Sonntag, 28. Dezember 2014

Viking exhibition in the Martin Gropius Bau

The great viking exhibition in Martin Gropius Bau is still running till the 4th of January. "Die Wikinger" is curated by the National Museum of Denmark, the British Museum London and the museum for prehistory and early history Berlin.
Center piece of the exhibition is the tallest ever found longboat , the 37 metre (121,4 ft) long Roskilde 6.

During the whole period of the exhibition (from September to January) boatbuilders of the vikingship museum in Roskilde build a reconstruction of a yawl of the famous Gokstad ship by using techniques and tools from the viking age.

the rudder is already attached...
runestone with a depiction of the welcoming of warriors returning from the sea, 8th century, Broa Sweden

During this last week the opening hours are from 10 AM - 10 PM.
Formerly on Alleszeichnen:
The Havhinghsten fra Glendalough in Berlin

Donnerstag, 25. Dezember 2014

seasonal greetings

Seasonal greetings to you all! A merry Christmas and all the best for 2015!!!

This year a really bad cold sneaked upon me and turned Christmas nearly into a Cristmess...
It all started with a subtly scratching throat on Monday...and then it knocked me completely out.

We still had to get the thousand things done you do before the season...but for now everything seemed only to be possible in complete slow motion.
I don't know how we managed to get that monstrous tree up into the 3rd is about 3,20 m tall (about 10,5 ft) and with the star on top it nearly touches the ceiling of the old building in which we're living in (I ordered it in advance from a befriended farmer...he told me he had big trees for a good price...I didn't really know how big big was...I love it though :-)! It's awesome!).

That's the view from the couch in the living room, where I'm exiled to be quarantined for at the moment:

For now it's still hot water bottle and fennel tea, so if you haven't received any personal message from me...please forbear I will do that soon! :-D

Anyways: we still had a great time, the kids had a blast and I'm looking forward to review the year.

Farewell for now, more to be heard from us soon.


Montag, 8. Dezember 2014

Happy birthday, Adolph Menzel!

Today 199 years ago Adolph Menzel was born in Breslau.

This selfportrait (published on from 1899 showcases brilliantly the painterly drawing style of his late period: he used a broad and soft leaded carpenter's pencil and a stump to smudge the pencil(as you can especially see in the shadows).
This portrait is very interesting since hence he portrayed himself while he suffered from toothache. You can see the pain in his face and how hard it must have been to stay focussed while enduring the pain...
One can say that he truly stuck to his mottoes "All drawing is useful and drawing everything as well" ("alles Zeichnen ist nützlich, und Alles zeichnen auch.") and "nulla dies sine linea!" ("no day without a drawn line")

Menzel's grave is sited on the Dreifaltigkeitsfriedhof in Berlin Kreuzberg.
A beautiful and large graveyard at Bergmannstraße.

Mittwoch, 3. Dezember 2014

report in "Durch:starten"

There's a brief report on me and my work in the new issue of the "Durch:starten" the magazine of the German Job-information centre, which helps young people to introduce them to all kinds of possible professions.

I'm especially happy about this chance to introduce young people to the possibility to work as an illustrator/animator and about the developments in the german entertainment industry.
I remember that when I was searching for information on working in the field 15 years ago there was just none around; the industrially oriented animation schools were just about to embark and many of the professionals at that time were purely selftaught.

Sonntag, 12. Oktober 2014

silent protest

I'm very much impressed by the urban sketchers in Hongkong, who are documenting the incidents around the occupy central movement.
The artists have created a special Facebook-page, which is very much worth to check it out.

When the Chinese premier Li Kequiang visited Berlin last friday I tried to add my share of this peaceful protest.
Here's a sketch I did of the protesting Falun Gong practitioners in front of the chancellery.

The German version of the Epochtimes posted an article with five recomendations for Angie Merkel's cheat slip: 5 Tipps für Angela Merkel

Dienstag, 30. September 2014

Greisinger Museum

In a hole in the Switzerland in the Canton of Graubünden, Grisons, there is the only museum in the world which is solemnly dedicated to Middle-earth and J.R.R.Tolkien.

the biggest fun for me was to draw a Hobit-hole...but not from imagination...from nature...

On sunday I was visiting the Greisinger museum in Jenins which is truly mindblowing.
It is set in a real hobbit home, a mansion like Bag-End with a real oaken door, a front hall close to the design of Bilbo's home by John Howe, a room with a fire place and a study room.

Behind that the museum opens to a tour through many rooms of which each resembles a certain location from Tolkien's books like the mines of Moria, Edoras, the forest of Fangorn, Minas Tirith, the river Anduin (including the Argonath) and Mordor. The tour ends in the museum's club house which is (as you might guess) called "the Prancing Pony".

The collection is the most complete and encompassing of Tolkienia world wide including over 600 original paintings and drawings, over 3,500 books and uncountable objects connected to Tolkien and his works.

As an artist I mostly enjoyed to be given the opportunity to see the original works of many of my heroes in art real close. The collection contains artwork by Alan Lee, Ted Nasmith, Chris Achilleos, the brothers Hildebrandt, David Wenzel and Donato Giancola  just to name a few...

Among the books to me most impressive was the print of a handwritten and illustrated copy of the "Red Book of Westmarch" of which there do only exist four copies worldwide. Furthermore there are some very rare copies of first editions of the Hobbit, signed by Tolkien.

The collection contains the sculptures made after John Howe's illustrations, "Smaug the Golden" and "Eowyn and the Nazgul" and also some original props from the Peter Jackson films.

To put it shortly: the place is a blast for every Tolkien enthusiast and fan of fantastic fiction.

Official website

 Trailer on Youtube.

And if you want to know what happened to the Green Man, designed after a drawing of John Howe which decorated the main gate of St. Ursanne... well...visit the Greisinger Museum...

Montag, 15. September 2014

Trainstations in the south of Berlin

Two drawings of my favourite trainstations in Berlin:

The first one is the U-train station Dahlem Dorf, which is sited directly next to the open air-museum and ecological farm Domäne Dahlem, where old breeds of farm animals are kept and bred.

The other one is the S-train station Mexikoplatz. One of the few Art Noveau buildings in Berlin.

Sonntag, 14. September 2014

Visiting the Kupferstichkabinett

Last tuesday me and my fellow illustrator friends Heidi Kull and Miriam Häusler went on an educational excursion to the Kupferstichkabinett, the museum for drawing and prints at the Kulturforum at Potsdamer Platz.

we have been there!
We have been intensively "menzelling" again, as it is already called there, when I bring some friends to examine the original drawings of Adolf Menzel in the study room.

We had a look at the Menzel folders No 155 (portraits in Watercolour, Gouache and Pastells), No 149 (his very late and painterly pencildrawings from 1904/05) and the folder No 260, which contains exquisit figure studies done solemnly with a broad carpenter's pencil on pretty rough textured thick paper.

This study "NG 4/83" (preview from "") is to be found in the Menzel folder No 260. 

Donnerstag, 11. September 2014

The Vikings are in Berlin!

...and they anchored right across the Government Quarter at Schiffbauerdamm 19!

the "Havhingsten fra Glendalough"(sea stallion of Glendalough) in front of the trainstation Friedrichsstraße and the television tower

Still to be seen and to be visited till September 14th the "Havhingsten fra Glendalough" (Sea Stallion of Glendalough) accompanies the great viking exhibition at Martin Gropius Bau "Die Wikinger"; after the Ai Wei Wei exhibition "Evidence" and the "David Bowie in Berlin"-show to me the third great cultural highlight this year in Berlin.
Next to the largest Viking longboat  "Roskilde 6" (displayed in the ehibition) the "Sea Stallion of Glendalough" is a reconstruction of the second largest Viking boat ever found, the Skuldelev 2.
It is completely handcrafted with axes in the way the original boats were made and built out of oaken wood.
The building of the reconstruction took four years (from 2000 to 2004).
The original boat was built in 1042 close to Dublin in Glendalough.
In 2007 the longboat set out for it's longest voyage from Roskilde to Dublin via the Orkney isles and Scotland and back through the english channel.

Special thanks to Selina Ali and Katrine Volsing for their knowledgable explanation and guidance through the ship!
It was a wonderful experience to smell the tar and wood and feel the (alas..slightly) rocking planques underneath our feet, which left a yearning to learn more about the Viking culture.

The Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde offers e.G. living archaeology boat trips in originally reconstructed longboats out to the Roskilde fjord.

Here you can see a short video on Spiegel TV about the arrival of the Sea Stallion in Berlin.

Visiting details of the Sea Stallion in Berlin.

Samstag, 6. September 2014

old mansion at Lietzensee

I had a funtime today with the local urban sketchers. We went drawing at the Lietzensee.

old mansion next to the hotel Seehof

Dienstag, 26. August 2014

Bodo Förster's Elephant Special Tours

the situation of the asian elephant (elephas maximus) is a most precarious one:
on the most peopled continent with shrinking forest stands the population of elephants which are living in the wild is dramatically decreasing; the situation of the domesticated asian elephant doesn't look better.
Since the (fortunate) prohibition of wood harvest in Thailand many Working elephants became unemployed.
Tourism seems to be a solution for them, yet the situation in many elephant camps is desastrous and should clearly be avoided.

I have been researching a lot on the issue before I decided last year to make a dream come true: to meet the biggest living terrestrial mammals close in their natural habitat and to learn more about the mahout-culture of the Karen, an ethnic people of sino-tibetan origin which resides in Burma and the north of Thailand.

a close contact with living elephants...much more than only skin deep 

Bodo Förster's Elephant Special tours and the associated Tong-Bai foundation do make a difference.

Different than in other camps the elephants of E.S.T. only work every second day, the camp is lying within deep forests where the elephants rest at night and during their days off. On the "working day" the guests of the camp are going in for a ride through the forests, accompanied by the Mahouts who stay with their elephants throughout the whole year.
The Tong Bai foundation is supporting E.S.T.'s efforts to breed the asian elephant and to provide a near to nature management for the elephants by helping to bridge financial and logistical challenges for the elephant-owners (most of them are Karen).
Thus two difficult lifespans of the elephant can be bridged that otherwise make it difficult for their owners: firstly the long pregnancy and childhood of elephants and secondly sickness and old age.


The mountaneous region at the foot of Thailands highest mountain Doi Inthanon is pervaded by deep valleys with dense forests. Here do the Karen live, a so called "hill tribe" which has been an elephant people for centuries. Close to the Karen village Mae Sapok lie the two camps of E.S.T. and the area of the Tong-Bai foundation.

Mae Geo II and Roger Förster, Mae Geo was one of the first elephants Roger's father Bodo acquired. The elderly lady has seen terrible times, suffering from a bullet lodged in her front leg and being mistreated with glowing metal poles by her former owner she can now recover leading a life with extensive work and a secure place for her old age. 

I was deeply moved by Bodo Förster's commitment and the brave move to combine a sort of eco-tourism with the aim to at least slow down the extinction process of the asian elephant that I decided to deepen my researches on elephants by going directly there and to stay with and sketch those amazing creatures and their Mahouts.

the "gentle giant" Pu Sii, the tallest elephant of the camp with a head height of 3,20 m. His tusks have been cut off close to their bases and sold, wether it was the former owner or thieves is not known. He thus suffers from a constant inflammation within his mouth and is otherwise a most stable and calm character.

Mae Geo I, the matriarch of E.S.T.'s camp I and mother of Salia (8) and Jack (1 1/2)

Mae Geo I and Mae Dou

Salia, eight years old

the cheeky elephant calf Jack, drawn by my 5 year old son Benny
Silar, chief of the Mahouts
Drawing the Mahouts of Mae Sapok
Leo, Mahout of Mae Dou, the elephant lady that I was riding

Tilli Reuters of Elephant Special Tours
Roger Förster of Elephant Special Tours      
In the Geo-documentation broadcasted by ARTE "Thailands Elefanten - raus aus der Stadt", a young unemployed Mahout is trying to find a new future for him and his elephant. The camp of Bodo Förster is portrayed in the Docu to show the possibilities a well thought through biased tourism can offer for the future of elephants in Thailand.

A thousand thanks to the Team of Elepahnt Special Tours, especially Dietmar Schramm, Roger Förster, Tilli Reuters and the mahouts of Mae Sapok Silar, Pakut, Doh, Chub, Leo, Filippin and Galamen!

If you consider to support the work of Tong-Bai and E.S.T.   follow the highlighted links to learn more about possibilities to support their projects.

Sonntag, 17. August 2014

Portal of Wat Pan Tao

yesterday's drawing:
on our way to the night market in Chiang Mai we stopped at the temple we had visited yesterday.
Since hence the kids wanted a little break we decided to rest and I thought I use the time to sketch the portal, which is absolutely amazing, while the others sat on the stairs.
I'm so thankful for my patient family...the "small sketch" ended to become an one hour study...
Lifei, I owe you something...

Samstag, 16. August 2014

Wat Pan Tao

Originally founded by the Mon people Chiang Mai is one of the eldest cities in Thailand.
King Mengrai of the Thai-people conquered the kingdom Haripunchai of the Mon in 1281 and expanded Chiang Mai to become his kingly residence.
There are a lot of sites in the town that date back to it's rich and prosperous past, mainly influenced by buddhism.
Chiang Mai has an incredible amount of temples, there are over 200 buddhist temples in and around the city.

I fell in love with one which is a bit smaller and appears rather nondescript in comparison with the grand buildings around it:
Wat Pan Tao, directly sited at Chiang Mai's main road used to be the dormitary of the monks in medieval times and was turned into a temple about 300 years ago.
It is completely made out of wood with the most intricate carvings. the wood had been restored completely in 1797.

Yesterday we passed it when were walking through town and Benny, our youngest son (5) took a nap so we decided to rest in the park behind the temple.

Me and my son Kai (8) started to draw the temple. That's what we came up with:

When Benny woke up he also joined us drawing. Here's his drawing:

The atmosphere was amazing. People were stopping to watch, but very respectfully, smiling at us in an encouraging way.
Even one of the monks brought a camera and took a photo of the three of us.

Tuk Tuk

Tuk Tuk is the name of the auto rickshaw in Thailand.
We already drove around with them and it's a sheer fun ride.

This morning I sat down to sketch a Tuk Tuk that I had spotted already yesterday and which seemed a good object to draw.
While I was in the process of sketching the driver of a second Tuk Tuk came and my object was bound to be taken away to the garage.
Luckily the second driver had parked it's vehicle next to the first one and I could get some details from the second one while the first had been turned around and tossed away by the first driver and a friend of him.
The second driver then got interested in my drawing and peeked over my shoulder while asking something in thailandish.
I tried to start a conversation in english realising that he was bound to drive away with the second Tuk Tuk while the first one had been gone already.
When he learned that I am from Germany he began talking about football. At least we found a way of comunication.
"World Cup!"
he said, our thumbs got up.
"Müller, Schweinsteiger, Götze" thumbs up.
"Germany won!" "Yes," I replied "after twentyfour years, you know." trying to relativise it.
The driver laughs. "After twentyfour years? Really?"
He points at my drawing, gives me another thumb up and drives off...
I finished some linework at our guesthouse.

Donnerstag, 14. August 2014

Wat Doi Suthep

The rainy season lived up to its name today when we took a trip to the Wat Doi Suthep, a buddhist temple built in 1383, 20 km west of Chiang Mai on the mountain Doi Suthep.
The kids and my parents in law willingly joined to climb the 309 steps to the temple's gates although it was pouring.
Inside the temple we walked around barefooted and I tried to find a "dry spot" to sit down for a watercolour sketch.
Even when I eventually found one it was pretty hard to work with watercolours: not even the rain but also the air moisture totally changed the paper's quality and it already felt as if it was soaked (I guess it was...)
Heavy hearted I decided to finish the drawing in the evening after a reference photo I took on spot.
So: no real urban sketching there ;-)

This just a small adjoining building, the whole building with the completely copper plated chedi in the inner temple are of incredible beauty.

Mittwoch, 13. August 2014

Boutique House Nipha

We arrived in Chiang Mai, Thailand and stay at a lovely Guest house.
Here's the first quick color sketch I did this evening:
The view on  the backyard of the hotel, overgrown by tendrils and leaves and lit by lanterns from below, which I found fascinating. Still: in the face of so many details I totally panicked, searching for visual shortcuts wherever I could find them...
I'm just happy that on his new Video even James Gurney assures that in the face of a detailed subject this is the common emotion one can expect...;-)

Samstag, 9. August 2014

Poul's attic finds

My friend Poul finds a lot of weird critters while he's runmaging in his attic...

Today I show you how he finds them.
He even looks for them at the breakfast table.

And he does need quite some magnifying glasses...they are tiny.

He works on a very tough and smooth watercolour paper with tiny brushes.
The sepia-tone of the backgrounds is made with a pretty strong instant coffee and then he works with watercolour and gouache on top of that.
He found an antique photo album at the flea market where he collects his finds in.
I was indeed blown away by the details and accuracy he manages to maintain in this scale.
Here you can see the album and a new attic find next to the photo-album in comparison with a 1 € coin:

 This is how the album looks inside:

Everyday he finds new stuff in his attic and the pages fill rapidly...can't wait to see the finished book!

Thanks so much, Poul and Teresia for the wonderful days and your friendship!!

Freitag, 8. August 2014

Poul in Berlin

My friend Helmut Poul Dohle and his lovely wife Teresia are visiting us in Berlin.

Yesterday we made an expedition exploring Adolph Menzel's work.

 We went to the study-room at the museum for prints and drawings, the Kupferstichkabinett at the Kulturforum at Potsdamer Platz and examined Menzel's prestudies for his painting the Iron rolling mill. Here are some of his drawings of workers that you can find on the website

For those studies Menzel mainly used a broad carpenter's pencil which then became his favourite drawing tool. You can see the nearly caligraphic qualities of the rectangular, broad tip on those studies. I will deepen some thoughts on Menzel's drawing equipment in a future post.

Here me and Poul are examining the folder which contains the studies of the mechanical items and devices seen in the final painting. Menzel even noted the size of them in Zoll (the german word for inch). In the painting Menzel arranged them according to the observations of Max Liebermann in a pretty free way. He didn't do a complete preliminary drawing which he then transferred to the canvas but sketched the positions and proportions roughly in and then began to develop figures and surrounding by thoroughly sticking to his pencil studies done on site.

We also had a look at the amazing Menzel folder no. 155, which contains his breathtaking portraits in watercolour and Gouache from the 1850s.
The Kupferstichkabinett holds about 6000 single drawings and 77 sketchbooks by Adolph Menzel. It offers the free service for the public to examine originals in their study room.
Concerning the amount of drawings it is still quite challenging for the very supportive staff to search for folders or single drawings per description.

 Here is an offer I make for art enthusiasts: if you are planning on an art trip to Berlin and want to research Menzel's drawings in the  Kupferstichkabinett and you know approximately what drawings you are looking for, feel free to contact me at .
I know a couple of folders and numbers of drawings and may be able to help you.

We then went on to visit the alte Nationalgalerie, which contains a most exquisite collection of 19th century realism and romanticism.
There we examined Menzel's paintings. here's the somewhat not really sharp photo of evidence:

Luckily the museum is on the Google-Art project, where you can come even closer to the paintings than in the museum itself (and at least without releasing the alarm...).

 The collection contains among others works by Böcklin, Fritz von Uhde, Max Liebermann, Carl Spitzweg, as well as of the Berlin artist families Begas and Meyerheim.

Here is the breathtaking sculpture "Pan comforting Psyche by Reinhold Begas:

 Tomorrow we'll be having a closer look at what Poul sometimes is finding in his attic...