Wednesday, September 30, 2009

30th September: Art shops in Paris

Where are the art shops in Paris which actually provide artists supplies and materials? This post attempts to answer that question - and provides me with a list of ones to try and find.

I finally found the trick to finding out where art shops in Paris. First you need to go to Google France and then put in your query - which need not be in French to start getting results. The trick is finding the search query which does not generate lots of galleries. I used "art shops Paris" to start with!
carol curtis
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 By Carol - 22 Jan 2009
the BEST art center in the world!!! Without reservation..the BEST! I have shopped here for almost 16 years after stumbling on it during wondering tour of Paris. I have shopped here ever since by telephone and post. Treat yourself!!!!!!!!!
Just have a go at translating this French!
Fournitures beaux arts

- Toiles et chassis, standard et sur mesure
- peinture à l'huile, acrylique, aquarelle, gouache
- peinture pour porcelaine (Schjerning, Shira, Céradel)
- fours, pinceaux et brosses
- papiers (Canson, Stouls, Vinci, Vang)
- chevalets, coffrets, boîte aquarelle
- modelage, argile à modeler
- collection de statues en bronze, terre cuite, bois
- copies de tableaux, objets de décoration
  • Maison Gattegno, 13 rue Grde Chaumière 75006 Paris - written about in this post My Candy Store in Paris Breakfasts
  • Gerstaecker - Le géant des Beaux arts - an all French website with a shop in Paris at 166 rue de la Roquette 75011 Paris - although I haven't yet worked out what it stocks
  • Graphigro has shops in the Third (13-15, boulevard des Filles du Calvaire ), Sixth (207, boulevard Voltaire ) and Fifteenth Arondissements.
  • Dubois - Dubois SARL 20, rue Soufflot, 75005 Paris (inbetween the Jardin du Luxembourg and the Sorbonne) - indicates it targetd at professional fine artists as well as amateurs
  • Esquisse - 3 rue des Beaux-Arts - 75006 Paris (Ligne 4 : Saint-Germain des Prés; Ligne 10 : Mabillon ou Odéon; Ligne 7 : Pont-Neuf) Stocks Caran d'Ache Pencils
ArtStage.Fr has a great basic list of art shops.

The Great Pencil Hunt, Part Two is a 1997 review of art shops in Paris by Ric's Metropole Paris

I V Y paris
serves as a comprehensive hub for visual arts information and resources in Paris. Unfortunately it has not got categories so searching its archive of past posts is not easy - but it does comment on certain art shops in what's hot art supply stores (0nce you know that's the label to use!)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

29th September: Gardens in Paris

I love visiting gardens and intend to visit gardens in Paris. Here's a short list - with links to Wikipedia - of woodlands, parks and gardens in Paris. I'm unlikely to get to more than two or three but will be trying!



Another useful site is Paris Gardens

Monday, September 28, 2009

28th September: 10 top art museums in Paris

One of the things I know I will be doing in Paris is visiting various museums and art galleries.
TIP: Pay careful attention to websites or guide books as to the days on which museums are closed. They don't all close on the same day but they do all somehow manage to close on one of the days you've decided to be in Paris! Check before you visit to avoid disappointment.
Here's a list of some of the ones I want to get to. You can take a virtual visit! :)

Musée du Louvre - 6 million visitors each year come to the Louvre to see western art from the Middle ages to 1848 (paintings, sculptures, objets d'art and Prints and drawings), and art from antique civilizations (Oriental, Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan and Roman antiquities). (information for visiting - Closed on Tuesdays)

Monet's paintings of Rouen Cathedral in the Musée d'Orsay

Musée d'Orsay. Musée d'Orsay is a national museum created from a former railway station by the Ministry of Culture. It opened on 9 December 1986 and showcases art of the western world created between 1848 and 1914. It now gets more than three millions visitors each year - and is one of my all time favourite museums. If I've got time I will be sketching paintings - except I can't remember whether or not I'm allowed. (Info for visitors - location, reviews etc. Closed on Mondays)

Musée d'Orsay - looking down through the levels of this former railway station

Check out:
National Museum of Modern Art - Centre Georges Pompidou (aka the Pompidou Centre by the English and the Beaubourg by the locals). Besides being a very spectacular building the Pompidou Centre houses one of the world's leading collections of 20th century art of c.53,000 works. You can take a virtual tour via the website.

Musée de l’Orangerie is located at the Place de la Concorde end of the Jardin des Tuileries.
It reopened in 2006 after being shut for a £31m renovation which lasted six years. refurbishment project in May 2006. Its main claim to fame is that, in its basement, it houses Les Nympheas - the enormous waterlily murals painted by Monet. They are formally known as the Grand Decorations and they attract around half a million visitors a year. (Info for visitors Closed on Tuesdays)

Musée Marmottan is near the Bois de Boulogne. It's the home of Impression, Sunrise and includes a very large collection of works by the Impressionists and post Impressionists. (Info for visitors. Late opening on Tuesdays)
In 1966 Michel Monet, the painter's second son, left the family property at Giverny to the Académie des Beaux Arts and the collection of pictures inherited from his father to the Marmottan Museum. This gave the Museum the world's largest collection of works by Claude Monet. Jules and Paul MARMOTTAN
Last time I was in Paris there was a major exhibition at the Grand Palais. We were queuing out the door and round the foutain to see the blockbuster Turner, Whistler and Monet exhibition! The building was home to the 1900 Universal Exhibition. Currently it's home to the Renoir in the 20th century exhibition.

The queue for Turner Whistler Monet
outside the Grand Palais - October 2004

Just opposite the Orangerie is the Galerie de Nationale du Jeu de Paume: This is another national gallery and is a museum of photographic art. It's located in the north-west corner of the Tuileries Gardens.

Museums devoted to individuals include:

Musée Picasso
- currently closed for refurbishment. 5, rue de Thorigny, 75003 (Info. for visiting)
The Picasso Museum opened to the public in 1985. Devoted solely to Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), the museum provides a unique opportunity to follow the artist's development throughout his career from 1894 to 1972. The collection was started with the works that the French State received in payment of death duties. it was bequest with 251 paintings, 160 sculptures, 16 collages, 29 relief paintings, 107 ceramics, 1,500 drawings, 58 notebooks, and his entire engraving works complete with the various stages of each plate and illustration. Over 100,000 archive items, photographs, letters, manuscripts and documents make this the largest and most comprehensive collection of Picasso's life and work in the world.
Musée Rodin - 77, rue de Varenne, 75007 Paris. Bronze and marble work by Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), works by Camille Claudel, Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir plus large sculptures in the garden. (Info. for visiting)

Musée National Eugène Delacroix - 6 Rue de Furstenberg 75 006 Paris. Delacroix's last home and studio (1798-1863). Work and documents by the artist and his circle. (Info. for visiting)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

27th September: Catching the Eurostar to Paris

Basilique du Sacré-Cœur, Paris and Montmartre
taken the last time I was in Paris from the roof of the Musée d'Orsay

By the time this post publishes this morning, I'll be on the 7.52am Eurostar from St Pancras International Station to Paris Gare du Nord with my sister and niece. Sketching will probably start on the train! I may even twitter - having finally worked out how to do that via my mobile. [Note: My mobile is set to 'send' only]

Paris is one hour ahead of London so by 11.17am we should be arriving at in the busiest station in Europe.

We'll then be walking some fifteen minutes to our hotel in the ninth arondissement - I'll be reporting later on whether I can recommend it. It looks promising and it took an awful lot of browsing of the options before I found it!

After which the sightseeing - and the sketching starts in earnest!

Blogging our French trip

Today, we're starting our trip to France. If you're interested you can take a virtual trip to Paris, Normandy and the Loire valley with us as I've arranged for a post to publish each day on this blog about where we are and what we might be getting up to!

I'm not trying to 'go digital' for the trip so sketches and photos from the trip will be posted when I get back - much in the same way as I've done for previous trips (see Venice, Italy (May 2005); California, Arizona & New Mexico (July 2006); Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont & Maine (September 2006)).

Both sets of posts will include travel tips
as this is a travel blog as much as it's a sketchbook blog.

If you're ever doing this particular crossing of the Channel you might find the following reviews interesting to read:
Tip: I booked over the phone as we were doing two different types of ticket (one return and two one-way) and you can't do different combinations for the same party online. I ended up with two different references for adjacent seats. I was able to print my Eurostar return ticket off using my own printer. However as a mistake was made by the booking people on the other ticket and this was remedied but this then meant that it couldn't then be printed off online and the tickets had to be posted to me - in the middle of an ad hoc postal strike!

Moral of the story - if you book over the phone and discover they have made a mistake, get them to cancel the whole ticket and start again if you want to print off rather than wait for the post!
Two important points to note:
  • Please do comment - but it's unlikely your comment will be published until I have the time and can also get access to a trustworthy computer to moderate comments - which might not be until I get home again!
  • I'll be tweeting during the trip - but only those who have signed up to follow me already can see those tweets as I've protected my Twitter stream for the duration of the trip. Sorry to be boring (and this is not an exercise in trying to collect followers) but I'm just trying to minimise the incidence of 'weird' people following me because I'll be tweeting about popular places.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Gazebo at Sissinghurst

In the corner of the Orchard at Sissinghurst is a Gazebo. It's not been there very long, having been constructed in the late 60s which means it's celebrating its golden anniversary this year.

The Gazebo in Sissinghurst Orchard
pencil and coloured pencils
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

This is what the National Trust has to say about it.
The Memorial Gazebo at Sissinghurst, built of Kentish weatherboard, was dedicated in 1969 to Sir Harold Nicolson (husband of Vita Sackville-West) by their sons, Ben and Nigel. It stands by the moat and was used by Nigel Nicolson (who lived at Sissinghurst from 1930 until his death in 2004) as his private writing room.
There are windows on the moat side which look out at the fields beyond Sissinghurst Castle garden.

I met Nigel Nicholson once at Sissinghurst some years ago - he was a very nice gentleman. You can read some of what he wrote about the key characters at Sissinghurst in this extract from his book Long Life


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Where to go on my French trip?

My name is Katherine and I'm a mapoholic.

I love maps. I collect maps. I have shelves for maps. I frame antique maps. Basically I'm just an unrepentent mapoholic.

So, when visiting a country I'm not likely to just go and buy one map. That would be too simple.
  • There are of course merits to maps at different scales.
  • Plus of course they have different boundaries.
  • Then they have different graphic treatments - which tend to make them more or less easy on the eye and accessible in terms of interpretation.
  • Plus they tend to have different purposes, ones for driving, ones for finding your way round a town or city and ones for being to locate streets within a town or city, ones for using public transport, ones for finding museums and ones for finding the shops!
Which is a long way round of saying that when travelling with a sketchbook abroad, the maps come too!

The section for maps of France in Stamfords
photo copyright Katherine Tyrrell

I'm going to be visiting France in the near future - and needed some maps. Stanfords (in Long Acre) have rather a lot of French maps from which to choose and I spent rather a long time in there last Saturday afternoon. After all, if it's good enough for customers as diverse as Shackleton, Bill Bryson and Michael Palin it's bound to provide me with what I need!

Below is the route map of where we will be visiting and the maps top right are part of my haul!

France 2009: Route Map

Plus here are some of the highlights of where I will travelling with my sketchbook for:
  • four days musee visiting and sightseeing in Paris
  • then two days "doing a Monet" - with a visit to Monet's garden at Giverny followed by an overnight stay in Rouen. I'm rather proud of the fact I've managed to get booked into the hotel which is bang opposite the front of the cathedral - so I'll be up early that morning and out sketching in the early morning light - "doing a Monet"
  • followed by a detour across Normandy to the coast and Mont St Michel and a stay in a chateau
  • next travelling down to the Loire and Touraine - possibly encountering Laura of Laurelines en route if she gets to Britanny
  • then 6 nights in a cottage in the Touraine - in the grounds of a chateau just north of Tours. To get us in the mood as we'll be visiting the chateaux of the Loire valley - Chenonceau, Azay-Le-Rideau, Villandry and Chinon - and meeting up with Ronelle (African Tapestry / Coin Perdu) in her french kitchen in Montlouis-sur-Loire
The itinerary is essentially driven and dictated by my 15 year old niece with some minor tweaks by my sister and me who are providing the chaperone/chauffeur service! :)

I'm not going to go into any more detail at this stage as I'm planning to shedule posts which will publish while I'm away which will say where I am and what I think I will be visiting nearly every day. I'll be an absentee blogowner leaving a trail across France..... ;)

So - dear readers - to make this a bit more of an interactive visit - what I would like are your recommendations of great places to go and/or see

What are your ' do not miss' places to go? These might be
  • either from the point of view ofseeing great art
  • or a great place to visit?
  • or a great location from which to sketch
I'm particularly interested in locations from which to sketch - where are the good views?

Links: Stanfords 12-14 Long Acre, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9LP
Tel:020 7836 1321

Monday, September 14, 2009

Victoria Park Lake People #4

I'm not quite sure why but I last posted sketches of people by the West Lake in Victoria Park in January.

I sketch the people on the terrace by the cafe next to the West Lake in Victoria Park when I stop there for my cup of tea on my morning sketchercise walk.

Victoria Park Lake People #4
pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils in Moleskine sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

It rather depends on whether or not I get distracted by the trees or the birds and sketch them instead! I guess the trees and birds got more interesting as the year progressed!

Here are the other three from January this year - when it was very cold. There are fewer people around in January and I always sit inside to sketch - with my hot cup of tea!

Victoria Park Lake People #1, 2 and 3 (January 2009)
pencil and pencil/coloured pencils in Derwent Safari sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

The people who gather on this spot are interesting. They often seem to be under the misapprehension that if they you sit outside near a fountain you can't be overheard! While sketching I find I hear snatches of conversations into the sketches without even trying - I often think I ought to try and incorporate some of the words into a sketch.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Magenta Topknot

Magenta topknot
pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils in Moleskine

copyright Katherine Tyrrell

I had to go to Outpatients on Monday - so naturally I took my sketchbook! Waiting rooms always provide an excellent opportunity to draw people - people come and go all the time - it makes a for a nice challenge.

I often spend my time noticing how many commonalities we have (the ladies in their navy jackets) while all being slightly different.

What's really great is when you notice somebody who stands out. Here's the view from my seat in the waiting room - I just loved the dark magenta bun of the lady who was sat just in front of me. It brought the phrase 'top knot' to mind as she had taken her beautifully braided hair and gathered the ends into a bun.

However I took a look at the phrase 'top knot' and I gather it's more correct to apply it to a traditional haircut of Japanese men! For example
Sumo wrestlers with sekitori status are allowed, on certain occasions, to wear their hair in a more elaborate form of topknot called an oicho or ginkgo leaf style, where the ends of the topknot are splayed out to form a semicircle. Given the uniqueness of the style in modern Japan, the Sumo Association employs specialist hairdressers called tokoyama to cut and prepare sumo wrestlers' hair.
Wikipedia - Chonmage
You learn something new every day........

I came home from the hospital having learned another new phrase - thrombosed angioma. Plus I get to have this funny nodule on my shoulder 'shaved off' at the end of next month. Why do they need to use the word 'shaved' I ask myself? That then reminded me that surgeons used to be barbers..........

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Sissinghurst - and tips for time limited sketches

This is about sketching a view of the Cottage Garden at Sissinghurst and shows you my 'before' and 'after' versions of the same sketch. It also provides some tips for sketching within a time limit.

an early August evening in the Cottage Garden at Sissinghurst
11.5" x 17", pencil and coloured pencils in Daler Rowney black hardback sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

This particular sketch was done right at the end of a trip to Sissinghurst in August. "He who must not be bored while I sketch" read his book sat in the chair outside the cottage while I sat on the doorstep. I also tried out my latest addition to my sketching toolkit which I'd bought earlier at the shop. This is a foam kneeling pad for gardeners. It fits neatly inside my backpack and makes a perfect lightweight pad for use when wanting to sit on the ground to sketch.

The sketch at the top is how it ended up - it's a sketch of an early August evening which means lots of lovely shadows and a warm quality to the light. I love sketching in the early evening and do it a lot as places often look much better than in the middle of the day.

However in this instance it was the end of the day and consequently I was very limited by how much time was left before the garden closed at 6.30pm - and below is how far I got while still in the garden. Below I'll tell you what I do if time for sketching is limited - and what I did to help me finish this sketch back at home.

work in progress - an early August evening in the Cottage Garden at Sissinghurst
11.5" x 17", pencil and coloured pencils in Daler Rowney black hardback sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

Tips for time limited sketches - and how to complete them

I start a lot of sketches - but don't always finish them. Some are rubbish, don't deserve to be finished and never see the light of day again!

However other sketches are only starts because I'm working within a time limit and consequently cannot finish them properly. I can finish promising sketches back at home if I make sure I do a few things - which I'm sharing with you below.

If you have limited time to sketch here's an overview of some tips:
  • PRACTICE doing short sketches - if you do a lot of sketches where you only allow yourself (say) 10-15 minutes then you soon get an idea of how much you can get done in that time period. Plus if you practice you speed up a lot as you begin to understand the possible shortcuts. (You can read more about this in my sketching class exercise Sketching for Real - so you want to learn how to sketch...... )
  • the four most important lines: deciding just how much to draw is very important. You can carry a viewfinder - or use the viewfinder on your camera to work out what works for you. Some people just extract small slivers of a view if working quickly. I'm more likely to 'go large' as this means I have to simplify more. There's no right answer except what works best for you. It's worth experimenting to find out how much you can get down in just 10-15 minutes. (see also Making a Mark: Composition - the four most important lines)
  • contour drawing - shapes and lines: focus on drawing in the big shapes and getting the junctions between important lines/shapes right. Forget about the details - there are more important things to do! I tend to look for the 'big' verticals and horizontals and any important diagonals eg any lines which lead the eye into the picture.
  • sample what the photo can't give you: if you're also taking a photograph, you can use that to review your drawing of lines and shapes but it'll be useless for values (it will have a higher degree of contrast) and colours (cameras often distort natural hues - partly because of the values issue)
  • focus on the value pattern: I always try to focus on getting the overall value pattern down. What I aim for is an expanded 'thumbnail sketch' which indicates why I was attracted to this view. You don't even have to draw all of it so long as you've got a sense of the contrast. In this example, you can see where I completed the value on the background Irish yew on the right and did a patch of the foreground Yew on the left. I also made sure I drew in and captured the light acid yellow green colour of the sunlight hitting the rim of the yew. (see also Making a Mark: Composition - why tonal values and contrast are important)
  • sample the colours: if you sketch a lot there comes a point when you don't need to record colours anymore for some of your subject matter - if you've drawn it many times before from life you know what the colour is! A good reason for recording it is if it was different. In this instance the sky was a normal summer blue sky - hence no blue got recorded in the sketch! However I wanted to try and get a sample of the rim lighting on the yew and the yellows and reds of the flowers. I always do the best I can with whatever coloured pencils I have available and try optical mixes of different pencils I don't have the right colour pencil. ()
  • get the rest of the colours down ASAP: If you do a lot of sketching and train your brain to observe, name and record colour then it's possible to do memory sketches - so long as you get the colour down fast. I find I've got to be very careful about this if I'm doing a day's sketching as all the colours in the different images can get mixed up in my memory. I find that my best bet for colour sketching from memory is always the last sketch of the day - as this was.
While I printed off a photo to check my proportions and shapes, I used my colour memory to complete this sketch and capture the early evening light. I think it worked quite well for the most part. There are bits I'd like to improve on and I may well have a go at working this one up info a more formal drawing.

Below you can find some links which provide helpful information if you want to draw or paint gardens and/or visit Sissinghurst. Plus links to previous sketches at Sissinghurst.

Do you have any tips for:
  • sketching within a time limit?
  • sketching from colour memory?

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Sketching in Neal's Yard

After sketching at Seven Dials I walked down to Neal's Yard which is nearer Covent Garden. In fact it's about a couple of minute's walk from both Seven Dials and Covent Garden Tube Station.

Neal's Yard
8.5" x 11.5", pencil and coloured pencils

copyright Katherine Tyrrell

A small alley between Shorts Gardens and Monmouth Street opens into Neal's Yard, a small courtyard which is a slightly hippy home to healthy food (eg Neal's Yard Salad Bar and Neal's Yard Deli - which is the purple and orange building to the right of my sketch above); natural remedies (Neal's Yard Remedies) and other new age type shops - mixed in with beads and back rubs! As you can tell having Neal's Yard in the name has some cachet!

Trees in bins, Neal's Yard
11.5" x 8.5" , pencil and coloured pencils
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

The colours are a refreshing change - although trying to cope with quite so many complementary colours at one and the same time slightly overwhelms the eyes.

I sat at the Souk end and then went and sat on the bench outside Neal's Yard Remedies (on the left of the sketch at the top) and drew the view of from the other way on - of trees in coloured bins and the green seats which surround them - against the inevitable acid orange painted brick walls!

On the way out I paid a visit to Neal's Yard Dairy - to sniff the cheese - as I'm not allowing myself to eat cheese at the moment (diet!).

The top sketch didn't look right when I got home and I realised that in trying to work through the complexities of the pattern of horizontals and verticals PLUS all the local colours I'd completely lost the value pattern which had attracted me to the view in the first place. A little bit of attention with an eraser to pick out the lights and reinforcement of the darks with my pencil and my sketch was looking much more as it should do.

Sketchercise: there was a fair bit of trekking around - but sketching in central London doesn't rack up the distances as much as walking in parks and alongside canals and rivers!

However I made myself walk down through a very busy Covent Garden down to Embankment to catch the District Line tube home - which is where I paid a visit to the art section of the Waterstones book shop. I'm just about to sit and write the review of that for Making A Mark reviews......

[UPDATE and here it is Art Bookshop Review: Waterstones (Covent Garden) ]

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Sketching at Seven Dials

Last Friday I was on a sketching trip to Seven Dials near Covent Garden.

It's a curious place. Initially you think of as being the place where there's a road junction of seven roads - with a great big Sundial Pillar (it has six sundials) in the centre. That's now a place where people like to take time out, and - as is the way of the world these days - check out their messages and text their friends on their iphones and mobiles! However Seven Dials is also a thriving community within central London - of which more below.

Networking at Seven Dials
pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils
in panoramic sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

This sketch was actually done in my panoramic sketchbook and the pillar continues up the page. However I quite liked this crop when I did the scan so that's what you can see!

I'm currently mulling over making this into a proper drawing for an exhibition next year.

About Seven Dials

Seven Dials - the area around the junction - was once a notorious place. I first came across it in Agatha Christie's novel The Seven Dials Mystery (1929).

Seven Dials was orginally created by Thomas Neale MP and was planned as a fairly up-market development. The design of the Seven Dials development - the seven roads fanning out from the central pillar was ingenious and addressed the nature of the site layout and the financial commitments which went with it. As a result there are several passages and small court yards in the surrounding streets.

Initially the residents were respectable, if not aristocratic, comprising of gentlemen, lawyers and prosperous tradesmen. However after Neale disposed of his finanical interest in the development in 1695, the rest of it was carried out by various builders over the next 15 years. They sub-divided the houses which in turn led to a very different sort of inhabitant from that originally planned!
by the middle of the 18th century, the area had 'declined' to the extent that 39 night-watchmen were needed to keep the peace. By the early 19th century the area became famous, together with St. Giles to the north, as the most notorious rookery (slum) in London.
The Seven Dials Trust
Map of the present day Seven Dials
available to download

Latterly a lot of money has been spent on regenerating the area. It became designated as an Outstanding Conservation Area (only 36 existed out of 6,000 in the UK) and then gained Housing Action Area status in 1977. This brought back into use every vacant residential property and also encouraged major private housing schemes and new businesses.

The replacement sundial column seen today was constructed in 1988 and 1989, to the original design.

Candy Cakes, 36 Monmouth Street
- just off Seven Dials

It's now a sustainable community, has good shops and is a very trendy area!


Wednesday, September 02, 2009

How to create a Google map for sketches and sketchercise

Members of Sketchercise have recently been learning how to produce maps of our routes using Google Maps - so that we can see the places where sketches are being done on our travels with a sketchbook.

I included my first one in my last post about Hampstead Heath and the Boating Pond

Now - so that I don't forget how to do it and also so I can make a record of my tips for myself I'm sharing what I do to create a map. I think I was successful on my third attempt - hence the tips section!

How to create a Google Map of your sketching trip

If you want to include maps of your route on sketching trips in your blog posts this is what you need to do:
  • find Google Maps - it's usually a link in the top left of the Google Home Page.
  • If you're creating a map for a foreign country, go to the Google Map for that country eg "Google France" and then click the maps link
  • You can create maps in the My Maps section
  • Here's the Google Help Page for how you get started with creating your own map
  • Watch this Google video tutorial about how to create maps on Google Maps. This explains about creating a new map and including placemarks and lines for your route.

Two ways to create a map of your sketches

There are essentially two alternative ways of creating a map:
  • a map of a route taken - with placemarks for sketches en route (and/or local landmarks and/or places you'd like to sketch - as a reminder!)
  • a map of placemarks
A map of a route taken with placemarks for sketches

This was the option I chose for my (unlisted) first map of Hampstead Heath Walk #1 - The Boating Pond

The huge benefit for sketchercisers is that it tells you how far you've walked at the end of the route!

A map of placemarks for sketches

An alternative to creating a route is to create a map of placemarks which link to sketches you've done from that spot

Martin Stankewitz (Edition Handdruck) has created a (public) map like this for his walks in his local forest which he features in Wandern und Zeichnen. See Waldtagebuch Forest diary . Click a placemark and you can see the sketch

His images in Picasa are public and hence can be located on the map.

(Note you can translate the text on Martin's blogs by clicking the translate link at the top of the right column on the home page)

Some tips for creating Google Maps

  • What's the map about - Use the title and description to say what the route is about if you want to be able to keep your chums aware of where you have been walking and sketching.
  • Use the right line tool - If you're going to be walking across open land you can't use the 'draw a line along roads'!
  • Don't give up! - I found it quite difficult to get the 'draw a line' tool to start. Persevere - you'll get there in the end.
  • Achieving accuracy Tip #1 - Work in the satellite view with names of roads and landmarks switched on. It's much, much easier to get the route right that way
  • Achieving accuracy Tip #2 - Magnify the map as much as you can while you're inserting placemarks and the route you walk. Otherwise you'll find as I did that all the placemarks and the route lines are in the wrong place when you do look more closely
  • Achieving accuracy Tip #3 - Use lots of clicks for the 'drawing a line' tool for the route that helps get its 'shape' right. I started to find it was useful to click every time the route started to bend in shape.
  • Show where you did the sketch - I use placemarks to note where I did a sketch. I then use the rich text of description to include a link to my blog post. Obviously the description also gives scope to indicate which direction you were looking in, what the weather was like etc and/or how long you stayed.
  • Concise descriptions - The description in the placemark list only shows the first line - so you need to be fairly precise with the words used in that line, for example "This is where I did my sketch of..."
  • Public or unlisted? - You have a choice about whether you make your map public - or only available to those which have its URL (ie it's not listed by Google). I'm sticking to the latter.
  • Privacy - One important thing to bear in mind. If you don't want to share your address on the Internet do what I do and use a fixed point near your home to act as a start and end point. I'll also be varying mine!
I'm going to be coming back and updating this post as I find out new tricks!

What are your tips for creating a Google Map of where you've been sketching?