Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Rainy Morning at the Burke

3/15/15 Caran d'Ache Museum water-soluble colored
pencils, Iroshizuku Asa-gao ink, Canson XL 140 lb. paper
Planning a sketch outing in March is always iffy. Chances are good that it will rain, so scheduling an outdoor location would be pushing our luck. But chances are just as good that it will be warm and dry enough to sketch outdoors. At the Burke Museum on the University of Washington campus, we could hedge our bets: If the sun shone, the cherry blossoms on the Quad would be irresistible. If it rained, the Burke would be full of sketchable treasures.

I can safely say that all 20+ (maybe close to 30?) Seattle Urban Sketchers chose to sketch inside the Burke this morning, resulting in many delightful sketches of dinosaurs and human history artifacts.

By now I think I’ve sketched all of the Burke’s complete animal skeletons in the regular exhibits (someday I’ll finish every skull, femur and other individual bones), including the enormous mastodon. The first time I sketched it was nearly two years ago (which, according to my blog that day, was one of the first sketches made with my now-favorite Sailor fude pen). About a year ago, I sketched just its head and amazing tusks.

3/15/15 Caran d'Ache Museum pencils, Iroshizuku Asa-gao ink
Today I spent the bulk of my time sketching a slightly different angle of the mastodon, and instead of my favorite pen, I tried colored pencils. As usual, I didn’t scale my sketch accurately, so I ran out of room for its feet! Like the time I sketched the stegosaurus and had to put its tail tip on a separate page, I decided to start a new sketch and give the mastodon’s feet equal time.

To kill the last 20 minutes before our sharing time, I went out to the main reception area to sketch a long view of the Paraphysornis brasilienis. It may be one of my favorite prehistoric skeletons at the Burke; with a nickname like “Terror Bird of Brazil,” who could resist?

Many thanks to the Burke Museum for sponsoring Seattle Urban Sketchers’ visit today!

3/15/15 Diamine Sargasso Sea ink, Caran d'Ache Museum pencil


  1. I love your sketches from the museum...even if they don't all fit on your page. lol I haven't yet tried sketching a dinosaur but I'm always impressed with your sketches of them.

  2. Everytime you go there I get this 'need me some bones to draw' feeling. I particularly love your mastodon feet sketch. Again, thanks for sharing.

  3. Makes me want to find a museum and go sketching. Love your drawings at your Urban Sketchers event.

  4. I get overwhelmed by the big things and tend to draw details. I came away from the American Museum of Natural History with a dinosaur skull and snake bones in my little sketchbook. Then we went to the Guggenheim and were overwhelmed in a different way. Not a lot of little stuff to sketch, so did a free-form sculpture and a person. Museums are great. I was about to say that we don't have any museums in our small city, but I suddenly remembered the railroad museum and smacked myself on the head for not considering some of the sketchcrawl possibilities in my own backyard!

    1. Hi Arlene! I tend to get overwhelmed by large subjects, too. But what I like about dinosaurs is that I can treat each bone as a tiny detail, and eventually it gets built up into a large skeleton! Hope you can get over to your RR museum -- I'd love to sketch at one of those!


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