Yet another Samurai helmet. This is the eleventh one I’ve done and I think it’s time to move on, though there are still a bunch of cool ones to sketch. This one, like the others, was done in a Stillman & Birn Epsilon (5.5×8.5) sketchbook, using a Pilot Prera loaded with Noodler’s Lexington Gray ink. Faber-Castell watercolor pencils made it pretty. I couldn’t help but think about propeller beanies while doing this one.
It’s been bitter cold in Quebec City so my sketching itch has me haunting the Musee de la Civilisation on a regular basis. Maybe it’s too regular. I have evidence.
First evidence came from a guard. I was sitting with my buddy Yvan, who was drawing a horse statue as I recall. A guard came by and offered him a chair (we normally sit on our sketching stools). When he returned with the chair they started chatting about Yvan’s sketch. Then the guard mentioned the ‘other’ guy who draws a lot in the museum. “He stands in the Samurai exhibit and makes very nice helmet drawings.” At least he thought they were nice.
The second bit of evidence is even more clear that I’m going there too often. When you are a museum member like I am you have to go to the info counter and show them your membership card. They write your name down and give you the sticker you’ve got to wear to have the run of the museum just like those paying for a single visit. Two days ago I walked towards that counter and before showing him my card the guy said, “You’re Larry Marshall. What do you do here every day?” Yep…coming too often. But we had a quick chat about sketching and I showed him my sketchbook, and my Samurai sketches.
It seems time to share some more of them with you as well. While those who follow this blog have seen some of them here, here and here, I’m including five more in this post. Click on them to get larger images. Lots of fun to sketch and some are significant challenges but I need a building sketch fix.
All of these were done in a 5.5×8.5 Stillman & Birn Epsilon sketchbook, using a Pilot Prera pen with Noodler’s Lexington Gray ink. Color comes from Faber-Castell watercolor pencils and a waterbrush which is idea for use in a museum. Hope you like them.
Cheers — Larry
2012 represents most of my sketching experience to date. I started trying to draw cubes back in September of 2011 but I didn’t start doing any location sketching until spring of 2012 as the Quebec snow melted. It’s been a fantastic journey as I’ve climbed the early stages of the sketching learning curve. I thought it might be fun to do a ‘ 10 favorites’ post, where I present what I think are some of my best sketches of the year. I’m often accused of being ‘down’ on my sketches. Here’s my chance to show people that I’m actually happy with some of them (grin).
Because 90% or more of my sketches have been done on the street and most have been buildings, I thought I should vary my choices by selecting one sketch from ten different categories, just to increase the variety. So, here they are. I hope you like them.
This is, by far, the hardest selection. I’ve done a LOT of building sketches and none of them really stand out as extraordinary, though many are personal ‘favorites’. I’ve chosen this one because it, in the extreme, is the brightest (grin).
Pete Scully, by example, caused me to notice and sketch fire hydrants. I don’t know what it is about them but once you start looking at them you realize they vary considerably and that fire hydrants have oodles of personality. I chose this one because I like the composition.
I’ve tried drawing from photos and it’s ‘ok’ but sketching, for me, is about going places and seeing things. But winter in Quebec City is just too cold to be outdoors so we’re all driven indoors. At first I found that depressing but once I saw the Samurai exhibit at our museum of civilization, I was hooked on indoor sketching. I started sketching Samurai helmets, which are amazing, serving to protect heads as well as indicate status, identity, and even to serve in ceremonial roles. It’s hard to choose a single helmet sketch as I love these amazing pieces of hardware. I chose this one as it nearly drove me nuts drawing all those flame thingies.
This was hard as I haven’t drawn many people. It’s on my ‘to do’ list for 2013. But I chose this one, a very simple sketch, because I liked the way I was lucky enough to capture the movement of this guy’s coat as he walked along.
Quebec City has an active port so I’ve sketched several ships. I chose this one because I remember struggling with all the decks and railings. I also have memories of how much fun I had that day as I sketched with my buddy Pierre.
Quebec City is heavily populated by domes and steeples projecting upward from their supporting structures. I love sketching them and have done a bunch of them. I chose this particular sketch because it features both domes and steeples in a single sketch.
Maybe you have to be an urban sketcher to appreciate them, but I like telephone poles and all the wires, transformers and connectors that hang from them. I did this sketch on blue paper and liked the way it turned out.
I’ve drawn a bunch of trees but mostly they’ve been ‘studies’ where it was just the tree and nothing for supporting material. This one, however, was done one day when Pierre and I headed out one Sunday morning looking for things to sketch. It was a crisp autumn day and the maples had started to change colors. I decided to make the tree the main attraction, putting the building in the background.
To fulfill my promise of ten sketches, I’ve added this vignette to complete the set. I was sketching with my friend Nicolas and we were sitting in a church yard, a church that has become a library. I looked over my shoulder and could see part of this restaurant, liked the red umbrellas and so I drew it. Again, it brings back memories of a good day.
I’m looking forward to 2013 sketching. For a while I’m going to have to work indoors but sometime around April we’ll start having a day or three where it’s tolerable to sketch outside and you’ll find me on the streets all summer. Happy New Year, everyone.
Today was a new sketching experience for me. Most of my sketching has been directed at buildings; mostly on the streets of Quebec City. But as I’ve reported, winter has driven me into museums and so I’ve been boring you with sketches of Samurai helmets and Nigerian masks.
My sketching buddies, who are all better sketchers than I am, are similarly afflicted with the ‘It’s Too Cold To Be Outdoors Sketching Blues’ and Celine decided to do something about it. She invited Pierre, Yvan, and myself to her house for a sketching session in her studio.
Her studio is a wonderful place, with lots of spot lights, tables and shelves full of “stuff” to sketch. It was hard for me to turn my back on her great art library, but we were there to sketch so we did.
Pierre pointed at a bowl of artificial fruit and said, “I want to sketch that” and just as though following orders from Capt. Picard on Star Trek, we followed his orders and ‘made it so.’
Celine set up a spot light over the fruit and we sat in a circle around the fruit bowl, and sketched…and sketched. It took me forever as I’d never done a still life of any kind. Does a building count as a still life?
I’m still getting used to using watercolor pencils and this sketch taught me a few things, including some “gonna have to figure out how to…” sorts of things. One thing I found interesting is that they didn’t seem to work as well in my S&B Beta sketchbook as they do in my S&B Epsilon sketchbook. I guess the smoother paper of the Epsilon keeps the pigment higher on the paper, making it easier to wash them out evenly. With regular watercolors I really prefer the Beta paper as it’s so much thicker.
Here’s my completed sketch, done in a Stillman & Birn Beta sketchbook (6×8), using a Pilot Prera and Noodler’s Lexington Gray ink. Don’t tell the urban sketchers I did this one. They might drum me out of the corps, though it was done ‘on location’ so I guess it qualifies. I’m still reading the fine print on such things.
Sketching fruit works up an appetite and Celine and Pierre had prepared a feast for us. My usual sketching lunch is a granola bar and an apple so I was completely unprepared for a heavenly soup, fine cheeses, crackers, and fruit. This was followed by dessert and a yummy oolong tea. Let it be written that Larry ate too much.
And then it was back to sketching. Well, I indicated some reluctance as I was once again buried up to my nose in Celine’s art library. So many books…so little time. Eventually I found myself sketching a small ceramic statue of a blue jay. It’s the first bird I’ve ever sketched. It’s also the first bird that’s ever stood still long enough for my slow sketching pace to capture it. Thanks, bird. Here it is, done in the same sketchbook, same pen, same ink, same limited abilities.
We finished up with discussions of sketching and Yvan, as usual, provided some great insights. His skill is enormous, and exceeded only by his patience for my silly questions. I write this as the end to a perfect day. Thanks again, Celine.
The last few days have been stormy here. High winds, snow, and general ugliness. No big deal except that I haven’t been able to follow my normal walking regime. With mild desperation to right that wrong, I trudged off today, or rather I was slipping and sliding down the sidewalks. I was jumping mounds of snow, walking on water…well, really just in it. After an hour of this joyous adventure I found myself at the Musee de la Civilisations, my winter haunt.
I sketched only one Samurai helmet today, though. This one was a bit more challenging, with all its fire ornamentation and besides, I had another hour of slipping and sliding to get home. It was fun anyways and while I’m beat from the walk, it was a very satisfying day. I think, though, that I’m going to sit and sketch for a while.
The sketch was done in a Stillman & Birn Alpha (5.5×8.5), which is becoming my museum sketchbook. I used a Pilot Prera and Lex Gray. The color comes from Faber-Castell “Albrecht Durer” watercolor pencils, mushed around with a waterbrush. This is an approach that fits the museum world and works for me, though I’m still learning how and what to do with them.