February Sketches

 Posted by on February 28, 2015  Drawings, Lefties
Feb 282015
 

Here are some watercolor sketches done on location around San Francisco in this past month.

SF_Union_Square

The first was done in Union Square while Julia and I sat prior to our dinner reservation on Valentines day. It was gloriously warm and sunny, with many people out enjoying themselves, and I managed to get a scribbly sketch down, before the pleasant evening swerved and collided with a typically bizarre San Francisco moment, involving an urban wild man and his high-strung pitbull. I finished the rest of the sketch and the watercolor washes later at home.

GG_FSK_Monument

The next sketch, of a monument to Francis Scott Key, was done in Golden Gate Park, and represents a mini-breakthrough in my lefty sketches, as it was ALL done on location. For the past two years, my location-sketching has had watercolor washes finished at home. Lately, my mobility, dexterity and balance are impaired, and it’s impossible to sketch while holding the sketchbook in one hand while I draw with the other, or balance the watercolours and sketchbook on my knees as I draw while sitting on a park bench. Now that I’m so physically unstable myself, I need a stable drawing surface to work at, even when drawing outside.

sketch_rigLast Christmas, Julia bought me a wonderful new sketching rig, including a tripod and drawing easel,  watercolor supplies and a bag to carry it all in. It was partly inspired by the setups seen in some great location sketching videos posted by Matt Jones, and blog posts by plein aire watercolourist, Mark Taro Holmes. This was my first time using it all, (borrowing Julia’s folding chair) and the rig worked very well, though I realised I need to bring extra supplies next time; paper towels to soak up excess water, clips and elastic bands to secure sketchbooks and loose paper to the drawing board, and fingerless gloves (those Bob Cratchett specials) to keep fingers my warm but still free enough to work. When I get my own lightweight and stable drawing chair, I’ll have the full kit and kaboodle.

Unfortunately, we chose a very blustery day to try this new drawing rig out for the first time. It was very sunny, but the wind was gusting so hard that even heavy obects, such as my jar of water, were blown across my drawing board. When one particularly strong gust lifted the entire drawing rig off the ground, I figured it was time to call it a day. I would have liked more time to finesse the sketch on location, but I’ll post it anyway, as I’d like to get into the habit of posting drawings done as much as possible on site.

SF_ferry_bldg

To round-off this past weekend of sketching, Julia and I went to the Ferry Building. Julia painted a close-up of the clock Tower on her iPad while I sketched this overview of the entire building. I was using a new watercolour sketchbook that Julia had given me last Christmas, and although it is perhaps a little too small for my current dexterity I really really like the paper. Most watercolour sketches that I post are done on sketchbook drawing paper, which tends to buckle when watercolor is applied, so it was really nice to use proper watercolor paper for a change.

SF_ferry_bldg_collageWe were not assaulted by wind this time, and both had a very productive day. I set up my easel in the open space by the bayside (where the farmer’s market is held) with a good vantage point of the ferry building and skyline, with the aim of drawing the entire scene. It is challenging to cram that much detail into a tiny drawing at the best of times, but especially hard now that I’m using my clumsy left-hand. I’m still getting used to drawing on the easel, with the drawing surface vertical rather than horizontal, but hope to get better in time. I’m aware that I have a lot to learn about working in watercolour, and need to develop the ability to think in terms of blocks of shadow and light, rather than composing with lines, but I enjoy this challenge.

After we’d finished our drawings, we went into the ferry building for an early dinner and sat outside in the warm sun. Just as we were finishing our meal our table fell into shadow and suddenly it became dramatically cooler (the San Francisco air does not hold heat at all) but we were ready to go home anyway after a very satisfying weekend of painting and sketching.

Teenage Camelot

 Posted by on February 22, 2015  Baker's Dozen, Lefties
Feb 222015
 
Teenage Camelot

At around the age of 15, I met a group of older teenagers who’d already finished with high school, shared a house and lived on the dole. I thought they were the height of teen cool because they could do whatever they wanted; woah. I was still obliged to wear my school uniform and kow-tow to ‘the man’ [..READ MORE..]

Phil Robinson

 Posted by on January 28, 2015  Colleagues, Friends
Jan 282015
 
Phil Robinson

A beloved longtime member of the Bay Area animation community, has finally succumbed to pancreatic cancer after battling it bravely for over 3 years. Phil Robinson will be greatly missed by his loving wife Jennifer, and his many friends from around the world, me amongst them. Phil came to the Bay Area in the early 1980s but I [..READ MORE..]

The Bullet Train

 Posted by on January 13, 2015  Drawings, Friends, JourneyMan, Travel
Jan 132015
 
The Bullet Train

In late 1996 I was in a mood to travel. There was an impasse in my life and, as with similar confusing junctions before and since, I hit the road, spending Christmas in Britain with friends, planning to head to Paris in the New Year, by way of the train through the CHUNNEL. Nobody was riding the EUROSTAR [..READ MORE..]

Sketch Trek: THE NEXT GENERATION

 Posted by on January 2, 2015  Film/TV, Lefties
Jan 022015
 
Sketch Trek: THE NEXT GENERATION

As a follow up to some Star Trek TV sketching we did months ago, Julia and I did more sketch nights of Star Trek: The Next Generation, a favourite of Julia’s that I wasn’t so familiar with. When Star Trek: TNG was first broadcast, in the late 1980s, I was working in Asia and Europe; countries where I couldn’t understand television anyway and [..READ MORE..]

Happy CHRISTMAS 2014!

 Posted by on December 25, 2014  Pencil-Jockey, Updates
Dec 252014
 
Happy CHRISTMAS 2014!

Happy Christmas to you all (please insert whatever holiday you prefer, religious, or secular) and I hope you gather with your loved ones today. Speaking of good company; two years ago, before I got sick, I was surrounded by dear friends as we worked together on a TV Christmas special; “The Toy Story that Time forgot.” It’s most [..READ MORE..]

Space FLiK

 Posted by on December 5, 2014  Baker's Dozen, Childhood art, Drawings, Thoughts
Dec 052014
 
Space FLiK

Recently, I found a small cardboard box that contains all the artwork, and the super-8 film spool of a movie I made when I was 15/16, for my final high school HSC art exam. This celluloid masterpiece was called SPACE FLiK, and was a hopelessly crude parody of Star Wars in the style of Mad magazine (two things [..READ MORE..]

Kid Kalimari

 Posted by on November 27, 2014  Drawings, Sephilina, Updates
Nov 272014
 
Kid Kalimari

This guy here is called KID KALIMARI, a comics character that I never did much with. He is related to another one of my characters that I have actually followed through on publishing; SEPHILINA.  He lives in the city of SAN FIASCO, and ends up becoming a pal of ROCKET & the PROFESSOR. In the back of my [..READ MORE..]

Here Be Monsters

 Posted by on October 10, 2014  Drawings, JourneyMan, VisDev
Oct 102014
 
Here Be Monsters

Here Be Monsters is a book illustrated and written by Alan Snow that inspired the animated film, The Boxtrolls. The book is a rambling grab-bag of fun ideas, seemingly every idea that Alan Snow ever had up till that point. It is a very enjoyable read, but presented a problem to adapt into a 90 minute movie. There [..READ MORE..]

The Boxtrolls

 Posted by on September 26, 2014  Film/TV, JourneyMan, Pencil-Jockey
Sep 262014
 
The Boxtrolls

I’ve admired the films of Laika for years, and now I’m pleased to say that I’ve been involved in one; THE BOXTROLLS. From 2008-2012 I worked on this film, and to make this an extra special experience for me, it was directed by my dear friend of many years, Tony Stacchi, and Graham Annabel, a new friend made [..READ MORE..]