[By Mike Daikubara in Manchester, UK] Continued from Part 1. We took the Virgin train from London to Manchester and this time around our 1st class seats were reserved unlike the Thames link Train! The ride was also quite pleasant too!
Walking from the train station and arriving at our destination, the INNSIDE hotel was a big bright red rectangular building that was booked for many of the symposium faculty members and I was delighted. The check in procedure was smooth and friendly and the room was contemporary and well designed. The bed headboard even had a nice architectural line drawing printed on it - perfect for our symposium attendees :)
Our room was the larger sized one on the floor with the sofa bed since we had 3 people in the room - an arrangement made possible by Simone - Thank you!
Symposium Day 1: The next morning was the official start for faculty members. We all gathered for a briefing of the details of the Symposium and then in the afternoon the 1st Sketch Crawl in Castlefield Canal basin kicked off. It was pretty surreal seeing literally hundreds of sketchers in this narrow canal all sketching away! I just felt pure joy when sketching this scene sitting along with everyone else.
I then walked around the canal looking around for the next subject to sketch. I could have stopped anywhere and sketched since the place was filled with so much visual interest. But what caught my interest was the strong sun hitting the Deansgate station right above the canal. I sat in the small pedestrian island surrounded by passing cars and people and just sketched away. I even got to chat with a drunk person who mentioned he owned all the building that was in this area and that I should be happy for being allow to sketch them - I thought it was pretty funny.
The large sculpture at the station was quite nice but had no signs of the artist or the name. I found out the name through my Pokemon App - another funny situation. This got me thinking in that it might be actually pretty interesting to do a sketch crawl based purely on Pokemon Pokestops found in the app!
That night was the opening reception at the city hall and it was jam packed with sketchers from all around the world. I chatted with a few people over a drink, but also joined the many sketchers who were sketching the musicians - another site you rarely see at a socializing event like this! I found it funny and delightful at the same time :)
The following days I taught my work shop titled "Sketch NOW think later" three separate times at the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) - a fabulous place filled with old planes, cars, trains and machinery.
On morning before the workshop I sketched this building to warmup/relax. I think the drawing captures my emotional state - nervous and excited at the same time. This cool looking building was just across the street from All Saints garden.
Now for the actual workshop experience, it was just pure intensity for me and I had such a blast!
I originally wanted to capture my experiences here in this posting too but noticed it'll be way too long. Once I get settled down a little more, I'd like to write this experience more in details on my personal blog.
But I do want to share the photos of 43 class participants from 19 different countries.
Thank you for being such great students and I learned so much from each one of you!
(and a Special thanks to Suma and Swasky for helping me to get the class rolling smoothly on my first class)
Drink and Draw:
After teaching, it was nice to be able to join the Drink and Draw sessions at Peveril of the Peak - the most drawn pub in Manchester for sure! Such a lovely place.
The canal area across the street from the pub and in front of the rain bar.
I found this perfect view and for some reason, there were no sketchers there. Well, it turned out to be an area completely filled with duck poop and not even a small space for a stool to sit down.
I found a small space to be able to just stand and worked on this sketch. 75 minutes of standing sketching on an empty stomach but somehow managed to finish without fainting...
Portrait sketch time with a few of my workshop participants also at the Peveril of the Peak : Carina, Jeffrey Rohit and Danni. At this time we were all completely starved but couldn't resist drawing too. We managed to get a sketch over a beer and some pub snacks. I would have stayed longer if it wasn't for my stomach sticking together due to hunger..
Ohka plane at MOSI.
I've heard of these planes before but it was the first time seeing it in real life. Everyone's heard of Kamikaze planes during WWII but this is what Japan started building near the end of the war - basically a glider with a bomb attached to it with no escape hatchet. It's intriguing and absolutely insane at the same time.
At the Manchester Museum, I saw another thing very fascinating - Aquaponics. Basically a closed recirculating system to grow fish and plants.
I actually went to go sketch dinosaurs at the museum but the section was closed due to a wedding. bummer... The next closest subject was this Asian elephant which was also really fun to draw too.
And afterwards was the wrap up reception where I got to catch up with a many old friends and also made a bunch of new friends too. Such great times!
The USk Symposium was so intense while it's happening, but it sure does fly by quickly - almost dream like. This was my 3rd time attending the Symposium (Portland/Barcelona) and I'm so glad I extended my trip to wind down and to continue sketching!
Thank you so much USk and Manchester - I had an amazing time!
Story to be continued to Part 3 - Liverpool/Edinburgh/Glasgow
Part 1: London
Part 3: Liverpool, Edinburgh, Glasgow