Gung Hay Fat Choy

Ripley wishes you a Happy (Chinese lunar) New Year, it’s the year of the dog.
Which is pretty much every year, around here.
My friend Armand Frasco asked me if I might be doing a drawing in my Moleskine for the annual event and I told him that I most likely would. So if you haven’t been over to Moleskinerie today, you should take a look at his China links.

Drawing details:
This was drawn and painted in my Cahier-sized Moleskine, which I mentioned a few days ago. So this drawing is actually 15″ x 10″. I used watercolor Tombow markers for the details on the dragon to save the time of using a small brush. Ripley was painted using my regular tube paints, plus some colored pencils. I added the banners after the dragons using my brush pen, but then looked at it and realized that white banners looked rather bland. At that point there was no choice but to add the color in Photoshop after scanning, or I would have smeared the ink.

Ripley in my new cahier Moleskine

This afternoon Ripley was sleeping so soundly on the floor of my office that I thought I could probably get a quick drawing of her done before she stirred. She did move her paws around but thankfully kept her head steady most of the time.
This was drawn with the water soluble Kuretake brush pen, which is a most unforgiving and hair-pulling instrument. Still, I like the way I can go from a thick to a thin line without changing pens and breaking the mood.
This was drawn in my new Cahier model Moleskine, which my husband gave me for Christmas. The paper is thin like the basic Moleskine journal, but it is much larger, which allows freer expression. I was hesitant to use juicy watercolor on the paper so I added the background with some Tombow pens, and swished a little water over the top. There’s something about a cream colored dog on a cream colored background that just looks a little vanilla, you know? If I had been thinking I could have painted the background with an acrylic, which would have been less splotchy. Ah well.
The shadows are created by gently softening the black ink line with a Niji waterbrush filled with clear water.

Who’s Your Daddy? – Moleskine

First you saw her, earlier this week, drawn with the Derwent drawing pencils …. (scroll down)
Then you saw him, painted on watercolor paper ….
Now we’ve got them, in my Moleskine, using a more subdued palette of watercolors and a different, looser approach to the brushwork, given the slick nature of the Moleskine sketchbook paper. Are these details boring? I don’t know. I’ll mention it anyway because it’s part of what I’m discovering …
I started this sketch by squinting my eyes and looking for the darkest darks, which I indicated in the rough pencil drawing underneath. I painted the darkest areas first so that I could judge the other values accordingly. Usually I paint from light to dark, so this was a difference for me. Only after the hen and rooster were both finished did I decide about the color of the background (top) and the shadow below. I kept reminding myself to “think shapes” rather than to literally try to make it look like a shadow. I can honestly say that this is the first time that the “beading up” nature of the Moleskine paper worked to my advantage in creating that pebbly ground texture in the shade. Gotta remember that.

From this angle you can see his feathery legs, completely obscuring his feet. He’s not a Leghorn, what is he? It also occurs to me that I didn’t see anyone trying to pick up or pet the hens in the petting zoo. I’ll bet he would have pecked them if anyone had tried. The guy’s just doing his job.

The spread is 10″ x 8″ and so far I am keeping my resolution to paint every day.

More sketchcrawling

Saturday night, after an afternoon at Descanso Gardens we had a quick sushi stop (yesterday’s scan), had a latte at Starbucks and went to see Memoirs of a Geisha. These are some of the people I saw along the way.

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, by the way. I had read the book earlier this year and although much detail had to be left out, it was essentially the way I visualized it. In fact, the author was so descriptive in his prose, and the director so faithful to the book that the scenes were exactly as I had “seen” them when I was reading.

Next to last stop of the Saturday sketchcrawl

Here’s one of my late in the day drawings from my Saturday sketchcrawl. I’ll be posting the other ones later but I have been tussling with ImageReady CS to learn how to do a rollover and then how to embed it in a blog post. So I think I’ve got it working now.
I’m not going to take the time to do this with all of the sketches … it’s too much extra effort. But the figuring out part was fun.
What can I say … I’m a born geekette. Wait, make that a born sushi-loving geekette. By the way, I did not eat any octopus tentacles that evening. I had California roll, spicy tuna handroll and a specialty of the house roll whose name I can’t recall.
The tentacle was just casually lying in the refrigerator case and was the closest thing to draw. Ditto the slab of tuna. Want to see me purr? Show me some hamachi (yellowtail) sashimi. Mmmmmm.

Now I’ll see about getting some of the other sketchcrawl pictures up.

Here’s one page: More sketchcrawling
And another: Sketchcrawling cont.

Road Trip. Stop #1

Friday morning we headed out of town to drive up the coast to do some interviews for a show we’re working on. We got about a half a mile from our front door before we stopped for coffee and a cinnamon bun to share. “Road food.” Breakfast of champions. Or at least, Breakfast of road warriors. I need to get out of the car every hour or so and stretch my bad knee so it doesn’t stiffen up on me. 20 ounces of coffee is a pretty safe way to guarantee periodic stops. Well-caffeinated and sugarfied, we hit the road in earnest. I’d tell you the name of the coffee and bun place but they’re not kicking in for product placement. I’ll just call it Ishmael’s.

Friday’s weather was spectacular – in the low 70s F, with blue sky and occasionally puffy clouds. Trees were turning color all the way up the coast, but of course we had an appointment time and couldn’t stop for drawing. Taking pictures and picking up leaves was the best I could do. I think the leaves will hold their color for a day or two longer …

Today’s sketch – 10/18/05

Moleskine, Pen and Ink, Portraits, sketch | October 18, 2005 | By

Encountering the Inner Aphrodite

Moleskine, Pen and Ink, Photoshop, sketch | October 18, 2005 | By

After posting my contour drawing of Perseus a few days ago, an art buddy wrote me a very nice note and suggested that maybe sometime in the future I could draw something a little less scary, like Aphrodite, for example. So here it is, based on the statue of Venus de Milo. Again, this was about a 3 minute drawing while keeping the penpoint on the paper. It wasn’t blind. I did look at the paper frequently.

If we take a trip back to junior high history and English, we’ll remember that Aphrodite was the goddess of love and beauty and one of the many Olympian deities who took pleasure in meddling in the affairs of humans. In spite of her captivating appearance and charms she was not particularly a nice goddess, unless you were a devoted follower. Aphrodite, after all, was responsible for starting the Trojan War when she promised Paris the hand of Helen (a married woman) in exchange for Aphrodite being chosen the most beautiful goddess of all. Paris fell for this bribe, stole Helen’s heart, enraged Helen’s husband and the rest is history, not to mention more than a few bad movies.

The very embodiment of passion, Aphrodite is generous to her followers. But to those who deny her and her cause (love), she can be wrathful and punishing. She caused prideful women to grow cow’s horns on their heads, and made Poseidon’s sons to go mad. All sweetness and light? Not by a long shot.

So what can we learn from her, creatively? Aphrodite reminds us to be passionate about our lives and to embrace each day as a lover. A promiscuous creature, the goddess encourages dalliances and amorous liaisons. So if you always draw with a pen – have a fling with a pencil. Above all, let art become more than an idle flirtation. It’s time to turn up the heat.

More drawings from the Simpsons Scoring Session

The contrabassoon player. I really liked your Hawaiian shirt. I’m not sure that it had palm fronds and hibiscus but I think most of them do, so I hope you won’t mind that I took liberties with your attire.

A trumpet player, sitting fairly far from me. I’m sorry it doesn’t look like you. About all I could see was that you had a beard. Your horn sounded very good, however.

Trombone artist. Same apologies. The bell of the bone was covering your face a lot of the time.

More inking, scanning and coloring of Moleskine drawings from the Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror music recording session.
I know they don’t look like Moleskines now, but that’s where they started.

If you didn’t see the previous drawings, scroll down to October 10 …

Drawing at the Simpsons’ Scoring Session

Yesterday we had the opportunity to be guests at the orchestral scoring session for the annual Simpsons’ “Treehouse of Horror” Halloween show with composer Alf Clausen, orchestrator Dell Hake and a roomful of tremendously gifted performers. We stayed for the entire morning session and loved every eerie, spine-tingling, rip-roaring moment. We were in the booth half of the time, which is a good distance from the orchestra, but we could still see through the glass.

I had looked forward to drawing the musicians but somehow portraying them ‘realistically’ just didn’t seem appropriate, given the subject matter. So I did it this way, instead. They were drawn in pencil first in my Moleskine … then inked onto tracing paper which was scanned and colorized in Photoshop. Getting likenesses was just about impossible considering that their faces were about as big as a thumbnail held at arms’ length, so I did what I could and ‘winged it’ for the rest. After one of the breaks we were allowed to go inside the recording stage with the musicians provided we didn’t make a sound (no dropping of pencils on the floor.) Since we have always been fans of the long-running series this was a real thrill for us. There’s something magical about being close to a large professional orchestra playing outstanding music to another very, very funny show. Set your TIVOS – don’t miss this one hour special.

I have some more drawings which I’ll post tomorrow or the next day – from the brass and woodwind sections.