It’s Time to Prepare for the Minnesota State Fair and the Third Annual Minnesota State Fair Sketch Out

July 13, 2011

FairBkKellyGreenUSE4149 Left: What is likely to be my 2011 Minnesota State Fair Journal. It's  7 1/16 x 8 1/2 inches, covered completely with an expensive two-tone bookcloth that is Kelly green with black flecks (and a pain to photograph!). There is a debossed area on the cover which you can see if you look closely at the cover—a laminated label of some spin art will go there after I finish my time at the Fair—and of course create the spin art there. I used a discontinued drawing paper that's great for mixed media (still looking for a replacement and have some leads). The book contains 124 pages. Normally I start a journal by cutting pages out to make room for collage material, but I used exactly 123 pages last year (and a title page, 124) or so I recall (I really should go look that up) and so I won't be cutting any pages out to make room for collage material. I also won't be putting any photos in this year's journal, unless I get to the end of the book and have pages left over.

I know several folks think I'm obsessive about the Minnesota State Fair. Doesn't bother me a bit. I look forward to it all year long. And today it's only a little more than a month away! This year's fair starts on Thursday, August 25, and runs through Labor Day, Monday, September 5.

will be on SATURDAY, August 27.

There will be two meetings when you can connect and show your sketches and partner up with a sketching buddy if you want. It will be the same set up as last year 2010, but don't be confused by the date in that post for last year! I'll post a new post closer to the date. And YES, there will be a new button! Oh Joy!

If you aren't sure what all the fuss is, use my blog's search engine to look for "Minnesota State Fair," or use the category list for the same topic. You'll find tons of posts about the 2009 and 2010 fairs, in which I write about how to prepare for sketching at the State Fair. Then you'll find additional posts about the sketchouts, which contain artwork from other artists. You'll also find posts on my State Fair Journals from past years, showing the structures I used and the pages (or journal cards) generated.

If all that doesn't convince you that the Minnesota State Fair is the place to be in the final days of August through Labor Day, well then I'm thinking maybe you stumbled onto the wrong blog?

But if you are intending to go to the Minnesota State Fair this year, now is the time you need to go into training, bind that book, gather your tools, up your exercise program (so you can cope with the extra calories), and increase your sketching endurance. Oh, and pick up some antihistamines if you're allergic to hay!

    • Miss T
    • July 13, 2011

    I can’t believe it’s almost Fair time already. I’d better start thinking about journal cards vs. book!

  1. Reply

    Whoo hoo! Its nearly time to see all those wonderful animal sketches from the fair – not to imply that the rest are boring, far from it! But it is wonderful to be able to share this event, even if vicariously, and I appreciate this view into another world thats both familiar and exotic!

  2. Reply

    Miss T and Caroline, I know, it’s too, too fun and too too close. Sometimes I have to remind myself to take a deep breath. It’s still about 40 days away, isn’t it? Who’s counting.

  3. Reply

    Wow! You actually do 123 drawings in that short period of time each year? Amazing!

  4. Reply

    bilby, I frequently work across the gutter so that there is only one sketch on two pages. Alternately I’ll put 5 or 6 sketches on a page spread. I didn’t count the number of sketches, just pages completed.

    I went to the State Fair 5 times last year. I don’t recall the exact hours off the top of my head (but we could look through the journal and reconstruct it), but basically each time I go I sketch hard for 3 hours, then take a break, and usually sketch hard for another hour or two after my break. So it ends up being about 20 to 25 hours of sketching and it works out to about 4.9 pages per hour, that’s not that speedy if you consider that some of those pages only have one large rooster sketch such as this

    I do believe, however, in going with a goal in mind!

  5. Reply

    Beautiful work and fast too. You must be a master of mental focus. Makes me feel like a slug, but that’s ok too. Even slugs have fun, just in a slower manner 🙂
    cheers, bilby

  6. Reply

    bilby, Thanks but I don’t know if you can call it focused, more like compulsive. I feel the Fair is my opportunity to get reference materials for animal paintings that will last me the whole next year. And since a lot of the animals I sketch are birds, well, I could watch them all day long, so it’s no hardship.


  7. Reply

    What is spin art – question mark goes here – my keyboard thinks it is russian today. gah.

  8. Reply

    Never mind – I looked it up. Cool – think I would like to do this with the kids I work with.

  9. Reply

    Jan, did you look it up on my blog?
    My search engine doesn’t seem to be loading tonight so maybe you couldn’t.

    Here’s a post of me making spin art—a video! Very fun, short.

    There is a company that makes small portable units for the “home” market. I’ve seen them used at county fairs. You could get one of those for the kids you work with. It’s not a big expensive thing.

    The paint is a little different (probably less toxic).

    I think they would enjoy it.

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