Monthly Archive for February, 2008
This is a sketch based on the crazy lady I recently met at my local diner. Maybe I’ll tell the story of our conversation in my comics at some point. I’m working on the first page/episode of my comics series now. It ain’t much, but it’s a start. Anyway, enjoy this sketch for the time being. Maybe my next post will be a comic! How about that?
Today is the 2nd anniversary of my blog! And now a review of the year past:
On Monday, Jan. 21st, MLK day, it was rainy and cold. I didn’t have anything planned for this day. No coffee dates, no lunches, no meetings. And I was trying to fill my time in San Francisco, doing creatively inspiring things. Sketching, meeting sketchers, looking at art, meeting people in Bay Area animation. I needed to find something to do to keep the juices flowing. This would’ve been a good day to go to the Cartoon Art Museum. I wanted to see the Mary Blair exhibit they had showing there. Alas, the Cartoon Art Museum is closed on Mondays. In fact, it seemed most museums are/were closed on Mondays. So I just decided to get out to the café and huddle over a glorious coffee and my sketchbook. Ritual Coffee was calling my name. I drove out to the spot at 1026 Valencia. It was crowded. I shared a table with someone. My latté arrived and it was indeed glorious, with its lovely “Rosetta” made of coffee crema and foam. I pulled out my drawing materials and I decided to play with inks today. No smudged or smeared graphite, no losing of the line when I go in with watercolor, no erasing. I used a #0 Rapidograph technical pen and Kuretake brush pen and I stuck with smooth, plate-finish papers that the ink would glide onto nicely. First, in a Moleskine Sketchbook and then on a pad of smooth Bristol. Both surfaces are a joy to ink on and the Bristol takes watercolor okay. I also dedicated myself to drawing people on this day. Really, that’s about all there was to draw in this place, anyway. Lots and lots of people in various sizes, shapes, and fashions. This was a really great place to observe and sketch.
I went to my local polling place today and cast my vote in the ‘08 primary election. My neighborhood polling place seems to be in a different location every time. Once it was in a barbershop on Pico called “The Headmaster.” This time around it was in someone’s junky old garage. It smelled musty, it was loaded with different kinds of weird junk and what space was left over had everyone just short of being shoulder-to-shoulder. One of the funniest parts, though, was this sign hanging outside the door. Now, you’d think they could maybe take this down on election day. I mean, what kind of message is this sending to potential voters?
In case you can’t make it out, the hand-painted portion of the sign reads:
DO NOT DISTURB!!!
YOU AIN’T BEEN
DONT START NOW
The day after Sketchcrawl 17, I met with Martha of Trumpetvine Travels for a mini-crawl of sorts. We met up in North Berkeley, an area that Martha knows well and one I was interested in getting to know a little better. Even though I grew up in the city of San Francisco, I didn’t venture outside of it very often, and so it’s only in more recent years that I’ve gotten much of a feel at all for areas like the East Bay. There’s still plenty more in the Bay Area that I haven’t explored, but my brother lived in Berkeley for a while and my visits there helped me begin to get a sense for it. I like the slightly warmer weather (vs. the city of SF), the spacious laid-back feel, and the craftsman-style homes.
Martha introduced me to the area of North Berkeley known as the “Gourmet Ghetto” — primarily a one-block stretch of Shattuck Avenue lined with several restaurants, a.k.a. “Foodie” establishments, the star of which is Chez Panisse. Apparently, you have to book about a month in advance to dine there, so we went to the Tapas bar one door down called César. We spent about an hour chatting and sipping Cava (Martha knows how to start lunch right!) and munching on beet salad and little salmon sandwiches. Everything was quite good, but the little dish of olives they brought out shortly after we sat down was quite possibly the most delicious part.
At some point, and after ordering a couple cappuccinos, we figured we’d better get to sketching. I took a somewhat slower pace than at Sketchcrawl (it helped that I was mellowed by sparkling wine and good food and wasn’t freezing) and just completed this one sketch looking toward the bar:
The sketch was done in my “Frankenskine” sketchbook, pictured here:
…a Moleskine daily planner which I gutted and converted into a Watercolor sketchbook. The construction of this book was developed by Martha. She’s filled many of these modified Moleskines with her beautiful sketches. Detailed instructions and samples of her sketches are available on her blog. Here’s my account of the project.
Update: Martha has posted her sketches from our lunch over at Trumpetvine. Be sure to take a look! I love the way she uses negative space in her sketches and simply leaves things out. I have a hell of a time doing that (in case you can’t tell from my sketch, above). Her approach can lead to some interesting results. Organic sorts of compositions and non-rectangular framings. They’re not overladen with detail, and so they are very relaxing to look at and leave a bit to our imaginations. In that way, they can help transport us to the scene being depicted all the more, because life is like that. We tend to look at just one thing at a time, and often in an impressionistic way, feeling it, rather than looking at the minute detail, and objects in the periphery are frequently either vague or almost non-existent in our experience/memory. Also, another effect of her use of white space is the quality of light. Take a look at the second sketch in her post and you get the sense there’s bright light shining through the windows.
Also, more sketches to come from my visit to San Francisco…