Monday, March 28, 2011

Shape Trolling Attempt

I've been drawing robots and robot parts for something I'm working on, and I realized I lacked some variety. So I attempted looking for shapes to build off-the-beaten-path designs. At least that's how I started. But being at the park, pulled by watching over my daughter's play-time and socializing, I veered into my usual subjects. This were drawn as well as standing up and walking would allow. I'll save the visual construction experiment for my art laboratory blog at a later time. For now, here's what I got.
It starts well enough, gathering objects, such as the scooter, lamp, park bench, a lizard on the wall, a child's toy wheeled horse, another lamp, and lo and behold, the expected interruptions made me veer from my initial purpose. I spotted an older lady, walking around the loop, all decked out. I drew the lady without her age showing because my daughter demanded attention. Then, during some more kid socializing, I caught this little one, sitting at the gazebo, playing with his mom's iPhone, while she exercised. This is also a common sight, and in my humble opinion, one of the currents faults of our society. Electronic babysitting.
I tried getting back on course, drawing a lamp fixture, but the silly blackbirds with their mating dance caught my attention. Then I got my daughter to stay around her little friends, playing in the jungle gym, and found myself looking at the gazebo structure. This was perspective torture, but I enjoyed fighting with what my eyes saw, and what my hand drew, standing up. It reminds me of why rulers exist, and that I should attempt these things at a desk. I had to move various times, but tried getting the same position to keep what perspective I could in my view. It was a struggle. I just decided to fake the lines a bit because the structure itself was interesting. I'm going to have to try this one with a little more preparation at a later time. This attempt is missing a lot of the gazebo as a whole, and it is really "juicy". Whomever designed it has a ball with decorative architecture.
And that's how I failed to get "seeds" for my robot designs. I should know better than to go with a strict purpose to sketch at the park, and will remember this next time. Hope you liked these little images. Any practice I get is good practice. Thanks for dropping by, and have a great art time!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Heads and Toddlers

Here are some of my recent doodles turned into cartoon heads. I've been kind of busy with non-art things lately, but had made a couple of doodles between errands. Drawing little by little is better than no drawing at all. I just filled the sketchbook page with a few head shapes and went at it as inspiration and time coincided. My favorite would be that top corner lady because of her expression, and her "wig" :) It looks more like a caricature than a cartoon. I tried exaggeration with all the others, to a point.
Today at the park, there were none of the usual friends to play with my daughter, so I did most of the entertaining. It was kind of rainy, and Fridays at the park are usually off days. Just a couple of regulars, and two families with toddlers trying to enjoy the semi-muddy jungle gym. The toddlers were hilarious, and I had to capture their proportions. Something I had not tried before.
The little boy kept running after his dad, who was actually exercising around the running loop. The little girl on the left was hilarious. She walked with that typical new walker gait. Her arms up for balance, and the diaper sticking out from behind, and that falling forward action was too much. I couldn't help but smile while attempting to sketch them both, and trying not to be too conspicuous at the same time. Parents of little tykes like these are usually extra protective, and even though I was well identified as a father with daughter, someone with a sketchbook, scribbling away, stealing quick glances at their children may not be welcome. A good distance is prudent in these situations, unless you come straight up to the parents and tell them what you are doing. Sort of like shooting photos of lions in the wild. Of course, I'm ready to offer any sketches I make to the parents, which can be seen as an homage for them, and is also very satisfying in terms of the smiles one gets in return. Being a parent myself, and having done this exact thing before, I know there is no danger at all, but respect for others is very important in any sketching situation. After all, you wouldn't like any regular Joe with a camera to snap photos of your children, would you? My advantage over a photographer here is the ready gift of a sketch that can be gladly turned over to the proud parents. The smiles are always worth any piece of art in this case.
Hope you liked these. Thanks for dropping by, and have a great art time!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Seeing as I'm visiting the park with my daughter almost every weekday, I thought I'd mix it up again. She won't stay in an area long enough for me to sketch in detail, so the next best thing seems to be my walking-gesture-sketch experiments. I glance, and lay lines down, then worry about details later. I also add a cartoon flavoring, or attempt a caricature. On the left, a "social-walker", and a skinny basketball player sporting thin double tresses. I darkened the lines I thought would help, like on all the other sketches you'll see here.
On the right, another sleeveless walker. Seems like half of these folks are there for a social angle. Even a few couples walking together, seemingly on "dates". The lady on the top right of this image was serious about exercising her arms, as she walked the park loop. Inspiring. The gentleman on the bottom right is a regular. He keeps to his audio all the time. But like most regulars, if he's seen you more than twice at the park, he'll always wave and smile. There's a social balance here, with the park-peers.
This cell phone lady, typical of most ladies at the park, did not stop her cell phone conversation all the time I was there. Others walk checking e-mail, or playing games on their devices. I think listening to music or audiobooks while exercising is great. A nod or a smile from other folks exercising is as close to human contact as you'll get here, but in my humble opinion, having to listen to folks' cell phone conversations is kind of rude. Of course, there are people out there you may want to avoid, so maybe its a shield. Regardless of cell phone etiquette in public, this lady did look kind of stylish with her cap, ponytail, and cellphone combination.
And here's my favorite caricature attempt. An older lady, dressed more for a classic summer picnic, than an exercise walking session. She had such a peculiar look and face that I couldn't resist to sketch her. I didn't get a chance to get the whole body down, but that face was enough. Nice hat, eh? To her left, a running lady that made me recall the 80's for some reason. And finally, this "emo" type student, still in his uniform, hanging around with his peers. I suppose any skinny teen with a certain hair style does look "emo" to me these days. This park seems to be a hangout for a few students, late in the afternoon.
I'm having fun, mixing up my sketching and drawing approach here. I'm getting some quick glance sketching practice, and on the move to boot. The girls won't let me stay at one spot too long, and I gave up on detailed drawings, although I'll get a chance for it sometimes. Then again, my subjects are mostly on the move, so I have to go with the flow. I do have a nice sketch of part of a jungle gym slide structure, but I'll post that on in my sketch set. I'm not complaining. I'm taking advantage of the situation by sketching any which way I can. Hope you liked these. Thanks for dropping by, and have a great art time!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Skates, Fences, and B-Ball

Another day at the park. Yesterday, when not being pulled by the young ones, I got a chance to sketch a little. Still trying to mix reality with toons, but not going to far into it.
I caught a skinny skating girl on the basketball court, and then saw my usual subjects exploring by the fence that skirts the little creek that runs through the park. They were unusually quite, and apparently getting into their girl talk long enough that I could get some of the necessary lines down. Pardon my lack of fence on that middle one, but it really takes time to try to draw those thin diagonal wires, and then, just to muddle up the subjects.
After that, we went around the park again, they were grabbing flowers, and decided to try to "sell" them. After that little chapter was done, it was back to the basketball court, which was still oddly empty. They went riding their scooters on the smooth surface for a while. This gave me some time to sit, and touch up some of the sketches. An older basketball enthusiast dropped by, and we talked about how this park was nicer, and apparently drug free. I had a suspicion about my subdivision's park all along, but had not confirmed it. So this reinforces my choice of parks now. The man went about his daily exercise, and lo and behold, he got sketched as well.
Today, we didn't have the usual friend distractions at the park, so I got to do all the playing, and had to give up sketching for this session. So I had some extra quality time with my daughter.
That's all for now. There's some more drawing and sketching to be done over the weekend, so look for more posts, either here, or on twitter (@gonzalexx). Thanks for dropping by, and as always, I wish you a great art time!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Assorted Heads

I started a sketchbook page with assorted heads yesterday, and thought I'd clean it up for posting. I used the tried and true construction method with shapes on the bigger, most elaborate ones. The smaller ones were off-the-cuff, letting the cartoon come out. There's just a touch of Loomis in the bigger ones. I really enjoy doodling heads, specially when the results deserve a little finishing touch. Lots more to draw today. Hope you like this quick post. Have a great art time!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Park People Getting Toony

Today's park sketches were hard to do. The two 7 year olds with me wanted more attention than usual, so after my first two attempts at drawing some of the walkers and runners doing laps at the park, I decided to get loose and cartoony. I tried sketching while walking once again, and forgot about my friend's advice to draw from the elbow or shoulder. Thanks Josh! (@Joshbauman on Twitter). Kind of hard to keep from just using the wrist while walking. I did stop for seconds at a time to catch lines for faces and bodies, but the whole thing, while entertaining my charges, was fun to do, and since my attention was all over the place, it didn't matter.
On the first image, I was trying to get that man walking, but the girls were at it, so that walking lady reflects my shift towards cartoon-like representation. After that, the rest was quick crazy fun to draw. They're assorted faces. At the bottom, this lady was sitting on a bench, watching the baseball team practice. There's a pretty elaborate ballpark right there, perhaps the reason this park is so well kept, and popular.

The second scan shows one groovy 40ish woman caught while stretching before her run, a quick glance at another walker to her right. Then there was a lady walking along with her partner, having a fun conversation by her looks. And finally, I couldn't resist to include these nice portly ladies doing their part on the road to fitness. They're my favorite. Its inspiring to watch folks like these two. I say, no matter what shape you are in, walking is what makes your body work, and your body will thank you for it. You notice this if you spend most of your time sitting at a desk. Your body really needs motion for it to work properly. Like they say "If you don't use it, you loose it". Kudos to these two brave souls. And that goes for the older set too, walking for fitness.
I hope you like these little 'toonified folks, and maybe get inspired to wind your body mechanism every now and then. It works. Thanks so much for dropping by, and have a great art time!

At The Paint Store

I had planned to do some cleaning up this mornng, in preparation for house painting activities, but things got re-scheduled, and I ended up going to the paint store, among other errands. Sketchbook in tow, I sat and sketch the first thing I saw while waiting for our order to be ready.
This man was very much into his project, talking to everyone behind the tall counter, while his stood there and had this "let him do his thing" look on her face. He even ventured into the back room where the employees where mixing his paints, and basically had the run of the place for a while. This brand name store was rather sparse on displays, other than the accessories, and color guide counters. The main counter was one of those high top deals, covering all of the paperwork, and old CRT type point of sale equipment. At one point I saw the clerk using a very old looking keyboard which looked more like an adding machine than part of a computer, or cash register.
This wasn't one of my favorite things to sketch, but it served as a good warm-up. I hope to sketch more today, though I can always count on the daily play time park trip with my daughter. I can't complain. Any time to sketch is good in my eyes.
Hope you like this mid-day intermission post. Thanks for dropping by, and have a great art time!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Park Friends

Lately, I've been taking my daughter to a local park almost daily. She made a new good friend, her same age, and always looks forward to spending time with her. I share watching duties with her friend's grandmother, and get to play a little with them. My bonus out of this: daughter does early homework, she burns up energy, and I get a some sketching time.
Above you see the top of a lamp post fixture, and the two little ones fooling around on parallel bars (this one at a distance). There's also a view of the little creek that runs through the park. This time I got a better feel for drawing running water. It did look that dark, but not because it was dirty. I tried to convey the reflection on the standing waves as much as possible. The creek is channeled, but this part was  mostly based on glances while my attention was pulled by the little ones. They do get around, exploring, sharing with other kids, even trying to climb trees. I wish I had a better session with that creek. There's lots of detail I didn't get, like a line of tree stumps running down the fence on the left. I'm sure I'll get more chances.
I hope you like these little vignettes because I'm sure there will be more. But don't worry, I'll vary the subjects. There is plenty to sketch, and I can't wait to start on caricaturing or portraying some of the walkers, runners, and other characters that frequent this little oasis. Thanks for dropping by, and have a great art time!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Chair for Dad

We've been sketching almost daily, as an exercise, following an initiative from @wardomatic (Ward Jenkins) on Twitter. Just about two weeks ago, he expressed his need to practice sketching more often, and proposed that anyone that wanted to join him, do so by sketching at least one piece a day, following his lead with "Challenges", and posting the results on a group called "I Need To Sketch More" on Flickr (click the link to see all the sketches so far). We're up to 11 different topics, and the group has been growing. The variety of styles and points of view is very interesting. We're getting good practice, and we get to see everyone's efforts.
Yesterday, the challenge was to draw a chair. I looked around the house, bored with our everyday chairs, until I bumped into one of my daughter's kiddie chairs. She's seven years old now, and this is starting to look too small for her, but she keeps using it at her kiddie table. It was part of a set that included two chairs and a table. The table has been replaced, but these chairs are sturdy. She uses them to play, study, and eat.
One night, not too long ago, she decided to throw a "show" for us, and set up the chairs for her mom, and me. She also labeled the chairs for us, which is why one says "Papa" (Spanish for Daddy), on its surface. I had forgotten about this little touch until I started sketching it yesterday. You can imagine how precious this item is to us.
Hope you like this. It was pretty meaningful to me to sketch it. Thanks for dropping by, and have a great art time!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sgt Stubbs

I was looking for some steampunk images yesterday, and came across Tom Banwell's blog. He's an extremely accomplished artist working with leather and resin, bringing amazing steampunk creations to life. From rayguns, helmets, and masks, to great looking top hats, he's got steampunk needs covered. Visit his blog to see what I'm talking about, or check out a sampling of what he's got in store.
About the peculiar monkey you see to the left, his name is Sgt Stubbs, and he will be assisting with Professor Tauruscat's Dteam Helmet projectwhich will be on display at the Museum of Curiosities, part of the 2011 Nova Albion Steampunk Exhibition. When I saw this monkey, I had an overwhelming impulse to sketch it. It plainly says steampunk to me. Here's the particular post on Tom's blog where you can see the Sgt's photo I used as reference. I wonder if I would look as good with those goggles on. :) Well, that does it for now. Hope you liked this. Keep awake! Art is everywhere! Have a great art time!

Monday, March 7, 2011

New Park Court

Did a quick sketch of the basketball court at the new park. Took my daughter today, and she had a ball playing with her new friend. "Like peas and carrots". They gave me a few moments to sit and sketch, while the danced around on the empty court. They really had a blast, riding scooters, playing games, I even played mock soccer with them for a while. I'm afraid we're going to be regulars here. Its so nice and clean, and almost always the same folks come around to walk, run, and exercise. A welcome change from our usual park. Hardly any graffiti, basketball players don't cuss at each other, nice folks around, even found a Yoga group that meets to work out in the gazebo.
I wish I had more time for this sketch. Buildings are good practice for perspective, and I need that practice. Hope you like this little vignette. Thanks for dropping by!

Gunslinger Robot

Hey, stranger. You're not from these parts, are you? I went to see Rango this weekend, and it got me in an old west mood. The movie was what you'd expect from your current CG production these days. Voice talents, slight amount of adult directed humor, this time from Nickelodeon studios. But it was rich in classic old west storyline, and the characters were plucked out from I don't know how many westerns, that I enjoyed watching the parade.
Here's a gunslinger robot, loosely based on Clint Eastwood's character in "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly". I know its my usual robot-plays-a-human-role motif, ,but I couldn't resist. I kept hearing the theme from that Eastwood movie in my head while drawing and inking it. I hope you like it. Thanks for dropping by, and have a great art time!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Pensive Batman

Here's a pensive and brooding Batman I sketched while waiting at the doctor's office with my daughter. This was last week, and we're in better health now. We were both sketching, while other kids did their thing in the smallish waiting room. Some of them, including parents, would comment on our activity, but we're used to it by now. There was this kid that was pretty excited about what I was drawing, and didn't stop bugging to see it finished. We were about to go, and he got out of his examination room for a last peek. I had to stop our closing activities with the doctor's assistant to break out the sketchbook and show the kid. Such enthusiasm!
Like I said, this was done last week. I intended to ink it because of its cartoony and brooding nature, which made me think it worth more time. But things got in the way that week. This is the first time I attempt to sketch any superhero since elementary school. Wish I had some of those early attempts. Batman was one of my favorites then. I remember a birthday cake with a model batman I had put together myself. I think I even dressed up the part for Halloween one year.
In any case, there you have it, a pensive and brooding Batman that was probably bored on an off-night in a not-so flashy looking Gotham city. Hope you enjoyed it. Have a great art time!