Monday, September 15, 2014

Back ...

... from vacation. I spent almost three weeks in Brazil - Rio and Paraty - followed by few days visiting my family in Ottawa.

The trip was great, and the USK Symposium a lot of fun. I met many people, drew more than I ever did and got to know some of the authors I read regularly in the blogosphere.

Th fly in the ointment - I forgot my backpack with two sketchbooks, art supplies and souvenirs in the taxi in Rio ... So I lost all the sketches done at the workshops, as well as those done on my own ...

I am in the process of recreating the sketches - I took pictures of everything I sketched because I wanted to add color later. Needless to say, the process is slow... I have a modified work schedule so that I can also go to university 2 day a week. I will be posting as often as I can.

Meanwhile, here are some creatures I "found" today. I flipped through the sketchbook and this time something caught my attention on the page - the 2 chatty creatures at the bottom right. Then I found the little girl in a tutu and the bird-like creatures on the side.

They are telling a story, just not sure what it is yet ...

Saturday, August 16, 2014


I went for a walk the other day in the Lachine Canal and stopped for two sketches. I had only pencil with me, later I colored with markers.

Next sketch was cut short - I was in full sun and I could not take it anymore - some buildings are missing.

Friday, August 15, 2014

J. Herbin Ink tests

I bought a bouquet of flowers to use for a still-life sketch. Needless to say, the result was catastrophic. I then decided to fill a page with bits of flowers and leaves, but this failed partially as well because I did not fill the page as I wanted. I managed only few small sketches.

I discovered the importance of having a small, pointed brush! I know, hardly anything worth writing about. But most of the time I use a medium size water brush. In this case , I used a smaller brush and I like the way colors blended. I used leftover color from my palette.

I outlined the leaves with J Herbin Bresil cocoa ink and Lamy EF pen. To my surprise, the ink dissapeared completely when  I applied the wash. I add some lines at the end.

I did a test using the ink with a dip pen and the line does not dissapear the same way. I guess it is really a combination between the ink and the type of line the pen creates.

I realized I could cheat with this ink - draw with it, then melt it with washes and the end result will look as if I painted straight with watercolor. Clever, huh ?!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Bits and bobs

To get past the move-blues, I went for a short walk around Atwater market and stopped to sketch the Church of the Korean Martyrs. I took with me only a thick carbon pencil, the idea being that I will be forced to simplify the structure instead of fidgeting over every stone curlicue. That was the plan.. but we all know what happens to best laid plans.

In this case, the results was this:


I tried to sketch the top part of the church, but of course I sized it all wrong, the sketchbook page is 5x8 and I run out of space ...I figured I will try again home from a pic from the net - but there doesn't seem to be one decent photo of this place in the cyberspace.

I then tried some people sketches - same idea: thick lines, only the essential. Every time I picked somebody, 10 sec later they moved....

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Theatro municipal

This is an architectural gem - and a nightmare to sketch. Forgot to mention it is in Rio ...
 In the first one, I started with the cylinder and the dome, then worked my way from there to the sides. I used Pentel Hybrid Technica 0.3. I bought a set of 4 to try out. I am always short of black pens. I like the line, it flows smoothly. I think they will be my main sketching tool in Brazil.

The second one was just brush - this would be the fastest way to capture something. I wanted to see how much - or how little - information that meant.
In the last one, I applied the analytical sketching method - I started with the big shapes: the box for the left side of the building, the cylinder of the front dome, the box connecting these two parts, the box for the right side of the building.Then I started adding details.

Monday, July 28, 2014


I picked up a couple of branches with dried leaves and sketched them multiple times. It is a relatively new habit - to sketch the same subject more than once. I don;t do it often enough and mostly it ie because lack of time. I am happy to find time to do something, anything on a given day...
 I bought a set of cheap guache - Reeves. I wanted to try them without spending a fortune. I was under the impression that they would be more matte. I guess they are, but the coverage is not uniform and that might be because of their quality.
Watercolor and water-soluble graphite in the other two. The sketchbook is Canson multimedia. Not a great paper I must say, good for dry media only. I bought it for the dynamic drawing class and it is a bigger size than i would normally use - 9x12. Turns out that so far I like the size.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Atwater market

Determined to use the divider in spite of what Mother Nature might have in store, I went to Atwater market.
The first attempt was using the divider for the main lines, the rest I eyeballed. I wanted a building that holds together, not a photographic rendering. I am interested in the feel of the sketch than in the accuracy of every detail. I can take a picture for that purpose.
It took a while I must say... almost 1 hr. I realized that I will simply not have enough to sketch during my trip to Brazil if I take one hour for a not-very-complicated sketch. Not to mention the workshops at the symposium where the time is even more limited.

For the next attempt I used a caligraphy pen and no divider - I had to work fast and skip details.
I am not a big fan of sketching with instruments that produce a thick, heavy, black line, but I think it would be good to practice sketching with a thicker line - maybe charcoal, graphite sticks, crayons. Ideally, only the essence of the subject would make it on paper...