Europe : Part One (Preparations)

By Erika Moen on December 19, 2011

On October 25th this year, Matthew and I set off on our two week trip to Europe! Specifically, England and France. I’ve been meaning to share my photos and sketches with you guys since I got back, but I did so much of both over there that it’s been kind of daunting for me to break them down and write about ’em all. But! Hey. I gotta start some time.

This year one of my (many, many) goals was to actually sketch more. And by “more”, I mean “at all”. Every day I draw comic pages and character designs for my various scripts, but when it comes to sitting down and just doodling away for no reason? NOPE. My mind goes blank. And as a result, I’ve felt that my drawing progress has been somewhat stagnant for the last couple years.

The last time I visited France, in 2005, I went through a real artistic blossoming where I couldn’t stop sketching and journaling. My hope with this return trip, six years later, was to maybe rekindle that spark of free-flowing creativity.

In preparation, I bought a (A) Mead Five Star soft pencil case holder that stands upright, a (B) Faber-Castell pencil sharpener specifically made for colored pencils (I have the WORST luck sharpening colored pencils! Their lead always, always, ALWAYS snaps off when I use a regular sharpener.), and, on the recommendation of my brushpen-savy studiomates, two refillable (C) Niji Waterbrushes (small and medium), along with a bit of paper towel to act as an ink blotter because the brushes have a tendency to, well, blot a bit.

On hand, I already possessed a collection of Small, Fine, and Medium sized (F) Faber-Castell PITT Artist Pens (I am so partial to these guys. SUCK IT, MICRONS. Oh yeah, I went there.), my beloved (D) 0.5mm Alvin Draft Line mechanical pencil with blue lead and my back up, crappy, (D) BIC 0.7mm (also with blue lead), my brown ink (E) Staedtler Triplus Fineliner pen that I bought during my 2005 French trip and used extensively over there, though never again once returning to the USA, and a regular ol’ (E) BIC ballpoint pen. And then, of course the (G) colored pencils.

It was during my stay in France as a 21-year-old that I truly fell in love with my Prismacolor True Blue pencil, wearing it down to a diminutive length, and then never using it upon returning back to the states. It has kind of been one of my totem items that still has a strong, powerful memory-bond with me that I have kept with me for the last six years, always keeping an eye on it so that it makes it through every apartment moving I’ve undergone.

Though I would be bringing it along for good luck, I knew that it wouldn’t be able to survive a second trip as a useful drawing implement, so I picked up some substitutes in the form of Dick Blick’s Pthalo Blue pencils, which drew with the same consistency. That is, they are like drawing with butter sticks of color, it’s almost like painting.

With my art tool kit freshened up, I started sketching a bit more in the days leading up to our trip, though admittedly I still wasn’t drawing very much. But hey, any progress is welcome!

A doodle about taking a bath with Matt to help chill out my pre-flight jitters.

Next up, comics, artwork, and from photos from our actual trip!
Here’s a handy tag to keep all our trip’s entries together, if you wanna read them in reverse-chronological order.

Posters, books, prints and original artwork

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