The Traveling Gnome Project
The Traveling Gnome Project
There is Gnome
• Choose a city anywhere in the world
• Find a famous structure within that
• Find a reference of that building
• Draw it 3 times (PRACTICE) (one day)
• Draw the gnome 3 times (one day)
Gnomes are commonly misunda-stood!
An Abbreviated History of Garden Gnomes
Garden gnomes occupy that same odd
niche shared by lawn flamingos and circusanimal topiary; the ultra-kitschy,
flamboyant and just-a-little-ridiculous
decorations that came to prominence in
American suburbs throughout the 1960′s
and then latched tenaciously onto our
cultural sub consciousness.
But unlike flamingos and topiary, gnomes
have a long and storied history of folklore
and myth to draw upon. Gnomes have been
a part of western culture since at least the
16th century with the early writings of
Swiss-born alchemist Paracelsus.
For many of us, though, our knowledge of
the history of garden gnomes really only
extends back as far as that one Travelocity
commercial. Which is unfortunate, really,
because garden gnomes are really the
“great grandfathers” of campy garden
decor. Theirs is a long and storied history,
and a fascinating one to read about.
Back when the Brothers Grimm were traversing the German
countryside recording the “volksmarchen” (folk tales) of the country’s
rural regions, gnomes were often viewed as spritely, happy-go-lucky
They helped plants grow, and facilitated harmony between the flora
and the fauna of meadows and vegetable patches alike. It’s no surprise
then that the first garden gnome was also born in Germany.
In the early nineteenth century, Phillip Griebel of Grafenroda began
producing terracotta sculptures of the diminutive fairy creatures as
“good luck charms” for gardens and farmsteads.
More superstitious gnome-owners believed that the statues actually
helped ward off thieves and bad crops from their gardens and
granaries. These gnomes enjoyed a fair amount of success early on, and
they soon began appearing even in the lawns of many wealthy German
While garden gnomes were booming in merry old England, the
Griebel family continued to manufacture their own original brand of
lawn sprite and did so up to the onset of the second World War.
Gnomes were considered prime suspects of smuggling activity, as
their hollow bodies were easily filled with top secret paperwork and
military intelligence. All production of garden gnomes ground to a
halt as the pan-continental conflict raged on.
After the war, demand for the gnomes once again grew by leaps and
bounds; while communist police continued to suspect these trinkets
of suspicious activity, they were nevertheless the number one export
of East Germany for several years. By the early 50′s, garden gnomes
could be found in lawns all over the world.
In the 1980’s, garden gnome
production in Germany slowed
down again. However, production
increased dramatically in both
Poland and the Czech Republic to
fill the demand gap. Yes, believe it
or not, there was still a substantial
demand gap in the realm of global
commerce for garden gnomes.
The Griebel family, ever-trustworthy and committed to the cause,
continued to manufacture small quantities of German gnomes, and
continue to do so to this very day.
Garden gnomes didn’t become immensely popular in the United
States until the 60′s, when the now-familiar plastic lawn gnome was
mass-produced (alongside those ubiquitous symbols of high-schtick,
the pink flamingos).
These gnomes differed significantly from their European counterparts
not only because they were manufactured from cheap plastic, but
also because they were vividly colored with rich, over-saturated hues.
What was the impact of these ultra-bright, ultra-camp garden
ornaments? Well, you can ask the Royal Horticulture Society of
Britain. The “American” lawn gnomes became so popular back in
Europe that the society summarily and officially banned the use of all
brightly-colored lawn creatures from England’s homes and gardens in
Of course, much like fireworks in California, this law didn’t stop the
people of Britain from finding ways to purchase and display new lawn
And now, since I have David the Gnome on my mind, I’ve
decided to share the intro video and that classic cartoon
Breaking Down a Drawing
Draw Large Shapes
Draw smaller shapes and contour
Start off by drawing the basic
shapes of the gnome’s face.
Create a circle for the head, ears
and nose, also semicircles for the
eyes. Add 2 rectangles for the
The hat, Draw a rounded triangle
at the top of the head.
Now for the mustache…and beard. Draw a
letter ‘M’ and ‘V’ for each Mustache. For the
beard. Draw zig-zag, letter ‘M’ shapes along a
letter ‘U’ shape (highlighted in green).
Atmospheric perspective is the effect you get when far away
objects take on the colors of atmospheric haze or pollution.
5 factors that influence
Time of Day
Humidity, Fog and Mist
Storms and Rain
Wind and Dust