I was taking the plane to Singapore for a 13 hours journey.

Usually, I only take long distance flight at night. You can just fall asleep and wake up “fresh” ready to start a new day. But, that time round, the departure time was at noon.

Fully awake, guess what I did to get busy ? Sketching. Winking smile

I remembered an artist who liked to draw Quick sketch watching movies. He mastered that art so well that he did about 200 sketches per movie – without using [PAUSE].

It looks quite a great Movie sketching challenge to take!
So I tried. Hehe.

I watched a comedy, THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, of Wes Anderson.
The story of a young groom following his mentor Gustave H. during his escape from stealing an invaluable painting.

in-the-plane-to-singapore-thebudapesthotel-theDesignSketchbook22-1Chou-Tac Chung The Grand Budapest Hotel – board 1, 2014

The story happened in a 1938, in a luxury hotel.
The movie characters showed plenty style of “moustache” !

squares[3]A movie goes fast, and you will never know how long an image will remain on the screen. It’s kind of stressful. Drawing when the movie is continuously playing is difficult.*

So you have to play smart. The aim of this game is not reproducing 100% of what you see.

It’s about catching a mood. To succeed on that, we WON’T USE THE SQUARE METHOD. It would take too long.

* You can refer to the 1st sketch of the challenge when I was sketching football players.

TIP 30
Your brain is your “Google image” library

Don’t try to remember everything ! It’s just impossible.

Improve your observation skills by prioritizing what you need to remember. Analyse and identify the specific features of your subject. Most of the time, these elements are the most obvious. Here is a trick I practice personally. Think like Google image using keywords*.

the-grand-budapest-hotel-theDesignSketchbook-dali-moustache[2]DO NOT REMEMBER:  the mouth is 1mm lower than the moustache. The eyebrow is 5 cm long. Only computers can capture all these data in a seconds.

DO REMEMBER: 50 years British alike semi bold old men with a hooked nose, Dali’s Moustache and a sharp bow tie. His eyes seams thinking on a tricky case.

Put KEYWORDS that talk to you, such as “Dali’s moustache” when other people would think about curly moustache.

The lighting is optional. You can actually settle it later. Just look at where it come from and its intensity. You will be able to reproduce it later.

*Google became the most powerful search engine by reproducing the human brain way of thinking.

More things you get to see (pay attention on and remember), more descriptive words your language and culture will grow. Your brain will be more than happy to connect what you see to the best descriptive word and image reference stocking in your mind. Doing this, you will be able to treat much more information in a minimum of time.

It’s true that there is a lot to think about. You won’t succeed immediately. Your brain needs training, so teach him. Train you brain at memorizing more and faster. Don’t forget to do that smartly and you’ll get soon awesome results with less efforts.*


Chou-Tac Chung The Grand Budapest Hotel – board 2, 2014

The idea of quick sketching is to capture the instant, and transmit it on paper with the minimum of lines.


The men holding the glass of wine seams approachable, open for a discussion.

in-the-plane-to-singapore-thebudapesthotel-theDesignSketchbook62-1Chou-Tac Chung The Grand Budapest Hotel – board 3, 2014


Movie heroes are easy to recognize. A hero need special features that other characters do not have to make them memorable. It gives to spectators a simplified DNA, a clear identity for each of them. Basically, it helps the comprehension of the story, and make it more spicy.

Batman_vs_Joker[11]TIP 31 Spot heroes special features

A character personality need to be spotted instantaneously.


Think about your favorite movie. Now try to describe in one sentence each hero and villain.

Example: Batman and the Joker didn’t came out opposite randomly.

One is calm, dark, muscular, technologic when the other one is colorful, unexpected, mad wearing an old fashion tuxedo.

José Luis García-LópezBatman vs Joker


Below the presentation of the characters of The Grand Budapest Hotel. Try to identify each personality and there special features describing them with your own keywords – without using [PAUSE].

If you can identify in few second there specific features, your quick sketch will gain in essential information.

Try to do that in the real life when you will sketch people in the street ! I used to do a similar trick when I was waiter. I remembered the orders of my customers like: the guy with with blond hair and a mole on his nose – the young women with a thin scarf… It is good to look for obvious details.

Some more sketches:

in-the-plane-to-singapore-thebudapesthotel-theDesignSketchbook82-1Chou-Tac Chung The Grand Budapest Hotel – board 4, 2014

Beginners can try this exercise. However, I highly recommend you to study the Basics Essentials first. If you are interested at studying human head proportion, let me know in the comment box below. Then I could prepare it earlier.

That’s all for today!
See you in the next sketch and tip!

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