Monthly Archive for September, 2007

Hey, Baby

This is a character from the same personal project as the “cityscape” sketches I posted last week [1, 2]. (Shown here as a doodle. Yes. Another doodle.)

Another Beauty

Another Beauty

What’s This?

Yup. It’s a doodle.

Oh No!!! Another Doodle!!!


Oh, Well. Watchaganadoo?

The post I wanted to post this evening, wasn’t ready in time. So I squeaked out this doodle instead. Enjoy!

Moleskine Addict

Moleskine Addiction — Stacked
Okay, I think I am officially a Moleskine Addict. Hey, there are worse addictions a person could have! These little babies are perhaps a little pricier than the average sketchbook or journal, considering their size, but what I get out of them in terms of creative and intellectual activity and motivation is easily worth the dollar value that’s put in. Also consider that the “average” sketchbook or journal is usually junk and way more overpriced in relation to its quality than these Moleskines.
Moleskine Addiction - Exploded
Still, I am addicted, there’s no doubt. I’m compelled to buy new books, finding reasons to validate the purchase. The same day that I took the above photos, I later came home with these:
The Addiction Continues...
Some of these purchases are gifts, but isn’t it also a trait of addicts that they look for others to share their addictions with? Those who know me and are closest to me, beware! I may try to make you “one of us.” Like a brain-feeding zombie. To my fellow addicts, you will probably have Pavlovian responses to these photos. If you do get the itch, please don’t scratch too hard! Please be a responsible Moleskiner and have a great weekend, everyone.

Aerial View of City Park

Aerial View of City Park
(click the image for a larger view)
This is part two to yesterday’s post, this time a view of a city park. Also quite rough, this was worked out at the same time as the previous cityscape and is part of the same story. In fact, this is part of the same opening shot, just a pan to the right (and a little bit down). The park is something like Central Park in New York or Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. A fictional large city park.
Here’s a thumbnail sketch of the pan.
Pan-Shot Thumbnail

Aerial Cityscape

(click the image for a larger view)
This is a rough layout design and opening shot from a personal project I started last year. The project has been sitting on the back-burner for a while, but I revisited it a little bit today. This is a fictitious place, though I hope some people would find something familiar about it. It’s kind of an amalgam of, or inspired by, different cities — primarily San Francisco and New York, with a little added bit of a Northwestern element. Obviously, it’s quite rough, but there’s an energy in this that I really like and that I think would be hard to duplicate if I tried redrawing it.

A & A Body & Paint

A & A Body & Paint — Cropped
I know I’ve been posting more drawings and paintings from life lately and less character work, but here’s another sketch anyway. This is of the A & A Body Shop at Pico and Ridgeley. Rumor is that this place has something close to a hundred citations for various things and the neighborhood and city are looking to shut them down. There are a lot of body shops along this street and while I feel for these small business owners and the mechanics that work for them, I could do without the toxic fumes. This is a big residential area, with a lot of restaurants and cafés, and a good number of them with outdoor seating. I like to ride my bike to these places sometimes, but biking and holding your breath don’t really go together too well. We’ll see what happens. Anyway, isn’t that a cool old truck? What is it? A Ford or a Chevy of some sort? I’ve been meaning to sketch this spot for a little while now and thought I should get on it in case it disappears. I might revisit this with watercolor later. The truck is a nice rusty color.


After months of admiring the “LOL Cats” cartoons by Flickrpal Ape Lad (aka Adam Koford), I finally ordered one (for only $20 on! The timing couldn’t have worked out more perfectly. My birthday was this past Saturday, September 15th, the very day that my LOL Cats cartoon was mailed. It arrived today on Monday!

What day is it?

I requested that he sandwich the cartoon in some cardboard, because my mailboxes are ridiculously tiny and my mail carrier, disgruntled. He was oh so generous and threw a little extra cartoon on the purple board.


“Mebbe a vineyard asploded?” LOL!!! Also pretty serendipitous, because Jamie and I spent this past weekend celebrating my birthday wine-tasting in the Santa Ynez Valley area of Santa Barbara County. Yes, folks. That’s “Sideways country” — and we did stay at the Buellton Days Inn, or “The Windmill.” This is our second time visiting the area for my birthday. The last time was in 2005. Our favorite wines continue to be made by Daniel Gehrs, who does not own any of his own vineyards, but purchases grapes from various places throughout the region and turns them into bottles of heaven at his winery in Buellton.

Great Grapes

And I got more goodies today! A birthday present arrived from my brother. Wrapped in images of outer space, were two E.T. “Original Collectibles” from 1982. I was E.T. crazy when I was a little kid. These are showing some age, but still in their original packaging. Kinda like me.

The Original Collectibles

Eastern Plane

Eastern Plane

Another page from the Land of Ink. Bonsai branches, watchtower gourd on hourglass temple, old-man’s-face-breathing-dragon, smoldering volcano, and other things yet unnamed.

That Down Beat Jazz

I took my car in to be serviced this afternoon and it took several hours before it was done. They had a shuttle service that could take me within a five-mile radius of their location downtown, so I had them drop me off at Alvarado and Sunset in Echo Park, Los Angeles. There I spent the afternoon with a bagel and lox, a lemonade, and later on, an iced coffee. I sat first at one of the tables on the sidewalk and sketched the view:


Then later, at a table inside, I did this one:


About a year and a half ago, I did some sketching in this same location.

Backwards Bill


I saw this guy on Pico Blvd the other day. I don’t know if he realized his shirt was on backward. He was carrying a big ring of keys and seemed a little lost. I hope he found his way home.

Notes on Materials — Watercolor Sets

Wow that last post was pretty wordy, but the bottom line is, I thought I’d put one kind of watercolor paper in my Moleskine mod, but it was another. Still hot press, and still Fabriano Artistico, but bright white instead of off-white and 50% heavier. Good news is it still managed to fit in the book and it works fine.


On to the subject of watercolors. I have two Windsor & Newton sets. I bought the smaller one first, but then I bought the larger one so I wouldn’t have to mix colors as often.


The smaller one didn’t have any browns, grey, or black, and so I found myself mixing those pretty often [edit: it has two browns!]. The larger one has a good number of colors which still can be mixed if I choose, lending itself to an even broader spectrum and allowing me to work a tiny bit faster. It also has a good amount of palette space, which is nice. But when I took this to Sketchcrawl 15 on Aug. 25th, it was a little cumbersome. It didn’t fit in a pocket, and so I had to bring a bag, and it just made it a little more difficult to watercolor on the go. It was easier sitting, but standing proved more of a challenge. Picture this:


So when I went out to Santa Monica about a week ago, I took the smaller set with me and it was much easier to use standing up. Much much easier! See here:


And another plus is everything fit in my pockets! I was wearing cargo shorts, which helped some. If I were a lady or man-bag-guy, I could put it in my purse, but on that day I was cargo-shorts-guy. I also found that since I’ve been using watercolors more readily, I’ve gotten a tiny bit better at mixing colors, and so I didn’t mind mixing my browns, greys, and blacks. In fact, I felt those tones turned out a bit more interesting. A little richer maybe and infused with a little more color, so they could be warm or cool, depending.

So. Conclusion? I’m really happy with this combination of supplies for sketching out in the field. It’s my sketch-kit on-the-go.


(Shown here are my modified Moleskine Daily Planner turned Watercolor Sketchbook, Windsor & Newton Cotman Sketcher’s Pocket Box watercolor set, 0.9mm Pentel Twist-Erase mechanical pencil, and small Pentel Japan Waterbrush Pen.)


(The only things that would complete this picture are a few paper towels and my Kuretake Brush Pen)

I’ll still use my larger set at home and as I continue to be more familiar with colors, I may end up swapping out some of the pans in my small set for ones I like better. The small palette space may still be a bit limiting, but that can be remedied somewhat with the wipe of a damp paper towel and… practice.

Notes on Materials — Moleskine Mod


The modification has so far gone well. The stubborn curve is starting to come out of the pages and I’ve enjoyed the versatility and portability of this “frankenskine.” But shortly after starting to use it, I became aware that I did NOT refill this moleskine with the same paper I tested out in the weeks prior.

The paper I originally used seemed thinner and slightly off-white, whereas the paper I put into the book was a bright white and somewhat thicker (and as a result, stiffer).

See if you can tell the difference between the two in these photos:

Martha’s instructions at Trumpetvine Travels call for Fabriano Artistico 90lb (200gsm) Hot Press. So which one was which …and how did this happen? A trip back to Blick art supply (on Beverly Blvd in Los Angeles) quickly answered that question when I took a look at their watercolor papers and saw what a mess they were! It’s no wonder I grabbed two different papers. They were totally mixed up, with at least three different kinds of paper shelved under each label. By looking at the item numbers penciled on the edges of each sheet, however, and comparing them to the numbers on the shelf labels, I was able to at least figure out which ones I had bought.
And it turns out that the paper I initially tested on was in fact Fabriano Artistico 90lb (200gsm) Hot Press (what Martha suggests) and the paper that I put into my modified Moleskine was a different one — still a Fabriano Artistico Hot Press, but Extra White and 300gsm. The paper is indeed a bright white and it is 150% the thickness!
This mixup explains why the bookblock was such a tight fit for the Moleskine cover. Fortunately, Martha’s recommendations allowed for some leeway, so the bookblock did at least fit and I’m finding it works well enough for my needs so far. One possible advantage is there’s less show-through when using ink, but the downside is I think the ink from my brush pen does not flow quite as smoothly on this paper, although the difference may be pretty slight.
More notes on materials in my next post, when I talk about the pros and cons of different watercolor sets (I bet you can’t wait! I know this is REALLY exciting stuff!).