Archive for the 'Events' CategoryPage 2 of 2

Smokin’ Geisha (Sketchcrawl 15 Revisited)

Here’s the smoking girl from Sketchcrawl 15, but with added watercolor. This is one really nice aspect to the modified Moleskine and having a sketchbook with watercolor paper. Any drawing is a potential future painting.

Sketchcrawl 15, Little Tokyo — part II of II

Tents and City
This (above) was near the cultural center. After sketching & painting the giant float, I felt I needed to loosen up and keep things simple. I liked the colors and the composition of this view, so I banged it out, just trying to focus on the key elements.
Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka Street
A sketch of the monument to Ellison S. Onizuka and the Space Shuttle Challenger. The street this is on is actually named “Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka Street” and is an exception to Los Angeles’ letter limit to street names (Though I’m not sure what that limit is. Maybe 16?). This monument and place is significant to me for at least two reasons. One, I remember when Challenger disintegrated. I was in my fourth grade classroom when we listened to the live broadcast on the radio. I remember a fair amount of emphasis being placed on the death of Christa McAuliffe, a schoolteacher from New Hampshire who was on the shuttle, and I wasn’t quite as aware of Onizuka. My fiancée Jamie, however, is from Hawaii (where Onizuka was from) and so I think more emphasis was probably placed on the death of Onizuka there. Granted, it was a tragic event for all involved.
Secondly, this place is significant to me, because I used to live here. I lived in Little Tokyo for about 2 and a half years, right on the 200 block of East 1st Street and the back of my building faced out onto Onizuka St.
Incidentally, I had a roommate from Japan who once told me that “Onizuka” translates to “Devil’s Tombstone.”
Smokin' Geisha
I sat at a table near a group of young (maybe 16-year-old) Japanese-American girls dressed in Kimonos, while they smoked cigarettes and talked about makeup. One of our other sketchcrawlers, Akiko, said she overheard one of them say, “Okay my dad is here, so I don’t do anything, okay? I don’t smoke and I don’t drink!”
Pippy Legwarmers
Another view from the back. It’s easier to draw people from the back, especially when they’re not going anywhere. I don’t think this girl was even Asian. Maybe hapa, but it was hard to tell if that was the case. She had her straight black hair in pigtails and her short kimono or “happi coat” with the big ribbon wasteband/sash (Obi) — plus legwarmers and sneakers!
New Otani Gardens
Lastly, we went up to the New Otani Hotel’s Garden. Where there was this inspiring view of the beautiful California Bank & Trust building.

Sketchcrawl 15, Little Tokyo — part I of II

Here is part one of my sketches from Sketchcrawl 15 (and the first sketches to go into my newly modified Moleskine)! A small group of five of us (in all of Los Angeles!) managed to meet up in Little Tokyo in the midst of the Nisei Week festival. It was really lively, with bandstands and food vendors and people everywhere. There was so much going on that I didn’t know what to sketch next.
300 block, E 1st. St.
It started out on E 1st Street, where we met in front of the tower at the Little Tokyo Village Plaza. This (above) is looking across the street with City Hall in the background and the renovated Chop Suey building at the far right.
Afro Kid
I sketched this kid with an afro as he passed by. It seems like sketching people in public often yields these angles from directly behind.
Go, Granny, Go
Did this one while in front of Yamazaki bakery in the Village Plaza. I saw this little old lady and just couldn’t pass it up. I realized her vehicle was like a little cherry sports car or something. Her whole appearance on this thing just cracked me up. I heard the “Go-granny go-granny go-granny-go” part of the song Little Old Lady From Pasadena playing in my head.
We made our way toward the cultural center building and I was stopped in my tracks by this giant. This is a float that I’m guessing was about 12 feet high or more and the exterior was made of paper. It had so much energy and character and vivid color. But I think I bit off a little more than I was willing to chew in a short amount of time. The pencil sketch I initially laid down had a certain energy and form that was lost when I then went in with the rushed ink. I would’ve liked to stay a little looser with the whole thing in retrospect. Gone in with expressive strokes of watercolor over the pencil and then just added accents of ink afterward where it would seem to need it. Still, I suppose all is fair in sketching, but sometimes less is more.
I will post part 2 of my Sketchcrawl results tomorrow!

1st Bloggiversary

It was one year ago today that I started this blog!

A “brief” year-in-review:

Sketchcrawl 12 1/2 (and 101st post!)

I participated in my first Sketchcrawl yesterday: “Sketchcrawl in Your Home!” I had lots of fun with my sumi water-brush pen and I think maybe this was a good warmup for lucky Sketchcrawl 13. Below are the results. I’ve also posted these to the Sketchcrawl Forum and Flickr Sketchcrawl Pool.

sketchcrawl12.5_01sketchcrawl12.5_02sketchcrawl12.5_02asketchcrawl12.5_03 sketchcrawl12.5_04sketchcrawl12.5_05 sketchcrawl12.5_06

Also, I want to add a note that this is my 101st post to the Art & Story Blog, so a mini centennial celebration of sorts is in order. Mind you, almost a quarter of those 101 posts have been made in this month alone. I’m on that kind of productivity kick.

I’m 30?

Yup. My birthday is today and I am indeed 30 years old. Goodbye, Twenties. You were lots of fun. Hello, Thirties. Let’s get to work.
Here’s a little self-caricature and the image I used for the party invite. Everything’s from my all too self-aware memory, save for the hand and toothbrush, which I referenced in the mirror.

Harvey and Robbie

As I said in my last post, I’m a long-time fan of Harvey Pekar, and obviously that’s what brought me out to the event last night, but I was glad to learn a bit more about artist Robbie Conal ( audio.gif), as well. I’d seen his posters pasted onto traffic-signal control boxes on street-corners of San Francisco, Seattle (I think) and Los Angeles (in that order). You’ve probably seen them, too. Those giant portraits of politicians, drawn in a fleshy, decaying, pock-marked, grotesque, and needless to say, unflattering light.

Here’s a snapshot I took just before things got going and Louise Steinman (center) asked everyone to stop taking pictures.

Harvey and Robbie
Harvey came out to the stage first and sat there alone for a while, silently observing the audience with a subtle facial expression I could not read (although he did look happy). When things got going, his voice was almost non-existant, but it improved over the course of things. Nerves, I guess. I’m going to try to avoid summing-up what was discussed, because letting myself go will result in far more than I’m sure any of you would care to read and would no doubt become a bit trivial. I will just say that it was pretty casual, though well moderated by Louise. We heard Harvey and Robbie give some background information on themselves, their childhoods, how they got started doing what they are now known for, et cetera. Some parallels were drawn between the two of them, including having communist parents and being dubbed “folk legends” among other things. Harvey said some pretty funny stuff. He has a real unique personality and is a tough nut to crack, even with all the autobiographical work he’s done.
Now, for some reason I thought they might be podcasting this conversation, but they only seem to podcast selected ALOUD events, and thus far nothing’s shown up for this one. You can subscribe to the ALOUD podcast here, though, and if anything changes, I’ll make an update to this post or elsewhere on the blog.
Harvey and Robbie
After the “conversation” portion of the event, a line was formed for book signing and such. Jamie got in line right away, and so I was only the second person in line. I tried to bend Harvey’s ear, but it wasn’t easy with the long line behind me, the slight din of voices and the barracade-like desk he was stationed behind. Still, I went ahead: “Hey, Harvey. I’ve been a fan of yours for a long time. When I was 13, etc. … So now I’m a storyboard artist and bla, bla, bla…” Harvey sat silently, looked at me a few times as I spoke, smiled slightly, perhaps, and tried to sign my books. I gave him my card. He put it in his pocket. It felt so rushed, but hey, it’s all a plus in my book.

Harvey Pekar at ALOUD Tonight


I was 13. It was 1989. A friend had lent me his anthologies of R. Crumb and American Splendor comix. Until then, I’d only known comic books to be Spider-Man, Batman, and the like. Now, almost 17 years later, I still clearly remember staying up late pouring over these books, as a light seemed to emanate from them and my mind was opened to the limitlessness of the comix medium. It was a major turning point, for sure. I don’t know if I can pinpoint in just a few words, exactly how this sort of seminal experience has influenced me as an artist today, but it’s definitely a bright spot along the sentimental journey of days past. Hey, you never forget your first time, you know. I had been a total virgin to underground comix, aside from a vague knowledge of Zippy the Pinhead, and this was my deflowering. Things would never be the same after that. Stripped from my naive idolation (yes, I invented a new word) of spandex-clad he-men and thrust into the dark, perverse, underworld of the self-loathing antihero. And these things were autobiographical! Well, at least partially. Anyway, these guys really existed!

Or so I’ve been told. I’m going to get my empirical evidence tonight at the L.A. Central Library, when I see Harvey Pekar in a discussion with Robbie Conal. It’s part of the ALOUD series.

More info here and here:

Thursday, June 8, 2006 at 7pm
“Life as Art, Art as Life.”
A conversation between HARVEY PEKAR and ROBBIE CONAL
ALOUD at Central Library, Mark Taper Auditorium
Fifth and Flower Street, Downtown Los Angeles

Reservations: or (213) 228-7025
Admission is FREE

The Commuters

Author Cheryl Klein will read from her newly published novel The Commuters, 7:30 this evening at Skylight Books (1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz) in Los Angeles. I completed the above cover design for the book (shown here in full wraparound, front cover illustration by Cheryl) in February of this year and have not yet seen the printed copy, so it will be exciting to see it tonight! Cheryl is quite the wordsmith and very dedicated to her craft. Just as her first novel The Commuters was in the process of being published, she finished up another one and I believe she may now be working on a third! Visit her blog Bread and Bread for well turned musings on the mundane.

Cinequest 16: The Second Death


This past weekend was spent at Cinequest 16, where I attended a screening of The Second Death. This was my first experience attending a festival screening as one of the film’s makers (storyboard artist and actor). The film was a part of Shorts Program 8: Mindbenders which began at about midnight and ran approximately two hours, Friday and Saturday. There were a number of interesting films included in the lineup. One that has apparently been making the rounds at festivals for a little while now was Lucky, in which a man locked in the trunk of a car, seeks to free himself and gain control of the unmanned, yet speeding car he finds himself a passenger on. Another was Slice of Heaven, showing the strangely mundane actions of a woman (SPOILER ALERT) harvesting feces from a bacon-grease fed infant to serve as fertilizer (END SPOILER) for her bucolic suburban garden. And another worth mention, was Rats, a black and white short based on the comic-story of the same name by Frank Miller. Sparing us the comic-book effects and devices, but still preserving Miller’s story, composition, chiaroscuro, and sense of timing. With these films alone, we certainly were in good company.

Somewhat regretfully, I skipped out on participating in the Q&A section of the screening. Although by about a quarter after two in the morning, I don’t think it was the most provocative of Q&A’s anyway. A few hours of mindbending social ineptitude followed back at the Montgomery Hotel and made for a Sunday that was a bit rough around the edges, but I did manage to see another entertaining short and an outstanding, albeit immensely depressing, feature in the evening before trucking back to L.A. I do wish I had the luxury of spending a bit more time at the festival to see films and meet filmmakers, but it’s at least kindled more of an interest to do more of that sort of thing in the future.