Friday, August 31, 2012

P. K. Dwyer

8/31/12 fountain pen, waterproof ink, Kuretake Brush Writers, Stillman & Birn sketchbook
Blues singer and guitar/harmonica player P. K. Dwyer began his concert at Phinney Farmer’s Market by introducing himself as a busker. Some of his songs were about his experiences as a busker and living in New York subway stations. As far as I could tell, all the tunes he performed were original. Some lyrics:
“Here’s the keys to my car, you’re gonna drive me away.”
“Got the blues so bad I might move to France.”
“Wind is howlin’, shoulda stayed in bed.”
In addition to his music, he offered free stickers and CDs for sale.

Bartering for a Sketch

8/31/12 Lamy fountain pen, Kuretake Brush Writer
“Do you like poetry?”
I was on my out of the Phinney Farmer’s Market when the young man near the exit posed the question. I looked around for books he might be selling, but I saw only his large yellow dog gnawing a chew toy at his feet.
“Are you giving a reading. . .?” I asked.
Reciting,” he corrected me, tapping the side of his head. “They’re all up here.”
I needed to get home, but who could resist? “I’ll listen if you let me sketch you.”
“Deal,” he said, and began reciting his first poem.
When I finished the sketch, he asked to see it, and then asked, “Do you sketch all the time, or just poets?”

Who could resist, indeed.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Clallam County

8/30/12 Lamy fountain pen, Noodler's waterproof ink, Kuretake Brush Writers
Clallam County, a group that bills itself as “Seattle’s Slowest Rising Folk Group,” gave a lively bluegrass performance at the Lake City Farmer’s Market – original songs, a sardonic Allison Kraus ballad and even a Beatles tune thrown in. Since I was standing, I didn’t want to block their audience’s view, so I stood slightly to the side, which gave me a helluva foreshortened angle on a banjo and guitars that kicked my sketchin’ butt. But on a warm and sunny afternoon – the scent of fresh tamales, bright flowers at every turn, and corn at last! – who could complain?

Squeezing Out the Last Bit of Summer

8/30/12 Lamy fountain pen, Noodler's waterproof ink, watercolor
I’ve always been an Autumn person: I was born in November, I love the rich, warm palette of trees turning, and I like wearing sweaters more than T-shirts. But this year, my first as a sketcher, summer is ending with a decidedly bittersweet note. As I see the first maples with tiny hints of orange and yellow on their top leaves, I can’t say I’m looking forward to the wet, cold days ahead, when sketching outdoors will be miserable, if it happens at all. I’m sure I’ll find indoor scenes to sketch, but it’s still a long time between summers. I’m squeezing every last bit out of this one.
At the Lake City Farmer’s Market, these two guys jammed on a guitar and two harmonicas between them – one of many summer moments I’m going to remember.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Forty Minutes at the Zoo

8/29/12 fountain pen, waterproof ink, Stillman & Birn sketchbook
I had only 40 minutes before I had to get to my next appointment – enough time for a sketch or two at Woodland Park Zoo if I walked quickly. I was planning to zip past the sloth bears because they are usually either hiding in their cave or looking like featureless black fur balls, asleep. What a surprise to see one awake and active! For a few minutes, at least.
On my way out of the zoo I caught a southern screamer waking from a nap. She let out a couple of pretty good screams while I sketched, and I empathized. My hair often looks like that when I roll out of bed, and sometimes it makes me want to scream.
8/29/12 fountain pen, water-soluble ink
8/29/12 fountain pen, water-soluble ink, colored pencil, brush pen
With such limited time, I decided to forego my preferred watercolors and stick with more convenient media. The bear was sketched with Lamy fountain pens – one filled with standard water-soluble ink, the other filled with Noodler’s “bulletproof” ink. The screamer was a mix of fountain pen, Kuretake Brush Writer and colored pencil, all water-soluble and given a quick wash with a waterbrush. I didn’t have the right colored pencils to blend the hue I needed for the screamer’s legs, and I considered pulling out my watercolors after all. But then I glanced at my watch and grabbed the pencils. What I lost in accurate color, I gained in speed and spontaneity. Not bad for a 40-minute dash through the zoo.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Sketch Bag: An Update

Contents of Rickshaw Bagworks messenger bag. (Photo updated 3/13)

I’ve been sketching for almost a year now, and for most of that time, sketching was something I deliberately set aside time and mental energy for – it wasn’t necessarily an integrated part of my “normal life” (whatever that is). I looked for and found ways to fit sketching outings into my “normal” day, and made the physical switch from “normal life” mode to “sketching” mode by carrying a designated sketch bag instead of my everyday purse, which required moving all my purse gear to the sketch bag and adding all the sketching gear.

The sketch bag itself has gone through numerous changes – in size, shape and number of pockets, from backpack to shoulder bag to messenger bag – and of course, sometimes it’s not a bag at all but a vest (I still use the sketch vest instead of a bag in certain circumstances). The ideal, ultimate sketch bag remains my Holy Grail.

Once the weather finally decided it was summer (this year, it was no sooner than early July, and it’s already close to being over!), I realized I was wasting precious outdoor sketching time constantly moving my gear from one bag to another, and that’s when I made a physical adjustment as well as an attitude adjustment: I now carry my sketching bag everywhere, every day, as a replacement for my purse, whether I’ll have time to sketch or not. Sketching has become an integrated part of my “normal life,” not something I “switch gears” for. My actual behavior hasn’t changed much – I still sketch almost every day, I still plan sketching outings whenever possible, and I still feel frustrated when the inconvenience of earning a living impedes my sketching lifestyle – but having my full sketching arsenal with me, whether I need it or not, somehow makes a difference in my sketching outlook as well as in my sketching.

It’s as if I find more sketching opportunities now, because I can.

So I’ve updated my Current Favorite Art Materials page to reflect my simplified sketch bag. But because I’m interested in documenting how my sketching life evolves, I’ve archived the page listing supplies I still use but don’t carry and describing my previous sketching systems.

That was a long-winded preamble to the actual topic of this post: Showing my current sketch bag/purse. It’s the Rickshaw Bagworks Zero messenger bag I initially purchased because I couldn’t resist having one to match my Rickshaw Portfolio “coffee shop sketch kit.” In the “small” size, it measures 10" H x 13" W x 4.5" D (the custom colors are Iris with Moss trim and a Mandarin lining).

I’ve used a few different bags with many zippered and non-zippered pockets and compartments. Although having multiple pockets and compartments appears to be a good idea for organizing everything, I found that I kept forgetting which pocket contained which items, and I was constantly zipping and unzipping, which resulted in wasted time. By contrast, I thought the Rickshaw messenger bag might be too loose and unstructured to suit my sketch bag needs. So I got one Deluxe Drop Pocket, which attaches with a Velcro strip to the inside of the messenger bag, and those few pockets and the bag’s two integrated compartments are sufficient for organizing everything I carry.

One major advantage that the Rickshaw messenger bag, which is made of Cordura nylon, has over some stiffer bags I've tried is that the flap easily folds over backward, as in the photo above. If I have to sketch standing up, which is frequently, I keep the bag on my shoulder and fold the flap back, which leaves all the art supplies exposed and easily accessible with one hand (very important when the other hand is holding the sketchbook).
It’s not the Holy Grail – it’s about one-half inch too shallow to comfortably hold a Stillman & Birn Gamma sketchbook (but the slightly thinner Moleskine and Hand Book sketchbooks fit perfectly) and the adjustable strap buckle has the annoying habit of hitting me right on the collar bone – but otherwise, it’s very close.

The photo below shows the art materials spread out so you can see that this compact bag can hold quite a bit (and, surprisingly, the total weight of the bag is about the same as my former purse). The photo at the top of the page shows the bag filled, including all my usual “purse stuff” (wallet, smart phone, glasses, keys, punch cards for all the coffee shops I frequent). The full list of art materials is now on the updated Current Favorite Art Materials page.
Art materials in the bag. (Photo updated 3/13)

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Sound Garden

8/27/12 Pitt Artist Pen, watercolor, Stillman & Birn sketchbook
It had been more than a decade since I had last visited A Sound Garden, a public artwork on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration property on Sand Point. Back then, as I recall, you could simply drive up and experience the strange music produced by the wind passing through its metal tubes, as if in a city park. But ever since 9/11, the NOAA facility has buttoned up its security. I had to show photo ID, and the guard at the entry station filled out a rather lengthy form with my driver’s license information before he would give me a parking permit to enter.
On a sunny Monday afternoon, I had the Sound Garden completely to myself. If I hadn’t been occupied with the task of sketching, I think I might have been a little spooked listening to the eerie concert alone. A few crows came by eventually, but they didn’t make the experience any less eerie.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Poplar in the Wind

8/26/12 Lamy fountain pen, Kuretake Brush Writer

After giving up on sketching kids at the playground, I looked up to see a huge poplar tree shaking frantically in the stiff breeze. I tried sketching it twice – once with a Lamy fountain pen and Kuretake Brush Writer (left), and then with a Cretacolor Nero pencil highlighted with a Uniball Signo opaque gel pen.

8/26/12 Nero pencil, Uniball pen


8/26/12 Kuretake Brush Writer, Moleskine sketchbook
Children are elusive. Because I’m trying to learn to sketch as quickly as possible to capture the ever-changing urban scene, I like to visit playgrounds, where there is more human movement and activity than just about anywhere else I can think of. I always start out with my usual Copic Multiliner or Pitt Artist Pen, hoping to sketch and paint a few kids in motion. Occasionally, I get lucky. Usually, I give up and resort to gestural sketches with broad brush markers, which help convey the activity without hope of capturing the details.
8/22/12 Kuretake Brush Writer, Stillman & Birn sketchbook
8/22/12 Kuretake Brush Writer

Fort Lawton Radome

8/26/12 Copic Multiliner SP pen, watercolor, Stillman & Birn sketchbook
Before Seattle’s Discovery Park became a park on Magnolia Bluff, it was the U.S. Army’s Fort Lawton, where the Federal Aviation Administration owned and operated this search radome. On a clear day, I can see this giant golf ball on the horizon from my home studio window in Maple Leaf, which is more than 7 miles away.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Bob & Sheldon

8/24/12 Pitt Artist pen, watercolor, Hand Book sketchbook
Not to be outdone by the Queen Anne Farmer’s Market, the Phinney Farmer’s Market has a performance stage, too, and this one was even wired. The sun came out for Bob (at right) and Sheldon, who sang a delightful mix of ballads, blues, the Beatles and the Temptations. I could have sat there listening all afternoon, even if I hadn’t been sketching.

A Silver Suburban

8/24/12 Copic Multiliner SP pen, watercolor, Hand Book sketchbook
I’ve said and said again that I need to practice sketching cars, so I went out expressly for that purpose. Parked on Green Lake Drive North in front of a restaurant was this silver Suburban.
What is it about cars that’s so difficult to sketch? Unlike people and animals, they don’t have soft, organic lines. And unlike buildings, they don’t have straight calculable lines, either. Drawing books will tell you that cars and trucks can be placed in an imaginary rectangular cube like a shoe box, and all the same rules of perspective and vanishing points apply. Yeah, right.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Say it Ain’t So

8/23/12 Copic Multiliner SP pen, watercolor, Hand Book
The Queen Anne Farmer’s Market was new to me, so I walked around for a little while munching a cookie from Grateful Bread to get the lay of the sketching land. Even though I had barely arrived, I considered retreating to my car – the strong wind was downright chilly. (Is my first summer as a sketcher already nearly over? Say it ain’t so!) Instead, I got an Americano to warm up, and I was happy I did, because when I went around to the back, I discovered the “live music stage.”
With an interesting repertoire ranging from Bing Crosby (“Every time it rains, it rains pennies from heaven, don'tcha know each cloud contains pennies from heaven?”) to Johnny Cash (“When I was just a baby, my mama told me, son, always be a good boy, don't ever play with guns”), this vocalist used a megaphone for a mike. I shivered as I finished my sketch, but his Hawaiian shirt kept me thinking about summer.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

If Only They Were All So Easy to Eliminate

8/21/12 Lamy fountain pen, Hand Book sketchbook
Unfortunately for me, I have the lifelong habit of being punctual, which means I spend a lot of time waiting for friends who are less than punctual. And punctual or not, we all spend plenty of time waiting in lines or waiting rooms of doctors and others we make appointments with.
All of that waiting used to mildly annoy me, but I now fill that time with sketches instead of annoyance.
Last evening, waiting for a friend to meet me for dinner, I sketched this fellow patron perusing the menu. I only wish more of life’s annoyances would have such easy solutions.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


8/21/12 Copic Multiliner SP pen, watercolors, Stillman & Birn sketchbook
Forza Coffee at Green Lake has a small patio that faces a side street, offering a perfect view of Spud’s Fish & Chips. I thought it would make another good perspective study, but then I got confused by the rooftop sloping away from me. It was probably one of those illustrations in drawing books in which the converging lines disappear somewhere off the page. I decided to stop “studying” and simply enjoy sketching in the chilly breeze. (OK, what I really, really need to study is automotive sketching.) Here’s the sketch I did of the same scene with brush markers a few months ago on another chilly, breezy day.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Leaving Well Enough Alone

8/20/12 F-C Pitt Artist's Pen, watercolor, S & B sketchbook
When I finished sketching and painting a lamp post, its hanging basket of fuchsia and a bit of a table umbrella at University Village, the composition was mostly complete, but I thought I’d give the scene some context by “ghosting” in a few people in the background. I liked the way that looked, but instead of calling it good, I started ghosting in a few architectural details behind the lamp post. I didn’t like that, so I kept going, hoping it would miraculously improve. It didn’t. I should have left well enough alone.

Just this morning over breakfast, I was reading this bit of advice from Grant Fuller in his book, Start Sketching and Drawing Now: “As soon as you become unsure of what to do next, the answer is always ‘stop.’”

I used to think the hardest thing about drawing is getting started. Now I think it’s stopping – soon enough.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Georgetown Trailer Park Mall

8/19/12 Copic Multiliner SP pen, watercolor, Stillman & Birn sketchbook
Georgetown, a historic south Seattle neighborhood that is “arguably the oldest neighborhood of Seattle,” was an ideal site for a sketchcrawl: It has lots of aged buildings (some charming, some historic, some just old).

Although I’ve been a lifelong Seattle resident, Georgetown is relatively unfamiliar to me, so other than knowing that it was full of interesting architecture (more perspective challenges to overcome! AUGGGHH!), I wasn’t sure what to expect. I started wandering aimlessly down an alley, and only a block or two from All City Coffee where the Seattle Urban Sketchers initially met up, I found myself at the Georgetown Trailer Park Mall. It turns out to be world-famous! Unfortunately, it was closed on Sunday, but I was just as happy to have the place to myself so I could park my camp stool in the parking lot and sketch these two trailers. Although my watercolor painting doesn’t really show it, the surface of the Shasta trailer was covered with hundreds of colorful stickers.
8/19/12 Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pen, watercolor, Stillman & Birn sketchbook

As I sketched, planes bound for Boeing field roared by overhead so close that I felt like ducking every time one passed. Behind me, a rooster cockle-doodle-doo’d unenthusiastically, perhaps because by then it was nearly noon.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Finding Inspiration in Retail America

8/16/12 Kuretake Brush Writer, Tombow marker, Stillman & Birn sketchbook
At the risk of sounding un-American, I’m going to say it out loud: I despise shopping malls. Last winter when I was itching for something to sketch but the relentless rain kept me indoors, in desperation I went to Northgate Mall and was deeply uninspired.

The past few days temperatures have been in the 90s, and in a city where almost no one has an air-conditioned home, the heat drove me to the public indoors for sketching as much as the rain does in winter. Once again at Northgate, skeptical as I was, I reminded myself that the job of the artist is to find inspiration, regardless of the subject matter.
8/16/12 Akashiya Sai, Tombow markers

8/16/12 Copic Multiliner SP pen

What I found was plenty of hot, lethargic people like myself seeking air conditioning, which meant that they stayed relatively still. I also had an opportunity to use the brush marker technique I had tried earlier that day at Gasworks Park. Although the mall landscape isn’t quite as daunting as Lake Union, the brush markers gave the scene an abstract beauty that I appreciated more than retail banality.
8/16/12 Akashiya Sai, Tombow markers

Evading Sketchbook Paralysis

8/16/12 Kuretake Brush Writer, Stillman & Birn sketchbook
When I’m faced with a vast, scenic landscape – the kind that makes film makers drool – as a sketcher, I usually find myself paralyzed. Distilling the detail to a level that I can manage and visually “cropping” a small part of the scene are both daunting tasks. At Gasworks Park, as I gazed at Lake Union’s picture-perfect sailboats, the Space Needle on the horizon (another time when I was sketching at this park, a tourist asked me to point out the houseboat used in Sleepless in Seattle, and I had to shrug; she was disappointed), paralysis was about to set in.

Instead of my favorite Copic Multiliner SP pen, I pulled out a few brush markers. If I attacked the vastness with a brush tip too wide to handle detail or scope, I could evade those challenges and simply try to capture the essence. It was liberating to let go of accuracy and appropriate scale. I ended up enjoying this technique so much that I tried it again later at the mall.
8/16/12 Kuretake Brush Writer, Tombow marker, Stillman & Birn sketchbook

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Eye and Hand Catching Up

8/15/12 Copic Multiliner SP pen, watercolor, Stillman & Birn sketchbook
When I took Gabi Campanario’s urban sketching workshop a few weeks ago, he tried to teach me the concept of single-point perspective using my eye-level horizon as a guide. This wasn’t a new concept to me; I had read numerous books on perspective that explained this same concept, usually illustrated with cubes standing in the middle of a blank plane and lines extending from their edges to that imaginary single point. My brain understood and accepted what Gabi and these books were explaining, but my eye and hand were having difficulty catching up.

I was ruminating all of this as I sipped coffee and munched a raspberry muffin at one of Cloud City Coffee’s outdoor tables, wondering if I would ever “get” perspective on the sketchbook page and not just in my head. Looking at the outside wall and roofline of the building (which is a renovated garage with roll-up doors) – a scene I’ve looked at many, many times – I suddenly saw that the roofline, floor line and siding lines, if extended, would converge at a single point. I put my sketchbook up to my eyes, its plane parallel to the ground as Gabi had instructed, to find my eye-level horizon, and – OMG! – the single point was sitting there, right on that line! You mean it works in reality as well as in books!? The proverbial light bulb over my head, which had been flickering dimly like it was about to go out, suddenly turned on!

Maybe someday I’ll work on automotive sketching. But for now, I’m happy that architectural sketching has become a tiny bit less intimidating.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Brick Tudor

8/12/12 Copic Multiliner SP pen, watercolor, Stillman & Birn sketchbook
OK, I’ve stopped procrastinating: I said I was going to sketch more architecture, and I am.

To be honest, I went to Green Lake to look for the heron I’ve spotted several times recently, but always while I was walking for exercise and therefore without my sketch kit. Today I went with the sole purpose of sketching the majestic bird, but unfortunately, I couldn’t find it.

I was tempted to sit on a shady bench to sketch a few walkers, some trees, etc. – no point in hurting my brain on such a beautiful morning. But I turned around and saw one of my favorite brick Tudor houses in the neighborhood. This one is right on Aurora Avenue North on the other side of the concrete divide.

I gave myself a break and chose a head-on elevation view, avoiding most of the perspective issues. Baby steps, right?

Sunday Morning at a Coffee Shop

8/12/12 Lamy fountain pen, Hand Book sketchbook
The weather has been so perfect lately – the sunshine and not-overly-hot temps that we wait 11 months of the year for – that I haven’t spent much time sketching at coffee shops (at least inside of them). But I was in the mood for a scone, and I was feeling rusty sketching close-ups of people, so I decided to get a cup “for here.”

From my favorite corner table, I could turn 90 degrees and sketch a man whose face was less than a couple feet away from me – but on the other side of the window.
8/12/12 Lamy fountain pen, Hand Book sketchbook

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Time-Lapse Composition

8/11/12 Copic Multiliner SP pen, watercolor, Stillman & Birn sketchbook
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my experience with sketching in public, it’s that no matter what I’m inclined to sketch first in a composition, I have to put the people in first. Compared to plants, buildings and benches, they are most likely to get up and leave, sometimes within minutes or seconds, and always sooner than I want them to.

This scene outside a Starbucks is a good case in point. Sitting at one of the patio tables, I spotted the guy in sunglasses seated on the right side of the bench. He seemed to be relaxing, or perhaps waiting for someone, so I was hoping he'd stick around a while. I had framed the composition in my mind to include him and the bench in the background and the planter in the foreground. I was tempted to sketch the bench first – something solid to seat the guy on – but I resisted. Just as I had barely finished a rough line contour of the guy, he got up and left. Although I had not yet drawn the bench, I knew where the seat would be because I had sketched his hip. I was still fleshing him out when the bearded guy sat down – what luck! – on the left side of the bench. They never shared the bench in reality, but my sketch turned out to be a time-lapse composition.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Handmade Ukulele

8/10/12 Pitt Artist's Pen, watecolor, Stillman & Birn sketchbook
At the risk of repeating myself, I gave another shot at sketching this busker (my first attempt was about a month ago). He remembered that I had sketched him previously, and he started telling me about his new marketing materials (the classier TIP jar and a brochure about being available for gigs), his hat (acquired in a trade for music) and his handmade ukulele. With inlaid mother-of-pearl, abalone and ebony, the beautiful instrument is starting to show wear, he said. But, as he told the artisan who made it, he’s no collector who’s going to keep it in a glass case. This ukulele’s made for playing.

William Henry Seward, 1909

8/10/12 Pitt Artist's Pen, watercolor, Pentalic sketchbook
Nilda and I decided to sketch at Volunteer Park where we knew we’d find a good mix of trees, flowers, architecture, sculptures and people – whatever we felt like tackling. I know I said I was going to stop avoiding architecture and take on my biggest challenge head-on. I found a shady bench near the conservatory and considered sketching its gracefully curved see-through walls. But then I spotted this statue of William Henry Seward, which allowed me to put a bit of the conservatory in the background. After all, sketching memorials and monuments is also one of my goals. I’ll save the conservatory for next time.

Pizza Maker

8/9/12 Pitt Artist's Pen, watercolor, Stillman & Birn sketchbook
As much as I’m frequenting neighborhood farmer’s markets these days, I didn’t want to fall into a rut of sketching only flower vendors and buskers. This time at Lake City, I sketched a Versace pizza maker at work behind the huge terracotta dome of the oven.

Zooming In Again

8/9/12 Pitt Artist's Pen, watercolor, Stillman & Birn sketchbook
Here’s yet another try at zooming in like a photographer, this time at the Lake City Farmer’s Market. This market allows a closer view of the back of this flower vendor’s booth because of the way the booths are arranged. Compare this one to my previous attempt last week.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Farewell, J. P.

8/9/12, Copic Multiliner SP pen, watercolor, Stillman & Birn sketchbook
Like many Seattleites who were kids in the ‘60s, I grew up watching J. P. Patches on KIRO-TV every afternoon and Saturday morning. My strongest memory of J. P. was an in-person appearance he made at some store opening. My family climbed into the car, and strangely enough, all the cars (rather than the people in them) lined up for seemingly hours around the store for the opportunity to see and shake hands with J. P. What a thrill to shake his gloved hand through the car window! Another memory is of my Brownie troop’s visit to his TV show, and since I wore my hair in braids, he gave them a tug (his obligatory greeting of any little girl with ponytails or braids).

When I heard that J. P. (AKA Chris Wedes) died a couple weeks ago, I decided that I would honor his memory (and all my fond memories of J. P.) by sketching the bronze statue (sculpted by Kevin Pettelle) in the Fremont neighborhood. I finally got out to the statue this morning. It was still festooned with flowers, cards and trinkets from his many fans.

Farewell, J. P.!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Lame Pigeon’s Context

8/8/12, Copic Multiliner SP pen, watercolor, S & B sketchbook
A pigeon startled me as I sat sketching on the Green Lake Starbucks’ rooftop. It seemed odd that it would nestle down on one of the patio couches across from me while its peers cooed and pecked on the floor – until I saw that it had an injured foot. First I sketched the pigeon, trying (not very successfully) to capture the remarkable iridescent sheen of its purple and green breast.

Then I recalled one of the lessons from Gabi Campanario’s recent workshop: Showing more of the pigeon’s context would tell more of its story.

8/8/12, Copic Multiliner SP pen, Graphitint colored pencil, watercolor

Monday, August 6, 2012

Preening and Napping

8/3/12, F-C Pitt Artist's Pen, Hand Book sketchbook
My sketching buddy Nilda and I spent a morning at Woodland Park Zoo last week capturing as many slow-moving animals as we could. A birdwatcher, Nilda told me that most birders resort to sketching through binoculars or even from photos because birds rarely sit and pose for long. As difficult as they are to draw in nature, captive birds are relatively easy to sketch, we found, especially when they are napping or preening.

8/3/12, F-C Pitt Artist's pen, watercolor
8/3/12, F-C Pitt Artist's Pen, Copic Multiliner SP pen, Hand Book sketchbook

As I sketched the preening white-naped crane, I overheard one visitor say to her companion, “Oh, she’s got an easy view of that bird because she can’t see its head – that’s the hard part to draw.” Hmmm – I found the crane’s body to be just as challenging as its head.

8/3/12, F-C Pitt Artist's Pen
8/3/12, F-C Pitt Artist's Pen

Friday, August 3, 2012

Zooming In

8/3/12, Copic Multiliner SP pen, watercolor, Stillman & Birn sketchbook
Here’s a third try at sketching like a photographer. This time I zoomed in even closer to the action from the back of a flower vendor’s booth at Phinney Farmer’s Market. (Seattle is rich with farmer’s markets in the summertime – one in a different neighborhood each day of the week – and I aim to hit as many as I can.)

White Water

8/2/12, Copic Multiliner SP pen, opaque pen, watercolor, S & B sketchbook
The last time I sketched a fountain, I used a white pencil to draw the streams of water coming down and splashing up, but I wasn’t completely happy with the results. This time, I tried sketching a fountain at University Village with the help of a Uni-ball Signo white opaque gel pen, which I think is more effective.

These crows and I heard the roar of Blue Angels above us as I sketched on this beautiful afternoon.

Sketching Like a Photographer, Part 2

8/2/12, F-C Pitt Artist's Pen, watercolor, Stillman & Birn sketchbook
A while back, I blogged about how I am trying to sketch like a photographer – to “crop” my sketching composition the way a photographer would frame a photo with the viewfinder. At the Lake City Farmer’s Market, I had an ideal view of the back of a flower vendor’s booth that allowed me to frame the composition more closely. You can see my previous attempts at sketching flower vendors in May and June. Next time I’ll try “zooming in” even closer.
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