Friday, July 10, 2015

Paris in July: Doodling in French

Doodling in French by Anna Corba
Published by: Chronicle Books
Copyright 2012

On a recent "artist date" I discovered this delightful little text at a quaint independent bookshop in Lawrence, Kansas.

Of course the title caught my eye, but a quick flip through the pages convinced me to review it more closely. Once I returned home, I immediately requested a copy from my local library.

I am no artist, but I do harbor dreams of sitting in a local coffee shop or on a park bench and sketching a few observations. Technically this book should help me fulfill that desire.

While only 144 pages, this short little tutorial is divided into seven sections - all reminiscent of the quintessential Parisian life:

  • Dans le Jardin
  • Le Cafe
  • A la Maison
  • Les Accessoires
  • Bon Voyage
  • Tous mes Reves
  • Et Maintenant

 Each sketch is shown in simple step-by-step instructions. None of the drawings are terribly complex, but each subject is very French and quite a good likeness.

It certainly seems easy enough....

Just follow the directions, pay attention to scale, and voila ... a perfect sketch of a fond French memory.

Well, that's the idea in theory....

Book directions...
My attempt

In reality, however, my croissant looks like a sickly snail. And my cheese wheel? ...well, who knows.

I must admit my expectations were terribly unrealistic. I thought a few simple lines was, well... simple. A curve here, a triangle there, and in 60 seconds I'd have a sketch of a delectable morsel. But as in any artistic endeavor, the process is far more complex than it seems. It takes time, patience, and practice to develop a new skill, and I was not willing to slow down enough to give it a fair chance.

For now I have decided to devote my time to writing. But someday I plan to purchase this book and j'essayerai encore une fois.

** For other Paris in July posts, please visit Tamara's website, Thyme for Tea.


  1. That looks like a fun book. I think your attempts are great!

  2. Oh Kathy... you are TOO kind :)
    But you're right, it is a fun book!

  3. I have just noticed these doodling books in bookshops I am quite tempted to give them a try, they look like fun.

  4. You are too hard on yourself...Your croissant and your cheese wheel are magnifique!

  5. What a fun book! I think you did a great job. And I know what you mean - sitting on a bench sketching has always seemed like something I would like to do. Of course, my drawing skills are nil. My best friend in college would sketch trees, and that seemed to make her happy. I suppose as long as you are doing it, its fun.

  6. C'est tres mignon! Very cute. I'm liking your doodles! You've also introduced a whole new category to Paris in July - doodling.

  7. I'm not sure this post qualifies as a whole new category, Tamara... but I am sure enjoying Paris in July 2015 :)

  8. Oh Deb... you are so encouraging! Perhaps I will try doodling a bit this summer.

  9. Nadia... if I had more talent, I could easily doodle for hours at a time. For now, just a few minutes of practice is about all I can handle :)

  10. Arabella - you should DEFINITELY try them. If I can do it, I promise, anyone can do it :)

  11. Your attempt looks great! I am not able to put two lines together in a nice way. However, I have some sort of ambition to do a journal and maybe this book will help me to attache a few drawing lines to my tickets or whatever I want to highlight. I will look for it.

  12. Bonjour!!! This is truly delightful -I am going to look for it not that I can draw anything. The store owner encouraged me to take photos. The French are interesting that way-some love it while others despise it. I can understand why-there are tourists that are just inconsiderate. I find asking is the best approach. However I speak French so that also makes it easier for me to communicate. Once I asked a little boy if I could take his photo-he was young teen-he said yes but do not post it on the net. That was simple enough.

  13. Esme - it is good to hear that not all French store owners are as crabby as the one I experienced. I am not fluent in French but can speak well enough to get along. I will no longer fear asking for the photo :)

  14. LisBeth - I LOVE to journal - and like the idea of trying to add a few of these squiggles to my writing. GREAT idea :)

  15. This sounds delightful. I can't draw at all, but I always love to try. I succumbed to a colouring book, Tomislav Tomic's A Walk Through Paris, and it's so lovely I'm scared to start colouring in case I spoil it!

  16. Oh... I LOVE these new coloring books for adults. I am unfamiliar with the one you mention, Christine, but I will certainly check it out later today. Thank you for the recommendation :)


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