Travelling Pencils

When I first started travelling, I took to doodling as a way of capturing the things I’ve seen.  I picked this up from my then-boyfriend, who is an amazing artist and cartoonist.  I started with a bit of apprehension – after all, I am not very comfortable expressing my ideas through imagery.  I gradually grew into it, and in the course of two weeks, my doodles started turning out… well, nice.  They were no longer things that I would be ashamed of putting my name against.

Gaudi's rooftop sculptures are awe-inspiringOne of my favourite sketches was at the rooftop of Casa Mila.  Gaudi is a true architectural and sculptural genius, and his works are an easy source of inspiration.  I decided to use diagonal strokes all throughout this piece, as a study on shades and shadows.  It took close to two hours (I think), but I was more than happy at the results.  I also noticed a few admiring glances whilst sketching, which definitely boosted my ego!

cast study by Auguste Rodin


At the Musee Rodin, one gets a lot of opportunities to just quietly linger.  So I took the time to sketch one of his plaster studies for a bronze cast sculpture.  Similarly, I liked the shades and shadows playing around this piece, which has a lot more complexities in depths and textures.  I wanted to capture the softness that the hands evoked, plaster medium notwithstanding.  I used diagonal strokes again, with stronger outlines to show differences in depth.

Statue of Miguel de Cervantes in Toledo


This last sketch was probably the quickest one I’ve done on the road.  It was towards the tail end of my European trip, and I’ve gotten quite comfortable with my pencil by this time.  Still, I was quite  surprised at how easily I pulled it off.  It took about 20 minutes from start to finish, with a bit of touching-up on the train ride back to Madrid.  I was a bit apprehensive about having to deal with facial features – so I opted for nondescript scribbles and a low level of detail.  Instead of adding in details, I paid attention to shades and shadows.  I think the doodle came to life once I applied heavier strokes and give Senor Cervantes some depth.

I haven’t been sketching on my recent travels, having taken more towards photography with my big clunky dSLR.  I should take my pencils out for a spin again, and relive the joy of creating imagery without the need for batteries.  Here’s to more sketches in the months to come!

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