saturday at the rink & jean jacques sempé

my little sketchbook has been filling up with oodles of doodles of people, doing various things, going about their lives. people i come across while doing whatever it is i’m doing.

skating rink skate rink sketch sempe

{ edit: just noticed i dated that drawing as 2010, not 2011! }

the people are tiny, about 1 cm (less than half an inch) tall, and so fun to capture when perfection isn’t the objective.

this little one right here?

skater resting on bench sketch

a young girl taking a break during lessons (with the pre-requisite giant helmet).

there is an artist i’d like to mention, but in doing so here, i am not suggesting my work is like his (i’ve already been compared to picasso here, thanks to jo, and i can pretty much retire now ;-) )… though i do want to share some inspiration.

i’ve been admiring the work of jean jacques sempé recently. if you’re not familiar with the name, you will probably recognize his work.

born in france in 1932, sempé is the artist and cartoonist behind many published pieces, including covers of the new yorker magazine, as well as his own books and compilations. his style is simple but precise and elegant. flipping through the pages of one of his books is like reading a rich story, without any pesky words getting in the way.

i was looking through his book, un peu de paris (a little bit of paris), and really enjoyed the images. most are drawn from a high perspective, looking down at a scene or a crowd of people, each person a few lines of ink, but cleverly expressive.

here’s just one of many such vignettes, though my photo doesn’t do justice…

sempe sketch a bit of paris

pick up one of his books if you get the chance and look through the pages. though i don’t celebrate valentine’s day, i think it’d be a good excuse to purchase his displays of affection for a loved one or yourself.

(honestly, i’m not hinting mr.madeItSo. but if you’re reading this and you do get the book, you can toss the receipt. just saying.)

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12 Responses to saturday at the rink & jean jacques sempé

  1. 'Joyce' says:

    oh how lovely are your little people. You know I was thinking of you today as I went on my morning walk. I come across all sorts of people also walking, and I thought it would be wonderful if I could sketch them. I also thought how wonderful it would be if I could sketch the sunrise that I saw, oh, it took my breath away and I so wished I had a piece of charcoal/chalk and some paper to forever capture it. You have a wonderful gift, and I thank you for sharing it. Bless.

  2. I love them all, but especially the little girl bent slightly forward at the waist. Is she regaining her balance or throwing something down on the ice?

    Such a gift to be able to draw! Do you know Wanda G’ag’s work? Children’s book illustrator from many many years ago (Millions of Cats). She said “Life with a drawing mood is miserable, miserable, miserable!”

    • imadeitso says:

      hah! no i will have to look her up jo…

      as for the girl, she is bent forward at the waist. i noticed that most of the beginner skaters had that posture. and the little splat mark you see in front of her belongs to a trail of a skater (you can’t really see him) who just kept falling. and getting back up again :)

  3. Alyssa says:

    Sempé’s work is such fun to look at and thinking of his reminds me, too, of Bemelmans’. Both have such a clearness of line and simple color to accent, and yes – very expressive. Love your little ‘oodles of doodles’.

  4. Victoria says:

    Adorable skaters! I remember that hunched over skating posture. :)

    I’ve had this open in a browser window for a few days now, meaning to start it. Remembered it again when I read this post:

  5. Fabulous sketches. Always in awe of your artistic ability.

  6. Beth Holt says:

    Your drawings are memorable. I took drawing in college and the professor’s attitude was “if you want an exact picture, get a camera and take a picture…” The French artist’s work reminds me of the drawings in my daughter’s books of Madeline.

  7. ~*~Patty says:

    seeing the Sempe vignette at first glance made me think of the “Madeline” books

    fun ice skating people you’ve captured and extra sweet that they are so tiny :)

  8. DeeJae (Deb) says:

    Oh, I love your little people. They remind me of two of my favorite children books/illustrators: Peter Spier, his bookPeople and Piero Ventura, his book Book of Cities.


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