Wednesday, 9 December 2015

People gazing at the Christmas market

For the last sketchcrawl of the year, the Urban Sketchers Luxembourg decided to aim for the Christmas market in the capital.

This time around we were quite the crowd, with 10 people spreading around the place to sketch the little houses, the people, the surrounding buildings.

I started with the best intentions of capturing a scene of the whole market or at least a portion of it, but somehow only managed to focus on a funny little statue on top of one of the stalls.

The drunk Santa was just irresistible.

Luckily, the weather was quite mild for the season and there was a big crowd, which allowed me to sketch my favourite subject: people.

People being people, though, I did not have many cooperative models and had to be as fast as possible, so I ended up mainly with a collection of hastily jotted squiggles.

It's ok, though, for a collection of squiggles always looks better than one squiggle alone :D

After a while it started feeling cold, so we headed to one of our favourite cafés, the Kaale Kaffi.

Everyone was pretty much at the Christmas market, so we were able to sit the whole group at the big table.

Nothing like sipping on a ginger lemon tea while drawing with sketching buddies to finish a lovely afternoon.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Les Rotondes et La Buvette

Last Saturday I met with other sketchers for a sketchcrawl organised by LUCA at La Buvette, the pub at Rotondes in Bonnevoie.

The Rotondes used to be buildings where trains were repaired and stored. They were repurposed a few years ago and have now become this trendy place where various cultural events take place, such as exhibitions, concerts, plays, etc.

Unlike so many places in Luxembourg it is not overly clean and organised. I love the occasional messiness of the place.

Undeterred by the cold, we started out on the outside, where the food truck is. I couldn't resist sketching the trailer and the many seemingly randomly placed cables with their colourful lightbulbs. I'll have to add some colour to this sketch sometime.

Spot the sketcher
I have to say we were quite the troopers out there. The day was pleasant but pretty cold. At some point my hands turned a shade of purple. It got so bad that I didn't even feel the heat emanating from the glass of mulled wine I was holding.

Luckily, the inside of the Rotondes is just as interesting as the outside, and we warmed ourselves up at La Buvette. The servers are very friendly and we enjoyed the cosy afternoon atmosphere.

Isabelle is one of the latest sketchers joining our group
I'll have to go back when the weather is nicer. These round shaped buildings are so interesting, they deserve more attention.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Portrait of Abby - another commission

A few weeks ago I received my second commission for a child portrait.

My new client was referred to me by Kristen, who had asked me to make a portrait of her daughter Bee a while ago. Apparently the portrait was a hit and a friend of hers wanted to have one made of his daughter Abby.

It was a very pleasant surprise, but also a bit of a daunting task. It is one thing to make a drawing for someone you know, quite another to make one for a complete stranger.

The reference photo I received was just adorable and not the type of photo I would usually use, so it was an added challenge.

I decided to add Tentacle Kitty on Abby's shirt, as her father told me it was one of her favourite toys. I had never heard of Tentacle Kitty before, but I think it's super cute.

I'm glad to say that my clients were satisfied with the result, which in turn makes me very happy.

Unfortunately, I didn't have a chance to scan the portrait properly before sending it, so the colours are slightly off on this image, but it gives a pretty good idea of the final result.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

In and around the Notre-Dame Cathedral

For the USk Luxembourg sketchcrawl in December, we decided to explore the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Luxembourg city.

The weather was quite mild for November, so I decided to tackle the exterior of the building, finding my vanishing point, etc. That did not, however, prevent me from sketching a tilted bell tower, hehe.

It is not my first attempt at sketching the cathedral, but it is the first time I take my time doing it. The belltower and spikes are definitely the trickiest parts, but also the loveliest, in my opinion...

... until you actually enter the cathedral. Which is surprisingly big.

Maybe because the cathedral is nestled between other buildings, so it's a bit difficult to evaluate its actual size.

It is very lovely, with colourful stained glass windows, and has just the right amount of ornaments. 

There are many interesting details that might escape your notice if you don't pay attention, like the fact that each column has a different pattern on it.

I didn't have the patience to actually represent those patterns on my sketch, nor did I feel like working on the perspective. I just picked up a few watercolour pencils and started skribbling.

And while the result is probably not a masterpiece, I did enjoy myself immensely and find the sketch more interesting than the other one above. 

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

InkTober 2015 - part 5

Last part of the challenge. With a bit of delay posting because I was very busy at work.

Anyway: we did it!! I can barely believe it.

These have been fun to do, even if there were some days when I was less than inspired or motivated.

I'm thinking of doing more of these drawings, but not on a daily basis. Maybe once a week or something like that. We'll see.

Anyway, hurray for another successful InkTober month!


Wednesday, 28 October 2015

InkTober 2015 - part 4

More InkTober drawings. A few little stories unfolding. Maybe I'll do something with them one day.

You can follow my InkTober drawings daily on my Instagram account


Wednesday, 21 October 2015

InkTober 2015 - part 3

Next part of my Inktober drawings. Still at it, I can barely believe it!

Some ideas inspire more than one drawing and a mini story. It makes coming up with ideas a tiny bit easier for one day or two.

I find that I have to do more research  and reference sketches, which shows that I still have a lot to learn before drawing from imagination becomes more natural.

In spite of all the work, or maybe because of it, I'm really enjoying this challenge. Maybe I will keep making these at regular intervals (just not every day!) when the Inktober challenge is over.

Friday, 16 October 2015

InkTober 2015 - part 2

Second part of my InkTober drawings. Some ideas just pop into your head and others are much more laboured.

One would think that the more spontaneous ideas are better produced in the end, but that is not necessarily the case at all.

If you want to follow my InkTober drawings daily, you can check out my Instagram account

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

InkTober 2015 - part 1

It's that time of the year again! The time when you challenge yourself to make one ink drawing every day during the whole month of October.

And because I'm a bit of a masochist, I decided to commit to an additional obligation: to make one drawing from imagination every day.

I'm taking my motivation from the great Nina Johansson, who has been doing that the whole year already without fail. Truly inspiring.

Here are the first few I did. So far so good. Let's see where imagination takes me next.

If you want to follow my InkTober drawings daily, you can check out my Instagram account

You can also check my dedicated album on Flickr which I will be updating regularly to see them all together.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

So there was a garage sale at Knuedler

Last Sunday, Urban Sketchers Luxembourg met at Place Guillaume II in the city centre to participate in this year's last vide-grenier (a sort of garage sale) in our own way, sketching.

It was a great occasion to see the Knuedler in a different light and draw people, unusual objects or just the whole place.

Our group of regulars was joined by Marisol, a Canadian sketching enthusiast who has recently arrived to Luxembourg.

Most participants decided to tackle the task of sketching the whole scene, so I just followed the flow and did the best I could.

I love the lion overlooking the place
Unfortunately, as October weather goes, it started to feel a bit chilly after a while, so we took refuge at Kaale Kaffi, always a great place to end the day and have a "sketch-off".

Marisol, Christine, Carlo, Denis and Nancy
Next month, we'll have to find a place indoor. The location is yet to be determined, but the date is already fixed for the 8th November.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Holiday in Portugal - Urban Sketchers in Lisbon

On my last day in Lisbon, I met with a few Urban Sketchers from the area.

I was in contact with Rita Caré, who organized a meeting of Urban Sketchers Portugal at Museu do Carmo in the afternoon with whoever showed up to sketch.

She was also kind enough to forward my contact to all the members, asking if people would have time to meet me during my stay in Lisbon.

That is how I met Teresa Ruivo, with whom I spent the morning of that day sketching around Praça do Comércio / Terreiro do Paço.

Teresa sketching the other side of this view
We then sat at Café Martinho da Arcada, which has a lovely terrace under some of the many arcades of Praça do Comércio.

The waiters were very nice, too
Teresa then took me to Mercado da Ribeira, where we sketched some of the stalls and I then went for lunch at the adjacent food court. Teresa told me that the market has been revived thanks to this food court which attracts a lot of people. It was indeed a great place to have lunch, with a great variety of food to choose from.

Yummie fruit just begging to be eaten
In the afternoon, I headed to Museu do Carmo, but as I was still a bit early, I sat down to make a quick sketch of Largo de Camões.

Largo de Camões is one of my favourite places in Lisbon
I had never been to Museu do Carmo before, so it was a really lovely surprise to discover this old church with its amazing blue sky for a roof.

I was told that the roof fell during the earthquake of 1755 and was never rebuilt. Today it is used as an archaeological museum and popular meeting place for Urban Sketchers.

Every church should have a blue sky for a roof
Before leaving, we sat to do some sketching behind the museum. I loved this facade full of azulejos. So typical of Lisbon.

Three different types of azulejos on this facade
I spent great moments with these lovely people and can't thank them enough for their kindness and availability. My only regret is that I didn't get to sketch any of them. Next time.

It was time to go back home to reality and finish my Portuguese adventures of 2015 with a plane sketch, how else?

Too much time for hatching...

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Holiday in Portugal - Lisboa again

Of all the cities I have visited so far, Lisbon is probably my favourite. So much so that I ayways try to take a few days from my holiday in Portugal to spend there.

Every year, I tell myself that I should at least try Porto for a change, but every time I end up in Lisbon. I'm probably missing out on Porto, but I can't help it. Maybe next year.

I am starting to have my habits in Lisbon. I usually stay at the same place, have breakfast at Balcão do Marquês down the street...

This place has a great selection of pastries and is always busy
 ...and one last dinner at the Great American Disaster (I know, not very Portuguese, but the place is so sketchable).

It's like being in an episode of "Happy Days"
This time, however, I got a few unexpected surprises. First I met my cousin Samuel, which never happens, and he took me to an abandoned restaurant from where you have an amazing view over the city. The place itself would merit a whole sketching afternoon, but the view is indeed special.

You have a breathtaking panoramic view over the city from here
One day I spent exploring the Alfama, following an alternative route I found on the internet, which started at Miradouro das Portas do Sol and continued through the narrow streets of this very iconic neighbourhood.

Too many details to get lost in, haha
Alfama is like a group of villages in the middle of the city. You can hear life unfolding all around you. People calling each other for lunch, children playing, music on the radio, laundry hanging on the balconies, dogs barking, etc.

I loved all the antennae in this place
As I was sketching on Rua Norberto de Araújo, I was approached by a Bulgarian tv crew filming a documentary on Lisbon who asked me if they could film me. I guess I looked photogenic sitting on my stool, eating my pear and happily sketching away. And I thought "After appearing on Australian TV for a documentary on Strasbourg, why not appear on one about Lisbon for Bulgarian TV?"

Soon I will have a cameo in documentaries all over the world
My sketching trip through Alfama ended at a restaurant called Pateo 13, a place I had heard of recently but didn't think I would actually find. At Pateo 13 you can have the best grilled sardines in Lisbon, seated at tables in the middle of the street. It feels like being at a village fair, the atmosphere is great and the waiters very friendly. Definitely worth it and a great way to finish the day.

The waiters were very surprised that I was Portuguese :D
Lisbon never disappoints.

My room was on the third floor