A Virtual Minnesota State Fair “Sketch IN” Saturday, August 29, 2020

August 28, 2020

Look, if this were any other year you wouldn’t be getting one post from me on this day, let alone two—I’d be two days into my Minnesota State Fair Sketching experience. Something I’ve been doing every year for over 25 years.

The pandemic means we aren’t going to have the Minnesota State Fair this year.

I’m actually glad about that. I want people to be safe.

But all summer long, besides adjusting to the differences of living in a pandemic—baking bread, cooking all of our food instead of going out at least “once” a week, and generally not going out and about to sketch—my mind and body keep coming back to the one inescapable fact…

Every year, at least for the few weeks preceding the Fair, and sometimes months before, I start assembling my sketching kit, setting out a sketching plan and intentions for what I want to accomplish, test and select a paper to use, freshen up my watercolor palette or select new media to sketch with, and check to confirm that all my fanny pack pockets have solid seams to hold everything securely.

I also break in new shoes if it is one of “those” years, but typically I just dig out my old boots, which are best for the Fair barns anyway.

I do start taking longer and longer walks each day to get used to all the walking I’ll be doing and also all the standing. I might ride miles everyday on my bike, but standing and sketching for 8 or more hours at a time is a whole different activity—I want to be prepared.

OK, so none of that is happening this year.

(Well I am cycling miles and miles…but stinging insects seem to be attracted to face masks—don’t ask it’s a long story. I should look normal by tomorrow.)

There are a lot holes in my life right now because of the pandemic and I decided “no Fair sketching” isn’t going to be another one.

Because of that I’m going to sketch tomorrow, live-streaming, on my Facebook profile Roz Stendahl. Go there and look for the blog post that says “Roz Stendahl Plans to go live” right by my little face avatar.

Look for this image in my Facebook profile list of posts.

You’ll see this image of me sketching a pigeon on that post too.

Below that image the post title is preceded by a video camera icon and “TOMORROW AT 1 PM” (I’m assuming that will change to “Today” when it’s Saturday.)

Saturday, August 29, at 1 p.m. CDT I will go live and sketch using reference photos of Fair animals that Dick took while I was sketching in other years—I don’t have any livestock at home. 

I’ll be live from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. CDT. Join me if you can to sketch with me (see more about this below), simply watch, or ask questions.

Note: When the broadcasts ends at 3 p.m. please don’t ask questions on that post—I won’t be able to answer them unless I watch the whole 2 hour post and I can’t do that. Ask me on another post.

Why Not Sketch at the Same Time?

Maybe you want to tune in to ask me questions about the art materials I use (and why; remember that’s a loaded question!).

Maybe you want to ask me tips on sketching live animals, well you can certainly do that if you tune in. I’ll check the screen now and then to read the scroll. 

I might even chat as I sketch, you’ll have to tune in and see. Hint: I talk to myself a lot in general.

But if you want to sketch along with me, because, hey, sometimes it’s fun to sketch with a friend when you’re only virtually in the same place, that’s great.

I’ve made a PDF of photos for you to use for sketching. Check my blog tomorrow about an hour before the live broadcast. There will be a new post containing a link to download a PDF of photos. You have my permission to sketch from those photos and do anything you want with the resultant sketches. (The photos are not for reuse or circulation for any other purpose, however. Thanks for honoring that.)

Hash Tag It

If you do show up and sketch please use the following hashtag when you post your sketch on social media. Then I can find what you did too!


Got Conflicting Plans on Saturday?

Shit happens, we grocery shopped earlier this week so I wouldn’t be washing groceries tomorrow!

If you’ve got other plans stop by after 3 p.m. and watch the taped version. It will still be there. (Just please remember to comment on a different post if you want me to actually be able to respond.)

And if the whole live sketching in the studio isn’t for you and you want a FAIR EXPERIENCE, I’ve posted a video on Vimeo of me sketching at the 2016 Minnesota State Fair.  

Use that link if the video doesn’t appear at the bottom of this post.

You’ll get all the noise, and none of the odors. (Crank your volume control to 11 for not even the full effect!)

Gather Your Gear

Gather your sketching kit—let’s go to the Fair Saturday, August 29, 2020. Yes, I will be wearing my long-billed hat!


  1. Reply

    I really enjoyed watching your live a la prima sketching.

    1. Reply

      Thanks Richard for stopping in. I appreciate you sharing some Fair time with me. (I feel so much better now that I can go into fall with some Fair time.)

    • Luc
    • September 21, 2021

    Hello what type pen do you use in this video? Thanks you from France

    1. Reply

      Luc, In the video of this post there are a bunch of pieces and all of them are in storage so I can’t tell you which pens I used with those. BUT for the actual sketch you see me do of the sheep first, that’s a Sakura Pigma Professional Brush Pen FB (fine brush) which I purchase from Wet Paint locally, or Jet Pens online if I’m also getting something WP doesn’t have. It is a solid fiber tip, that’s flexible. It is pigmented ink, dries quickly and on most papers including the watercolor papers I use it is water resistant almost immediately. (Your results will differ depending on the sizing that coats the paper you’re using.) In the second sketch, the rooster, we didn’t have the sketching filmed so I can only look at it in the video (sketches are in storage right now) and it could be one of a couple pens, but because it was done on the same day I’m thinking I was using the same pen. I also like to use the Pentel Pigmented Brush pen with the gray squeezy body. (On my blog’s search engine look for “Which Pentel Pen” and you’ll find a post about all those that I use.) And a lot of my Fair sketches over the years are with that pen and watercolor. Hope this helps. Happy sketching.

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