Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Green Lake Library, Take Five

3/30/16 brush pen, inks, colored pencils

If this building looks vaguely familiar to you, it’s because it’s probably the only building I’ve sketched more than once or twice, let alone five. Somehow it became a personal tradition to sketch the Seattle Public Library’s Green Lake branch every year. First of all, it’s one of few buildings in my neighborhood with a traditional architectural style that I appreciate (it’s one of several Carnegie libraries we are lucky enough to have in Seattle). It’s also convenient: I park my car in the library’s lot, return some books, then cross the street to sketch it. There’s even a handy bus shelter and bench where I can set my palette down and ensure that I get the same angle each year.

I don’t usually give myself a specific challenge when I sketch it (other than the fact that it’s architecture, which is always a specific challenge for me!). But from my past attempts, I knew that I often get too bogged down in details or the exact hues of the roof tiles and trim. Today I decided to see if I could capture only the essence of the building with as few lines as possible. To make sure I didn’t go back down the usual boggy road, I made the initial line work with my fude fountain pen, which can’t make the extra-thin lines I usually prefer for architecture. Then I grabbed a brush pen to put in the shadows. The spots of color came from inks applied with waterbrushes. Done.

Below are the previous four years’ sketches of the library.  



  1. Very cool sequence of sketches, Tina. It's a rare thing for me to sketch the same thing twice. I know I've never sketched anything that many times.

  2. All of these look great! I like the economy of the lines in this one! I may sketch the same thing several times but usually not from the same vantage point.

  3. I love all the different iterations. Inspiring!

  4. Thank you, everyone! It's fun for me to see them all on the same page, too!

    - Tina


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