One of the great things about Quebec City is that there are a lot of free concerts. Many are associated with the conservatory here and are mostly students – really good students.
Another source of free concerts are the ‘mid-day’ concerts associated with the Grand Théâtre de Québec. This venue is the site of operatic and symphonic programs, musical plays, and a bunch of big name but not big venue performers. I saw B.B. King there.
The mid-day concerts are held on the second floor foyer, however, and once they’ve set up a stage and a bunch of chairs, it’s about the size of a decent sit-down night club without the booze, though you can get coffee and danish.
And that’s where I was today, to listen to a fantastic group of six jazz singers, all people too young to have so much talent. I arrived a little after ten AM and the concert didn’t start until eleven, though I got a mini-concert as the group went through a couple numbers, getting warmed up and checking equipment, I suppose. With little to do besides look out the window, that’s what I did. I got together with this pine tree, which also didn’t seem to have much to do, and we made this sketch together. We had a good time together.
But when Yvan arrived, the fickle friend that I am completely ignored my pine tree friend. Yvan and I talked about sketching, his new sketchbook, the Series 400 toned paper that Strathmore is selling and some other stuff. When we could, we went up and staked out some primo sketching seats, saving one for Celine.
Celine and Yvan are quite comfortable doing really great sketches of singers and musicians. Myself, I still struggle with people who are moving around a lot. Heck, who am I kidding. I still have trouble sketching people who are comatose. Yvan has explained, in his patient manner that ALL I have to do is choose a position the person returns to frequently and sketch that position. So far my brain hasn’t gotten the message as it can’t quite sift through all the movement. Practice, practice, practice…
While I tried to sketch the singers, I didn’t do so well. So, I sketched people who were in the audience. These were all very quick sketches – another problem my brain has when in a crowd of people moving around. My brain goes into “you’ve only got a minute, dummy, go fast…blindingly fast.” So, while these spectators were going to stay put for me for the duration of the concert, I was doing 1-2 minute quick sketches. Darn brain.
All of these sketches were done in a 3×5 sketchbook using a Platinum Carbon Black fountain pen, filled with PCB ink. I’ve come to like this pen a lot for detail sketching as it’s really fine, like a .005 Micron. I’m not so sure about it as a people sketching pen for the same reason – the lines are just too fine.
The music was fantastic, being with my sketching buddies always a good time, and there’s no such thing as a bad sketch if you view sketching fun as coming from the process, not the result. I do.
As long as I’m talking about people sketching, here’s a slightly better sketch I did the day before, of a cooperative guy who sat reading. He changed his position only once in the 10 minutes or so I spent sketching him which I thought quite considerate. This sketch was done with my Hero 578 “Chinese calligraphy” (tip bent upward) pen, Noodler’s Lexington Gray ink, and a Stillman & Birn Epsilon sketchbook. You can see that I can get variable line thickness from this pen and I think it adds something to the sketch.