|7/14/19 Zuiderkerk (from photo)|
My friend Cathy McAuliffe has been gearing up for the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Amsterdam by sketching from Internet images of the city’s architecture and cityscape. The only time I did that kind of prep was when I was about a month out from our trip to France in 2015, and I decided to practice the Eiffel Tower from a photo. While drawing from a photo is never as challenging as drawing from life, it was helpful to study the tower’s proportions closely at my desk before I stood in awe in the Champ de Mars.
Cathy inspired me to look for some images of Zuiderkerk, the 17th century church where the symposium activities will be centered. I deliberately chose a grainy, low-resolution image that obscured details so that I wouldn’t be able to get fussy about them (as I undoubtedly will in real life).
Technical note: As I sketched this with Caran d’Ache Museum Aquarelles in a Stillman & Birn Beta sketchbook, trying to be as loose at my desk as I will strive to be on the street, I started to fall in love with the paper’s tooth. I use Beta frequently at home when I sketch still lives with watercolor pencils, and I appreciate both its surface texture and sizing with wet media. I decided a while ago, though, that Zeta’s smoother surface would be more versatile with everything I use – graphite, markers, fountain pens and ballpoint pens as well as traditional and water-soluble colored pencils. But I enjoyed using Beta so much on this practice sketch that I started doubting the choice I made for this trip. It’s too late now – if you read my sketch kit prep post, you know that I’ve committed to the signatures I stitched with Zeta paper. At least I’ll still have my Beta landscape-format sketchbook with me in case I suddenly crave a little more texture.