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By KAREN ANN C. LIQUETE
Youth and Campus Bulletin crosses cyberspace with Enrico Casarosa, organizer of the first global sketch swap group online, as he shares his journey of the heart through art.
What is the inspiration behind SketchCrawl?
I love to sketch in my journal like other artists do. I carry my sketchbooks in my bag. Sometimes, the thought of taking them out and drawing on them and expecting a really good piece of art come out of it can be quite intimidating. "What if I just hold the pencil in my hand for a full day and sketch away?", I thought. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s how it all clicked for me. I dedicated a full day journaling and drawing whatever I could see around me. I found it quite exhilirating. My output also increased. One thing led to another and the idea of sharing marathons with artists from all over the globe was born. By May, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be going on our 14th WorldWide SketchCrawl.
What makes you passionate about letting people know about the site?
SketchCrawl is about slowing down, looking around us and enjoying and really seeing our surroundings. I think that is worth sharing and spreading. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s also about forgetting all the differences within our world and feeling unified as a global community. Together ... sharing a passion.
Do you accept all the art materials sent to you? What are your criteria for accepting or rejecting the work?
We donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really receive materials or works but enable people to post their drawings on the websiteÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s forum. You can view it here at http://sketchcrawl.com/forum. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s our online meeting place where people can share their SketchCrawl drawings. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s also the place where you can find peer "sketchers" in different local areas around the world so you can set up your very own Sketchcrawl meet. Sign up to be included in our SketchCrawl trips. Post your drawings and paintings on the SketchCrawl site. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s how easy it us to be part of our global family!
What are the basic tools artists would need to take on a SketchCrawl?
You can work on any media that you like. But, I would recommend bringing along light and easy art materials you can carry around with you. Personally, I choose the following: A fabriano sketchbook, a mechanical pencil, and a watercolor travel set.
What are the most exciting aspects of SketchCrawling? What are the most challenging experiences?
Well, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s exciting to think of hundreds of artists all over the world drawing together at the same time. When youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re part of a SketchCrawl, you feel that you belong to a community of people engaged and enraptured with their art. The most challenging? I think just trying to draw all day is itself pretty challenging. That takes stamina and drive. Your fingers are running at the speed of light.
Do people critique each otherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s works on a SketchCrawl?
There is a "sharing festival" at the end of the day where everyoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s sketchbook gets passed around. We donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t usually give critiques. We all look at each otherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s sketchbooks and point out which drawings elicited certain reactions from us. This usually ends up making people feel good about the feedback they get from others.
How does the whole SketchCrawl activity work?
We put a call out to the world via the Internet or through word of mouth for people to come together on a given day and sketch all day. Artists from all over the globe visit the website forums and start looking for other artists in their own city or area to meet and draw together on SketchCrawl day. Artists then reconvene online to share photos and sketches from that SketchCrawl session. That way, everyone can see sketches from many different corners of the world that took place that day. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s really great!
From time to time, we try and raise some money to benefit charity. The next SketchCrawl on May 19th is such an event: A drawing marathon fundraiser. We are going to be raising money for the humanitarian organization "Emergency."
Here is the websitehttp://emergencyusa.org.
So on top of sharing together, SketchCrawl can also enable us to give together.
Apart from sketching randomly about the things you see everywhere, where else do you get your inspiration?
One of my idols is Hayao Miyazaki, the Japanese filmmaker. I am sure his movies are available and popular in the Philippines as well. His watercolors are wonderful and a great inspiration. The other artists that have inspired me lately are Joan Sfar and GIPI. These artists and storyteller make me want to tell stories and share my drawings. I make my own comics; you can read one for example here: http://enricocasarosa.com/wordpress.1/VeniceChronicles/
Please tell us more about your personal creative process. Do you work on ideas before you sketch or do you work as the inspiration moves you?
Much of my work is autobiographical so I often draw my comics just as things are happening to me. I find it exciting to find myself in the middle of a story without knowing where itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going to head next. I love exploring my own life for stories. It keeps my stories fresh and alive.
How do you get around your creative blocks? Do you get blocked artistically on a SketchCrawl?
Uhm, well, SketchCrawl itself is a way of unblocking yourself. As I mentioned, SketchCrawl is good for procrastinators. When youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re with friends or on a solo SketchCrawl, you give yourself the mandate to draw all day. You record all you can in your day, which can be a liberating experiment, since itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a relatively simple task. YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re not asking yourself to write a great novel, you just have to record whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s around you. I find that the process itself is enough to give you the inspiration to kick start your creativity and not look at drawing as another "big task" to finish on your to-do list.
Do you think an art degree helps one become a better artist? Could one just study by himself?
I never finished an art degree, but I studied at several art schools. I would recommend taking a lot of classes in many different areas, but I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think a degree is a must. Just do what moves you to become a better artist.
How can the Philippines join your next SketchCrawl? Can you tell us more about guidelines we should follow?
Visit the forums and look for artists in your area. Post your details and the location where you are intending to sketch and see if anyone else might want to join you. If all fails, even a "solo SketchCrawl" can be a fun and exciting experience. You have friends all around the globe drawing just like you. You can get the feeling of being part of a community by visiting the website and sharing your sketches there.