Tag Archives: Sketching

Today I give you….

a sketch of a pear, done by Sandra Schwab
Went to the supermarket yesterday and they had these boxes of lovely green pears. Green pears always remind me of the IASPR conference in Brussels, where I discovered (much to my surprise) that I actually like pears (as long as they don’t taste too much like pears *g*).

Quick sketch before I sat down and started grading this morning.

Exam Time

Sketches on an Exam
Today the students in one of my classes had to write their end-of-term exam. It was so hot and humid in the classroom that I feared either one of my students or I myself would keel over. To prevent myself from swooning, I not only drank one liter of water (which was not such an excellent idea given that I couldn’t go to the restroom for 90 minutes…), but also sketched a couple of unsuspecting students. On the exam. I thought that was fitting. 🙂

(And because my people sketching skills are beyond awful, I can post this sketch here, because those poor students are completely unrecognizable anyway…)

Conference Preparations

I will be meeting up with a few other indie authors in San Francisco next week. I’ve already started to prepare my sketchbook, a mid-sized Moleskine, and as you can see, my mini watercolour box is indeed tiny – it’s simply perfect for travelling!

Thinking about which colours to put into the box is a perfect way to distract myself from my dratted travel anxieties. I’m so not looking forward to that long flight, but I’m cheering myself up with thoughts of sketching in San Francisco, eating cheesecake, and, of course, meeting my friends. 🙂

LLC Sketchbook

With little more than three weeks to go until the LoveLetter Convention in Berlin Spandau, I thought it was high time to upload the mini-film of last year’s sketchbook. I’m going to take another leporello sketchbook to this year’s LLC – leporello books are a pain to work with, but I always LOVE the finished result. 🙂

Further Preparations for the LLC

Like last year, I’m going to take a sketchbook to the LoveLetter Convention 2013. And while I love my trusty, small watercolour box, I have an even smaller box that would be just perfect for travelling but came with only six colours. Here’s a page from last year’s sketchbook that shows you how very small both boxes are (Moleskine sketchbook in A5; the boxes are depicted in life size).

Trusty, everyday box at the top & super-duper mini box at the bottom

Aren’t they cute? The mini box came with a foldable brush that slids into a compartment in the lid of the box. But as you can see, the selection of colours is indeed a problem. I mean, Viridian Hue, hu? That’s NOT a very nice green!!!

What’s a girl to do?

Easy: buy some Blu Tack and start hacking the box. Because without the plastic tray and the plastic holders for the little half pans, you can squeeze 14 (FOURTEEN!!!!) half pans into that box. Not bad, eh? So I got a few empty half pans and a few tubes of cheap paint (with two or three indulgences thrown in) (I LOVE the names of watercolours – they’re so evocative, and I find it very hard to resist a pretty name. I mean, Turner Yellow? Isn’t that a lovely name?). And the hacking commenced:

(I had to cut the empty pans to size because they were a bit too deep to properly fit into the box – hence the plastic scraps in the upper right corner in the sketch above). After a bit of fiddling around with colours and meditating over the selection I got, I finally ended up with this nice little box:

I love the sap green in this palette and the brown called Terra Pozzuli (another of these pretty names!): it’s a very earthy colour. I also love Turner Yellow, even though it smells funny.

But then, I bet it doesn’t smell even half as funny as the 19th-century watercolour paint called Indian Yellow that was supposedly made from the concentrated urine of cows that had been fed only with mango-leaves and had been given very little water. THAT yellow apparently had a very … uhm … pungent scent indeed. 🙂

A story I would have loved to read

By now it’s probably no secret that I’m in love with Richard Doyle, the early Victorian illustrator. This sketch is a copy of his watercolor “She hid behind a rosebush”, which is part of a series of illustrations intended for a story called “The Eagle’s Bride”. I’ve never been able to find out anything about this story – apparently it was never published. And apart from this one watercolour, I’ve only ever seen the preliminary sketches in one of Doyle’s sketchbooks from the mid-1840s.

Judging from those sketches, “The Eagle’s Bride” is a story I would have loved to read. I mean, dashing knight finds damsel in distress cowering behind a rosebush and rescues her – what’s not to like? (Apart from the colour of my horse’s head and the shadows on my knight’s suit of armour, that is. *g*)

On the Advantages of Schlepping Sketchbooks to Conferences

The advantages of taking a sketchbook to a conference are manifold:

A) You can draw the drink one of your friends has ordered to remind you that even though said drink contains alcohol, it’s actually quite yummy (very useful info for people who normally don’t like alcohol!!!.)

 B) You can draw the silly things your friends have talked you into buying at the stores in Disneyland.

 And the bestest, biggest, wonderfullest avantage of bringing a sketchbook to a writer’s conference?

C) You can take note-taking during a research workshop to the next level. 🙂 The following pages from my sketchbook are the notes from Candice Hern’s workshop on Regency fashion accessories at the Beau Monde Conference.

RWA National ’12 in Anaheim, CA

The view from my balcony at the conference hotel

For me, another highlight of 2012 was attending the RWA National Conference. I haven’t been to an RWA conference for several years, and let me tell you, I missed it SOOO much! There is nothing like sitting in a huge ballroom with 2000 other romance writers and listening to a motivational keynote speech from one of the top people in the business.

There’s also nothing like meeting old friends whom you haven’t seen in years and years! And, gosh, being back in the USA! 🙂

After I had arrived at the hotel, I took a nice, long walk in order to stretch my legs, and fell in love with the wide avenues, lined with palm trees, around the Disney parks. (The hotel was a convenient 20-minute walk away from the entrance to Disneyland – wheee!)

During that walk I was once again struck how quickly a street can change in the US: pretty avenues around Disneyland, but a few hundred metres down the road things started to look somewhat shabbier. And here’s another problem: in the US I find very difficult to tell in what kind of neighbourhood I am and when I should start worrying. I figured that the neighbourhood I was walking through wasn’t that bad and besides, I was looking for a supermarket which was supposed to be on that street and – ooops, the sun is beginning to set already?!?!? 😉 (Note to self: The next time you might want to remember that the sun sets at different times in different parts of the world …) In the end, I managed to find a supermarket, buy some fruit and stuff, and drag it back to the hotel before it was getting dark. (I received some very strange looks when I brightly walked across the parking lot and off the parking lot and down the road. *lol*)

The next day I discovered the delights of The Cheesecake Factory (also conveniently located within walking distance to the hotel.) Oh my! That place is like heaven for anyone seriously addicted to cheesecake!

 Of course, I also visited Disneyland: I met up with the lovely Eve Silver and a couple of other romance writers and together we went to “the happiest place in the world”. We had so much fun that I even forgave them that they forced me to take the Space Mountain ride the first thing. I forgave them even though I thought I would die. (Note to self: Never EVER let anybody drag you on any kind of rollercoaster again!!!)

 The conference – or I should say, both conferences because I also attended the Beau Monde mini-conference, were lovely. Delilah Marvelle made us all cry with her luncheon keynote at the Beau Monde; Isobel Carr gave another of her fantastic clothing workshops; and this time around nobody torpedoed my Beau Monde workshop by sitting in the first aisle and saying (quite loudly), “WHAT? What did she say? I don’t understand her! She’s SO hard to understand!” The workshops at the “big” conference were a mixed bag as always, but it was nice that there were so many talks on self-publishing, most of which were enormously helpful.