When Sketchers Go For A Walk

We sketchers talk a lot about how sketching causes us to see and experience the world differently and we imply strongly that we do this better than non-sketchers.  Here’s an example from my Tuesday:

I met three friends, one of whom had just returned from an extended vacation.  Disappointed by a problem at the ferry we went and had coffee together.  Then we went to McDonalds for a burger.  It was a good day.

Exciting, right?  Makes you wish you were there I bet.  Maybe not.  Maybe you’re saying “Geez Larry, get a life.”  But what if I include the sketching aspect:

2015-03-03FerryI met up with three friends at the ferry on Tuesday morning.  We were all excited as one of us had just returned from an extended vacation and the anticipation of seeing her drove me to the ferry dock.  We had to take the ferry to meet our friend on the other side but the plan was to go back and forth on the ferry, sketching both sides of the St. Lawrence from the warm confines of the boat.  Only the rules had changed and stopped our plans in their tracks.  So, when we met up with our friend on the other side, we decided to head to a cafe instead.  All I managed to sketch from the ferry were some tiny few-second sketches in a Baron Fig (3×5) sketchbook.

Cheap tan paper & Namiki Falcon

Cheap tan paper & Namiki Falcon

We went to a cafe/restaurant called Paillard.  We got coffee and started chatting up a storm as we broke out our sketchbooks and pen.  Then the group went silent and our coffee cooled.  It’s true that sketchers regularly ignore their friends when they get together, but we do it in unison so it’s ok.  It was fun drawing something and then sneaking looks at everyone’s sketchbooks to see what everyone else was drawing.  We had a great time.

I’m trying to finish up a cheap, tan paper sketchbook, which is perfect for this type of quick-sketching.  The red people were done with a Pentel 8-color multi-pencil.  The tooth of this paper was too much for colored pencil, however, so I struggled with it going dull on me the second I put it to paper.

same tan paper & Pentel Multi-pencil

same tan paper & Pentel Multi-pencil

Between the chatting, coffee drinking and sketching, I guess we spent 1 to 1 1/2 hours at the café and then decided that we were a bit hungry and that maybe we could get seats looking out from the second story windows at McDonalds, which was just down the street.

Have you noticed that when sketchers draw for a while the number of pens, pencils, paints, and other stuff accumulates all over the tables?  And when the group decides to move, there’s a lot of activity as all that stuff gets put away.  Only then could we start the Quebec City ritual of donning the three layers of clothing, hats and gloves that allow us to go outside.  All that to move a hundred yards down the street.

As it turned out, we did get lucky and did get those seats at McDonalds.  To be honest, I was more interested in the burger and fries than I was sketching.  While there Yvan gave me a great lesson in using line width variation.  I hope that this, and a bunch of practice will help me improve.

When the eating was done, though, I decided to see how much of the street scene I could draw in a few minutes.  No planning, no angle measurement, no nothing.  Just a Zebra 301 ballpoint pen scribbling as fast as I could move it.  The result is certainly not as precise as my typical, molasses-paced drawing style but it was a lot of fun and was a great end to a great day.

See…it’s true that we sketchers do it better.  Don’t you wish you’d been there?

Quick-sketch (about 10 minutes) in a Baron Fig (3x5) notebook with a Zebra 301 ballpoint.

Quick-sketch (about 10 minutes) in a Baron Fig (3×5) notebook with a Zebra 301 ballpoint.