Thursday, May 26, 2016

My first solo sketching Trip to Puerto Rico

Back in December I found out that I needed to use up my 4 days of vacation at work that month or I would lose it - so of course I decided to use it!
Looking around for things to do, I asked my wife if she wanted to go somewhere. Since we recently got 2 kittens, we couldn't leave them alone so she decided to stick around.

Thus my first ever solo sketching trip!
I was super excited and looked everywhere for all possibilities but had a few criteria that was important to me. 
I wanted to be:
  1. a warm place so I could sketch outside.
  2. a place I can walk around everywhere and not have to drive.
  3. a place where there's a direct flight from Boston.
  4. a place that was pretty inexpensive to travel to.
 After lots of searching Puerto Rico rose to the top! specifically "Old San Juan".
If was also off season making everything cheap as well as having mile points saved up that I could use!

2 weeks later I was in Old San Juan sketching my first subject at the hotel:



In total I was able to do 35 sketches and had an amazing 4 days.
Here are a few scans from my sketchbook.








Excited by the trip, after coming home I started working on my 6th book.
To keep the book as raw as possible, I kept all the content as is but only rewrote my hand written letters to make it much more legible- Hope that helps readers want to read my text a little bit more :)

Now available through Amazon.


Sunday, April 24, 2016

'Sketch NOW Think Later' Workshop: Booklet

For the past few months I've been preparing for my workshop 'Sketch NOW Think Later ' taking place in Manchester UK for the Urban sketchers Symposium this summer.

The basis of this workshop actually goes back to about 10 years ago when I started carrying a stack of index cards and a pen (+an emergency pencil) at all times and would jot down anything I found relevant at the moment. This could be anything from what I saw that I wanted to research later, design ideas for work/personal projects and sketching ideas.

This workshop is actually made up of all these notes that was on sketching tools, techniques and mindsets that I find fascinating and important to me as an Urban Sketcher. Those thoughts over the years has not changed very much which turned into the core basis of this workshop: To be able to sketch more, with limited time and just have fun!

If you share this same thought, I hope to see you in this workshop!
The workshop booklet shown is currently being printed and will be distributed to everyone that signs up to my workshop :)


Index cards that I always carry with me

Trying to lay out the cards in logical order (while being disturbed by my 2 cats)

A few note cards in details

Sample thumbnail pages of the booklet






Saturday, January 9, 2016

Relaxing weekend Trip to New York City

It's been while since I last visit NY but last weekend my wife and I spent the weekend there since it was our 10th wedding anniversary.  We decided to see a Broadway show, get some good food and experience the city vibe.I have to mention in advance that I didn't sketch much during this trip but had fun capturing these 4.

A train ride from Boston to NYC is a nice convenient way of getting right into the smack middle of Manhattan - it's just a tad expensive. We usually drive down to the city but this time we took the train since it's relaxing.

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Lunch time in the city - We went to my favorite steak restaurant in NYC.
It's called Tad's and this casual steak house hasn't changed a bit since when I first ate here in the 70's. It almost felt like all the furniture and decorations were still the same. It's also probably the best cheapest steak you can get in the city!

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This police scooter sketch was done while my wife did some shopping.
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And of course, my mandatory hotel room sketch.
This hotel was quite unusual and fun to sketch too.
I thought the electric bed was quite clever in making full use of the tiny tiny Manhattan hotel room. It comes upright to be able to easily enter/exit the room and rolls down fully flat taking up the full width of the room when going to sleep.

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In the hotel lobby they also had a machine called the 'yobot' which automatically checks in/holds onto your luggage! clever
All the slots were full so we didn't get a chance to use it though, bummer...

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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year with Osechi!

Our good friend Mai-chan made Osechi - a traditional Japanese new years dish from scratch.A little taste of Japan right here in our home town Boston!

Hope everyone has a great Happy New Year!

OSECHI!

Osechi

Friday, December 18, 2015

Sailor Fountain Pens

A Fountain Pen has been my main sketching medium ever since getting my first pen in 2007. I just love the various lines it creates along with the feeling of the metal tip on paper while it lays down ink that needs a few moments to dry.

3 years ago my wife got me a Fountain pen with my name engraved in it for my birthday and it was quite unusual: It was a pen by a Japanese manufacturer called Sailor and they made this pen with a bent tip called "Fude de Mannen". It's a play on word in Japanese and it means "I'm just a Brush". They came up with this name since this pen allows you to create various lines from thick to thin as though writing with a brush.


I immediately took this pen to our 10 day trip to Egypt and ended up just using this pen since it was not only addictive to use but felt perfect for the scenes I was trying to capture. Here are some sample sketches from the trip.


I now have a 2nd Fude de Manenen (with a slightly larger nib) added to my collection that my wife bought for me once again for my next birthday. I love this 2nd pen even more and has been my daily use pen for the past year.  I also forgot to mention that both of these pens have been sent back to the Sailor headquarters in Hiroshima to have the nib adjusted to my 'exact' specifications. Every small nuance was communicated and the nib came out completely adjusted by their master nib master to fit my exact sketching style.
My book on the Freedom Trail and Machu Picchu pretty much was all created using this one pen.

Ever since my wife purchased the 1st pen from them 3 years ago, they have been really helpful and kept in contact via email. So when I found out that I was going to Japan for a few weeks last fall, I jumped on this opportunity and contacted the folks at Sailor who made an arrangement for me to be able to try many of their nibs including all of their unusual specialty nibs!

One afternoon I met them at Tokyo Station and headed to a nice little coffee shop near by.
This is when Mr Mabuchi, the Sailor representative pulled out this fabric case from his bag to reveal the 20 Sailor pens!!!

One at a time I was able to test out all their pens to my hearts desire!
It felt like I was in heaven!

The best way to test out a pen is of course by sketching by observation on my paper of choice.
Here I'm sketching Mabuchi san from Sailor on my Stillman and Birn sketchbook.

Various pens with notes on the side.
It's funny how some pens that I thought were going to be perfect for me ended up not fitting me at all. And some very unusual pen tips provided a great smooth feeling.


Here's a great link explaining all the pen nibs and characteristics.
Here's what some of the pens I tested out looks like:


Cross Concord


Cross Music
Naginata Concord w/ Emperor


Naginata Fude de Mannen

Naginata Togi




I ended up buying a Naginata Concord!

Latest news from December 2, 2015:
Sailor announced (in Japanese only) that they will temporary stop producing all these specialty nibs mentioned in this blog. The reason is that since they are all hand made, they simply cannot keep up with the demand. Since you can't buy these pens outside of Japan through Sailor, it's not big a deal but I still found this news quite shocking..




Monday, November 30, 2015

Halloween Cat

Quick Halloween night sketch - I just had to get this neighbors house before it's taken down.Loved this inflated moving cat - it was almost as big as the house!


 Halloween Cat