Draw Portugal with three other sketchers. Draw just over one million Catholics in a small town, during a visit by the Pope. This was the invitation that Rob Sketcherman accepted with enthusiasm, taking the opportunity to find out a bit more about the country that he had heard good things about and very much wanted to visit one day.
He was impressed by the spirit of unity that he felt in Fátima, watching the crowd that was gathering with a single purpose in mind. He let himself be touched by the unique sentiment and the faith that was felt in the Sanctuary and, though not a Catholic, he felt the same fervour of the faithful during the ceremonies, which he followed with great interest.
“It was four days of happiness, sketching with a wonderful team, immersed in the surrounding adoration and wonder, an experience that I will forever warmly remember.”
“They came by the thousands. On foot, on their knees, even crawling on their elbows. The faithful arrived praying and fulfilling promises made. This little girl caught my eye, tiny rosary in hand.”
"The Sanctuary. Fátima. Portugal.
From minute to minute, we never knew if it would rain again, so this magnificent colonnade proved to be the perfect shelter and sketch spot for a little while.”
Lighting of the Candles
"The flames were so strong, people just threw candles into the fire, along with the holders which were so Hot!”
Waiting out the rain...
Inside the Basilica
"It poured with rain just as we arrived at the sanctuary this morning. So we looked for some shelter, followed the faithful and found a dry spot in the pews”.
Pilgrim Pit Stop
"Round benches circle lovely old trees, inviting some contemplative down time – or a chance to chat!
As pilgrims streamed in from all over the WORLD. They often sought respite under the shady trees behind the Basilica. I sat down to capture this rest stop for about 30 minutes after sketching the Basilica’s gorgeous interior.
Cigarette breaks seemed essential to many!.”
Waiting for the Pope
Pope Francis arrives
"On giant screens all over the Sanctuary, we waited. People sang and got more and more excited until FINALLY…! The Popemobile appeared. I saw a tiny figure in white far, far away waving, and drew POPE FRANCIS from the screens.
Awesome to see people of all races from all over the world.”
Mass viewed from the rooftop
"Where the angel first appeared to the children"
Home of Jacinta
Final mass at Chapel of the Apparitions
"Marks the spot where the 3 shepherd children received the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin.
With about an hour to go before our modes of transport would arrive to take us away from Fátima, Fernanda and I made a final sketch at the Chapel of the Apparitions as pilgrims gathered for Mass.
Rob Sketcherman, from Hong Kong, set up his own creative design and illustration company about 20 years ago. After discovering the pleasure of drawing on location, he joined the Hong Kong Urban Sketchers group in 2014 and is now one of the four members of its governing body.
He was invited by Apple HK to use an iPad to draw a series of events for various organisations, including the 6th Urban Sketchers Symposium in Singapore. He has participated in several exhibitions and his work has been included in various publications dedicated to urban sketching.