Polar Bear Sketching As Winter Approaches

It’s becoming difficult to sketch outdoors in Quebec City.  It’s comfortable to walk as long as one wears proper attire but to sit and sketch for any period of time is beyond my capacity to endure.

So now the scramble to find indoor subject matter begins.  Claudette and I met at the Université Laval library and their small natural history exhibit.  It’s a small display and we’re running out of sketching possibilities but I decided to draw the head of a polar bear who, I suspect, had ducked into the library just to get out of the cold.  Sketchers aren’t the only ones that find Quebec winters harsh.

I had fun doing this in my Stillman & Birn Delta sketchbook, though it’s only a 6×8 and I would have like a larger format for this sketch.  Have I mentioned how much I like Faber-Castell Albrecht-Durer watercolor pencils?  They’re the only ones I’ve found where a waterbrush can completely eliminate the pencil lines.  Anyways, I hope you like Mr Polar Bear, though he might be a she.

polar bear

Stillman & Birn Delta sketchbook, Pilot Falcon w/Platinum Carbon Black ink

4 thoughts on “Polar Bear Sketching As Winter Approaches

  1. In your search for sketching opportunities, maybe look to the mundane? I’m imagining micro sketches at the dentist office, library with stacks of books, the auto shop, post office, even views from your home’s windows. Every day, tucked into warm rooms, there are chances to capture normal life, be it birds at a feeder glimpsed through the window, or a pile of boots and mufflers stacked near the door. Hope that helps. I’m enjoying your blog, learning to see, and sketch, as I go.

    • hee..hee.. Chris, this is good advice for anyone. Too often I see amateur artists tie themselves in knots looking for “great subjects.” I admit that I chuckled since your advice was directed at me as I’m the guy how has said, in this blog, “I guess I’m more of a “mundane sketcher as I like the challenge of creating something that looks good from something most wouldn’t even notice” (Sept 2014), ” Being a fan of mundane urban accessories, I decided to draw…” (Oct 2013), and “As an urban sketcher, with a penchant for the mundane, I…” (July 2013). In short, I’m a strong believer in sketching the mundane.

      I also like your “micro-sketch” idea and have filled at least a dozen 3×5 sketchbooks with sketches from doctor’s offices, libraries and coffee shops. I don’t think it satisfies all my desires as a sketcher but I do it a lot, though most of those sketches don’t get posted to the blog.

      Where my psyche has trouble with the rest of your ideas, though, is the idea of sketching things inside my house. I know it’s hard for most to understand this as most people are studio artists who may or may not sketch on location. Me, I can’t motivate myself to sketch at home, whether it be ‘through the window’ or ‘pile of boots’, I just don’t find it interesting. Sketching, for me, is all about the process, not the product and part of that process is going somewhere to find something to sketch. If you search my blog you’ll find many examples of sketches done in “doctor’s offices, libraries and coffee shops” and I agree these are nice places to draw. I only wish I enjoyed sketching people more as they are the principle subjects in such places.

      Cheers — Larry

  2. I hear ya. . . I’m already worrying about where I’ll go to sketch in the long months ahead. Great bear! You could bring your bigger sketchbook next time and do the whole bear. So was your process with this to apply the watercolor pencil on location, then activate the color with water later because you aren’t allowed to use water on site? I do that too, although I also sometimes enjoy using watercolor pencils dry for the interesting textures (on slightly toothy paper).

    • Last things first. I did all the coloring on location, solubilizing and shoving around the watercolor pencil with a waterbrush. So far I haven’t had anyone question their use in the museums.

      This time a year is tough on those of us who wander the streets. I suppose it’s the same for soccer players. My own thoughts are turning to what I might do that’s different from my norm. Maybe working on larger paper, doing still life illustrations, or maybe even finishing up a couple neglected novels I’m supposed to be writing 🙂 I know I want to improve my understanding and gain some mastery over watercolors.

      Cheers — Larry

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