Showing posts with label drawing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label drawing. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

making time

So here's where I'm at with the ink portrait I begun nearly a year ago of an older gentleman who I met in Kathmandu's Durbar Square some time ago. I have taken long breaks in between sessions of maddening stippling, but I hope that I can finish it shortly and move on to another drawing. Still, I must say that I have loved the process of this piece, and I'm not sure if I am ready to complete it.

I expected the artwork to just pour out of me when I moved away from the city and shortened my commute, but things just don't happen that way do they? Time gets filled with some other often meaningless activity (mainly wandering around the internet), and I find myself complaining about not having enough time.

In two weeks I'll be returning to Urfa and Göbeklitepe with my sketchbook and camera.
Let's see if I can make the time for some drawing then.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

and then there's this:

A portrait of a Nepali man, that I've also been working on for the past month.
Stippling with a dip pen is both meditative and exhausting— exhausting in a good way.
It's been a rough couple of weeks. Diving into these drawings has been so soothing.

Untitled (so far).
61 cm x 91.5 cm, India ink.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

feeling it

So I've let this drawing sit incomplete for far too long, and decided I'd better finish it once and for all. I got up real early today, made myself a cup of cardamom coffee, and grabbed some India ink and my dip pen. It took me eight hours to finish his face. I started this drawing in December of 2009, worked ferociously on it for a spell, then left it to gather dust. I don't know why, but I wasn't feeling it anymore. When I look at it now, two bottles of ink and many, many hours of controlled breathing later, I am feeling it. It's time.

You can see the very, very slow progress I've made here, and here, and here.
I'll take a higher quality photo soon. When I finish.

70cm x 100 cm, India ink.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

sketching skulls

Just across the road from Gaida Lodge stands the tiny Wildlife Display and Information Centre, which houses an interesting collection of the region's animal skulls, hides, casts of footprints, as well as various beasts floating in formaldehyde. I loved it. For a mere thirty rupees, one could sit on the warm floor for two hours in front of a gharial skull and draw. While mentally disappearing into the many curved teeth of this unusual crocodilian (which I was fortunate to have seen in the flesh on my first day in Chitwan), the lady at the ticketing counter tiptoed over and sat down next to me. She didn't say much— she mostly smiled and watched me draw.

This was my meditation. No bells, no incense, no chanting. There was nothing in the world except me, the skull, my pencil, and the page of my sketchbook slowly filling— even the occasional mosquito or influx of Nepali and Indian tourists snapping photos of me with their phones could not move my eyes from skull or page. When the heat became too much to bear, and we had exhausted our fingers and eyes, we packed up.

"You come back tomorrow, no pay." The ticketing lady smiled.
"Oh yes, we'll come back!" I laughed, and thanked her profusely.

We couldn't make it the next day, but two days later, we were greeted by her warm smile. I already had my subject in mind, and sat down in front of a very yellowed one-horned rhino skull.

While I was lost in the lines of the rhino's nasal cavity, a small wave of Indian tourists took over the Centre. Suddenly, I felt a presence next to me on the floor, and in barely a second, a hand aggressively grabbed my chin, and shoved my face in the direction of a grinning older man with a camera.

I was ordered to smile.

His wife, wrapped in a colourful sari, had wanted a photo of herself with the foreign girl drawing on the floor. I was stunned— I've encountered some interesting reactions to my sketching in public before, but never have I been shoved or told to do anything— and she grabbed my face. I don't know about you, but for me, the face is an intimate part of the body, and mine is reserved for only a select few to touch with their hands. I was so shocked, so taken aback, that it only occurred to me after the flash blinded me, that this behaviour was uncalled for. What ever happened to asking for a photo? Once it was taken, they disappeared as quickly as they appeared, and I was left on the floor, without a word, my mouth agape.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

in pencil and ink

I'm soon heading off to a part of the country I've never been to— but before I do, I thought I'd share some of the sketches from my recent adventure in Northeastern Turkey.
Stay tuned—there's still more to come!

Sunday, April 8, 2012


It was the perfect day for sketching— the sky was a deep cerulean, the sun was warm, and the little çaybahçe across the street from Dolmabahçe Palace had a wide array of empty tables near its free-range fat chickens. As I was about to make my move to order some kahve from the guy in the window, a stern foreigner cut in front of me. I threw up my hands in a gesture of disbelief, then had an idea.

I could draw a revenge portrait.

Pedro was in favour of this idea, and so we selected a table uncomfortably near the rude line-cutter. Giggling, we pulled out our sketchbooks and various utensils, and set to work with a glare. It wasn't long before we were discovered by our victim, whose girlfriend was eyeing us. After attempting to dissuade us with futile stares, the line-cutter shifted his body, pointing his back at us. Several minutes later, his girlfriend boldly confronted us on her way to the bathroom.

"Did you draw any others?" She asked.
"No, only him."
"This is a revenge drawing— you see, he cut in line in front of us."

Inspecting our sketches, she pointed out that Pedro's portrait looked more accurate, and that mine was marked with more anger. I explained in laughter that it was an exaggeration.

"Don't show it to him!"

Sunday, March 25, 2012


I have not felt like sketching much. The pressure of constantly churning out sketches for posting on Urban Sketchers and other websites became too much for me; what used to be a joy felt more and more like a chore— so I stopped. I was afraid I was drawing emptily, drawing without inspiration, drawing what I thought would be liked, rather than capturing what I like, in the way that I like. Add to this anxiety the lousy Istanbul winter we just passed through, and my sketchbooks grew a thin film of dust. I have done a few sketches here and there— quite a few in Vietnam, but I have kept them to myself. I don't know why exactly.

I have received a few emails from readers over the past several months, asking me where the sketches are. All I can say is please bear with me, they will come. I just need something to move. Being around fellow sketchers in Portugal was a great inspiration, and there was something in the light and soil there, something in the birdsong, which revived me.

At the Mina de São Domingos, I picked up my pen, and started to draw.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

art and laughter

Wandering around Istanbul with nine Italian sketchers for a weekend results in abdomens sore from laughter, tired feet, icicle fingers which struggle to hold pens and brushes, and one big, happiness. There is so much to say, so much I want to share about the last few days, but I am struggling to find the words. We feasted, we clinked glasses, we explored, we invented jokes, and we drew.

I am eternally grateful to Urban Sketchers for connecting me with so many wonderful people over the past three years. Grazie, Italian Sketchers— I'll see you in Rome one day!

Art and laughter.
You couldn't ask for much more.

Stay tuned for the sketches!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

hello, scanner

Here are the first three spreads of my entry for The Sketchbook Project 2012, brought to you by my new scanner! The excitement I feel to have my very own scanner again is beyond words— just look at that colour and resolution! It's like looking at the actual drawings! I can't stop using exclamation points!

The theme I selected for this year is Travel with Me, which I have taken a less direct interpretation of. In this book, you will travel into the recesses of my heart— into my memories, thoughts, and emotions. I do hope you enjoy it.

While I get cracking on the next spreads, feel free to check out my entry for last year's project, Boys and Girl.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

the sketchbook project 2012

The first rain has fallen since the monsoon of my summer, and I feel comforted, nostalgic. In the chaos of the past three weeks, I have managed carve a little time for myself to draw again. I've rejoined The Sketchbook Project, selected the theme Travel with Me, and have begun working feverishly on my first pages. I was not very pleased with my book last year, so I joined the project a few months earlier in order to spend more time making this book do what I hope it will.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

a few sketches

1. Taksim Square
2. Istanbul Gar— the last stop of the famed Orient Express
3. Inside the Grand Bazaar
4. An alley way in the Grand Bazaar
5. The gate of Dolmabahçe Palace

Friday, June 3, 2011

starting over

Sometimes you spend hours, days, weeks or months on a piece of art, and it just doesn't come out right. It's tempting to go with it, rather than starting over to get it the way you really want it to look. I've wanted to create a comic of short stories for the past two years, but life keeps getting in my way. I wanted to get back to it, and finish this story I had started over a year and a half ago, but the face was irking me in this panel. As much as I tried to accept the face and move on, I just couldn't let it go. This has to be right; it has to look the way I see it in my mind. Sometimes there's a disconnect between my brain and my fingers, and sometimes all my nerves are firing in perfect rhythm.

I have a long way to go with all the shading in pointillism, but I am so much happier with the drawing.
I've got my fingers crossed, hoping I can get the rest of the panels to reflect what I see in my head.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

getting back into it

After Moleskine Exchanges 64, 24 and 29 fell apart and one of my books disappeared somewhere between Australia and Mexico, I must admit I had become a little disenchanted with the whole exchange experience. I've been participating in Moleskine exchanges for three years, and I think I just got a little tired— and life eventually got in the way.

Lately I've felt something was missing in my life and the little black books piled on my desk with blank pages waiting for me, reminded me of how much I had loved participating in these exchanges. I had befriended so many artists from around the world and we had shared our artwork— a truly magical experience. I realised I needed to get back into it and hopefully, inspire some of the other disenchanted artists to do the same. So much beautiful artwork has been produced in three years, and it would be such a pity to let it all just fall apart.

Well dear Rose, here is your book. I am terribly sorry for keeping it empty for so long— I do hope you will like it.

Above is the entry in my missing book... Where in the world could it be?