Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Imperial War Museum: SketchCrawl

I fell in love with the Imperial War Museum last month, when I was invited to do a day of illustration workshops there. I really wanted to go back and draw its curious shapes, so we held April's SketchCrawl North day there on Saturday. 20 people came together from all over the region to draw.

The astounding building was designed by architect Daniel Libeskind. He created the disorientating, fractured shapes to indicate how the experience of war smashes our world into pieces, which are never quite reassembled the same way afterwards. 

The inside is, if anything, more wild and abstract the the exterior. None of the walls are upright and lighting is used to further exaggerate the effect:

Apparently, during his 'pitch', Libeskind smashed a teapot to smitherines to demonstrate the principle - a great way of focussing the clients' attention!

I was fascinated by the false perspectives and the abstract compositions every way I looked. The only problem for sketching was that every hour the lights went out and various films were projected onto the walls. Very dramatic but very dark!

Just before lunch, I took the lift to the top of the Air Shard. I love high places and it afforded a great view down over the river. Unfortunately it was open to the weather and freezing. I couldn't go down without doing one quick sketch though.

We had a late lunch so the museum's cafe wouldn't be too full. Several people who'd finished eating, began sketching at the table. Many of us took the opportunity to sneak a look at other people's books. Then I climbed onto the windowsill and painted the bridge outside. I'm too impatient to wait for my watercolour to dry though, so I worked on 2 sketches at once:

You can see the sketches I did on the train coming home in the Picture Gallery and other people's sketches are posted in SketchCrawl North. If you live in the north of England and want to join us on a future SketchCrawl, why not join the Facebook group or email me and I'll add you to my mailing list. 

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