I've been planning to go sketch in a museum for a very long time. But I always had something "more important" to do, and I was so very "busy"... I never took the time to hop off to a nearby natural history museum that's just a 15 minutes walk away from my apartment.
As I was going through my to-do list for this year, a bullet point "draw in a museum" caught my attention. All my other to-dos seemed too daunting, but this one wasn't difficult at all. And I said to myself, "Tomorrow it shall be. I'm going on an artist date in a museum."
I'm a terrible packer when it comes to art supplies. I tend to take half of my materials on vacations, and end up using a tiny fraction of it. I tried to pack lightly, but I still managed to overpack. However, unlike before, I actually did get to use everything I packed! So at least that's improved.
Here's what I took:
- Small A5 sized Canson sketchbook
- Large A4 sized Canson 180 Artbook
- Sakura Koi watercolor field sketch set of 24 colors
- Paper towels
- Pencil case with graphite pencils, watercolor pencils in earth tones, Pentel water brushes, Pentel waterproof brush pen, erasers, pencil sharpeners..
- A little cushion
- A tote bag to carry it all (it's too damn hot for messenger bags!)
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Apart from that, I took my phone, house keys and a money bill to pay for the ticket and went on my way.
When I came to the museum, there was a nice surprise. They're renovating the aquarium, so the entrance was free!
I went upstairs to the vertebrates exhibit and then there was...
My first model was a griffon vulture. I used a 2mm mechanical pencil in a small sketchbook and it took me around 10 minutes.
Next I went on to draw an angry looking beech marten. You can see my model and my sketch below.
Here is a final sketch. It took me around 15 minutes and I used a mechanical pencil and watercolor pencils in a small sketchbook.
Unfortunately, most taxidermied animals there have really washed out fur so the colors are not life-like at all. I drew them as I saw them, not as they're supposed to be.
Next I went over to the red fox. First I sketched it in mechanical pencil, and it was the first drawing in my large Canson sketchbook.
Then I colored it in with watercolors. You can see the model with my sketch here:
Unfortunately I came in pretty late, so I had to go because they were closing. I went and sat outside, and then added some brush strokes because I felt the sketch lacked contrast the way it was. Here's the final sketch (click to see the larger image in my gallery).
Pencil, watercolor and ink in A4 sketchbook, around 30 minutes total.
During the entire time I was there, only a French couple went through so I was happy that I could draw in peace.
I was drawing the fox in a crouching position which became very uncomfortable after a while. That's the only minus of the entire experience.
Overall I'm very satisfied with my first museum sketching trip, and I look forward to going again. I might even try to talk some friends into going with me.
If you'd like to see more posts featuring sketchbook art and tips, check them out here.