Feb 282014

Last weekend was a good one for drawing; both doing it ourselves and appreciating drawings done by others. Firstly, on Saturday, Julia and I went to Yerba Buena Gardens to draw:


I ‘ve sketched here before (a study of the church you see here) but this time I tried an overview. The angle I chose was from the terrace, where there was ample seating in the sunlight, which was needed as it was a chilly day, despite being sunny. The park itself is down below, behind the pond and seagulls, obscured from this angle. So there is some weird foreshortening that my crude left-handed drawing may not convey, but I liked the view of the downtown cityscape.

That same evening we went to the nearby Cartoon Art Museum to hear a fascinating talk on Ronald Searle given by Matt Jones. This was a companion talk to the recent ‘Searle in America‘ show put on at the museum and arranged by Matt. (Julia did a great Searle tribute piece for the fundraiser auction to pay for shipping the Searle art to San Francisco.) Matt had slides of additional Searle artwork that did not make it into the museum show, but will hopefully find a place in the forthcoming BOOK on Searle’s work in the USA, that Matt is compiling now. This will essentially be an expanded and super-deluxe edition of the excellent program guide to the ‘Searle in America’ show (copies are still available at the Cartoon Art Museum). Matt also had some charming stories of how he finally came to befriend his hero, one of the greatest graphic stylists of all time, near the end of Ronald Searle’s long life.

After Matt’s excellent talk was finished, the public-speaker/art-curator extraordinaire met us at a nearby posh Indian restaurant, where we had a splendid evening dining and trading old tales with our pals and colleagues, Wave and Gleb. Sunday, I stayed at home doing watercolour washes on earlier drawings, including some TV sketching that I will post later.

Sep 072013

Today marks exactly one year to the day since I posted in this here blog. The first few months of that hiatus were purely due to being very busy at work and therefore having nothing much to show for myself, creatively speaking.


But early last December, I happily broke the sketching-drought with a sketching day with that ever-inspirational fellow, Mr Matt Jones, when we both wandered through the Waterfront and Dogpatch region of San Francisco for a very pleasant afternoon.


Then later in the month, Julia and I went on a road trip with our pal Ted Mathot to see the MUCHA show (in Cedar Rapids Iowa, of all places). It was a very fun trip, and needless to say seeing the artwork of MUCHA in person was highly inspirational. Eating at a few nice restaurants in Chicago didn’t hurt either, and best of all I did more sketching. The slump was well and truly broken.


In fact, over the Christmas holiday break, I was just about to scan and post the bounty of my recent sketches here in my blog when I was flattened by the ’medical emergency’ that explains the next eight months of my silence here. My mind has been elsewhere for quite some time.


I’m only now getting back on my feet and I still have a long way to go before I’m even close to 100%, but at least I can operate a scanner. So without further ado, here are my Dogpatch doodles and Chicago sketches, the latter done just prior to Christmas at the famous Field Museum (and what a marvelous place it is).


It will be some time before I can draw properly again, so any drawings you see over the next few months will most likely be from the archive, unless I actually like some of the left-handed drawings I have been trying to do, in which case I may post one or two of those. We shall have to see how it goes.


A recent creative goal, and focus of this blog up till last Christmas, was to do more sketching from life, with an eye to realism (rather than the cartoons that come naturally to me). Now it is time to put that particular creative goal to the side for a little while and concentrate on other things.


I may do a little writing, so don’t be surprised if that becomes the focus of the blog for a while. I have it in mind to assemble a book of anecdotes from my childhood (I have posted some here before) and there has never been a better time to finish that project than right now.


It’s good to be back.

Aug 222012
De Young

Last weekend I did some sketching with MATT JONES at the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park, where, along with my pals Bosco and Steve, we saw the FANTASTIC Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit, FROM THE SIDEWALK TO THE CATWALK.

Seeing a 30 year retrospective of his work made it clear how much of the visual style of the past few decades can be attributed to Gaultier, and not just in the field of fashion itself. He has done extensive design work in iconic films and styled many videos and album covers in the music business too. His cross-cultural fashion mash-ups are astonishingly witty. I was very impressed with the exhibit, though it was almost impossible to do any drawing due to the Disneyand-scale crowds that had shown up on the last weekend of the show. I only was able to do one sketch from the ONE dead-space within the swirling maelstrom of onlookers, which sadly gave a vantage point BEHIND one of the mannequins. When the crowds got to be too much, we went to the MASKS area of the permanent collection upstairs, where there is always something great to draw.

After a quick bite to eat, we did some more sketching outside the museum and called it a day. These sketches allowed me to FINALLY fill the little watercolour sketchbook I have been using for the past 10 months. Unlike all those before, I had resolved to fill this one ONLY with observational sketches (rather than doodles) and it has been a great exercise that I want to continue, though hopefully filling the NEXT one rather more quickly.

May 142012

Yesterday was spent SKETCHING in the company of that incomparable urban sketcher MATT JONES, and his pals MARK STANLEIGH and JASON SPENCER-GALSWORTHY. After a very pleasant early morning walk across town, I met them all at the JAPANESE TEA GARDEN in Golden Gate Park.

In my recent location sketching, I’ve attempted to record all the detail as accurately as I can, with mixed success. For a change, this time I tried to distill what I saw into some sort of a gesture. Hence the scribbly approach, where tried to imply detail with scribbles of a ballpoint pen, without actually drawing it all. Not sure if it works yet..

After an few hours in the Tea Garden we had lunch and then some of us walked on to the Haight Ashbury area for a beer and some more sketching.

It was tempting to go back over these with some scibbly colour when I got home, which is probably what they need, but I’ll save that until NEXT time I try this approach.

Jul 102011

Today I went sketching at the DE YOUNG museum, with MATT JONES and his pal Scott. For fantastic drawing subjects, we didn’t need to go any further than the “Art of New Guinea” room, where there is an incredible array of fantastic masks on permanent display. So much so that I had a hard time deciding what to draw!

Being a lightening-quick gesture sketcher, Matt didn’t have to choose; he pretty much drew everything in there in about an hour! Whereas I, in my own plodding way, found two that interested me and tried to study them somewhat in depth.

We then had a tasty lunch at a nearby Burmese Restaurant, followed by a visit to GREEN APPLE BOOKS, and ended the outing with a drink at THE BITTER END. After parting ways, I then had a pleasant hike home, as the sun went down.

Yes indeed, my Sunday was a very Fun day.

Jun 132011

I can’t think of any cartoonist that I admire more than the great RONALD SEARLE. Many others feel the same about this superb satirist and stylist, including the 70 PIXAR artists who recently sent him a 91st BIRTHDAY SKETCHBOOK filled with tributes; a project which I was honored (though intimidated) to be included in.

It was the one and only MATT JONES who had the unenviable task of wrangling 70 flakey cartoonists to fulfill their promises and bring the book to completion, which was achieved somewhat beyond the actual deadline but was very much appreciated by Mister Searle none-the-less. He wrote back to say as much.

You can read his response, as well as see the birthday greetings themselves, on the HAPPY 91ST RONALD blog, established by MATT to house the well-wisher’s artwork. A new tribute will be posted every day for the next few months. Be sure to check back often; i know for a fact there are some BEAUTIES in store!

If you’d prefer to look at a blog that (mostly) posts the AUTHENTIC Searle article, be sure to visit the SEARLE TRIBUTE BLOG (which is also run by Matt.)

Apr 202011

This charming gouache painting was just given to me by my pal MATT JONES.

It may be a GOODBYE present for my departing the story crew we both worked on together, or perhaps it is a SORRY present, to make amends for the incredibly funny good-bye CARD he also did, depicting me in the depths of tawdriness, which was signed by the entire crew to great hilarity. While part of me would love to share Matt’s awesome caricature powers with you all, The bigger part of me thinks it is waaay too GRAPHIC to be posted in this here family-friendly blog and definitely an image I would prefer NOT to show up in Google searches of my name! Either way, I am the winner becasue I end-up with not one but TWO drawings from the incredibly talented Mister Jones. One to be hung on the wall and the other to be taken out from hiding and chuckled at once in a while.

I’ve spent the past 6 months working on a very fun project at the world-famous factory of feel-good over there in Emeryville. This particular crew was staffed exclusively with an utterly lovely group of people and I look forward to working with all of them again sometime in the not too distant future.

Jan 292011

More from the pocket sketch-book, this time from a sketch-outing few weekends back, when Matt and I went on a walk-and-draw around Fisherman’s Wharf and North Beach. Honestly, probably more time was spent in sitting outside at a cafe, drinking coffee and nattering but ah, what the heck…

One detail that the sketch of Matt (drawing the seals, above) doesn’t show is the eccentric gentleman standing next to Matt, repeatedly bellowing and honking at the seals in what was presumably an attempt to speak to them in their own language.

Ah, the joys of living in San Francisco….

Jan 242011

Last weekend I attended my very first SKETCHCRAWL here in San Francisco and had a wonderful time out and about sketching and socialising with friends.

Over the past year or so, I have been trying very hard to re-acquire the habit of going out and sketching in the real world. I used to do this often, once upon a time, but then fell into the habit of filling books solely with doodles from my imagination.

I still enjoy doodling, but it has been a goal of mine to work on my observation and speed-drawing skills, so SKETCHCRAWL #30 is JUST what the doctor ordered.

About 60 artists met at a cafe near San Francisco’s JAPANTOWN and then split up to draw whatever stuck their fancy in the surrounding area. At day’s end, there was a regroup where artists showed each-other what they had drawn and I was BLOWN AWAY at the quality of the sketchbooks that I saw.

All in all, a very fun and inspiring day. I definitely plan to do another Sketchcrawl sometime in the future. Thanks so much to RONNIE & ENRICO for starting this wonderful event and shepherding it through 30 different crawls to the point where it is now a world-wide phenomenon.