Thursday, January 31, 2013

Bath Clown fish

Like every Thursday, no opportunity to visit a museum or any interesting place. Played around with water color. This is my best attempt today. 
First full month of sketch-a-day. No problem so far, just have to handle the fact that some days are less satisfying than others in terms of quality.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Visited the Völkerkundemusuem today. A museum about antrophology. Only two small temporary exhibitions. Not much to draw. Didn't quite understand what the stuffed bird and squirell were doing there.  Not to be recommended for sketching.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Three birds

Sketching session at the Voliere.  Still struggling with the birds but I have some ideas what to improve for next week. These birds have a lot of personality, this is going to be a lot of fun when I can sketch them successfully..

Monday, January 28, 2013

Cyphostemma and 2 other plants

It seems monday is succulent day. Had problems to indicate the "facetting" of the euphorbia, this is something I plan to work on.  It's also difficult to find the correct balance between quality and quantity when you don't have much time to sketch.
Looking forward to sketch the very same cyphostema later this year when they will be leaves.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Urgeschichte Museum Zug

Did a page at the "Museum für Urgeschicthe(n)" in Zug. Mostly archeological stuff from stone age till the roman periodthey. The museum is very well done but from a sketching perspective, there is nothing very interesting to draw. The museum was closed when I came in so while waiting I sketched an industrial building from early 1900. Irrelevant trivia: the company who owned the building, Landys & Gyr, recently got bought by Toshiba. On the technical side, one of the problem I have is putting the shadows correctly. Some objects are ok but others are a train wreck. Will work on that. In theory, it's simple.

Encouraged by Steve, I also attempted some watercolor today.
These are again toys from my son. Didn't know what I was doing, the staedtler pen started to bleed but overall, I am very happy with the results.  

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Two locomotives

Sketched two locomotives at the transport museum of Luzern. I bought a portable seat and it definitely helped me have a more steady line quality. The reason for the shunting loc to be so short is to gain space. At this period it was important, for example on the turntable. Last week, I did another shunting loc that had the same profile.

Friday, January 25, 2013


Very short session at the Landesmuseum. Didn't have time to do much. Those pistols are work of art and I am looking forward to re attempt them next week. I was puzzled by the flintlock mechanism. Not simple to draw and since I dont understand how it works, it's difficult to simplify. The Handmöser was quite impressive, apparently, this handgun shoots canon ball sized bullet.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Plush Toys

A couple of popular plush toys laying around.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Papua New Guinea Objects

Short visit at the Rietberg museum to sketch objects from Papua New Guinea. Was slowed down by the Uli figure head which was quite complex to handle. That's a type of form I'll need to practice separately if I want to do more statues in the future. I completely botched the bracelet but had a lot of fun on the sort of paddle. These sketches are from the show depot where a lot of objects are presented in bulk. It's a sketching goldmine but unfortunately the objects are not labeled and it's sometime difficult to figure out what it is.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Black-necked Stilts

Wanted to go to the Voliere but it was closed. So I stayed out in the freezing cold.  I could only sketch Black Necked Stilts, an unknown puffy bird and a parrot (at the window). Short session. Again, the problem was the speed of the birds, always moving. But I felt more confortable than the first time.

Monday, January 21, 2013

American Succulent Plants

Found a comfortable bench in the America section of the Zurich Succulent Collection. It was much easier to have clean lines seated. (Usually I sketch standing up).  Used a Staedtler 0.7 for the outline of the Agave, it made the plant a bit too graphic for my taste.  Did a small table summarizing the difference between Aloe and Agave plants. (I thought they were the same plant haha..).

Sunday, January 20, 2013


Did a page at the Luzern Natur-Museum. They have a very nice collection of insects. Much larger than in Zurich and very creatively displayed, the insects are stored in a sort of banking vault and you have to use a magnetic card to open small safes where you can see the insects. Kids love that. They had a couple of large coleoptera. Very interesting to draw because you can see a lot of details you dont usually see without magnifying glasses. They also had a very large collections of lepidoptera. Did some thumbnails, to have a better understanding of their silhouettes.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Seats Selection

No opportunity to visit a museum today so I drew some seats from my place. Interestingly, the simplest object, the kitchen table chair was the least successful. My wife barely recognized it. The proportions are completely off (if you would see the real chair hah..). Tomorrow I should be able to clear a good chunk of sketching time for the Naturmuseum in Luzern!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Stuff from the Zürich Top Team

I came a bit earlier to training at the Zurich Top Team and sketched what was laying around. There were some complicated shapes. Not my best day ;).

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Elephant water pistole

Thursday is always a busy day. Could only do these quick sketches of an elphant water pistole.  Thought it was going to be easy but I was wrong ;)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Three Birds

Went for the first time at the Mythenquai Voliere  to draw birds. It's quite small but they have beautiful birds. And was surprised to also see birds bones. Drew three birds. Did only quick layins. Will definitely comeback. Some birds move a lot. Contrary to the swans and ducks, you can see their whole body.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Aloe plants

As planned, I focused on aloe plants on today's visit at succulent plant collection. The results does not look very good but I got a better understanding of their construction. In this regard, the small aloe maculata I drew a top view of was very helpful. I could observe how the new leaves grow and take over the top position while the older leaves fell on the bottom.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Stuff from my desk

Was a bit short on time so I drew a couple of objects from my desk.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Boats and Diving Gears

One hour at the Swiss Transport Museum, in the Navigation building. Tried to sketch some model boats but it was much more difficult than expected. The shape of the hull reminds me of modern cars, very difficult to get right because there are no clear shapes. I tried to recover with some diving gear equipments but lost patience with some sketches and made errors. But I am quite happy with the overall shapes of the headgear.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Swiss Transport Museum

Spend again one hour at the swiss transport museum in Luzern. Tried to be patient with the constructions. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Double spout and bridge vessels

Sketched Nazcan vessels at the Rietberg today. Beautiful forms and decoration. Concentrated on the shapes, which were tricky.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Pocket Toys

Put several doodles of pocket toys together on a single page.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Leaf studies

Went back to the Succulent collection and did a page of leaf studies. I think I have a better handle on the Aloe leaf now but it's quite a challenge for me to put accurate contour lines, the leaf is turning multiple times, the perspective is changing and the shape of the leaf itself is more complicated than it looks. I will try to do a full Aloe Plant next. But it's going to be messy ;)

It's my 19th sketch-a-day in a row. Let's see how long this streak can be ;)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

African masks

Had a short sketching session at the awesome Rietberg collection. Drew two african masks. Beautiful and alien shapes.

Had problems to keep the proportions/shapes between the different views consisten and had false starts with the first mask. For some reason, I could not get consistent shadows/lighting on the second one.. This was my first visit at the museum but I will definitely come back. They have a lot of interesting things to draw.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Succulent Plants

Quick sketches from the wonderful succulent plant collection (link). The main problems I have with plants:

1. drawing leafs, i.e 2-d surface.  (look at the euphorbia)
2. handling plants with a lots of branches (trees i.e, but here it was the aloe eracimea)

Next time I go there, I will do more thumbnails and work on this area specifically. Here I focused too much on doing something nice to look at and didn't drew enough plants.

I definitely need to to learn a more effective way to write down the labels/titles because it's getting uglier and uglier !

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Mute Swans and Coots

Quick sketching session at the lake. Drew mostly coots and mute swans. Challenging because they moved a lot and I couldn't get very close to see clearly how their head is constructed. But I find these quick swan sketches to have have more personality than the one I drew from the swan toy!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Old stuff

Here is a selection of drawing I found in a moleskine from summer 2011.

I think it was around the time I took dynamic sketching 1.  I had taken drawing courses at a small school for a couple of months. I remember I was quite unhappy with the sketches. At the time, I was just telling myself: "It doesn't look right but I don't know why! How can I fix this?"

Now, it's obvious why the sketches didn't work: the proportions are ok but perspective is incorrect and the line quality is hesitant. Things that can be fixed easily with enough practice with the right exercises. I didn't know that and that's what made drawing very unrewarding.

Now, after taking dynamic sketching 1 and 2, drawing has become much more tractable. When I see a drawing that sucks, I just don't think "that sucks" but I try instead to identify specific aspects that can be improved: for example, line quality, value scale, composition, lighting or proportions. And in the next sketch I try to improve these aspects. Or I can do isolated exercises to improve these area. For example, line exercises for line quality or rendering simple shapes for lighting.

That's also why critique from anyone is really important for me. They usually point me to the right area I need to develop.

Model H Tractor

This is a very old rusted tractor in a barn close to where I live. I found out more on It's from 1953. Had a lot of trouble with the wheels and the overall 3/4 perspective. I also could not communicate the "personality" of this tractor. But I am glad I attempted it.
I plan to practice the wheels a lot more because it's getting embarrassing !

Friday, January 4, 2013

13th-15th Century Weapons

Went to the swiss national museum and sketched medieval weapons.  The room I sketched had a lot of "classical" swiss weapons, i.e halberds and crossbows. Fun stuff to draw but I am not too happy about the accuracy of the sketches, it seems I could not hit the the lines with enough confidence!

I used white pencil on some objects to increase the contrast. It doesnt look so bad, better than when I try to use gel pen.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Waldmann Statue Gestures

Found this statue when in Zurich. Did quick thumbnails.
Messed up the head on the large thumbnail. Too bad, I like how I drew the horse.

Hen Toy

Some gesture of an hen toy. The only "organic" stuff I have around today.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Cobra Tram

From my desk I have a nice view on a tram station.  Done during lunch break.  Doodled a little bit while I was waiting for the next tram. Escher-like perspective here.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Toy swan

A quick page with "studies" of a swan toy. I have to be careful not to neglect the organic stuff. 
It's the first sketch of the year. Let's see how long a "1 sketch per day" streak can be.