A couple of days ago we had a little snowfall. It wasn't much, but enough to give you 'the white christmas spirit'. Furthermore we could skate on some canals, together with the whole family and some additional hot chocos with rum (always helpfull to get into a good skate-flow). It was a perfect day: blue air, ice and snow, no wind. It lasted only for one day, so now we are facing a green christmas. But at least we got the pictures...
The little fellow above had more luck with the snow. It was one of four commissioned illustrations I made last week for a Dutch weekly newspaper. It will be published this coming saturday. Ink and watercolor on 300 grs Canson.
Pen and Ink in black and white on 300 grs Watercolour paper.
I remembered a paraglidingtrip I made with some friends about three years ago. We went to France where I slept in room 13 and where I placed every night my flyinghelmet and carkeys on the table. Guess what: nothing happened! In fact I made some incredible flights. As did my friends.
When I sketched the buildings I noticed pretty soon that they didn't fit in size to make the construction work. I had to downscale to far left building and upscale the two center buildings. This was what came up in my mind when I noticed this week's topic of Illustration Friday (or maybe I'm this week a bit too lazy to come up with a new drawing ;-)
We told them about a nice, cheap little hotel we stayed in last Spring: Hotel Croixville. It was not quite in the region where they had planned their holiday, which was far more south, but they could use an adress to sleepover on their way back home.
After a long detour, which was actually much longer than planned, they finally arrived at 10 PM to find out that Hotel Croixville was: ...closed. According to a sign which was placed behind one of the windows, the hotel is now for sale. Strangely enough madame Michelle, nor her son Christian, didn't mention last Spring that they had plans to close the hotel. In fact Christian had plans to renovate a large part of the rooms, fixing the roof and expanding the campingsite.
I wonder what happened there that made them close the hotel.
I made this black and white illustration last year for a grammatical teaching method. Pen and ink on 250 grams watercolourpaper.
At least the room was clean and the matrass was surprisingly good. Most hotels offer beds in which you can't sleep the first night, or all the nights of your stay, but this bed was actually very comfortable. We slept very well during our stay in Hotel Croixville. Except for one night.
We woke up in the middle of the third night of our stay. We couldn't tell why. Everything was dark and quite and just when we were snoozing away we heard a loud cry. It was difficult to say where it came from. Came it from another hotelroom? From outside? The mountains surrounding the hotel? For three or four times we heard someone screaming. We couldn't tell it was a man or woman. Suddenly everything was quite again, but we couldn't catch our sleep again that night.
The next morning we asked madame Michelle if she heard something that night, but she pretended (?) she couldn't understand our question. Later that day I spoke about the incident with Christian, but he also seemed not to understand our question. Too bad I didn't had the opportunity to speak to other hotelguests that day. Maybe they could give us some answers. For now it stayed an unsolved mystery.
I wanted to use the book to pick up my old drawing pace, but luckely enough I must say that there's so much coming to me that I hardly find time to work out every idea that's coming up. Of course the internet is nowadays a big source of ideas and drawing techniques. But I must say that an old-fashioned book can be inspiring as well. Not to ignore the fact that pictures look better in print than on the screen of your computer.
The exercise above was about drawing a piece of white paper on a white background with only an HB pencil to be used.
Maybe I find in the near future time to work this theme out. I think it has potential. (But without the weed on the second floor of the building)
As far as I concluded out of a brief encounter I had with him in the lobby, Christian was never married. He had once a fiancee, but his mother was not very fond about his choice of heart. She did everything in her power to make the girl realize that there were far more better husbands-to-be than her one and only son Christian. After the death of Christian's father, monsieur Alphonse Michelle, he and his mother had to run the hotel together and Christian never had taken the opportunity to have a go at other girls.
If I understood him correctly there was about twenty years ago a German family staying in the hotel with their daughter. She was celebrating her 30th birthday in the hotel and Christian's eyes lightened up as he told me what happened afterwards that birthdayparty. I couldn't follow it completely, but it had to do something with the showers on the camping. I think.
When I worked on the sketch of Cornelius' ship I instantly thought of that kind of background for the illustration. I hope the final result will be as good as I picturized it in my mind...
First thing we did was opening the window with the intention to have a beautiful look at the lake. Now that was a bit of a disappointment. The window was next to the hotelsign, so we had to look around the hotelsign to see the biggest part of the lake. I am not to small myself, so when I stretched myself I could see almost the whole lake. My wife, however, is much smaller so she don't have that advantage. But we did have a lovely view at the south part of the lake. With a ough mountainside. At least a better view than we have at home, but if we only had a small window in the right wall of the hotelroom, things would be much better.
After a small talk about the pros and cons we climbed down the small staircase to arrange another room, but unfortunately all other rooms were not available due to bookings and/or renovation. If I understood madame Michelle well. As I mentioned before my French was still a bit rusty at that time, but we would have plenty of time to improve that...
I've read a book about tallships lately. The real stuff: big sails on big ships from times longpast when men were made of steel and ships were made of wood. Somehow that subject must have been stuck into my mind. I kind of like the idea that its an imaginery ship for Cornelius Playfull and some of his friends. That's why I also made some sketches of how his friends would look like. I think I'll choose for three boys and one girl. When I was young we also had such a group to shaken up our neighbourhood.
I'll keep you informed about the progress I make with this illustration, because there's a lot of things I want to add to it. More to come, so to say!
Furthermore, my parents had a bakery back in the old days (they're retired now) and so I have a special thing with bread. So, as a hommage to my parents here's a colorsketch of the drawing I made for my recent commission. Bon appetit!
Our hotelroom was located on the first floor which we had to enter by using a very small staircase. There was no elevator. Frankly there wasn't much space for, either. The staircase had a very old and wornout carpet which must be pre-war. World War One to be precise. Stumbling up the stairs with our suitcases in a constant battle with ourselves for space we were glad not to have booked a room on the upper floor. Which we usely do to have a nice view. But because Hotel Croixville was beautifully located on a cliff on the shores of a very blue lake, any room would fit to get the so much appreciated view. We thought before we entered our room...
That was how we met madame Michelle. Owner of Hotel Croixville in France.
The place belonged to a very old hotel, which was apparently balancing on a cliff. According to the hotelmanager, madame Michelle (age: 250+), there was absolutely nothing to worry about. The hotel has been there since her parents founded it and it was supposed to last there for at least another hundred years. So the civil engineers had assured her after a landslide a few years before World War II had formed the cliff.
Although she was very firm in her statement we didn't mind to sit in our tent on rainy days, instead of booking one of the available rooms. Strangely enough the hotel didn't have any crack or other signs of disasters to come. It only needed an update in the bathrooms (authentic French, if you know what I mean!), new plaster on the ceilings and some fresh paint on the outside (as most buildings in France, if you know what I mean!)
Anyway, after a few days we left and we now even sort of miss madame Michelle and her 65+ son Christian.
We were in a little town in France, awhile ago. There we saw our favourite car: the Citroën DS Break. We hope to have one, someday...
Anyway, I made a quick sketch. The car reminded me of the old days. When I was young there came twice a month a salesman at my parents bakery and he drove such a car. It made quite an everlasting impression to me. Due to the good suspensionsystem of the DS you might expect that the salesman sold eggs or something else that need to be carefully transported. But nothing whatsoever: big bags with flour and big boxes with all kinds of bakerystuff! The eggs bytheway were brought in a big truck, with two very strange guys, but that is a completely different story.
As you might expect, or not, I am not in possession of a photograph of the salesman in the Citroën DS Break, so I had to sketch him by memory. Forgive me the dislikeness (Disclaimer for the family of the salesman). I also made up a fantasy-setting regarding the background. Note for example that I now let the salesmen transport eggs in his car: 'oeuf' is French for 'egg'. Also you can see in the background another Citroën. It's a 2CV, a car which is also rarely seen nowadays. Maybe I'll sketch one of those in the near future.