Paris,  Travel,  Uncategorized

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.


  • Nadia A

    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.

  • Lisbeth Ekelof

    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.

  • Esme

    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.

  • Molly Totoro

    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 🙂

  • Christine Harding

    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!

  • Molly Totoro

    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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