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.
I’ve been sketching for about ten months now. When I started my goal was to be able to draw some of the unique buildings here in Quebec. That is still my goal and I’ve been happy with my progress. Heck, I’d be happy with any progress as I spent most of my life believing you had to have special talents to draw.
I’ve approach that goal in single-minded fashion, first drawing a gazillion boxes and finally buildings. It’s only been recently that I’ve even added trees and such to my building sketches. I think that trying to keep it simple has helped me considerably as I climb the learning curve.
But I’ve met a group of sketchers that have me conflicted over my approach. They meet once a week and draw portraits. They are Yvan, Denis, Jean-Marc, Sylvie, Katherine, Catherine, Han, and Celine. While their names don’t mean much to you, take my word for it; these are some of the nicest, most talented people you’d ever want to meet.
I met some of them during our recent sketchcrawl, and I decided to attend their portraiture session last night. I didn’t sketch. As I said, I’m trying to stick with buildings and while the US Government can decide that corporations are people, I have a hard time convincing myself that people are buildings.
But the ‘esprit’ of that evening session, and the enthusiasm of its participants, is infectious and I’m afraid I have been infected. I shouldn’t. I know I shouldn’t. Stick with the plan, Larry. But…but…I feel the need to participate. My only participation last night, aside from being amazed by the sketches done by these artists, was to pose for a 20-minute session. It was fun. I hope to do it again. If you’ve ever wondered what I look like, this sketch by Yvan is a very good likeness.
In conjunction with the Worldwide Sketchcrawl effort on July 14th, We’re having a sketchcrawl here in Quebec City. I hope you’ll join us for some sketching fun.
Date: July 14th, 2012
Time: Start at 10:00 AM
Location: Meet at the Plains of Abraham’s Jardin de Jeanne D’Arc (corner of Rue de Bernieres and Avenue Tache)
Cost: Free; but you will have to provide your own materials. Bring your favorite pointy devices and sketchbook. Also, we will picnic at lunch time so bring food and drink. There are water fountains on both ends of the garden and restrooms are available.
If you’d like more information, please contact:Bethann at email@example.com or Larry at firstname.lastname@example.org (418-525-4985)
We’d love to know in advance if you plan to participate but drop-ins are also welcome.
Here’s something you won’t see in many urban sketcher’s sketchbooks, an Inukshuk. The Inuit have used these for years to provide directions, mark locations, and even to aid in caribou hunts. Because of this, you can find these human-like rock piles scattered across the northern parts of Canada… or in souvenir shops, as miniature versions are quite popular.
This one, however, is in downtown Quebec City, on the Parliament grounds. I’d guess its height at ten feet. Yesterday wasn’t the optimal time to sketch it as there are barriers up around the grounds due to construction so I couldn’t get as close as I’d like, nor could I view it from its front, the optimal way to sketch an inukshuk (“in-ooo-shuck”). But, I was there; it was there; and I sketched it as, these days, I’m interested in rocks and how to depict them.
This sketch was done in a Stillman & Birn Beta (6×8) sketchbook, using a Pilot Prera pen filled with Noodler’s Lexington Gray ink. Winsor & Newton artist watercolors provided the color. I REALLY like the Beta sketchbook paper. So thick, so friendly to both pen and watercolor. I’ve become quite spoiled by my Alpha series sketchbooks but the Beta series is yet one step better for the kinds of sketching I do.
Any inukshuks in your town (grin)?
If you’re like me, you’re always looking for examples of OPS (other people’s sketches). It’s how I learn. How did they depict foliage? How are they shading? What colors are they using? What are they doing to simplify complex objects? For me, this part of the quest to be a good sketcher is a considerable chunk of the fun.
And so, as I wandered a huge, ‘buy by the kilogram’ book sale yesterday, I was flipping through books on all kinds of subjects, looking for sketching examples. It’s at such sales that I can justify paying a buck for a big book full of sketches about subjects that aren’t of particular interest to me otherwise. And while all this page-flipping doesn’t often yield results, it’s sort of a treasure hunt for me and what young boy (I’m only in my 60s afterall), doesn’t like a treasure hunt.
And so it was, yesterday, when I came across the motherlode in the form of Town and City Gardening by Michael Miller, and more importantly, illustrated by Anne Ormerod. the cover caught my eye immediately. The book presents a lot of ideas for hanging gardens, gardens in very small spaces, and a lot of architectural things associated with small gardens. And while there are photos, the book is heavily populated with gorgeous sketches of plants, gardens, windows, doors, and planters. These are split about 50:50 between black and white and color sketches but all are magnificently done in ink, with watercolor washes when done in color. I paid about a buck for my copy. From what I can tell it’s out of print but the link above does take you to a copy for sale via Abebooks, for a buck.