Urban Sketching in Lithuania

Just back from a 10 day holiday in good old Lithuania.

Visiting relatives, taking in the sites and even a short trip to the Baltic seaside.

Here are the few sketches I managed to get done while there.


1: from out of a Lithuanian Kepyklele (a bakery)
2: in a small restaurant in the “Republic of Uzupis”
3: an exhibition case in Medininkai
4: view from our hotel room in Vilnius
5: at the Beer Library (Alaus Biblioteka)
6: from the veranda of our hotel in Palanga

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Em Höttche, USk part II

Urban Sketching (USk), part 2.

Back from an afternoon in the fading sun on the top steps of Bonn’s historical Rathaus (town hall).

Looking down upon “Em Höttche” (a “typical” German tavern) and a few bistro, cafes. It was getting cold as the sun finally decided to leave us at 8 pm and the sketching process of my first picture (45 minutes with 2B pencil, kept sharp with a sand paper board) accelerated more and more. In the end, I used the accelerated technique to sketch the view onto the market place in Bonn from the flight of stairs, where JFK, CDG and QE2 have all stood before me (10 minutes, “F” pencil).


Plein air drawing

Well, here’s what comes from sitting on a bench for 1 1/2 hours while joggers pant past me every 10 minutes. One jogger even stopped to sit by me. It turned out he was my figure drawing class instructor asking when he’d be seeing me again at classes.


When sitting down for this (A4, 100gr, 2B pencil), I just sketched most of the objects first and then began work from left to right (I can’t keep my hand from smudging the sketch otherwise). Always returning to the left to darken parts which looked pale after using much darker tones to the right. I must admit, I thought I had taken on too much here, it took 90 minutes and I’m glad I only sketched the tree branches in the foreground. My main focus was actually the tree line on the border to the background.

Poppies, daisies and corn-flowers to my feet and bumble bees flying around like crazy.

How did it come to this?

I’d picked up the book “Pen and Pencil Drawing Techniques” by Harry Borgman and had spent a day with it, doing some of the early exercises a few weeks back.

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I would normally have just built up monotone tonal values, but Mr. Borgman has already introduced me to tonal values built up with different stroke techniques.

Also, I now have a German urban sketching journal “Ein Jahr Urban Sketching” by Jens Hübner. And he recommended a book called “Watercolour Tips” by Ian King. I’ve been trying a bit of watercolour out the last couple of days and here is my first miniature “Norwich School” painting I did just before leaving the house for the “plein air drawing” sketch above.