Sketching A Boat With Holes

Several recent posts featured sketches I’ve done at the Quebec Federation of Hunters and Fishers museum.  Most of those sketches have been of birds, mammals and fish.  The museum is a wonderful place for drawing these subjects because the people are friendly, the lighting good, and the displays rival those of any natural history museum.

Because of all those animal subjects available, it’s been hard for me to draw any of the other objects they have on display, but I’ve eyed this “boat” every time I’ve visited.  It’s not really a boat at all.  It’s a homemade live well, used to hold fish.  Its bottom is made of screening so that water can enter.  It’s only about two feet long and truly a beautiful piece of folk art.  Hope you like it as much as I enjoyed drawing it.

Stillman & Birn Beta (8×10) softcover, Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

My On-The-Go Pen Pouch

Another name for this post could have been “How I prevent losing my pens.” Maybe that’s not a problem you need to solve, but that was what caused me to talk about my pen pouch.  It came up in a discussion on Facebook about a sketcher who lost a pen so I thought I’d show you my solution to my scatterbrain-itis.

When I’m sketching on location I use, principally, a fountain pen, or maybe a couple fountain pens.  But I might add to the mix pencil, white gel pen, a black brush pen, and occasionally a waterbrush.  You get the picture.  I have several pointy devices in use.  I used to lay these in my lap, on the ground, slid into a pocket, and I’ve been known to stick one in my hair.

The result was a couple things.  While I’ve never lost a valuable pen, I have lost a couple cheap ones.  I once had a Platinum 3776 take a walk and nearly fall through a sewer grate.  It’s also the case that I was endlessly hunting for the tool I need at the moment.

The solution was my pen pouch, an idea I stole from my buddy Yvan, though his is fancy and hand-sewn.  I’m too lazy for that so I hunted around until I found a cheap, easy solution and it came in the form of a sunglasses case.

These cases are typically colorful sacks with a couple pieces of spring steel that can be compressed to open the case.  They are also perfect for clipping pens into the sack.  All I did to “create” my pouch was buy some D-rings at the fabric store and hand sew them to the sides of the sack.  To try it out I temporarily used a piece of a shoelace as the strap.  That was 8 months ago.  As I said, I’m lazy.  The only other thing I did was fold up some cheap watercolor paper to act as a divider so that pens clipped to opposite sides of the pouch don’t rub against one another.  As you can see in the photos, the divider is getting pretty beat up after 8 months.  I should have changed it before showing you the pouch but, as I said, I’m lazy.

This is the pouch with little pressure on the sides. The pens clip on either side of the opening.

Aside from preventing pen loss, once I got in the habit of only having one (ok..sometimes two) pointy devices out of the pouch at any one time, I no longer have to do the whirling dervish act of looking for my pens as I draw.

If you squeeze the edges of the case, it opens up, making it easy to replace the pointy devices. Here you can see the paper divider. I started with a plastic divider but the pens complained and yet they’re happy with the paper, which compresses and extends as I open and close the case.

Another benefit, that wasn’t anticipated is that with all my pens in one pouch, it’s easy to switch from my big “serious” sketching sack to my small, carry it everywhere sack.  I just move the pen pouch.  This has meant that I no longer have to duplicate everything.  Hope this helps someone.

Sketching From Graphic Novels (Comics)

Our group often talks about sketching opportunities and options and almost as often the idea of sketching from graphic novels comes up.

If you’re only familiar with US comics, I’m not talking here about drawing superheros in spandex.  The French comic industry is another thing entirely, targeting adult consumers.  The books are generally hardcover and run the gamet from mysteries, science fiction, political commentary, humor, historical, and adventure genres.

What happened to cause us to actually act on the idea was that finding sketchcrawl venues during Quebec winters is difficult and Yvan learned that the library had a large collection of large-panel examples from French graphic novels.  He scheduled our March sketchcrawl to take place in the art viewing room of our library.  As you can see from the photo that Yvan took of me, it was a much more comfortable setting than sitting on street corners on a tripod stool.  The eight of us who showed up had a ball.

The photo shows me drawing Jim Cutlass, a classic character by Jean-Michel Charlier, one of the best adventure writers and drawn by Christian Rossi.  I hope I did Rossi’s work justice as I created my depiction of the character.

Upon completion I wandered around, enjoying the company of the other sketchers.  A friend of mine, that I hadn’t seen in quite a while, came to the event so we spent a bunch of time talking.  Then I spent a lot of time looking at all of the panels and books available for us to draw from.  This, of course, created a whole bunch of “Oooo…I gotta draw that” feelings, but it didn’t get much actual drawing done.  It sure was fun though.

I’m a building and city sketcher and after looking at a bunch of books with monsters and fantasy world landscapes, my brain was hankering for something weird.  Ill-equipped for drawing such things, I remembered Cathy Johnson’s mantra “they’re only shapes” and I tackled this guy.

I wouldn’t want him chasing me and while this guy looks like one of the orb weavers I remember from Mexico, I couldn’t help but think of the big spiders that chased Ron and Harry in The Chamber of Secrets movie.  As the day came to an end, I was pleased with this ‘out of the box’ endeavour and I think I may do more drawing from graphic novels.


First Nations Ceremonial Headdress

With all the 100people2017 stuff going on, I forgot to post this sketch that I did last week at our museum.  I’ve looked at this headdress several times and each time I convinced myself that I wasn’t up to depicted all those feathers with pen and ink.  In a crazy moment I started drawing it.  The biggest challenge was keeping my eyes from crossing as I tried to follow the feather contours.  I was pleased with the outcome, though.  Hope you like it.

Stillman & Birn Beta (8×10), Pilot Falcon, DeAtramentis Document Black (diluted 1:2)

#OneWeek100People2017: Day 4: More Mall Sketching

So far I’ve been quick-sketching whole people, mostly those buying coffee at the mall.  Marc Taro Holmes chided me a bit for drawing those people with their backs to me.  This was sort of true.  Because of the place I was sketching, everyone had their backs to me as they paid for, and received, their coffee.  I did look back, however, and noticed that 14 of those 50 people (28%) did have their face visible.  Marc’s a tough critic (grin).

So, when I went to the mall today I decided that I’d draw floating heads/faces.  I sat in the food court, moving once in a while, and most of my targets were looking in my direction.  Marc will undoubtedly tell me that I’ve left the bodies off and, again, he’d be correct.  And yes, I’m kidding, Marc.

I quickly slapped some color on these before I scanned them and, I think, this flattening the sketches considerably.  I guess I should have taken the time to try to get some shading into the color.  It’s said you can get two of three attributes from any endeavour.  These are cheap, quality, and quantity.  I always get cheap so I choose between the other two and this “challenge” is about quantity.  These 20 were done during a 30-35 minute session.  It shows.  Sigh…