...listen to yourself...

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Suffering from "picture books" fever


Every now and then my artist soul suffers from a strong case of "picture books" fever, a burning desire to concentrate all my drawing abilities into creating fun children's books. I get the bug from a number of illustrators I admire, such as J. Otto Seibold, Richard Scarry or, lately, Miroslav Sasek.

Sasek, a Czech-born artist, was trained as an architect and made a career in children's literature with books that depict city life around the world. Being an urban sketcher, it's impossible not to find Sasek's charming renditions of buildings, cars and city dwellers totally inspiring.

According to the fan site "This is M. Sasek" screengrabbed above, the true owner of the rights to Sasek's pictures is unknown.

"Mr Sasek's publisher at W.H. Allen has been trying to find the true owner of the copyright for years. His search is ongoing. In the meantime, the royalities from the reissues are bieng held in a special fund until the copyright owner has been identified."

That may be why I have found no official site for the author. But copies of his reissued books, fortunately, are available.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Just talk to me while I sketch

People stiffen if you make too big of a deal about sketching them. I try to make them relax by asking them to talk to me while I draw. Open-ended questions (i.e."Tell me more about yourself..." or "What's your background?") usually keep them talking long enough.

For the completed sketches and story, check my column in The Seattle Times website: Coffee drinks for Seahawks fans.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Sneak preview of The Urban Sketching Handbook

My handbook on Architecture sketching isn't out until Oct. 15, but here's a look at an early copy I received from the nice folks at Quarry Books. I think it looks great!


I love how the designers have packaged the book. (A shout-out to Quarry Books' art directors and the designers at StudioInk.)


The main six chapters offer my approach to drawing architecture as an urban sketcher — composition is key, but creativity matters too!


Pages include some of my own sketches and examples by more than 40 contributors.


Most tips I share come from "a-ha" moments I've experienced while sketching, like how to draw buildings when looking up from the street (top right sketch by me) or down from a window (main sketch by Murray Dewhurst.)


This spread with sketches by Luis Ruiz and Norberto Dorantes is about making straight lines with conviction.


And this one includes sketches and commentary by Kiah Kiean (top) and Florian Afflerbach (bottom). It is part of four gallery chapters dedicated to pen, pencil, watercolor and mixed media sketches.

Because I couldn't do an urban sketching handbook just on drawing buildings, expect the next title in the series to come soon! People and Motion is scheduled for release on Nov. 15. And a third one about reportage and documentary drawing by fellow urban sketcher and Quarry Books author Veronica Lawlor is planned for Fall of 2015.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

My city through the eyes of a Chicago urban sketcher



Adriana Gasparich, a native Mexican and urban sketcher living in Chicago, came through Seattle recently and filled her sketchbook with beautiful captures of the Pacific Northwest landscape. She was especially struck by the amazing range of greens one can find here. Our meeting over a cup of coffee was brief, but it was inspiring to browse through her sketchbook and see my city through her eyes. You can follow Adriana's work on her blog and flickr. Gracias por la visita, Adriana!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Echo at the Olympic Sculpture Park


At today's sketch outing with the Seattle Urban Sketchers I saw new and familiar faces of local sketchers who gathered to draw in the Olympic Sculpture Park. But the face I really wanted to draw was this one: Jaume Plensa's "Echo" sculpture. Although I first sketched it for my Seattle Times column when it was being installed in May, this is the first sketch I do of the complete head. And, hopefully, it won't be the last. A passerby informed me that the piece is even more striking when the sun shines on Echo's face.