Thursday, September 24, 2015

Sketching People Again...Plus a Dinosaur!

Last Sunday the Seattle Northend Urban Sketchers (me, Nicole, and Tina) went to Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park again to try sketching people in the big commons there.

I had the most success with senior citizens, who tended not to move around as much.

I wanted to sketch inside the bookstore proper, but all of the comfy chairs scattered throughout were occupied, so I had to return to the commons area.  I found a couple of card players there.

It was an okay sketch experience, though on the whole, not as satisfying as drawing landscapes, buildings, and animals.

Or even dinosaurs.  There's a building next to mine on the campus which houses the biology department, and on their third-floor lobby wall hangs a mosasaur fossil skeleton.  I've been wanting to draw it for ages, but the lobby was always full of students  taking up all the chairs.  Goodness!

Even during the break between Summer and Autumn quarters, when I would pop over to have a look, there were still students hanging about.  But this week, the custodians were waxing and buffing the floors near the lobby, and apparently the noise drove the youngsters away, for I finally had the place all to myself.  Hurrah!

I found the perfect vantage point from which to draw the skeleton, which was so long it spread over two pages.

Remember, you can click on any photo for a larger view!

I enjoyed drawing it so much that I returned the next day (still empty of students!) and drew it again, this time on toned paper (which wasn't big enough to accommodate the whole tail).

Around ten years ago, I completed the UW's Certificate Program in Scientific Illustration, and this drawing reminded me how much I enjoyed that program and how much I loved drawing the museum specimens.  Now I want to go back to the Burke Museum (the university's natural history and ethnography collection) and have a go at their fossils and other specimens.

As a UW employee, I get free admission.  It will make for a nice indoor location during the coming rainy, cold days ahead.


  1. Great dinosaur drawings! It will be nice to hang out at the Burke museum and stay warm, and you can probably get in some urban sketching while you're at it. Since you seem to have formed your own little urban sketching group, you must be enjoying it!

    1. It's fabulously fun that my friends are happy to join me in my latest obsession. For some odd reason, I had a lot of trouble talking any of them into taking up birding -- possibly the business about "getting up at the crack of dawn" discouraged them? Turns out sketching is a much easier sell!

  2. Ha, I didn't think you were literally talking about dinosaurs; I thought you were making an evolutionary joke and there would be birds. I really like the card players and the dinosaur skeleton, though.

  3. Funny. I said just today, as we were looking at some paintings of card players, that it was "just like Alex doing her urban sketching; Cezanne (or whoever) must have chosen to paint card players because they sit still for so long." You, Ms. Mackenzie, are part of a great tradition!