Sunday, December 18, 2016

Busy Santa at Pacific Place

12/18/16 ink, water-soluble colored pencils
When thinking of relaxing places to go a week before Christmas, Pacific Place isn’t what springs to mind – unless you’re sketching instead of shopping. Without a shopping list, Pacific Place seemed downright mellow this morning when I met up with Urban Sketchers Seattle.

It wasn’t as heavily decorated as in previous years, which was a disappointment to some, but I had a different goal. I know I said I wasn’t going in for self-competitive Santa sketching this year, but Pacific Place’s St. Nick is a favorite because of the uncommon viewpoint. The retail facility’s open structure makes its multiple levels visible from other floors, so I’ve always had fun sketching Santa from the floor above (you can see my sketches from last year, 2014 and 2012). I was going to continue my own tradition and sketch him again from the same place, but then I spotted a different location – directly overhead. I couldn’t hear what they discussed, but I saw at least one well-prepared boy present Santa with a written list of things he wants.

12/18/16 inks, colored pencil
A little later I walked to the opposite side of the mall to catch the long line of people waiting for Santa. As I sketched, I thought about the tough job of his hard-working helpers. They have to coax and cajole young kids to smile or distract them long enough to snap a photo before they realize they’re sitting in the lap of some bearded stranger. Still, I saw lots of babies and toddlers take their turns bawling.

The bird’s eye view I had of Santa put me in the mood to continue taking advantage of all the railings I could lean over to sketch the views below. First, I looked down over café diners on the first floor. Then I walked around to the other side to look down over the penguin designed by Philadelphia-based sculptor Leo Sewell. Made entirely of found metal pieces such as old gears and signs, the penguin has become Pacific Place’s icon. (That’s Jane sketching from the steps nearby.)

I was on my way to the sketchbook throw-down when I saw that the lunchtime entertainment was local jazz pianist Deems Tsutakawa, familiar from the many years he has performed at Seattle’s Obon festival. I only had five minutes, but that was all I needed.

12/18/16 inks, colored pencils
12/18/16 ink, colored pencil

12/18/16 brush pen, colored pencil


  1. Great sketches! I like the bird's eye view of Santa and the one with everyone waiting on line.

    1. Thanks, Joan! Santa is my favorite holiday sketching subject!

  2. Love this extreme view of Santa but I think it would cause a bout of vertigo if I'd tried to sketch it :-)

    1. Didn't get vertigo, but I found it really challenging to sketch this way while wearing progressive lenses. .. had to bend my head all the way over! ;-)

      - Tina


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...