First Outdoor Sketch Of The Year

We’re starting to get a few days that are warm enough to get out and some of them are coming without rain.  I finally got to sit on my tripod stool, in the corner of a parking lot, and draw this house.  I was working more quickly than normal but thoroughly enjoying the process. A couple people came by and we talked about spring finally arriving and I felt that finally, really, really, it had.  Hope you like this sketch.  I hope to be presenting a lot more of them in the coming months.

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

Stopping By The Local Plant Nursery

Gosh, it’s been a while since I’ve posted.  I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately, maybe because winter just won’t leave us (it’s snowing right now) and I haven’t been sketching as much as I normally do.  A group of us did go out to one of the plant nurseries for a day of sketching, though, and I was attracted to a collection of plant boxes.  It’s not a fancy scene as the boxes were sitting on simple boards supported by concrete blocks, but I found the shapes interesting.  Here’s that sketch.  Hope you like it.  Hope we get some decent weather soon, too.

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

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)

Garneau Velo (Bicycle) Museum

A large producer of bicycles and bike gear is Garneau, Inc. and they are based in Quebec.  They have a factory and store just outside of town and associated with it Garneau has a small bicycle museum.  On display are really early vintage bicycles and tricycles, some made entirely from wood, but also some Schwinn bikes I had as a kid.  I guess that makes them ‘early vintage’ too.

Our group went there yesterday and we had a great time.  There were six of us, which was just about right for this small single-room museum.   Guylaine sat down to draw a Schwinn Stingray bicycle.  It’s classic banana seat and high-rise handlebars brought back lots of great memories.  I decided that rather than drawing a bicycle alone, it would be fun to draw Guylaine drawing the bicycle.  Here is my attempt at that.

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

I find wooden bicycles to be quite marvelous.  The museum had quite a number of them, but I decided to draw this very large (front wheel is 29″dia) tricycle.  The amazing thing is that aside from the wheel bearings, rear axle, and pedal crank, the only metal in the bike is a y-shaped yoke that connects the body frame of the bike to the fork/handlebars.

Since it was all wood, I thought it fitting to draw it with brown ink so I used a Pilot 78G with DeAtramentis Document Brown ink for this sketch.

 

Drawing On Red Toned Paper

I got my first taste of drawing on red paper when Field Notes released a set of small notebooks containing brightly colored papers.  I posted a bunch of the sketches I’d done at that time.  The only problem with this was that I find drawing in Field Notes to be unsatisfactory because of the very soft nature of their softcover and their very thin floppy nature.

A large wooden sculpture with a stone face looking out of it.

I was in the art student coop here and found some light card/cover stock in red and I bought a couple sheets of it.  I wasn’t sure it would handle fountain pen ink but at $0.39 for an 11×17 sheet of the stuff I thought I could take a chance.  As it turned out, it’s really nice to draw on as I found out the next day when I went to our museum.  Here are those results.

A couple baskets and some sort of megaphone made of leather

Road Trip To The RedPath Museum In Montreal

I’m a really lucky guy.  Why?  Because I’ve got a daughter who’s been accepted to the McGill Law program in Montreal.  Who cares, you might ask.  Well I ask you, what better excuse could there be for a certain sketcher to go to Montreal and sketch in the many great sketching locations that exist there.

My first trip took place last week, when my daughter went to an orientation at the law school.  It was a great day.  I emailed (is that a verb yet?) Marc Taro Holmes and asked if he was available.  Good timing and a bit luck found him having the day free for sketching.

We met at the RedPath Museum on the McGill campus and I spent the day attention torn between concentrating on my drawing and talking to Marc and watching him do some amazing watercolors.  For this post I’ll stick with showing you what I drew that day.

This heron and I spent some time together.  He (she?) was beautiful.  I was doing this standing up and when it came to the paint I ran out of hands, which led to things being out of control, and that’s putting it mildly.

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

When we finished up in this part of the museum we decided to go upstairs to draw.   The stairwell is filled with a bunch of stuffed animals.  It was a very overcast/rainy day and this part of the museum was pretty dark but I decided to draw the head of a hippopotamus.  As I sat on the steps, I could see the outline well enough but there was considerable guesswork regarding the various undulations on the body of the animal.   It was both frustrating and fun to try to think about how the muscles would run around the head/neck of the animal.

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

We’d had a long discussion about whether one should use pencil or not.  This internet meme is very popular and I don’t ascribe to it, though I’m very much in favor of leaving the eraser at home.  I’ll probably talk about it at some later date but here I’m only going to say that I decided to do some pen-only drawings.

I was fascinated by this very primitive stringed instrument, formed by a drum-like body with sticks strung through it to raise up the “drum” cover so that a bridge could rest on it to hold the strings.  The neck of the instrument was a long, somewhat rough stick with frets formed by ropes wrapped around it along its length.  I hope I’ve captured it well enough to show these features.

Stillman & Birn Beta (8×10), PIlot Falcon, DeAtramentis Document Black

I was getting sort of tired at this point but just to the right of where I was sitting was this clay statue that had a grass skirt and a bunch of feathers on its head.  I quickly sketched it but didn’t completely finish it as time ran out.  I played with some color when I got home but I don’t think it improved it much, if at all.

This day was a great day.  Heck, I think any day at the RedPath would be, but it was particularly great because the discussions that Marc and I had were fun and watching him work magic with watercolors was very insightful and inspiring.  Ain’t sketching and the sketching community great?

 

Mini-Sketchcrawl At The Morrin Center

Hubert, a member of our Tuesdays group, arranged for us to sketch at the Morrin Center.  This is an anglophone service center that holds lots of wine-drinking soirees and has a wonderful old library, with leather-covered tables, beautiful old railings and stairs, and an ambiance that can’t be beat.  The building itself used to be a women’s prison and they’ve retained a couple cells in the basement in their original form.  I think you could fit all the anglophones who live in Quebec City into this building and still have room for the wine (grin).

I decided to draw a bust that was sitting in front of one of the windows.  It wasn’t a particularly good cast but I liked the guy’s beard and mustache, which gave me ample opportunity to drive my Pilot Falcon around in my Stillman & Birn Beta (8×10) softcover book.  I’ve thought about adding some watercolor shading and may do that but I haven’t found the time.  Sorry.

Another Trip To The Hunting And Fishing Museum

Oh my goodness.  It’s been ten days since I’ve posted.  I’m running as fast as I can but it just isn’t fast enough.  I’ve done some more extreme sketching, went to a gathering at the Morrin Center in Quebec City, my daughter came home for “reading week” and we just got back from Montreal where I got to spend the day with Marc Taro Holmes.  I’ll try to get blog posts written on all these things in the next couple days, but today I want to show you a couple more sketches that I did when several of us went back to the Quebec hunting and fishing museum.

I was struck by this duck because I had never seen one before and I didn’t know what it was.  There was no label on it.   I drew it because of its atypical orientation but it wasn’t until I got home and talked with Mr. Google that I found out that this is a a Eurasian duck called the Ruddy Shelduck and that it’s very common in India.

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

With so many beautiful animal subjects at the museum it’s easy to ignore the multitude of antique and modern fishing and hunting equipment on display.  But on this day I was struck by a long row of antique fishing bobbers, or floats if you prefer that term.  While they did have an example of modern, red/white plastic bobbers, most of them were very old, wooden bobbers.  Rather than drawing them in a row, I created this composition and liked the result.  Hope you do too.

Stillman & Birn Beta (8×10)

Winter Chill Means Sketching At The Museum

It’s winter and so my feet move me, without thought, to the local museum for sketching sessions.  This day was no different and I found myself in the tiny “attic” display of all sorts of stuff, including this shelf.  I probably drew it smaller than I should have but what the heck – I use less ink this way (grin).

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