Monday, November 8, 2010

Insects at the Bell Museum

Last Thursday night, the Bell Museum hosted a sketching night. They are offering this themed sketch night up in the touch and see room on the second floor, the first Thursday of the month from 6:30-8:30. I have to say I had a great time. There were about 15 or so people there on Thursday. Anyone can come, it is open to the public, and free with admission to the museum. If you have questions or run into problems Roz Stendahl is on hand to help with drawing or color problems. The Bell also has a staff member on hand to answer science or specimen related questions as they are able.
The theme this month was insects, so a Bell staff member had pulled trays of mounted insects out of storage and set them on a table in a side conference room. We then got to choose which insects to draw and were able to move cases around as needed. Of course we were also free to go roam the museum and sketch, but it is always fun to sketch in a group. It was also great to sit at a table and sketch items that I would not normally see at home.
I am currently working in a 9x9 Aquabee spiral bound sketch book, which I really like, although I find it to be a little cumbersome to carry around, so I plan on switching to a slightly smaller journal when this one is finished. I do really enjoy the paper however, and I am hoping they carry a bit smaller size that is still square.
I began these sketches on a pre-painted page, where I had just used up the last of some watercolor I had out from an earlier day. I do not usually pre-paint pages, but it was nice to draw on top of some color, and I will do it again. Each insect was drawn separately, taking me about 30 - 45 minutes each. I begin in sharpie pen with a contour line drawing and add the watercolor afterward. I did not plan on placing two drawings on one page. But I did not gauge my size or page placement very well as I began the moth, so when I finished I had lots of room left at the bottom of the page. I suppose another moth would have worked but by then time was flying and I hoped to sketch more, so I moved on to a new insect family. The dragonfly was very challenging. Too many tiny details in the wings to draw or paint in really, so you have to hint at the tiny lines and cross sections rather than recreate them exactly.
I look forward to next month's sketch night - sea creatures.


  1. HI Suzanne,
    Thanks for stopping by Courageously Creating and leaving that Photoshop resource. I love these insects you sketched. I am bummed I missed that outing. Maybe next time!
    Take Care,

  2. Oh, those are lovely! I think you aced the fine lines in the dragonfly wings. You don't need to be exact. It's like you said - just hint at them. Our mind fills in the rest, especially if we already have an image in our mind of what a dragonfly's wing is like. And in reality we probably wouldn't see them all anyway, depending on how the light hits the wing.