Paris Sketches

A collection of my watercolor, Copic marker and ink sketches from Paris, including my Moleskine journal pages.

Updated June 3, 2021

Notre Dame de Paris Sketch

Notre Dame, Paris Sketch

Drawing sketches of a place really helps you to learn about it in a way that is so different from photography. In the case of this view of Notre Dame, I spent so many times re-sketching this scene, that I feel like I have the gothic contours of this Paris emblem permanently embedded in my brain. This final sketch, in Micron pen and Copic marker, is the effect I intended.

Rue de Richelieu Sketch

A sketch of The Rue de Richelieu, one of the longest, and historically most enchanting streets in Paris. Today, signs of cheap tourism - stands selling cheap toys and mementos, litter in the streets and throngs of noisy tourists hide the beautiful facades. But a sketch of these classic French buildings helps you see behind it all.

Luxembourg Palace Sketch

Luxembourg Palace Sketch

The Luxembourg Palace, home of the French Senate, and one of the most compelling buildings in Paris. I used black Micron pens and Copic sketch markers. Sketching this massive building was my personal lesson in how to draw Paris.

Institut de France

Sketch of Institut de France

The Institut de France houses five French Academies. One of them, the Académie Française, is charged with the task of protecting the integrity of the French language. Its forty members, known as The Immortals, attempt to keep the French language free from the pollution of foreign words. To, maintain the qualities of the language that makes it "pure, eloquent, and capable of dealing with art and science."

The Institut de France building was built in 1670 and was originally named Collège des Quatre-Nations; a college for students from territories that had just become a part of France.

Hôtel de Ville

Hôtel de Ville Sketch

Paris' City Hall, sketched with sepia micron pen and warm Copic sketch markers. I used warm tone grays on the building.

Talking Cheese

Barthélemy Cheese Shop Sketch

Two Parisians talk about cheese outside the Barthélemy Cheese Shop. Sketched with watercolors and sepia micron pen.

Pont Louis-Philippe Paris Sketch

Pont Louis-Philippe Paris Sketch

The Pont Louis-Philippe crosses the Seine River, connecting Île Saint-Louis with the Right Bank. Sketched with a black Micron 03 pen and copic markers.

Boulevard Saint-Germain Sketch

Drawing of Boulevard Saint-Germain, Paris

The Le Boul'mich Cafe in the Odéon Theatre District, drawn with 03 and 005 Micron Pigma liner pens.

Citroën 2CV

Citroen Car in France Sketch

The ubiquitous Citroën 2CV is a lovely classic car seen everywhere in Paris.

Rue Mouffetard

Teatro Nacional de Costa Rica

Drawing of the narrow pedestrian street, Rue Mouffetard, near the Square Saint-Médard.

The Seine River Sketch

The Seine River Sketch

The Seine in the Southern outskirts of Paris. As you leave the center of the city, more modern buildings mix in with the older brick and stone apartments.

Rue du Vieux-Colombier

Sketch of Rue du Vieux-Colombier, Paris

Line drawing of a street in Saint-Germain-des-Prés district. I can't help but to try to draw these Paris city streets without the cars, trucks and numerous street signs which take away from the classic lines of the city. Subconsciously, when I walk through Paris, I imagine the city without cars, and with simple beige-colored gravel streets.

Yellow Classic Mini

Sketch of Yellow Classic Mini Car

Drawing of a classic Mini found in a back alley in Paris.

The Gold Ring Scam, the Louvre Palace and the Pont Royal Bridge

The Louvre Palace Sketch

This view of Paris' third oldest bridge - the Pont Royal Bridge, with the Louvre Palace in the background, is one of my favorite settings in the city. As there are many tourists in this area, we experienced the famous gypsy gold ring scam, in which men, women or children will toss a cheap gold-looking ring in front of you, pick it back up as if it were not them dropping it, and ask if you dropped it. The scam is an ancient one, possibly dating back to Roman times in Europe. And although there are variations of the scam, the goal is often to get you into a conversation about whether the ring might be yours as a precursor to pickpocketing you.

In the first attempt, a pair of women threw a gold ring directly in front of us and came in for the kill. Of course, we're well aware of the scam as should be anybody visiting a large European city.

But after two thousand years, there are stil enough suckers out there to make the gold ring scam work again and again. I used a micron 03 liner pen and copic sketch markers for this drawing.

Classic Fiat

Classic Fiat in Paris Sketch

Classic Fiat Cinquecentos and other diminutive European cars are everpresent on smaller Parisian streets. Jane and I spent several hours just looking for, photographing and sketching old cars in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés arrondissement. This bright red model was my favorite. I used an 03 micron liner pen and watercolors for this drawing.

Primary Colors

Woman on Moped in Paris Sketch

In Paris, everybody seems comfortable with the idea of dressing in big, bright solid colors - more than the architecture and stone, this style seems to carry the look of the city. And its not just women; men have no problem wearing red pants with a blue shirt.

Small Autobianchi Car in Paris

Autobianchi Car from the 1960s

This tiny Italian car is a 1960's Autobianchi which was parked on the street near our hotel in St. Germaine for several days.. Thanks to 1MorePhotographer for the help in identifying this gem. I used an 03 Micron liner pen and watercolors for this drawing.

Paris Moleskine Journal

I use a moleskine journal while I travel to collect notes, ideas and sketches of subjects I am interested in. I used blue ink, and two micron pens: blue and black ink while traveling in Paris. Several of my drawings and notes are of birds and cheeses, as I was focused on learning more about each in the region of Île-de-France.

Paris Moleskine sketches Church in Paris Sketch Paris Journal: Sacre Couer in Blue Ink Paris Journal: Stock Dove Paris Moleskine Sketch Journal Paris Sketchbook, the Seine Sketches from Paris in blue ink Paris Moleskine Sketch Journal Paris Wash Sketches Paris Journal: Small cars, Ile de la Cite Paris Journal: man with newspaper, Le Consulat in Montmartre Rue Lepic Street Sketch Streets in Paris Sketch Metropolitan Sign Sketch from Paris Paris Journal: man with newspaper, Le Consulat in Montmartre

Explore more in Europa

In Venice, Istrian Croatia and Slovenia, I explore whether another Venice can be built in the future.

On the Island of Paros, I explore whether a musical improvisation master could have thrived in the ancient Mediterranean.

On a road trip to Iceland's remote Westfjords, I explore the decline of the iconic Atlantic Puffin.

In a road trip to Spain's Mediterranean coast, I ponder the value of itinerary-free travel.

Exploring Sicily's Tyrhennian Sea coast, with notes on the effect of climate and migration.

The Alfama district of Lisbon hints at the global influence of colonial Portugal.

Celebrating a family feast in the strange, modern setting of Pomerania, land of my ancestors.

Exploring small towns of Iberia, where some of Europe's most fabled cheeses were born.

Exploring the Bavarian and Swiss alps in search of the region's famous handmade cheeses.

Sketches, illustrations and notes on improvisation and worldbuilding in the Germany's second largest city.

Notes, drawings, sketches and illustrations in different mediums from Paris.

Drawings, notes and Moleskine journal sketches from my travels on the island of Sicily.

Notes on Gibraltar and its famous macaques, plus an interview with one of their protectors.

Drawings, sketches, Moleskine journal notes and illustrations from Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

Midnight tapas in Madrid, the plains of La Mancha and ancient alleys in Cuenca.

My companion notes, sketches and illustrations to my story on the Venetian Adriatic.