Sketching Together: July 12th

Jean D'ArcFor a while we had regular sketchcrawls in Quebec City.  With each one we gained more and more participants because everyone found them so much fun.  Well, just like the Terminator, “We’re back!”

Yvan Breton has proposed that we have monthly sketchcrawls on the second Sunday of every month.  These will be informal events with time and location suggested but otherwise, it’s up to you to bring your sketching materials and lunch.  You’ll get out of these events what you put into them but most people immediately start enjoying the comaraderie of the events and they learn from each other about techniques, tools, and maybe different ways to enjoy sketching.

Women enjoying the ambiance of Parc Jean D’Arc


Kiosk at the west end of Parc Jean D’Arc

Our first event will take place in Parc Jean D’Arc, on the Plains of Abraham, on Sunday, July 12th.  We’ll start at 9:30 and finish no later than 4:00, with a lunch break somewhere in between.  For more information, Yvan has set up a web page with all the information here.  We hope you’ll join us.

Quebec City: 44th Worldwide Sketchcrawl

Twas that time again and to participate in the 44th Worldwide Sketchcrawl we all gathered at the Jardin Botanique Roger-Van Den Ende de l’Université Laval.  French names are often more than a mouthful.  This is a large garden run by and adjacent to Laval University.  The university gave us the run of the place, a very large place with tons of flowers and other things to sketch.  We couldn’t have asked for better weather than we got.  Sunny, warm but not stifling hot and the garden provided considerable amounts of shade, though not always in the required spot.

It was difficult to count the participants as we spread out across the landscape.  Maybe we should have had a “sketcher hunt” the way kids hunt for Easter eggs as you could walk the trails and find sketchers scrunched down over plants, drawing away, or hiding in the shade while trying to draw an arbor.  By my count, however, we set a new sketchcrawl record with 27 participants.  Everyone seemed to have a good time.

20140712_122421The name of the game was to find some shade, identify something to draw, and then “just do it” as the saying goes.  Much sketching was done on this day but we broke for lunch a little after noon and met in a large tent that exists for this purpose.  It was fun to see most of the sketchers all in one place and to kibbitz and share sketches.  Unfortunately, I took photos of this before everyone arrived but by the time they did I was embroiled in conversation and sketchbook swapping.

Here is evidence of sketching being committed and the perpetrators (click on a photo to see a larger view):

20140712_102838 20140712_103013 20140712_103151 20140712_103200 20140712_103230 20140712_103516 20140712_103622 20140712_105336 20140712_105525 20140712_110128

And here is a small sampling of the sketches that were done this Saturday:

20140712_102856 20140712_102952 20140712_103020 20140712_103530 20140712_124158 20140712_124204 20140712_124220 20140712_124226

This post is getting long enough that I think I’ll wait until tomorrow to post the sketches I did when I wasn’t taking photos of sketchers (grin).  By the end of the day I think we’d all learned and/or remembered a few important things.  These are:

1) Sketching is fun.
2) Sketching with other people is funner.
3) The shade moves quickly in Quebec City this time of year.
4) Anticipation – we’re all looking forward to the next sketchcrawl.

Quebec Sketchcrawl: Musee De La Civilisation

Saturday, January 25th is the date for the 42nd Worldwide Sketchcrawl.  It’s very cold in Quebec City this time of year so we’ll be having our sketchcrawl indoors at the Musée de la Civilisation.   We’ll be at the museum from 10h to 16h, breaking for lunch at mid-day.  Bring a lunch or buy it at the museum but we’ll gather at the museum cafeteria around 12:30.

Participation, of course, is free.  Normally, entrance to the museum is only available from 10h to 12h but the museum has generously offered free admission to all participants regardless of your time of arrival.  Just let them know that you’re with the sketching group.  Coat check is also free.

2014-01-05Haiti_72It should be a great day as there’s plenty to tempt you to put pen to paper.  While a bit bizarre, the Haiti In Extremis exhibit offers some macabre sketching possibilities.

The newly refurbished and expanded Native American exhibit is also full of goodies to sketch, from snowshoes, utensils, weapons, carvings, paintings, mannikins all waiting for interest a sketcher.


There is a large computer games exhibit and while it’s mostly a bunch of boxes on which you can play video games, there are a number of possibilities for sketching as well, including a full-sized sculpture of the lead character for the Assassin’s Creed III video game.

2013-12-27Assasin's Creed_C72There are also a lot of interior architecture possibilities as the building itself has a lobby area that is an architect’s dream.  I still need to do some sketching there.

Of course the star of the show right now is the Paris: 1899-1914 exhibit.  Here you’ll find a room filled with old camera and movie projector equipment and ongoing movies from the period.2013-11-22Mutoscope_72


Stillman & Birn Zeta (6x9) sketchbook, TWSBI Mini w/Platinum Carbon Black ink

There are a lot of sculptures, busts, and vases if that’s your preference.  You’ll also find a number of early vehicles, including a  steam-powered car.


Stillman & Birn Zeta (6x9), TWSBI Mini, Platinum Carbon Black

The exhibit also holds a lot of very large posters as well as floor-to-ceiling projections of photos, taken in Paris in the 1900s.  I did this sketch from one of those.

And, of course, a Paris exhibit wouldn’t be complete without pieces that represent the cabaret scene of the era.  Lots of great stuff to sketch in that part of the exhibit.

Cabaret page, sketched at Musee de la Civilisation

In short, you won’t want to miss this sketchcrawl as we’re going to have a ball.  I hope you’ll join us.  And from the organizers, Yvan Breton and Celine Poulin:

 ———————EN FRANÇAIS———————

Bonjour chers croquistes,
La prochaine sortie de croquis du 42e Sketchcrawl à Québec aura lieu au chaud du Musée de la Civilisation samedi le 25 janvierprochain.
Nous nous retrouverons à partir de 10h (accès gratuit).
Pour plus d’information, voir l’annonce à la page suivante :
Au plaisir de faire du croquis en votre compagnie.
Yvan Breton et Céline Poulin






41st Worldwide Sketchcrawl – Quebec City

This is the second year that we’ve done the October worldwide sketchcrawl.  It’s a challenge for us because, by this time of year, it’s generally pretty darn cold.  Last year I learned a new French word – frissoner – which means to shiver.  So, only the intrepid among us are up for outdoor sketching in October.

This year was a bit different and our weather on Saturday was really pretty nice… for us.  You can see that we’re not wearing shorts and t-shirts,

Coatsbut Robert and Celine are merrily sketching a large building that sits high on a cliff above the Farmer’s Market, the site of our sketchcrawl.  Celine even manages to sketch while wearing these,

Gloveswhich is something I’ve never managed to do.  We made up for a lack of temperature with an abundance of laughter, talking, and sketching.  It was a great day and by my count, we had 14-15 people in attendance.  I remember, during the planning of our first sketchcrawl (June 2012), we wondered whether anyone would show up at all.  We’ve come a long way.

I did get to do some sketching and had great fun doing it but the most fun was talking with several of the newcomers to our ranks who were interested in my use of watercolor pencils (Faber-Castell Albrecht-Durer) and wondered what sketchbooks I used (Stillman & Birn).  We chatted about sketching in general, about having sketchcrawls more regularly, where to sketch during the Quebec winter, and a lot of other things.  This was a sharp contrast to my more typical loner stalking of sketching subjects in Quebec City.

Gilles Charron was one of the guys at his first sketchcrawl.  He’s been a watercolorist for a while and lamented that he should have been drawing more.  He made up for lost time, though, doing these two sketches during the event.  Aren’t they great?

Croquis 1_Gilles Charron Croquis 2_Gilles Charron





Yvan Breton and Celine Poulin organized the event and a big thank you is launched in their direction.  I don’t have a photo of Yvan at this event but his art speaks volumes about his talent.  I do have a photo of both Celine and her artistic talent.









I think I’ll skip posting my own sketches from the day as this post is filling up fast.  Maybe I’ll post them tomorrow.  For now, I leave you with a look at the art and faces of some of my friends

2013-10-19-FarmersMarket-41stSketchcrawland some of the sketches they did during our sketchcrawl.  Thanks to all the participants; you made the day very special.

2013-10-19-FarmersMarket-LucienSketch Bethann Claudette Legumes poirief Robert_piments Robert_Seminaire

The 40th Worldwide Sketchcrawl On July 13th

The 40th Worldwide Sketchcrawl has been scheduled for Quebec City.  I hope you can make it to this event, which is anticipated to be our best ever, and with good reason.  We’re going to meet near the St. Jean Gate into the old city and sketch in the rue D’auteuil – Artillery Park area.  Lots of people to sketch, lots of great architecture, and some really nice park areas if you want to sketch trees or just sit and enjoy the ambiance.


DATE: Saturday, July 13, 2013
TIME: 10:00 to about 15:30
LOCATION: rue D’Auteuil – Artillery Park near the St-Jean Gate
COST: Free unless it rains as we’ll all run for the Artillery Park museum (see below) which costs $4.


We’ll meet near the St. Jean Gate and begin sketching at 10AM.  Around mid-day, we’ll break for lunch, have fun seeing everyone’s sketches, and have the inevitable sketching discussions.  Those who arrive late and those who remain with us for the afternoon will sketch until around 15:30, when we can once again enjoy each other’s sketches.


This is a sketch I did of the Artillery Park Museum entrance, which is just inside the St. Jean Gate.

The weather will be beautiful, I just know it will … but otherwise we will gather in the Artillery Park Museum.  We’ll have to pay the $4 entry fee but they have agreed to allow us to sketch the museum holdings.

Celine Poulin and Yvan Breton are the organizers and we all hope to see you out sketching with us!  Please invite your friends, and feel free to circulate this invitation!

Have You Ever Gone Sketch Floating?

Saturday was 39th Worldwide Sketchcrawl day and we held ours here in Quebec City.  Unlike most parts of the world we’re still cold this time of year.  In fact, we just got six inches of snow.  But we were fortunate to have anticipated an unfriendly weather and scheduled our sketchcrawl so that we could be inside or out and still have fun.

This is a model of the ferry boat we were on all day.

This is a model of the ferry boat we were on all day.

We all met at the ferry boat dock and then spent the day going back and forth across the St. Lawrence River (takes about 10 minutes) between Quebec City and Levis, the town on the other side.  There are actually two ferries and they change places from their respective sides of the St. Lawrence every 30 minutes.

Claudette, talking with one of the passengers

Claudette, talking with one of the passengers

And the situation couldn’t have been better for sketching.  It was too cold to go out onto the decks, at least for me, but inside the first-class passenger area it was warm and accommodating.  The area is complete with toilette facilities, drink and snack vending machines, and comfy chairs.  We were surrounded by large windows, complete with slightly sloped ‘shelves’ for us to rest our sketchbooks as we sketched outdoor scenes.  Both sides of the St. Lawrence present great views of interesting architecture and there were things nautical all around us.

Susanne, showing proper use of the window "studios" we were provided.

Susanne, showing proper use of the window “studios” we were provided.

The line up: Pierre, Celine, and Katherine

The line up: Pierre, Celine, and Catherine

Yvan, taking a break while talking with Peter.

Yvan, taking a break while talking with Jean-Marc.

We had ten people show up for the sketchcrawl and a lot of sketching got done.  The one sad thing, for me, is that some didn’t seem to ‘get’ the notion that group sketching is a social event that should include a sharing of sketches as well as conversations about them. Some left without even saying goodbye.  So, unfortunately, I don’t have the typical group-sketch photos and I don’t have sketches from other people to share.


Here’s a photo I took over Claudette’s shoulder.  The quality of her sketches is surpassed only by her bubbly personality.

2013-04-13TugBoatOf course, I do have my own sketches.  This first one is a small sketch I did as an experiment, which demonstrated that I didn’t know what I was doing (grin).  I tried to ‘draw’ the sketch using watercolors, adding some ink lines afterwards.  It was done in a Stillman & Birn Alpha (4×6) sketchbook.  I have much to learn about using watercolors.

2013-04-13FromFerryI did two other sketches, one from the front and the other from the back of the boat.  Both were done with my new TWSBI Mini and Noodler’s Lexington Gray ink.  I really enjoyed working in my new Stillman & Birn Zeta (5.5×8.5) sketchbook.  I hope these sketches reflect the cold, dreary day you see in the accompanying photo.DrearyDay2013-04-13FromFerry2


39th Worldwide Sketchcrawl In Quebec City

*** Les détails sont disponibles ici, en français.

I’m excited about our upcoming participation in the 39th Worldwide Sketchcrawl.  Quebec City sketchers are going to ride rather than walk during this sketchcrawl.  Maybe we should call it a sketch cruise.

traversieralphonse-desjardins-ext-ete4_STQOur organizers, Celine Poulin and Yvan Breton, have planned an event you won’t want to miss as we’re going for a boat ride.  Starting at 13:00h, Saturday April 13th, we’re going to board the ferry that traverses the St. Lawrence Seaway, between Quebec City and Levis.  Once on the boat we’ll sail the ocean’s blue, going back and forth between the two cities, sketching to our heart’s content.  We’ll can sketch from the indoor passenger rooms and their large viewing windows or from the decks themselves.  There are bathrooms, vending machines, and seats available.

Total cost will be $3.10 for a ticket and if you’ve got a monthly bus pass, it’s free.  What could be better than to have two coastlines and numerous ships and boats to sketch, as well as a steady stream of passengers.

traversieralphonse-desjardins-extmonde8_STQYou need to check the weather and dress accordingly.  You’ll need your sketching gear and a lunch.  Oh, no ability or talent is required – just some paper and a pointy device that can make marks… and a smile.  We thrive on smiles.  I hope you’ll join us.

Event Details

Date: 13 April (Saturday)
Location: Quebec City ferry dock
Time: 1300h
Cost: $3.10 (unlimited number of ferry crossings) – free if you have a monthly bus pass.

Les détails sont disponibles ici, en français.

If you’d like or need more information, you can contact me (French or English) at  While it’s not required that you R.S.V.P. it would be nice if you let us know that you’re coming so we can look for you.

Sketching On Toned Paper

I’m no expert to artist materials.  Most of the time when I talk about using them the discourse begins with me saying “This is the first time that…”  This is almost true of my use of toned paper in my sketching activities.  During last summer I made a small sketchbook from toned paper (Canson Mi-Teintes) and I did a few pen sketches in it.  Unfortunately, the sketchbook itself wasn’t stiff enough (thin covers) to work well as a sketchbook to use on location while I held it in my hand.

Now that it’s winter and very cold here, I’ve been working a lot in museums.  This shift in location and subject matter has been coupled by me doing some experimenting with different tools and materials and recently I’ve done a couple sketches on single sheets of gray, toned paper and I thought I’d share them here.

2013-01-15Nigeria6_700The first was done at the Musée de la Civilisation, in a large Nigeria exhibit that features lots of masks and headdresses used in ceremonies.  This one was done in Canson Mi-Teintes paper.  As I am also trying to learn how to use a pencil as a sketching medium, I used the smooth side of this paper and it worked well.  Not being a pencil guru, I started layout with a 3H pencil and ultimately ended up with an HB mechanical pencil.  Nothing special here and, I’m sure, most pencil experts will probably cringe that I didn’t use softer pencils.  I added a bit of highlight using a Prismacolor white pencil but I was fairly tentative in this as I’ve never done that before at all.  Still, the results ended up better than I expected.

The next sketch I did was done during our 38th Worldwide Sketchcrawl, which we did at the Musée de Francais and its associated chapel.  The chapel has been ‘secularized’ and is rented out for meetings and banquets.  Still, its walls are still adorned with statues of saints, the windows are stained glass, and a huge alter remains.

2013-01-08Seminaire38thSketchcrawl700But I love to sketch buildings and being driven indoors by snow and cold is frustrating.  I took advantage of the sketchcrawl to set my tripod stool in front of a huge window that looked out on a courtyard that was bordered by a very long, probably 150+ feet long building.  Rather than capture the entire structure, I decided to concentrate on a slice of it and I came up with this sketch.

This sketch was done on Strathmore Series 400 “toned gray” paper.  I bought a 9×12 spiral sketchbook of this stuff.  The sheets are perforated and can be easily separated from the sketchbook.  I did the linework with a Pilot Prera filled with Noodler’s Lexington Gray ink.  The suggestion of snow was added using the same Prismacolor pencil I used in the first sketch.  I like this paper a lot.  It’s much cheaper than the Canson paper and it’s a great pencil paper.  I felt that it was a bit too absorptive for ink, though.  A heavy line tends to feather a bit.

I really like drawing on toned paper.  I’m less wild about using single sheets of paper for my sketching and wish Stillman & Birn would create a gray version of its Epsilon sketchbooks.  A sketcher has to have a dream (grin).

38th Worldwide Sketchcrawl in Quebec City

I received this from Celine Poulin, via email:

38e Sketchcrawl à la Chapelle du Musée de l’Amérique française

Bonjour à tous les amis du dessin,
Un 38e Sketchcrawl aura lieu à Québec le samedi, 19 janvier prochain. Voici les renseignements pertinents :
Lieu : Chapelle du Musée de l’Amérique française, 2 Côte de la Fabrique (à côté de la Cathédrale de Québec)
Coût : Gratuit (annoncer au guichet que c’est pour l’activité de croquis)
Heure : 13h
 Apporter son banc ou sa chaise pour plus de confort.
Pour infos :
Pour ceux qui veulent visiter le musée avant l’activité, c’est gratuit de 10h à 12h le samedi (janvier et février seulement)


chapelle_2For those unfamiliar with French, the 38th Worldwide Sketchcrawl will be celebrated by Quebec City sketchers on Saturday, January 19th at the chapel associated with the Musée de l’Amérique française which is at 2 Côte de la Fabrique (next to the Quebec Cathedral).  This chapel was secularized for banquets and meetings but it’s gorgeous  and should be great for sketching.

This is a free event.  Just tell them at the door that you’re there for the sketching activity and they’ll let you in.  We’ll start at 13:00.  Bring your materials, and if you have one, a stool, as it will be more comfortable than standing all afternoon.


You can get information about the site here:

View Location Map
Lastly, if you would like to visit the museum, during January and February it is free from 10-12h on Saturdays.


36th Worldwide Sketchcrawl – Quebec City Style

Last Saturday I and a group of more talented sketchers took to the streets of Quebec City as part of a worldwide “sketchcrawl”, to spend the day sketching our fair city.  I could tell you all about it.  I could show you pictures.  But that’s already been done better than I could at the Drawn to Quebec blog so click thee to the photos and discussion.