Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Piano Player

This was certainly impulsive! A submission for the Tuesday Sketch. Noel Curry's weekly sketch topic was: Wild West. Check out all submissions at the tumblr Tuesday Sketch site.
This week has been rather hectic, starting a new job, getting lots of work done, including errands, paperwork, meetings, calls, etc, resulting in less art time. My current art project was already affected, and will be finished this week, but I wasn't about to give this weekly Tuesday sketch thing up. I almost did, but my good friend George Ward inspired me on Twitter, and I gave it a quick go. Thanks George. Of course, I ended up submitting it a bit late, and now its past 2:00AM, but I conquered the diminishing art activity trend. Got to keep it up.
I tried a few rough ideas during the day, at odd times, and settled for this one, and at least started inking minutes before my daughter's nightly sleepy time ritual. Once the family was asleep, I got up and finished the piece. Satisfaction. Hope you like it. Thanks for dropping by, and remember to always have a great art time, no matter what.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Under a Palm Tree

Still wrangling kids by the pool/beach. Good exercise requires a bit of rest, but not for the sketchbook. I found myself laying under a palm tree and decided to roughly tackle an under-view of the leaves. Something to be approached with time in your hands. It took me a few mini sessions, and then again, I "summarized" lots of it. The leaf patters are more symmetrical than what I caught here, obviously, and rendering all of it would have taken lots of time. So I went for an overall representation. I could do a study on just one frond, but that's not the point. It still conveys the shade under the palm tree, which was the initial impulse. This particular tree is in Loiza, Puerto Rico, and there's nothing remarkable about it, except for the fact that it happened to be over my comfy towel at the time. I do want to work on getting the palm tree trunks right. The bark patterns on those trunks are fascinating (ok, I'm getting sort of zen now). Back to sun and splash for me. Today is my last day here, and I want to sketch something else to remember, before I head back home, and get back to work. Hope you enjoyed it. Have a great art time, wherever you are.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Moleskine In A Ziplock

We're very lucky to be able to go to the beach every now and then, and our Spring Break and Easter days are such an occasion this year. Finding time to fit in art activities can be a challenge, whether on a normal work week, or on holiday with the family. "Ziplock" in the title of this post refers to the plastic bags I'm using to keep my art supplies safe from water and dirt. I have sketchbooks, and even watercolor art supplies in plastic bags with me right now. The amphibious fun we're having, and the kid wrangling we're managing right now, call for this measure. So here are a few mini-moleskine sketchbook sketches I did yesterday at the pool. Please excuse that these are just photos, since I couldn't fit my scanner in a ziplock bag. :)
I put in some notes as well, but just in case you can't read my scribbling, I'll narrate as usual. Top left, my daughter with her swim goggles. I love to watch her wonder at how much fun swimming is. Its almost a complete new experience and adventure for her every single time. I was sitting under shade, by the pool, on a lounge chair, watching as her and my nephew finally hit the pool. The place was full of families enjoying the sun and fun. On the left, someone's grandfather. On the middle right, my daughter excited to see hummingbirds in the nearby bushes (she played one at a recent school function too). The numbers below are the depth markers on the side of the pool, which I had to draw because I was amazed at how my daughter had grown, and the fact that she was able wade around in the deepest area of the pool. She will get swimming lessons this Summer, that's for sure.
On these two pages, we have a mother and child, floating around the pool. This was probably the baby's first "boat" experience. It brought back my own memories of doing the same with my daughter a long time ago. Then, there was this grandmother sitting at the nearby gazebo with the typical big white hair done up for the family occasion, alas, wearing her granny house robe. I respect that the elderly can wear anything they want, anywhere they go. Just like young kids do some times, eh? :) Then we have one of two poolside water "canons". Later that day, we visited the bigger pool, where they have a slide, and a water feature for the kiddies. The flipping water bucket tree you see on the right page.

On the right, my niece got in on the action. I asked her to draw me something while sitting under a palm tree by the larger pool. She's a great budding artist in her own right, and has already created some comics. I'm sure you can see some comics influence in her style. She's one to watch, I tell you.
Hopefully I'll have some more impulsive sketching down today. This is proving to be a good little getaway, with the right amount of art thrown in. I'm actually painting a batch of art cards between beach and pool activities. I'm not kidding about the plastic bags. I used them to store my work in progress art cards, my watercolor supplies, and most importantly, and effectively, to carry my mini moleskine and pencil close to the waterside. I usually carry my sketchbook, but its slightly bigger size makes it a bit unwieldy to handle along with towels, and other items one has to carry around here. Also, last time I took my regular sketchbook, one of natures flying artists decided to contribute to my artwork. Not that it may not happen again, but a smaller target will make it less likely to happen again. LOL!!!
So that is all for now. Kids are up, and I'm sure they'll be clamoring for more water fun soon enough. Thanks for visiting. Have a great art time, wherever you are!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Micro Comic - Drug Screen Test

Why do I draw in waiting rooms? To pass the time, and practice. This time, I felt like drawing small, and it led to what I'll call a micro comic. Of course, it was an impulse based on the situation. I would usually sketch people or things within view, but this time, the situation was awkward. I'm incredibly lucky to have landed a good job after almost 4 months of searching, and I found myself at a lab this morning, waiting to have a drug screen test. I have nothing to worry about in terms of results, but having others test your biological make up for reasons other than medical, to me, constitutes a violation of privacy. This makes me feel uncomfortable, to say the least. But it is something I had to do for a good job, and the financial security that will follow. One has to survive, and provide for one's family. Still, I couldn't shake the "Big Brother is watching you" feeling, so I had to draw/write about it.
This micro comic includes what I saw, what I did, and how I felt, more or less. Ok, maybe less, since it doesn't depict my slight paranoia, but it does show the one driving motivation I used to process the weird situation: the fact that now I can go on and enjoy this coming holiday. We've been planning to spend a couple of days at the beach, and would have gone earlier for a longer stay were it not for this little job requirement. My daughter's reminders during these last few days were pressure enough. But one has to do what one has to do, and I am incredibly happy for having this opportunity. My new job is a gift from destiny. One that will both keep us happy, allow me to succeed in my chosen work field, and enrich my knowledge and capacity immensely. So to say I am happy about it is quite an understatement. I went to take my tests with a big smile, and I'm happy to celebrate with my family now.
Oh, by the way, I was listening to  The Sketchbook Podcast on my iPod. Jonathan Rector and Charlie Harper have a great thing going. Fun art tidbits, insight, advice, and shenanigans. I can't recommend it enough.
I hope you liked my little micro-comic experiment. I am finding myself drawn to creating these things (no pun intended). Thanks for visiting. Have a great art time!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tuesday Sketch - Doctor Who

I'm usually cheery about the Tuesday Sketch, but I have to hold back this time. The topic was "Doctor Who", and I'm a big fan of the earlier series. It brings back good memories. By a sad coincidence, today we hear the news that Elisabeth Sladen, the actress that played "Sarah Jane" during the Tom Baker era of the BBC series, has passed away. It is with a sad heart that I dedicate this piece to her memory. I remember the many episodes that introduced me to the series happened to be the ones where she was featured. I got so into it that I read a large number of paperback books covering the Doctor's adventures from the beginning. Sarah Jane was a recurring character, and from what I read, Elisabeth Sladen was a very accomplished actress. She was featured in many later episodes in the long running series, and starred in her own series, "The Sarah Jane Adventures" with some of the latest incarnations of the Doctor. Thank you, Elisabeth.
As for this TARDIS piece, it is in reference to the popular property of the Doctor's spaceship/time-machine to be bigger inside than it looks on the outside. The tail of a sperm whale sticks from the TARDIS' door in reference to Douglas Adams' work, "The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy", in which an ill-fated whale is featured as an example of the side effects of the "improbability drive". I know this is all sci-fi nerd/geek stuff to some of you, but it makes sense to me. Sorry if it seems sort of a specialized jest, but I hope you enjoy it. I'm glad I used a mild approach at humor, having started this piece before hearing the sad news about "Sarah Jane". Please keep her and her family in your thoughts.
Thank you for visiting.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Pig for Tuesday Sketch

Here's my submission for Tuesday Sketch. The topic: Pigs. Thinking I wouldn't have time to come up with a clever pig sketch, I had fan art in mind. Maybe Porco Rosso (Miyasaki), or the famous Porky Pig, but I let my mind wonder as I doodled, and this guy started to appear. Why a "super hero"? I have no idea. Maybe batman was lurking in my mind. Penciled and then inked with my trusty pen set. Finished up assorted black and grey pen brushes. I wanted to get loose on the pen brushes. Maybe I'll keep that up for my next projects, though I have some watercolor play in mind for the near future. We'll see. For now, hope you enjoy this. He's also part of Noel Curry's Tuesday Sketch tumblr blog, which you can visit here.
Thanks for visiting, and have a great art time!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Interview Reaction

What!?!?! I'm still in a low level daze. This is what I was doodling at the time of my last job interview. I knew I had it, something kept telling me. Yet, I still didn't believe it. And I think some of that feeling went into this ant's eyes. And no, I'm not picturing myself as an ant. The image above is the finished touched version of the scan you see below. I started drawing the head of what looked like an ant, a few minutes before the interview phone call. By the time I drew the eyes, the phone rang, and seconds later, I knew I was going places! My gut was telling me that all along. Right then, I drew the arms in the air. Doodling concentration was on and off during the phone call, and afterwards, I finished the body and limbs. I don't even know if they're properly placed for an ant, but I don't care. I felt like drawing a cartoon.  I think some of my interview reaction seeped into the little guy here.
Here's a scan of the original version. I took the opportunity to play a little with GIMP (Photoshop for the budget minded). It's been a while since I used lasso tools, layers, etc. I plan to get going in that direction, as well as video, using a tablet, and music, all with the aim to animate something this year. I know I'm still learning to draw, and compose, but that is well on its way, and I have to pay attention my other artistic impulses.
So this was originally a true impulsive sketch started during a moment of relative tension. I had planned it this way. Art is soothing to the soul, and it certainly helped this time. I hope you like it. Thanks for dropping by. Have a great art time.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Open Mike Night

Last night we had an unexpected musical time. A good friend called to invite me to check out a "jamming" session someone had told him about. It was a very welcome change of pace. We knew guitars were involved, but had no idea what music we would end up listening to. As it turns out, it was jazz/blues open-mike night at "The Red Piano". We were pleasantly surprised by the mix, and the performers. A good and enjoyable experience all around.
As is my habit, sketchbook at hand, I proceeded to sketch the performers in a mix of cartoon, caricature, and semi realistic attempts. These were all pretty quick "grabs" as they were all very dynamic. I started with the very capable keyboard player, then the great guitarist, as they played some traditional jazz numbers. Then the open mike part of the night started, and I cartoonized the excellent singer.
Next, we have the bass player, who was hitting that 5-string bass like no one's business. The bartender had a great hairdoo and I had to draw her. Hard to catch the lines there, since she was moving faster than anyone else in the place. Then the drum player, who didn't miss a beat, had some great expressions, but was hard to catch because everyone else kept moving in front of him. Later in the night, another keyboard player swapped places with the first one, and there were some great older rock covers to play, like Beatles, and even Cream. At one point, there were two other guitar players, but I didn't catch them because the singers noticed I was sketching and sat for a second session in front of me while I drew them.
And lastly, I did a quick sketch of the other singer (with the microphone), and next to it is the sit-down sketch of liveher, as well. One surprising fact, this lady is from Norway! In the center, an attempt to capture one of the other guitar players. Then lower left, the sit down sketch of the first singer, who also asked to "tag" the sketches to her FB account. She's actually involved with "The Puerto Rico Jazz & Blues Society", so I'm sure I'll get to meet more musicians online, along the way. Great group of people, very dedicated, and obviously enjoying their sessions. The bottom right is a sketch of one last singer, who dropped by later, just before we left the venue. She had a great voice.
This was different for me, since I'm more of a rock fan, but to tell you the truth, I like most types of music, and I really enjoyed myself. I hope you like these, and I thank you for dropping by. Have a great art time!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Damsel In Distress

I'm really proud of this one for personal reasons. This is for the "Tuesday Sketch", as seen on Twitter, and instigated by the great artist Noel Curry (@DJBogtrotter), of Milton's Life, and DJ Bogtrotter webcomic fame.
The topic this week was "Damsel In Distress". I had no problem picking my subject because I immediately thought of my little "drama queen". My daughter has been very particular on what she wears, and is kind of "fashion conscious" to a degree. About half the times she's always fretting about her wardrobe, and this morning was no exception. As I read the topic, I was helping her get ready for school, and it was a natural choice. I've "cartoonized" my daughter in the past, but this time I went for a caricature look. In fact, she asked me who was that girl on the drawing! My wife had no trouble recognizing her, specially because of her eyes. I risked a reaction from my daughter, but she had no problems when I explained what caricatures were. (whew!).
I had to ink this one. It will be a keepsake, and my wife is probably searching for a frame already. That will be all for now. I hope you enjoyed this piece because I obviously love it. Thanks for dropping by, and have a great art time!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sideburns Fish and Trees

I've been busy working on a couple of pieces lately, but there was time for sketching warm-ups, and more importantly, impulsive sketches. Here are three pages from the old travelling sketchbook.
This was done waiting for paint to be mixed at the paint store. I had a Prismacolor color pencil (black) in my backpack, and I felt it was time to try it out. The poor thing takes a light touch to use, and not waste away, but alas, my hand didn't care, and soon I was working a blunt end on the sketchbook paper. Nevertheless, the waxy stuff didn't stop me from rendering the heck out of this face, which I don't know where it came from. I thought sideburns, and a smile. The eyes are off, but I didn't care. I was having fun trying make the waxy stuff look like something on paper. Of course,  my friends did tell me to use a light touch, after the fact. I'll remember for the next time, but I think I'll be using them for gesture drawing, or strict coloring.
I was helping out my brother-in-law with his PC. Too much Facebook on Internet Explorer can confuse the heck out of that browser. The load of "helpful" tool-bars, and unwanted little apps that I found was too much. I was surprised it didn't take much wrangling to clean-up and get back his Windows Vista machine (shiver) back in order. I sat in front of his aquarium to draw while some maintenance was running. That was enough time to sketch part of one of his little castles and a "relatively" monstrous fish. The little buggers won't stay still, will they?
And finally, I got to sketch, and render this tall tree at the park, while my daughter played at the jungle gym with her Monday friends. I say Monday, because these kids only visit the premises when their father and uncle are playing basketball with their friends, once a a week. My daughter's close friend didn't make it, so she kept to the jungle gym area, and I was able to spend plenty of time looking at my subject, and trying to catch all of the visible branches possible. The tree is big, and since I wanted to draw some of that bark texture, I only included the bottom half of the tree. which was basically without leaves. This is my favorite of the three sketches tonight. There's definitively something calming about sketching nature, no doubt.
Well, that will be all for today. I still have to ink some more, and the way I enjoy it, the next impulsive sketches may be in 2 or 3 days. Hope you liked these. Thanks for visiting, and have a great art time!