What you need to know

Drawing the world

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During the Stage 4 lockdown, Sindhu Kumar has stayed within five kilometres of her Essendon home.

The restrictions have not applied to her creativity, however.

Through her imagination, Sindhu has visited the Niagara Falls, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, a cathedral in Florence and the Bangalore High Court.

“As an urban sketcher, I know that anything can be drawn,” Sindhu said.

“When I look up a famous location and draw it, it gives me the feeling that I have travelled to that place. During this pandemic I feel like I’ve done a world tour!”

Sindhu is one of many people around the world trying out urban sketching. It is an approach to drawing that emphasises immediacy and creativity rather than exact replication.

Part of the urban sketching ethos is being inclusive. Sindhu took this a step further by volunteering as a guest tutor at one of Moonee Valley’s Acts of Kindness workshops.

“I’m not a professional artist, but I have reached a level where I can provide tips to people who would like to have a go. I saw this as something I could do for the community that would make myself and others feel good.

“I was nervous before the online workshop, because I am the sort of person who has always been in the audience rather than out the front in the spotlight.

“But people were very enthusiastic, and it was very interactive. People had lots of questions, and I demonstrated a simple drawing.”

The Acts of Kindness project offers free workshops that anyone in our community can attend. Some are led by local community members, and community-led classes have been greatly encouraged. Participants pass on the kindness by sharing what they’ve learned with others.

Sindhu works as an IT business analyst for a government department, and usually seeks recreation outdoors. With limits placed on this due to the lockdown, she has turned to drawing.

“Like a lot of people, I started bingeing on Netflix at the start of the lockdown period but that just made me feel more exhausted,” Sindhu said.

“You don’t have to invest a lot of money in this hobby. You can start with anything, because creativity is important, not the materials.

“I started by drawing in books I had, then on pieces of cardboard packaging cut into squares. I have a three-year-old son, so I use his crayons, sketch pens, and any material at hand.”

Urban sketching is usually undertaken outdoors, but Sindhu has adapted to current circumstances. When she goes out for a walk she collects flowers to draw, and the internet is a handy source for photos of international monuments.

“You can use colours. You can use black and white. It is like a visual journal, and can be quite meditative.

“Urban sketching is all to do with creativity, imagination and your personal style.

“Anyone can have a go at it, and that’s what Acts of Kindness is all about.”

Follow Sindhu’s Instagram account.

More information about Acts of Kindness, including upcoming workshops, here.