Monday, June 19, 2017


Sketching the Junipero Serra Museum arches from a photo.

The final result. Sketched on Stillman & Birn Beta Series hardbound A5 sketchbook, M Graham watercolors, DaVinci sable travel brush round No. 10, Platinum Carbon desk fountain pen and platinum carbon ink.

I found this image online of the Junipero Serra Museum overlooking Old Town San Diego and thought it would be challenging to sketch. I've  never sketched archways in perspective and I thought a good one point perspective view would simplify things a bit.

I've taken two online classes on perspective on Craftsy that were taught by Stephanie Bower and I learned a lot about one and two point perspective as well as how to draw arches, stairs roof angles, etc in perspective.

You should check out her classes if perspective is a mystery to you. I also have her book on perspective: Understanding Perspective: Easy Techniques for Mastering Perspective Drawing on Location (an Urban Sketching Handbook)

Here are a few shots of my sketch in progress:

A light pencil under sketch.

After inking with a Platinum Carbon Desk fountain Pen and Platinum Carbon ink.

adding the sky and foliage. I've been trying to avoid drawing trees, bushes and plants in general thinking that they look more natural or wispy with paint only. Although I do sketch a rough outline in with a pencil so I can ink in around where I plan to add trees etc.

Originally I was going to just leave the red tile flooring with a lot of white space as if the sun was reflecting but I thought it drew too much attention and messed with where I wanted the viewers' eye to flow. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


It's been pretty hectic around the house so I haven't gotten in much sketching ... or running ... or anything else that is hobby related done.

We are going on vacation soon so hopefully I'll get in some actual on-location sketching done instead of having to draw from photos.

I also got a new fountain pen that I'm trying out. The Platinum Carbon Desk Fountain Pen. I'll do a review on it soon.

Here's a couple of sketches I did last Saturday from photos. I think I sketched and painted both of these in under an hour.

Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego. My son is a Marine and went through here. This is from a photo I found online.  This is sketched in pencil with a just a little ink for the blacks. Watercolors are M Graham's painted with a Da Vinci Sable Round #10 travel brush on Stillman & Birn Beta Series A5 hardbound sketchbook. 

I used my new pen, the Platinum Carbon fountain pen to draw this sketch of the Point Reyes abandoned boat. Platinum Carbon makes a great waterproof fountain pen ink so you would think, or at least I thought, they would ship their pens with that same great ink in the cartridge with their pens. Nope. 

As soon as I got the ink wet it started to run. So I had to just dab the paint on. I'm not happy with the result. I immediately threw away the ink cartridge that came with the pen and replaced it with a converter and Platinum Carbon waterproof ink. Painted with M Graham watercolors, Da Vinci Sable round #10 travel brush on  Stillman & Birn Beta Series A5 hardbound sketchbook.

Marc Taro Holmes posted on his website Citizen Sketcher about painting portraits in layers so I thought I would give it a try. No sketching first, just building them with watercolors starting with simple shapes then adding detail in layers.

Although these are embarrassing to share (as are all of my sketches) I hope that someday I'll be able to look back on these and see them as a stepping stone. I also need to remember I've only been sketching and painting since December (6 months) so not to judge myself so harshly.

If you haven't taken any of Marc's online classes you should check them out on Craftsy. He's a great teacher. Here's his link on Craftsy

Tuesday, June 6, 2017


Here's a few sketches I've done this past week. I've actually not sketched that much this week. The bottom sketches are from a month or so ago.

Casa Rojas Mexican Restaurant and Cantina is near my work place. I did this sketch over a about three or four days, just doing a little bit at a time. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017


Well happy end of May. Hope everyone had a safe Memorial Day weekend.

A 5 minute rough sketch from a photo of a boat harbor.

I've been thinking about getting a weekly or monthly lunchtime sketchwalk organized at my place of employment but haven't really committed to the idea yet. I started writing up an announcement, queried a few people to see if they'd be interested (they would), and started a list of possible sketching sites we could walk to from work but haven't pursued it beyond that.

A lot of my sketches come from my lunchtime strolls and I thought it might be fun to ask others along but we'll see.

Anyhow here are a few sketches since my last post.

Thanks for taking a look. Have a great week.


Thursday, May 25, 2017


Here's a  few sketches from the past week or so.
The train trestle near Bryant Park in Albany, Oregon.

and with the actual trestle in the background.

For some reason this is probably my favorite sketch I've done. I even made it my phone's lock screen image. Mostly because it's not only the largest sketch I've done, 8x16 inches, but also I did this one entirely in ink first. I think all my previous building sketches I at least used pencil on some of it before inking it in. I hope going straight to ink is a trend I will follow. 

I love the spontaneity of it and I love having to live with the mistakes. It has a more urban feel to it. It has more "feel' to it altogether that the drawings I do in pencil first seem to lose once I ink them in. 

quick character sketches while watching "13 Reasons Why" on Netflix.

A couple more quick character sketches while watching "Better Call Saul." It's amazing how as soon as I decide to sketch a  character they quit showing him so I only have brief glimpses of them. I refuse to rewind and/or pause the program so that it is more like on location sketching. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


Like many sketchers, I have several sketchbooks and watercolor sheets and blocks going at once.

A selection of sketchbooks from Dick Blick. 

I have a Moleskine 3.5x5.5 scribbler that I carry with me in my pocket pretty much everywhere I go.

I have my trusty Stillman & Birn Beta A5 hardbound sketchbook. 

I also have a spiral bound  Artist’s Loft sketchbook that I use while watching TV just to practice reportage and likenesses of the characters of the shows I’m watching. I try to do a few pages of each hourlong series I watch each week. I also try to capture a few gestures/likenesses of characters from movies I’m watching.

On the Hong Kong Metro. From a video.

I use the spiral bound sketcher for pretty much everything from trying out new pens, signatures, warm ups such as drawing pages of circles and lines, contours. You name it and I use this book for it.

It’s really the only sketchbook I feel comfortable messing up in. I feel free to try new things, different styles, free association drawing, blind contours, practicing proportions, etc. without worrying that someone else will see them. This is basically my drawing diary that I don’t plan on anyone seeing.

If I happen to have a particular drawing in my spiral that I like a lot I simply tear it out and stick it in my Stillman & Birn.

A church in the Philippines. I posted the ink version of this on my last post.

I'm doing a series on rural life, that I use a Strathmore 400 series 5.5x8.5 that opens to 5.5x17 landscape.

I also started using loose watercolor sheets 9x12 Arches cold press and Fluid water color block 8x16 which I really like. The Arches is 100% cotton and since I don’t use it that often it takes a bit of getting used to compared to other papers. But the colors look great on it.

So here’s a few sketches from the past week or so.
A rough pencil sketch of Novak's Hungarian Restaurant on 2nd Ave. In Albany Oregon
The finished ink sketch of Novak's.
Novak's with watercolor added.

On location.
 They suck, I know. But hey, I've only been sketching/drawing since December so I'll give myself a little slack.

Monday, May 8, 2017


So I did my first reportage sketches last week. there was a May Day protest at the state capitol May 1 so I walked down there on my lunch break and sketched a few scenes. It was my first reportage -- reporting by drawing instead of using a camera. It was pretty fun except I only had a few minutes to sketch before I had to get back to work.

I also had my first unofficial sketchcrawl Sunday, May 7. Unofficial because I'm the only member and I'm not sure if sketchcrawl is a trademark or what. But I had fun walking around downtown Albany, Ore., and sketching, even it it was by myself. Hopefully, since the weather is getting nicer, if there are any other sketchers in town we'll run into each other and actually start meeting up for a group sketchcrawl, which sounds more fun than sketching solo.

I also did the usual Google Street View sketches last week. Street View is about my only means of "travel" these days.

Church in Cauayan City, Isabel, Philippines.

I also did a few misc. sketches. A sketch of the sculpture at the Capital Park with the ODOT building in the background and one of my grandson watching TV (A practice reportage). and a few misc. sketches.

That's not all of them but that's a few of the ones I have photos of on my phone. Thanks and have a great week.

Monday, May 1, 2017


Manhattan Bridge in NY. Drawn from a photo.

I love the architecture in Pasadena Calif. This is Castle Green. 

Marines on patrol in Afghanistan. Drawn from a photo.
These were drawn during a May ?Day March at the State Capitol. I walked down there during my lunch break which only left me about 15 minutes to sketch. I managed to get a little more detail on the sketch below before they started their march.

I  did get a lot of video and photos to use as reference shots so I can sketch them out for practice over the next few days.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


A little scribbling while watching TV.

I guess it's good practice to help loosen up my sketching. And, as you know, I can use all the help I can get, right?

I am noticing the looser my lines, the poses look more natural, less stiff.  Plus, scribbling is easy and fun. It's easier with a pencil then ink over it and erase but I'm trying to migrate toward pen and ink from the start and skip using a pencil altogether. 

Anyhow, I'm trying to force myself to scribble 20 or people a day until I start seeing an improvement in the lines I use (fewer and more purposeful) and the quality of the shapes I'm getting (more natural poses, better proportions). 

Monday, April 17, 2017


 Here's a few sketches from a very sunny weekend for the most part.

I drew the house Saturday and the tulips Sunday -- from two slightly different views.

This church was sketched from Streetview and photos. It's located in Negros Occidental, Philippines, where my son, daughter-in-law and grandson will be heading in a couple of weeks. 


This is Walmart in Albany. I drew this one day but for got to get a photo of it and went back the next but didn't quite match the view I had the day before  -- Oops.


Sketching the Junipero Serra Museum arches from a photo. The final result. Sketched on Stillman & Birn Beta Series hardbound A5 ske...