golden hour

Yard With a View

Monday, March 26, 2018

The view from my backyard swing this windy evening. Yes, that's Lick Observatory way out there atop Mount Hamilton.

180326_View from Heaton Moor

Direct to watercolor, in Stillman & Birn Zeta sketchbook using a Da Vinci Casaneo brush and a Rosemary & Co dagger brush.

While I was painting, M. snapped this picture of me as I spied a hummingbird hovering in the air.

Suma sketching on swing

mountain high

A Sketch Over Breakfast

Monday, March 26, 2018

Our new office location's cafeteria in Boulder, Colorado, has a lovely view of the Flatirons. I drew this with a Sharpie pen and a few Scholastic kids' markers in a Stillman & Birn Nova toned sketchbook.

180322_Flatirons from Altitude Cafe

I'm still getting used to this paper. Will have to try it with gouache or opaque watercolor soon.

old school

A Slice of History

Sunday, March 18, 2018

180318_History Park San Jose 1

Went to History Park in San Jose for the first time today, to see Suhita Shirodkar's exhibition of vintage sign sketches. It's a fantastic show -- go see it if you're in the area.

Lots of us urban sketchers turned out today for her show, book signing, and associated sketchcrawl. The venue is a gem of a park, with all kinds of stuff from the past: train engines, trolleys, an old gas pump, buildings, and more.

For one sketch, I tried out my new Stillman & Brin Nova toned sketchbook. Unfortunately I didn't have my tube of white, so I had to make do with a white gel pen. I found that the paper is a bit thin for wet washes; will have to try a more opaque, gouache-y technique next time.

180318_History Park San Jose 2

Santa Teresa

Slow and Steady

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

M. discovered a pond in our park not far from our house. With turtles! How could we not have seen this earlier??? We biked over there on Sunday afternoon so I could sketch them. They were practically camouflaged.

180311_Turtles Santa Teresa County Park

San Francisco

Two from the Car

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

After the portrait party on Saturday, I did a few street sketches as we drove along San Francisco's hilly streets.

180310_San Francisco from the car

180310_San Francisco from the car 2


A Circle of Faces

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Yesterday I participated in a meetup for Julia Kay's Portrait Party at ARCH Art and Drafting Supply in San Francisco. We sat in circles of 5-6 people, and everyone took turns playing model. We warmed up with 30-second sketches using our non-dominant hand and progressed to 10-minute captures.

Here are a few of my sketches from the session.

180310_JKPP 2

180310_JKPP 3

180310_JKPP 4

180310_JKPP 1


OneWeek100People Day 5

Saturday, March 10, 2018

And that's a wrap! I sketched on my commute, at breakfast, and after work to get my remaining people in.

180309_OneWeek100People Day 5a

180309_OneWeek100People Day 5b

180309_OneWeek100People Day 5c

180309_OneWeek100People Day 5d

180309_OneWeek100People Day 5e

180309_OneWeek100People Day 5f

Lots of work, but so much fun! Thanks, Marc and Liz for the inspiration!


OneWeek100People Day 4

Saturday, March 10, 2018

On Day 4, I celebrated International Women's Day by sketching women.

180308_OneWeek100People Day 4a

180308_OneWeek100People Day 4b

180308_OneWeek100People Day 4c

M. and I went out to dinner at a fairly large restaurant -- I thought it would be a quick way to get lots of sketches of women done. As it turned out, we were surrounded mostly by men. I had to crane my neck to see and draw the women. It made me reflect on how far Silicon Valley still has to go when it comes to gender parity.


OneWeek100People Day3

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Today I focused on the narrative for #OneWeek100People2018. What were the subjects doing? What did I observe? Everyone has a story.

180307_OneWeek100People Day 3a

180307_OneWeek100People Day 3b

180307_OneWeek100People Day 3c

180307_OneWeek100People Day 3d

Still working with a Sharpie pen and watercolor in a Stillman & Birn Zeta sketchbook. Forty-two done, a lot more to go!


OneWeek100People Day 1 & 2

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

It's a busy time at work, so I'm a bit behind on my people sketching for #OneWeek100People2018! Still lots of time to catch up, though.

180305_OneWeek100People Day 1

180305_OneWeek100People Day 1a

180305_OneWeek100People Day 2

180305_OneWeek100People Day 2a

180305_OneWeek100People Day 2b


A Sketching 'Century'

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Bicyclists brag about finishing a century. We sketchers have our equivalent, thanks to the lovely Liz Steel and Marc Taro Holmes.

The task is simple: Draw 100 people from March 5 to March 9. Post with the hashtag #OneWeek100People2018 so we can all see one another's work. That's it!

I did it successfully last year, and I'm excited to participate again.

Here's what I found to be helpful:

  1. Drawing while I waited around, and on my commute
  2. Drawing both small and large
  3. Varying my tools and paper, to keep it interesting
  4. Drawing women on International Women's Day (March 8)
  5. Drawing just heads and faces, or drawing people from the back
  6. Pacing myself and completing ~20 per day

I'm also taking advantage of All You Can Watch Weekend on Craftsy to view Lynne Chapman's "Expressive Picture Book Characters." It's quite different from urban sketching, but it's a fantastic guide to symbolic shortcuts that can help when drawing people on the move. Her book, Sketching People: An Urban Sketcher’s Manual to Drawing Figures and Faces, is also excellent.

And of course, Suhita Shirodkar's "Figure Sketching Made Simple" and Marc Holmes' own "Sketching People in Motion" are must-sees on Craftsy as well!

So, are you in for the challenge? What are *your* tips for getting it done?