Pencils at the Ready


The only time I sketch is on vacation in Paris. That’s when I slow down enough to look at anything long enough to draw it. (Except the TV. Sad.) If you’re an amateur doodler like myself, you should check out Citysketch Paris. Alleviating the “artists’ block” of a blank page, it offer close to 100 “creative prompts” to get your pens and pencils in motion. Completely different from a coloring book, Citysketch starts you off with a portion of a neon sign, a line-drawn trench coat, an art frame with nothing in it. You do the rest.

The book serves two other purposes. It keeps your sketches in one place and prevents you from throwing them out. (How many carnets of 3 sketches amid untold blank pages have you pitched after a trip?) The book also prompts you to visit places that may not be on your “must-see” list, such as the aquarium, the Promenade Plantee, the Jewish Museum. A paragraph about each attraction gives you a little dose of cultural background. It’s all you need besides a pencil to get started.

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