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

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Last days in Brazil - Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro is by far the most chaotic and huge city I have been to so far. Traffic is crazy bordering on dangerous, there are tons of people everywhere at all times, it is full of noise, voices, music, laughter. In one word: life.

To say that I was a bit overwhelmed when I first got there is a huge understatement. Coming from tiny Luxembourg this place couldn't be much more out of my comfort zone.

However, once you get used to its rhythm, Rio de Janeiro is a beautiful place, a place where thousands of things happen at once, with a lot of things to do, see, attend.

I arrived in Rio on Tuesday early afternoon with other sketchers and we immediately made plans to meet at Sugar Loaf to see and sketch the sunset. However, as things go, between heavy traffic and other unexpected events, I ended up alone. Which was fine in the end, for the weather was not particularly good and I only made one drawing of the wonderful view.

This was my first attempt at sketching a sunset and I find it to be quite a challenge. The light changes constantly, within seconds. I definitely need to practice this.

So confusing to sketch!!
The next day I met with some sketchers for a day long sketchcrawl in the Santa Teresa neighbourhood.

Rafael, one of the Brazilian sketchers, had organized a workshop with Marc Holmes and Liz Steel for some of his students and he served as our guide during the day. In the end we were about 12 people exploring the area sketchbooks in hand.

The view from Santa Teresa is beautiful. However, cityscapes are such a complicated subject, one that I don't master yet, so I tried a very minimalistic approach to suggest more than show the city.

Rio de Janeiro
Sugar Loaf, high buildings and a colourful favela in the middle
With all these sketchers in one place, there must be at least 6 drawings from this vantage point. 

Sketchers in Rio
Busy bees
Even during breaks my companions would be sketching, so, shamed into drawing more, I would pick up my fountain pen and watercolours and draw as well. These sketchers were so inspiring!

Santa Teresa
I was fascinated by the electricity lines
Rafael invited us to a place called Bar do Mineiro for lunch where we had some delicious local specialties including feijoada. Thank you so much for your kindness, Rafa!

Lunch at Bar do Mineiro
Food first, sketching after
As night started to fall surprisingly early for me (in spite of the wonderful weather it was winter there after all, I was just still in summer mode) we slowly went down the hill, occasionally stopping for a sketch here and there.

As we were sketching this building, a woman came to us with a huge poster of the house next to it, saying how her house had been featured in a calendar and won some prize. She even gave us posters to take with us. I suspect she hoped we would come back to sketch her house as well.

Gloomy house in Santa Teresa
Gloomy house and our guide Rafael
Rafael also took us to a great bar called Rio Scenarium, full of antiques and live samba music you could dance to. By then I was too tired to be able to make a decent sketch, so I stopped and just enjoyed the place and company.

The rest of my stay was more relaxing and I sketched much less. Nathalia, one of the sketchers from Rio took me to the botanical garden, for example, where we sketched the beautiful vegetation.

I made this sketch using the Super5 fountain pen I received at the symposium, filled with their green ink (Dublin).

Jardim botanico in Rio
Beautigul garden well worth seeing
We then had lunch with Karina Kushnir, another sketcher, and her boyfriend at a place called Do Horto. It was a lovely day alltogether and I really enjoyed getting to know the girls a bit better. I'm happy to say that we have been in contact through email since then.

O Horto with Brazilian friends
Nathalia and I sketched each other. It was a fun moment.
My flight back to Europe was scheduled for Saturday evening, so I spent my last few hours in Rio with some of the sketchers from Rio (Karina, Nathalia, Rafael, Roberta) and some of the remaining international sketchers (Liz, Emma) in a café called Cafecito in Santa Teresa again.

Those moments were really bittersweet for me. It felt so great, so natural to be there with like-minded people. I could imagine meeting them more often for other sketchcrawls or just sketching around a cup of tea or coffee, exchanging stories and drawing tips.

Cafecito in Santa Teresa
Cafecito has a wonderful terrasse, it's a very cute place
These few days in Rio de Janeiro were the perfect way to extend the symposium mood for a bit longer. I have to admit that it was not on the top of my list of places to visit, but I ended up loving the experience. 

Hanging out with other sketchers made it feel a bit like home and I wouldn't mind going back in the least. Thank you guys for making it a wonderful place to be!

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Quiet Paraty after the Symposium

My experience of last year's symposium taught me that I would probably not have much time to explore the city on my own, so I had arranged to stay a few days longer in Paraty before heading for Rio de Janeiro.

Turns out there were several other participants and instructors doing the same, so the positive symposium vibes continued for a while longer. It was great to have more quality time with some of the sketchers, getting to know each other a bit better and sketching together.

So between lively lunches and dinners...

Dinner with KK, Tia and her husband, and Stephanie
Dinner with KK, Tia and her husband, and Stephanie
Moqueca with the ladies
Dinner with Mona, Martine, Francesca, Jessie and Genine
... and sketchwalks to discover Paraty, time went by way too fast. Time definitely flies when you're having fun!

We even went on a boat trip on Sunday morning. I didn't sketch much that day. I guess I needed a break from drawing, and I was enjoying the ocean and people so much anyway.

I spent my last morning in Paraty on my own, discovering the city and sketching in my own pace. I found this cute VW Beetle in the harbour and couldn't resist sketching it. It must have belonged to a French fan of the Olympique de Marseille. At least that's what I assumed because it had their logo on it.

Fusca fan de l'OM
I want one just like that (without the OM sign, though)
I also had time to sketch one of the beautiful colonial buildings using the approach taught by Delphine in her activity. I have to say it definitely makes things easier and more fun for me.

Colonial house in Paraty
I love how colourful the houses are in Paraty
As I kept seeing more and more Beetles, I decided to make a composition that I will call Fuscas de Paratí when I figure out which font I want to use. I saw all these cars in the same day. They were everywhere!

Fuscas of Paraty
So many colourful Beetles! I want one now...
Funny story about the top one without headlights, When I started sketching it, its owner arrived with three little girls and started getting ready to leave. When he saw I was drawing his car, he stayed a bit longer to give me time to finish.

Turns out he was Portuguese and had moved to Paraty a few years ago with his family. His daughter told me that the car was called Marcela.

In the afternoon I went to Jacqueline Guimarães' atelier. I met her during one of the workshops and she invited me to see her work. There was a power outage that day, so Jacqueline decided to close up shop for the day and come for a walk with me.

She took me to different beautiful spots and told me many interesting things about Brazil and life in Paraty.

We wanted to see the sunset from Praia da Jabaquara, but it was getting too cold for us (it was winter after all), so we had to leave early.

Praia da Jabaquara
Waiting for the sun to set on Praia da Jabaquara
For my last drawing for the day, and in Paraty in general, I wanted to document the big rocks that pave the streets of the historical centre. A drawing of rocks is not the most exciting thing, though, so I decided to add one of the many stray dogs. It was night already and they were all so peaceful. Actually these dogs looked pretty well treated and were very friendly in general.

Dogs of Paraty
Jacqueline told me that the inhabitants feed them
I loved Paraty! It is such a cute, peaceful and interesting place. There are a lot of cultural events throughout the year (actually there was going to be a sort of watercolour convention the next week) and the people are very friendly. 

Being there with so many other sketchers only made it more fun.