A Slow-Sketcher Approach To Bird Sketching

If molasses could sketch, it would do so at the same rate as I do.  This is a problem mostly when I try to sketch crowds of people, highway traffic, bee hives, and… BIRDS!

I love birds but gosh they won’t sit still.  Audubon had a solution.  It was called a shotgun, but I’m an urban sketcher and, even if I were so inclined, me thinks the authorities might frown on that method.  So what can a molasses sketcher do?  Ah HA, says I.  A solution I have found.  Here’s what you do:

1) Get a 12″ x 12″ piece of 3/4″ pine.  Home Depot is a good source.
2) Using a scroll saw, cut out the profile of the bird you want to draw.
3) Paint it in suitable colors.  I recommend Sibley’s Field Guide to Birds for color reference.
4) Drill a 1/2″ hole in the bottom edge of the cutout.
5) Shove a 1/2″ dowel into the hole.
6) Go to your garden and shove the 1/2″ dowel into the ground.
7) Get a nice cold drink, a lawn chair with a glass-holder, and sit down in front of your bird.
8) Draw your bird as slowly as you like.  Life is sweet.
Monologue A6 sketchbook (4x6), Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

Monologue A6 sketchbook (4×6), Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

Group Sketching Without The Group

Can you have a group sketching event without a group?  I wonder.  This was attempted, it seems, last Saturday in Quebec City.  According to the published schedule of Collectif des ateliers libres en arts visuals de Québec, a local portrait group, we were all supposed to meet on Terrace Dufferin at 10AM.  I was there.  Yvan was there.  But nobody else showed up, not even the guy who was supposed to coordinate the event.

So, our group was small, but our will was mighty.  It was a very hot day, one of the few we’ve had thus far but Yvan and I found some shade, sketched and enjoyed each other’s company.

I need practice drawing stuff where I have to look up and so I did a sketch of the old postal building that sits at the end of Terrace Dufferin, with a bit of an information kiosk in the foreground.  It’s an odd view and only part of the building but it turned my crank so I put it to paper.  All in all, we had fun, though this is tourist season and we sort of got overrun.

Stillman & Birn Alpha (9x6), Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

Stillman & Birn Alpha (9×6), Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

One of the really fun things about being a street sketcher is the audience, particularly the kids.  Kids are curious about anyone who draws.  They relate to it.  Kids are also afraid to engage with adults so they have to be invited, with smiles and words.  I smile.  I say hi.  And before you know it, we’re engaged in conversation and they are a breath of fresh air.  Unlike adults, they don’t tell you you’re sooo talented.  They don’t tell you about how they’d like to do art but they don’t have the time/patience/ability.  Instead, they tell you that they draw too.  They ask you if you like it.  They want to know how the paint thing (waterbrush) works.  Maybe I like them because I think about art on this level.  I don’t know.  I share with you a photo of me interacting with some kids on this day.  I didn’t know Yvan had taken this photo but I’m grateful that he did.

photo: Yvan Breton

photo: Yvan Breton

Sketcher Gets Rained In

On Thursday, I headed out for a sketch walk and it was kinda cool.  There hasn’t been much summer in July for us.  I was sort of wishing I’d grabbed a jacket but I figured the walking would warm me up.  Then it started to rain and I decided otherwise.

Monologue (4x6), Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

Monologue (4×6), Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

Following a short run while wishing I had my raingear, I ended up in a small coffee/tea place on 1st Avenue.  I was the only one in the place.  It was not the most arto-genic place I’ve been in but it was dry so I ordered a coffee and took a seat near a window, which didn’t provide a very inspiring view either.  Sigh.

Monologue (4x6), Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

Monologue (4×6), Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

I drew this teapot that was sitting in the window.  I drank some coffee and followed up with a poor sketch of this funny-looking lamp.  When the coffee was gone and the rain had let up, I decided to head home.  There’s always tomorrow.

More Backdoor Sketching

I’m spending more and more time looking at the backs of buildings.  If I’m not careful someone will call the cops on me.  But there are some areas where these views open onto main streets and so opportunities to be driven nuts drawing porch railings and stairs do exist in Quebec City.  Here’s one example.

Stillman & Birn Alpha (9x6), Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

Stillman & Birn Alpha (9×6), Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

 

 

Wandering The Streets

This is the time of year when I wander the streets, sketching whatever turns my head.  This year has been weird as while typically ‘hot’ is the watchword, this year there are many days when I find myself wishing for a jacket.  Today was one of those days.

I came across this odd building in the St. Roch area.  Clearly there has been a patchwork of additions to the structure over the years.  The principle entry is on the other side of the building and it appears to be a bed and breakfast place now.  All the peaks on the roof made it a fun subject.

Stillman & Birn Alpha (9x6), Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

Stillman & Birn Alpha (9×6), Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

When I finished I headed downtown and sat in one of the small parks to each lunch.  I’m a tourist watcher of the first order, a trait I acquired early on when it was the only way I could hear people talking in a language I could understand.

Monologue sketchbook (4x6), Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

Monologue sketchbook (4×6), Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

As I ate a very small man sat down on a bench near me.  He had on a hat that was far too large for him and this reminded me of sketches I’d seen just that morning.  They were in Lapin’s newsletter which presented several sketches of people, drawn with heads much larger than normal, dwarfing their bodies.

I decided to try it with this guy while doing a quick sketch of him.  I failed miserably as while I did make his head larger, I didn’t make it large enough to pull off the style.  It just looks like I drew the head a bit too large, which, I guess I did.   Oh well, turn the page and move on.  I include it here only because I do a lot of quick sketches and rarely post any of them.