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.

 

A Street Sketcher Tries To Paint

Last Sunday we had our monthly sketchcrawl and it was a unique event.  We gathered at the main Quebec City library, in a large room associated with their art collection.  We were tasked with finding a painting we liked and then doing our own take on the subject matter.  There were, I think, nine of us and we had a lot of fun, particularly because we were all in the same room so we could talk.  I tend to go silent when I sketch but I took breaks to see what others were doing.

I chose a large watercolor of a bunch of kids playing in tide pools, thinking I could turn it into a fun sketch.  I started by blocking out the locations of the kids, indicating the horizon and generally getting the sense of what I wanted to do.

Then it happened.  I decided that rather than starting to draw with my fountain pen, I’d indicate the shadow areas to begine to define the kids.  This led to adding some color and I was like Alice falling into Wonderland as things quickly went out of control.  The first thing I realized was that converting a large (22×30 painting) into a 7×10 sketch wasn’t consistent with the amount of detail I was planning and so some reassessment took place.  That wasn’t so bad as my skills with a a fuzzy stick leave much to be desired.  I was really wishing I had my fountain pen in hand rather than a fuzzy stick.

But I persisted, doing things for the first time at every turn.  Still, the sketch started to look suspiciously like kids in tide pools so I convinced myself it wouldn’t be that bad.  Eventually, as a last step, I did get out a fountain pen and added some lines and details, though I kept things a bit vague.  I learned a lot, including how much I need to learn about watercolors.  While it was frustrating at times, it was also a lot of fun.  Maybe I’ll figure out fuzzy sticks eventually.

I had a hard time scanning this one.  I suppose it was because of all the very pale blues in the sky and water but I gave up and took this cell phone photo of it.  The colors aren’t quite right and the lighting isn’t even, but you can get an idea of what it looks like, I think.

Fabriano Artistico CP 7×10, Daniel Smith watercolors

February Croquistes De Quebec Sketchcrawl

Our next sketchcrawl should be a lot of fun.  It will also be warm, something that’s hard for us to achieve during the Quebec winter.  Yvan has arranged for us to gather at the Artothèque de la bibliothèque Gabrielle Roy.  This is the art collection owned by the Quebec library system.  They have agreed to host us, provide a room, and maybe even some easels to hold art while we draw from it.  We’ll meet on Sunday, February 12th at 9:30 on the second floor of the Gabrielle-Roy library.  You can get details on the Croquistes de Quebec website.

Yvan and I went there last week to see how things would work out and we had a ball.  Drawing from the work of other artists is a time-honored way of learning and I do it a lot, mostly by drawing pieces of sketches of sketches I like in an attempt to understand how the artist made the marks and what they were thinking when they did it.

On this day, however, I hopped a train to fantasyland.  Instead of my normal fountain pen tool, I picked up a brush.  I did a watercolor portrait, based upon a painting by Marie Leberge.  The work itself violated my detail-oriented approach and certainly, my lack of skill with watercolor and brush showed through.  Even so, I had a ball doing it and learned a lot.  I sure missed my pen, though (grin).  Anyways, be at this sketchcrawl.  We’ll have fun.

7.5×11 Fabriano Artistico CP, Daniel Smith watercolors, based upon portrait by Marie Lepage

 

 

Kicking The Year Off With A Croquistes De Quebec Sketchcrawl

We had a great sketchcrawl on Friday.  Yvan arranged for us to sketch at the Université Laval Collections and somewhere around a dozen sketchers showed up.  Some of us sketched stuffed birds, mammals and insects while others took advantage of the large collection of plaster heads.  Still others sketched items in the large display windows outside the facility.

It was made particularly special because some of the people who showed up were not using the typical pen & wash approach that so many of us use.  Johanne was using charcoal and a white pastel pencil to capture likenesses from the plaster heads, while others did beautiful renderings with pencil.  It was fun to talk with them about their approaches and to appreciate the results.

I did a lot of talking because, unfortunately, my arthritis flared up in my drawing hand.  It does this on occasion and is not only painful but it hampers my ability to draw.  I did do one sketch before it got the better of me though.  It is a tufted-ear squirrel.  I think it’s Sciurus vulgaris but I’m not certain of that as there was no label on the specimen.

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

In spite of my hand, I had a ball because of all the great people in attendance.  It’s hard for us to have sketchcrawls in winter because it’s so cold outside, so it’s special when one is as successful as this one.  Thanks to Yvan for organizing it and to Madame Wagner for hosting us.

Sketching With The Jesuits

Last Sunday we met at the Maison des Jésuites de Sillery as our monthly Croquistes de Québec sketchcrawl.  Our time window was short because these small museums that are scattered around Quebec don’t open until 1PM during the winter but they are warm and they do have stuff to draw.   This particular place is a large two-story house, associated chapel, and the foundations of the original church that was across the street.  Contained within it are a bunch of artifacts that tell the story of this 18th Century missionary settlement.

While most were drawn to displays on the second floor, I couldn’t resist the golden eagle that was on display.  Halfway through the drawing I was wishing I’d chosen something else.  Did you realize that eagles have a lot of feathers?   I did like this view, however, as it’s a little different than the typical sideways, head up of most eagle photos/drawings.  Anyways, here’s what resulted from my interaction with this beautiful bird.

Stillman & Birn Beta softcover (8×10), Pilot Falcon, Diluted DeAtramentis Document Black

September Sketchcrawl At Jardin Des Gouverneurs

jardin-des-gouverneursThe Croquistes de Québec will hold a sketchcrawl at the Jardin des Gouverneurs on September 11th, starting at 10 AM.  That’s the little gem of a park just south of the Chateau Frontenac.   It should be lots of fun as the park is beautiful, with lots of great sketching subjects.  I hope to see you there.

2016 Nouvelle France Sketch Fest

The Croquistes de Quebec held their August sketchcrawl in conjunction with Quebec’s Nouvelle France event, a time when people dress in 18th Century garb, some act like pirates, minstrels, swordsmen, etc. and everyone has fun.  This year was no exception.

I apologize for the blog going dark for a while but it seems that the busier I get sketching, the less time I have to write about it.  I’m going to try to make a push to get caught up but this sketchcrawl event took place on August 4th so you can see how far behind I am.

My goal that day was to talk as much as possible, eat a lot, and do a bunch of quick sketches.  No long sit-down sessions for me this day.  They can be placed in two piles.  The first are the people in costume and here are few examples of those:

Stillman & Birn Alpha (5.5x8.5, DeAtramentis Document Black

Stillman & Birn Alpha (5.5×8.5, DeAtramentis Document Black

2016-08-04-59NouvlleFrance32016-08-04-59NouvlleFrance4

I didn’t limit myself to people, though.  I did some quick vignettes of scenes surrounding the venue.  Sorry that I haven’t written more but if a picture is worth a thousand words maybe the sketches make up for it. I’ll leave you to peruse these sketches cuz I’ve got a bunch of scanning to do 🙂

2016-08-04-59NouvlleFrance7 2016-08-04-59NouvlleFrance6

S&B Alpha (5.5x8.5)

S&B Alpha (5.5×8.5)

Fetes de Nouvelle France Sketching

LtoR - Celine, Pierre, Yvan, Larry

LtoR – Celine, Pierre, Yvan, Larry

2015-08-09NouvelleFrance8Tomorrow starts a five day event called Fêtes de Nouvelle France.  This is to commemorate the founding of Quebec but also a celebration of an earlier time of 3-cornered hats and beautiful clothes.  Truth be told, the dress donned by participants varies from that of a peddler to that of a king and this provides infinite sketching subjects for those who can sketch while people are wandering around.  They do sometimes stop to pose for people taking photos and sometimes actually stop and talk to one another.  All these things help as we try to capture them on paper.

On Sunday, the last day of the event, the Croquistes de Québec will hold their August sketchcrawl event an I encourage any and all to show up to sketch with us.  It’s always a lot of fun.  If you come to the event on any other day, look for the fat guy with a sketchbook in his hand and we can sketch together.

 

June Sketchcrawl at Galerie Louise-Carrier in Levis

levis-galerie-louise-carrier

Our next monthly sketchcrawl (June 19) should be fantastic.  We’re holding it in conjunction with an event that’s held every other year at Galerie Louise-Carrier in Levis.   In addition to the gallery’s exhibition of nature artworks, the artists of those works will be on site and other activities will take place in a park area next to the gallery.

I went two years ago and they had art demonstrations, acrobats, activities for kids, and a woman doing trick horse riding.  It was a real circus atmosphere and very much a target-rich environment for sketchers.  if you’re interested in drawing architecture, the entire neighborhood can be your playground as the gallery is in the older part of Levis and the architecture is stunning.

2013-06-24YvanBreton_smYou can get more information on the event from the Croquistes de Quebec website or the Louise-Carrier gallery website.  Whatever you do, don’t miss this one.  Bring a lunch, your pointy devices and some paper and be prepared for a great day.

Rain In The Alleyways

Last Sunday was our May sketchcrawl through the alleyways of Limoilu but things didn’t go as planned.  My first sketch was interrupted by rain, big drops hitting the sketch before the ink had dried that created ink splats to form on the page.  A quick run to the coffee shop where Yvan and Ginette shaking off their own rain.

This was Ginette’s first sketchcrawl and we had a great time getting to know each other as we sat in the cafe, sketching people.  Clearly she was the highlight of this sketchcrawl as it just went downhill from here.

We are almost desperate to sketch outdoors and the sketchcrawl was supposed to be our first outdoor sketchcrawl of the year, so when the rain stopped we headed out again to do the proverbial try, try again.  Same results, and in my case it was worse – another sketch ruined.  We decided to pack it in and that was probably a good thing because almost immediately the rain started coming down in buckets.

Stillman & Birn Delta (8x10) softcover, Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

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

The attempts to sketch alleyways put me in the mood to try again as in Quebec City alleyways provide large shape-clusters that are both appealing to me and challenging, particularly all the stairways going up the back of the structures.  So, when the weather turned nice on Wednesday, I headed out to sketch.  Here are two sketches I did that day.  They don’t have any color on them because I forgot to put my watercolor kit in my bag.  Hope you like them.

Stillman & Birn Delta (8x10) softcover, Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

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