Monday, 29 December 2014

A Merry Christmas

It's funny how Christmas is one of the most awaited periods of the year and when it comes you barely have time to register it.

This year I spent a few days with my parents and brother. Nothing fancy, just lots of delicious food, good mood and a few presents to make it all even better.

I also found some time to scribble a few things here and there.

The Advent wreath was lit one last time until the cadles burned out.

End of the Advent
The Advent wreath has done its time
The delicious turkey was very much appreciated.

Turkey in the oven
Turkey delight
And Christmas decorations added warm light to the jolly mood.

Christmas light
Took hours to complete, but it was a fun little companion
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas time, whether you celebrate it or not, and wish you a very happy New Year!

Thursday, 18 December 2014

A few JKPP portraits again

It's been a while since I did some portraits for Julia Kay's Portrait Party.

I have so many photos stored that I don't know where to start or just don't always have the motivation.

It was time to practice again, though, so here are some I did lately.

What attracted me to this photo was the pronounced shadows on the face. I really wanted to show that the sun was shining on it. 

I was less inspired with the background, but I like it this way
I loved the moustache on this one. I challenged myself with the hair, trying to put the right highlights were needed. I think the moustache got good. I'm less happy with the hair, though. Practice makes perfect!

Again, the background...
I knew I wanted to use different paper and medium for this next picture. I think it looks a bit like an old children's illustration book. This paper is very tricky to handle, so there are always surprises, but I like it.

"Martine au salon de thé"

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Sketch crawl at Krëschtmaart

For the latest outing of Luxembourg's sketch crawl group we went on a tour of a few Christmas markets, or how we call them in Luxembourgish: Krëschtmaart.

Every year the city gets illuminated with Christmas lights and several markets appear on strategic locations.

We (this time only Leen and I) started out at Place d'Armes, where you can find a lot of food stalls, music and even a carousel and blacksmiths.

There were pumpkin carriages, elephants, ducks, bears, even a Mickey Mouse

They were crafting angels out of metal
Before heading out to another one we made a stop at a coffee shop called Kaale Kaffi (litt. cold coffee). Luckily they also had hot beverages and we were able to warm ourselves up.

It was my first time there and I have to say I loved the place. It's full of second-hand clothes and old items that you can buy. One of the waiters told me that the interior decoration was constantly changing.

In short: a sketcher's paradise.

Kale Kaffi
Very elegant mannequins

Kaale Kaffi
Apparently this Thierry Mugler piece is very popular
Leen and I finished our tour at the Christmas market on Place de la Constitution, where the Gëlle Fra (litt. golden lady) is.

What I love about this particular market is that every year they dedicate one part of the location to one specific country or region. This year it's Alsace, so you can get tasty tarte flambée (or Flammekueche, as they call it there) and other specialties from that region.

There is also a ferris wheel and even a Santa Claus waiting for people to take photos with him inside a giant bubble. It almost looks like a giant snow globe.

Santa at the Krëschtmaart
Santa seemed a tiny bit lonely in there
I have to admit that I had to push myself to go out and sketch, with the cold and all, but I'm really glad I did. It was fun to be among the Christmas crowd and to experience the Krëschtmaart in a different way.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Draw Tommy Kane

I love Tommy Kane's work. I don't know if it's his style or his humour I like most, or even his clever self-promotion.

He just seems like a nice guy. Someone I would love to hang out with.

He has this Tumblr account called Draw Tommy Kane, where he showcases portraits of him made by anyone who would like to draw him.

Check it out, it's quite fun to browse through this big diversity of drawings.

Here is the one I made.

The squirrel is a last-minute addition. He seems to like them and he has this very cool drawing of a squirrel with a gun.

There happened to be some tape with a squirrel on it among the presents I got from my friend Sari for my birthday, so I added it.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Little things from Japan

I have this friend in Japan, Sari, whom I mentioned in a previous post.

We met in Strasbourg for a language exchange (French-Japanese) when we were both studying there.

We ended up speaking mainly French because I was too shy with my very limited knowledge of Japanese.

One day, we had an interesting conversation that went something like this:

Me (very proud to be able to say one full sentence in Japanese): Kyou ha, watashi no tanjoubi desu. (Today is my birthday)

Sari: Heeeeee?! Me too!!

Me: Really?!

Sari: Yes! What year were you born?

Me: In 1981, and you?

Sari: Heeeeeee?! Me too!!!

Me: So we were born the exact same day?! Just on the opposite side of the planet!

The following week we both had a small present for each other, without having previously agreed upon that.

And that's how it's been between us ever since. Every year we send each other a present.

This year I got a very cute package including a bookmark in the shape of a fan, some colourful masking tape and an assortment of crayons.

I found it all so cute that I just had to draw it for posterity!

Present from Sari

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Virtual Painout November 2014: Luxembourg

I have been waiting for this location for a while now and here it is: this month, the Virtual Paintout is taking us to Luxembourg!!

Of course I had to participate again.

Choosing the reference view was slightly easier this time. After all I knew exactly where to look.

This place is located in Hesperange, one of the neighbouring communes of the capital.

I like it because of the view of the old castle over the restaurant.

I used exclusively watercolour pencils and added a few stronger lines in ballpoint pen to give it a bit more depth.

Luxembourg - November 2014
I was considering to move to this commune at some point
Check out the original image to compare.

Friday, 31 October 2014

InkTober - part 4

Woohoo! I made it!

I had never used ink as much before. It really was quite a challenge and very interesting to explore new ways to draw with only this medium.

Next year I might add a theme to the challenge. At least it will remove the added work of having to find a new subject every day. We'll see.


The next Cristiano Ronaldo
Inspired by Mucha
This little guy was too cute to resist
Tribute to Audrey Hepburn (sort of) in Funny Face
Little underwear thief?
He looks like he's blushing at some compliment
Autumn is in the air
King of the forest
This is as scary as I can draw, lol
You can see the rest of the sketches here: part 1, part 2 and part 3.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

InkTober - part 3

I can't believe I have gotten this far with the InkTober challenge!

To be honest, I expected to skip a few day here and there, maybe even entirely give up halfway through the month.

So, although I'm not thrilled by all my drawings, I am proud to have kept at it until now.

22 days done - 9 left!

Saw this huge butterfly in Vienna's butterfly house.

I got this little guy in a Kinder Egg. It has a brush and 2 colours.

Larry couldn't quite overcome his shyness.

Looooove Alfred Hitchcock's movies!


I found this toy in a museum in Vienna. Kids love it!

Fight the giants!

Poised to take off.

Monday, 20 October 2014

45th Worldwide SketchCrawl

The 45th worldwide SketchCrawl took place last Saturday.

This time I met with Zeta, the sketcher who also attended the USK Symposium in Paraty, and one of my good friends, Tessy.

The weather was wonderful for this time of the year and we were able to sketch outside.

Our first stop was at place Clairfontaine in the centre of Luxembourg-City.

It is a lovely little square with a beautiful statue of the Grande-Duchesse Charlotte.

I was in a mood for colour and experimentation, so I mainly used my watercolour pencils and then a normal pencil for some details.

Place Clairfontaine
Choosing the colours was tricky, but I quite like this combination
After a short break and hot coffee we decided to continue to Den Huelen Zant (literally the hollow tooth), a ruin from the fortress surrounding the city and a very popular tourist attraction.

Huelen Zant
These remains from the past are among my favourite things in Luxembourg-city
It was such fun to be out sketching with the girls in the knowledge that all over the world fellow sketchers and friends were doing the same. 

Can't wait to see their sketches of the day.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

InkTober - part 2

Here is the second part of my InkTober drawings. I find that the hardest part so far is choosing a subject. Which is why I turn to the internet for inspiration.

Unfortunately, as so often happens when surfing the web, I don't always remember to write down the source (or it simply is not specified where I find the picture).

So if you recognize one of your photos, please let me know so I can credit you appropriately.

In any case, I hope you enjoy my work inspired by yours!

A jolly Buddha!
Difficult to catch the movement of the wings
Can can!
I love apes!
It reminded me of Finding Nemo
By Odin, more beer!
This one reminded me of La Fontaine's fable, The Lion and the Rat

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Glimpses of Luxembourg City

Since my return from Brazil I have been trying to go out sketching outside on a more or less regular basis.

Having a motivated sketching partner like Zeta, whom I met at the symposium, is definitely helping with that.

Here are a few sketches from this last month.

This one I made on my first sketch crawl with Zeta. We went to Place Guillaume II, or Knuedler as we call it in Luxembourg.

I remember last time I tried drawing this exact view I got very frustrated with the result and didn't even scan the pages.

You can see the rooftops of the cathedral on the left and part of the city hall to the right of the page.

View of Place Guillaume II (aka Knuedler) in Luxembourg City
Keeping it simple
A few weeks ago a good friend of mine came to visit and I had some time to sketch when I took her to see the area of Kirchberg where the European institutions are.

It was my first time sketching there and, apart from the trees, I'm happy with the result.

You can see the European Parliament in the middle of the page. The other buildings are a hotel, a tiny piece of the Philharmonie and not sure what else. Either another hotel or a bank, I think.

I have to find strategies to draw simplified trees
Finally, last weekend I met with Zeta again. This time we went to the area called Grund, in the valley surrounding the city.

I love this old part of the city with its cute old houses, the river and beautiful view of the fortress.

In this sketch I tried to draw the reflections in the river Alzette.

Although I don't dislike the result, I think I muddied up the colours a bit. It is such a tricky subject!

Grund, reflections, Luxembourg
There were some ducks as well, but I chose not to sketch them

Thursday, 9 October 2014

InkTober - part 1

This year I decided to take on the  InkTober challenge, an initiative created by Jake Parker.

Participants are supposed to make one ink drawing a day during the entire month of October and post them on their blog (or any other social media tool) using the hashtag #inktober.

The purpose of this challenge is to improve our skills and form a positive habit of exercising every day.

This is supposed to be fun, so there is no real pressure to make one drawing every single day, but that's what I am trying to do this month and I have been good so far.

I have been posting my drawings on Instagram so far, as it is a much faster way to share them, but I will post compilations of them throughout the month on this blog as well.

Here are the 7 first days. You can also check my dedicated album on Flickr which I will be updating regularly to see them all together.

Field in Provence

Snoopy and Charles Schulz

My shoes

Nose picking giraffe

Malala Yousafzai
Monkey in the bathtub