Our Urban Sketchers Montreal group usually meets once a year at McGill’s Redpath Museum to sketch the dinosaurs, taxidermy animals, shells and assorted samples in their natural history collections. I often think I’m going to draw something else, but when I get there I go no further than the dinosaurs and skeletons. Today I wasn’t in the mood to use a pen or pencil — I went directly to brush silhouettes. I was working in a Pentallic sketch book which has great watercolour paper and is perfect for this type of loaded brush work. I think the key to having this work successfully is to always have enough water on your brush, otherwise you end up with dry edges in the middle of an area (which I have sometimes). It’s a great exercise to try because you really have to look at the overall shape of things, as well as the negative spaces, and not worry too much about counting ribs and pointy teeth.
This year at the college where I teach we’re trying something for the first time. Pedagogical Activities for Student Success Day is all about doing things with students outside of a classroom setting. There are no classes for the day and each department gets to choose an activity for students. In our department students presented their video game designs in the morning and in the afternoon we visited the McCord Museum to see the exhibit of graphic designer Vittorio Fiorucci “Montreal Through the Eyes of Vittorio“. Following that we had a sketch outing. Since the museum is right across from the campus of McGill University, and since the day was nothing short of perfect for late October, we spent an hour or so sketching from the stairs of the Redpath Museum. Something to note is that these were all optional activities, so I’m impressed that we had such a great turnout. I think about 30% of our students participated, which is pretty miraculous considering that they could have stayed home, slept in or watched movies. I took a photo of some of them sketching from the Redpath and they kindly gave me permission to post it on my blog. And a big thanks to Hugo who lent me a yellow pencil so I could complete my sketch.