Saturday, April 11, 2015

Eiffel Prep

4/11/15 Iroshizuku Take-sumi and Diamine Grey
inks, Stillman & Birn Epsilon sketchbook
(sketched from photo)
In a little over one month, I’ll be in France. I know some sketchers deliberately avoid iconic structures and landmarks, either fearing that their sketches will never live up to the image in their minds or the ones that have over-saturated the media or simply poo-pooing clich├ęd images that can easily be found on a postcard. I’m here to tell you right now that I have no problem with sketching the world-recognized, overly depicted, iconic Eiffel Tower! In fact, I have every intention of spending a significant portion of my four days in Paris doing nothing but sketching it. That doesn’t mean, however, that I’m not intimidated by its classically symmetrical form and its intricate pattern of iron latticework. Just the thought of standing in its shadow, sketchbook in hand, makes me a bit shaky!

Yesterday Peggy and I were chatting about our upcoming respective travel plans. In prep for travel sketching, she said she will sometimes look at photos of her destination and make sketches of challenging subjects or motifs ahead of time to “warm up” her sketchbook, making it less intimidating when she’s actually on location. I know that Liz Steel, too, with her keen interest in architecture, mentally prepares for travel by sketching from photos of the particular architectural styles she will encounter.

What a great idea! My conversation with Peggy was just what I needed to gear up for Paris in a more fun and productive way than, say, studying my Rick Steves French phrase book (I can always learn French on the flight out there, right?). Googling images of La tour Eiffel, I printed out a few to closely examine its form. Studying its proportions for even a few minutes was immensely helpful, and the criss-crossed ironwork isn’t nearly as complicated as it seems if you just break it down into components. After just one practice sketch, I already feel more confident about standing in the Champ de Mars next month, gazing up at that amazing structure.

6 comments:

  1. That is a great idea!! I didn't do that before I went to Paris and was really intimidated by the structure of it. I think I ended up doing just one sketch (very tiny) of it. lol There was too much else to sketch. Have you been to Paris before, or is this the first time?

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    1. It'll be my first time in France, Joan! I'm very excited! :-)

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  2. Nice warm-up! You are going to have a great time sketching Paris. Can't wait to see the results and hear of your adventures!

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  3. Good idea. And good sketch of the tower! Hold on to your valuables... my husband had is passport stolen one trip and I had money taken right out of the purse hanging messenger bag style across body!

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  4. Nice sketch. Good luck with learning French on the flight over. I still struggle with it daily :-)

    Cheers --- Larry

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  5. Nice sketch. Good luck with learning French on the flight over. I still struggle with it daily :-)

    Cheers --- Larry

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