Friday Sketchbook: Drawing, the New Hot Topic

A passageway between Gammel Torv, the old town square, and Kattesundet, a narrow cobbled street. It's framed by two beautiful arches.
Beautiful arches lead the eye (and feet) between narrow cobbled street Slutterigade (“Prison Street”) and the bustling square of Gammel Torv, backed by the old Copenhagen Courthouse. The imposing structure once housed the town prison. Hans Christian Andersen used it in “The Tinder Box”, a story in which a soldier awaits execution behind iron-grated windows, possibly the ones at ground-level just beyond the second arch. That arch is known as “The Bridge of Sighs” for the prisoners who crossed it on their way to trial next door. Today it’s a nice little shortcut for bicycles and pedestrians and drivers who know where to sneak through.  A painting by Martinus Rørbye depicts the same spot in 1831, when Andersen might’ve been in the crowd. Watercolor over pencil, Moleskine 5″ x 8″ sketchbook.

Urban and travel sketching was in the news yesterday, to my surprise and delight. Luis Simoes, a Portuguese artist, is on a 5 year mission to sketch his way around the world. He talks about his experiences and the purpose of of slow travel via sketchbook:

“What I’ve learned is I have time to see things, to see the culture passing by. I can be in one spot for three hours maybe, it gives me the time to feel more.

Which sums up the practice very nicely. He also talks about sketching as a cultural ice-breaker, which is tremendously useful at times (like the time someone sent a drink to my table in Florence where I was sketching. At least, I think that was the reason).

Frederick's Church, a.k.a. the Marble Church, Copenhagen. Green and gold confectionary dome sketched from the central courtyard of Ameliaborg Castle, where I was waiting for the noontime Changing of the Guard.
Frederik’s Church, a.k.a. the Marble Church, Copenhagen. A sweet rococo confection of green and gold, as sketched from the central courtyard of Amelienborg Castle while I (and a couple hundred other tourists) waited for the noontime Changing of the Royal Guard.

It made me very happy to see sketching, and a great sketcher, featured in mainstream news, and I hope it inspires people to pick up sketchbooks and go for it. You don’t have to travel around the world to make it work, either. You can try this at home.

Happy Friday.

Happy Halloween.

And Happy Anniversary, Antman!



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