Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco

This was my very first time attending one of SF Sketchers meetups! They are a fantastic group of artists and I have always enjoyed looking at their sketches on the meetup group. It was one of my resolutions this year to make it to the city for some urban sketching on a regular basis and I am so happy to have gotten started on it. 

We all met at the Workshop Cafe at around 3:00PM, said hello to each other and spent a little while chatting and drawing at the cafe. 

 Fellow sketchers make perfect subjects because they are captive subjects and they don't mind being sketched. 

Fellow sketchers make perfect subjects because they are captive subjects and they don't mind being sketched. 

 A quick portrait of a fellow sketcher in pen and water-soluble crayons.

A quick portrait of a fellow sketcher in pen and water-soluble crayons.

By about 3:20PM everyone setoff in different directions to find sights of interest at the parade staging area. Everything was still relatively quiet at the point. The floats were setting up, the bands were lining up and practicing their bits, the dragons and lions were being readied etc. etc. The parade goers started to show up in earnest by 4:00PM and I took that opportunity to do a quick sketch of a large group of teenagers hanging around and waiting for the parade to start.

 There is a lot to capture in a scene like this but it is best to keep things gestural and simple and not be bogged down in details.

There is a lot to capture in a scene like this but it is best to keep things gestural and simple and not be bogged down in details.

I was walking and sketching most of the time, but toward the end I was incredibly lucky to find a spot along Market st, right alongside the parade, where I could stand and sketch with my sketching supplies spread out in front of me on a little platform. I welcomed the opportunity to add a bit of color to my sketches and pulled out my watercolor palette. 

 The crowd in front of me was blocking my view of the parade. I turned it into an opportunity and sketched the parade goers instead.

The crowd in front of me was blocking my view of the parade. I turned it into an opportunity and sketched the parade goers instead.

There was a toddler, in her father's arms, right in front of me who was so thrilled with the parade that I just had to sketch her. She noticed me and also acknowledged that yes the sketch is of her indeed. It was very gratifying.

 My favorite part of the parade was being able to see it and enjoy it through the eyes of this little one. She was absolutely thrilled by the crowds, the colors and the music. 

My favorite part of the parade was being able to see it and enjoy it through the eyes of this little one. She was absolutely thrilled by the crowds, the colors and the music. 

There were many people milling about with their large cameras, and a bunch of them took a picture of me while I was sketching. It is interesting to be featuring in another person's narrative about the parade while I was there capturing my own. Full circle!