Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Latte Art in action - Boston

Today I went to the fairly newly opened Ogawa Coffee shop in Boston and saw Latte art in action for the very first time.
Haruna, the woman in the sketch is the 2010 world latte Art champion Barista and she made this beautiful work of art in no time. Taste was amazing too.

She mentioned that time is critical in making Latte Art and this felt like it was created in less than a minute. My only gripe is that I wish she could take more time in making the drink so I could get a more detailed sketch...  
I at least got to capture the making process so that was fun.

If you're ever in Boston, drop on by for a tasty and beautiful Latte!


My journey to Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu, Peru - a place my wife and I have been wanting to go desperately for the past 8 years. Yet every year we kept on postponing it due to the fear of getting sick from the high altitudes, especially when all our friends that went came back telling us how sick they got.

This spring Tony, a good friend of ours was planning a trip to Patagonia and offered after his trip to meet us in Peru and guide us to Machu Picchu. He's not only been to Central America numerous times but has been to Machu Picchu 4 times. We knew we were in good hands with him so we jumped on this opportunity right away.

The journey to Machu Picchu was a long one.
A full day travel from from Boston to Panama City then a night in Lima.
Next early morning a flight from Lima to Cusco.
Then from Cusco a long bus, car or train ride to the village of Machu Picchu.
Being able to climb to the top of Machu Picchu finally took place on the 4th day from departure!
I guess the difficulty in getting there is also what makes this trip so memorable too.

9 days in total - I was able to fill up an entire Stillman and Birn Alpha sketchbook.
Here are some from during the trip to Machu Picchu.

There were numerous places to see during our trip from Cusco to Machu Picchu.
Moray was an enormous site with circular depressions created at different heights. It is said that the the Inca's created this site as an agricultural experimentation site to see what crops grow better at which altitudes.

Here we walked down to the site and back up and I started getting a huge headache.
It was 3,500M at this location and the first time in my life that I experienced a slight altitude sickness.
I'm so glad it wasn't too bad though.
It's said that coca tea helps with altitude sickness so I drank a lot of this. Real tasty too.

Awana Kancha
At a place called Awana Kancha, they had a number of naturally made color pigments on display. These colors were used mostly to color their hand woven textiles but for me it was a great opportunity to try painting on the Alpaca's that I had just drawn at the same place.


Later at Piscac, a neighboring town, a street vendor was selling powdered colors and demonstrating on how its used. This was the only souvenir I regretted later on in not purchasing!

On our 4th day after leaving home, we finally made it to the Machu Picchu mountain top.
It's early in the morning and there were already lots of people patiently waiting for the fog to clear up.

The fog then started to clear up and Bam!! The world famous view finally appeared!!

A IIlama even sat in front of me just just long to capture her before she got up and walked away.

Later we climbed the taller mountain seen in the background called the Huayna Picchu Mountain.
Over an hour of climbing and was Exhausting! but was well worth the hard work.

The number call outs shows areas that I wanted to remember later on. #4 is the location where I sketched the previous scene and #10 is Me.

Here I'm totally exhausted from climbing and excited from sketching at the same time.
What an amazing place!

The Butcher Shop @ South Boston

By Mike Daikubara in South Boston

Back in January, I had the opportunity to visit B&G oysters in Boston to sketch their special dishes each week. This was a great experience since I was able to not only have fun sketching but received great food in exchange for the sketches too!

Anyway, fast forward a few months, I received a call from the restaurants parent company asking me if I was interested in doing more sketches at their other restaurants. ABSOLUTELY!!!

The next restaurant I was invited to was The Butcher Shop.
I've passed by this restaurant numerous times one day wanting to visit so this was a great opportunity.

The restaurants quite small but modern and elegant.
My wife and I got to the restaurant quite early and there were seats available but within an hour the place was fully packed.
The Butcher Shop @ South Boston

As the name suggests, this place had lots of meat.
The Butcher Shop @ South Boston

They even had a fully trained butcher on staff elegantly cutting up the various meats.
Here he's slowly cutting up the duck so I can capture a sketch of him in action.
The Butcher Shop @ South Boston

For dinner, we received 3 nice dishes and an impressive Charcuterie board.
It even came with wine pairing too!
I'm Jumping right into sketching so I could get right to eating!
The Butcher Shop @ South Boston 

Here's the finished sketch. They wanted to print it into a postcard so I rearranged the sketches to fit into the postcard proportion.

I once again had a whole lot of fun!

The Butcher Shop @ South Boston

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Phoenix Trip Sketches

In Phoenix, Arizona by Mike Daikubara

Business trips can be exhausting but they're also a nice way to get away for a while and see/experience new things - especially when taking trips to a new location.

This was my first time visiting Phoenix and I was pretty excited - also because it was really warm out there and during this time Boston was still getting pounded with historical record breaking snow.

Warm up sketches usually start off at the airport and inside the plane. Just a great way to shift the mind and to get into the mode of travel sketching.

Boston Airport Untitled

Landing in Phoenix, I took the light rail into the city instead of taking the cab since I was in no rush. I tend to prefer walking, biking and public transportation over cars since it allows me to see the surroundings better. Train to downtown

After checking in, I walked around the city sketching and looking for a place to eat. Church Also ran into a classic car street festival.  Wish I had eaten prior to finding this festival since I was too hungry to sketch.Car Untitled

For breakfast, I frequently ate at this nice breakfast place next to the hotel. This was one of the most health conscious dishes I've ever had. Maybe too health conscious for me...Breakfast

It was a Sunday and I had some free time. The hotel had a rental bike (free!) so I just freely rode around the city. Untitled 

I ran into a place called the 'Friendship Garden' - quite fascinating to find a Japanese garden in a desert area. Koi carps and everything. Very tranquil.

Friendship Garden Koi Carps @ ROHOEN (鷺鳳園) Japanese friendship garden in Phoenix Arizona. Sketching the Koi carps - very relaxing. 

The same church drawn on day 1 but this time looking from a balcony across the street. That's were my conference was taking place.


I had my (free) hotel bicycle so I didn't get a chance to try these city bikes placed throughout the city but these bikes had really nice attention to details and quite high tech too.

GRID Bicycles

I also had some time to visit the Heard Museum (American Indian Art and History) which was fascinating, and an amazing exhibition of Da Vinci's original writing/drawings were on display at the Phoenix Art Museum.

Hopi Katsinas @ Heard Museum Phoenix Museum Phoenix Museum leonardo Da Vinci - The Codex Leicester @ Phoenix Art Museum. I'm so glad i had my emergency "Golf" pencil with me to get a sketch of this at the museum. Absolutely fascinating person and i'm sure he had very little friends...

Hotel with Yoga Mat!

In Phoenix Arizona by Mike Daikubara

I was on a business trip to Phoenix and stayed at Kimpton Hotels for the first time.
Nice location, clean room but the best thing about it - Yoga mat in the room!
They even offered free classes every night at a gym across the street which I ended up going every night.

More sketches during this trip to follow soon :)

People sketching at Clover Food Lab - Harvard Square

It's almost April yet it was still snowing today in Boston...
Really can't wait until spring is here.

Anyway, I was at least able to get one fun sketch in this lousy weather today at a nice restaurant called Clover Food Lab in Harvard Square. My wife and I sat at the second floor and I had a fun few moments capturing the scenes happening on the 1st floor.

If you're ever in the area, have a visit. They have really good veggie food and the coffee is individually dripped per order making it really good too.