Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Grumpy Cat in Holiday Sweater 31

Grumpy cat in holiday sweater

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Grumpy Cat in Holiday Sweater 30

Grumpy Cat in Holiday Sweater, Gingerbread man

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Grumpy Cat in Holiday Sweater 18

Grumpy Cat in Holiday Sweater, Groovy

Grumpy Cat Holiday Gifts


I started to digitize some of my Grumpy Cats in Holiday Sweaters sketches and they are now available on cute little mugs and cell phone cases (amongst other items). These are perfect for a funny holiday gift for the coffee/tea drinker and the fashion forward cell phone users. Get your own on my Society6 page, and check back often for new designs :

MUGS : http://society6.com/mjillustrates/mugs (available in 11 oz and 15 oz)
CASES : http://society6.com/mjillustrates/cases (available for iPhone, iPods and Galaxy S4 and S5)


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Grumpy Cat in Holiday Sweater 17

Grumpy Cat in Holiday Sweater, Christmas lights

Dupont Circle Fountain


The Dupont Circle is a great place to sketch. It has a beautiful fountain right in the middle of it, dedicated to Samuel Francis Du Pont, an American Naval officer. There used to be a statue of him instead of the fountain, but it was replaced in 1920. The fountain, depicting three statues representing the sea, the stars and the wind, was designed by architect Henry Bacon and sculptor Daniel Chester French, who also created the Lincoln memorial. 

Since it wasn't too cold that day, I decided to sketch the fountain. While I was sketching, there was a couple of kids trying to give free hot chocolate to passerby, but no one seemed to be interested. Some of the kids who were probably bored, decided to run around the fountain and one of them actually fell in the water. I can imagined, it probably wasn't fun, but it cooled him down. 

I wish I could have stayed a little longer to draw the other sides, but it was starting to rain and getting colder, so I took a couple pictures and redrew each statues in the hotel room later that day. I wonder what was going through the sculpture's mind when he created them : 
  • The one with the man standing in front of what looks like a sail boat and holding a conch represents Wind. 
  • The one with the woman holding what looks like a planet  (maybe Saturn, because of the ring)  and holding her hair up on one side is said to represent the Stars. 
  • The one with the woman holding something that resembles a boat, with a bird on one shoulder while stepping on a fish, is said to represent the Sea.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Grumpy Cat in Holiday Sweater 05

Grumpy Cat, Holidays, Elf, Christmas Sweater, Santa's Little Helper

Sketching at the Dupont Circle Hotel

Urban Sketching, Dupont Circle Hotel Lobby, Washington DC

While we were in DC, we stayed at the Dupont Circle Hotel, a little north west of the White House. It's a "boutique hotel" with a seemingly popular bar amongst the locals on Fridays and Saturday night. I didn't spend a huge amount of time in the hotel but I did sketch the lobby sitting room, next to the bar, where people gather to meet friends or coworkers. This particular space had a contemporary feel to it and was comfortable. There's even a fire place on the other side. 

Urban Sketching, Dupont Circle Hotel Lobby, Washington DC

In terms of design, it's not the worst hotel I've been to so far but not the best either. There were a couple hits and a couple misses. For example, the layout of our room (No 336) was weird, even for an accessible room. Mind you, we didn't need an accessible room but that's the one we got. The was a lot of "wasted" space and a lot of cramped spaces at the same time. It's the first time I got to see an accessible version of a boutique hotel room first hand and it's sad that the design level goes down for people on wheel chairs. The design of the sink was a great example of that. It had a very utilitarian look that clashed with the concept of the hotel shown in the advertising photos. On the plus side, the bathroom had heated floor tiles.  

Dupont Circle Hotel, Washington DC

Dupont Circle Hotel,Washington DC


There was a lot of space in the bathroom, I'm assuming so that a wheel chair can move around in it, but very little space to get to the bathroom. The door would basically touch the bed when it was open and I don't think a wheel chair would be able to go on the other side near the window, due to the position of the desk essentially blocking the other side of the bed. Mind you with a view like this (picture below), it's probably not a bad thing. lol. One way to improve the view, in my opinion, would be to add some decorative fences or, better yet, sound barrier walls around the HVAC units and some plants for a more pleasing view. Understandably, not every room can have a view of the Dupont Circle, but it doesn't mean that the view in the back has to be ugly. Good thing the sound didn't bother us but if you're sensitive to sound, you might want to avoid this side of the hotel. 

Dupont Circle Hotel, Dupont Bar, Washington DC

On the plus side, most of the food we got from the bar was great. I recommend the Dupont Fries, Grilled Chicken BLT, and the Truffled Chicken Wrap. I would stay away from their watery cappuccino (I actually had to send it back) and the pretty but overly sweet brownie. We went there quite often during our one-week stay. The main downer was the trouble they seem to have with separating the bills  when we were in a bigger groups depending on who we had as our server, some are amazing and some seem not cut out for the service industry. On two occasions, we ended up having to recalculate everything at the end of the night, listing everyone's orders for the waiter. Overall, it was an interesting and insightful experience. 

Monday, December 01, 2014

Grumpy Cat in Holiday Sweater 01

Grumpy cat, cat, holidays, holiday sweater, snowman, Christmas, art
I was trying to think about a fun series of quick daily drawing to do for the month of December and kept thinking about something to do with the advent calendar. After too much thinking, I finally came up with my interpretation of the "advent calendar of the Internet" : Grumpy Cat in Holiday Sweater. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Monuments and Memorials in DC

Urban Sketching Washington DC Washington Memorial

The first place I visited while in DC was the Washington Monument. Right out of the Smithsonian subway station, I had a great view of the monument. It wasn't too cold so I sat on one of the benches to do a quick sketch. It's a rather simple structure to sketch, so it didn't take too much time. I finalized the colours in the hotel room later on so that I could visit as much as possible while I was there that day. 

Urban Sketching Washington DC Washington Memorial
Urban Sketching Washington DC Washington Memorial
Urban Sketching Washington DC Washington Memorial
The site is HUGE! It took a little while for me to get to the Washington Monument. It is very well designed with American flags perfectly surrounding it. Many people were taking all kinds of pictures around it. I think you can also visit inside for a fee and get a view from the top. There are two little windows on top that are lit with red lights at night. Hopefully I'll get a chance to go up there next time.

From the site of the monument, I could see the Lincoln Memorial and I wanted to go check it out.  So I started the long walk toward the Memorial, shown above from the Monument, with the World War II Memorial and the Reflecting Pool in between. 

Urban Sketching Washington DC Washington Memorial
Urban Sketching Washington DC Washington Memorial
I stopped at the WWII Memorial for a couple quick photos. It's obvious that a lot of care was put into designing and building the WWII Memorial. There was a lot of great details and a beautiful fountain in between. I could have easily stayed a couple hours to sketch there, but I really wanted to go see Lincoln, so after a couple photos, I headed to there. I walk, and walked and walked and finally made it passed the reflecting pool (which is gorgeous) and finally got to the bottom of the stairs leading to the Memorial. It was like some sort of pilgrim.  

Urban Sketching Washington DC Washington Memorial
Urban Sketching Washington DC Washington Memorial
Again, there was a lot of people in and around the monument. The Lincoln statue is huge. It was getting a little cold by the time I got there but I still did a quick sketch before heading back. The walls surrounding Lincoln had great quotes on them. I also notice how it looked like Lincoln was depicted as ready to get up from his chair. His right hand was relaxed, while his left hand was tense, looking straight ahead towards the Washington Monument. His view must be quite something. Apparently, it's great to see the monument lit up at night. Perhaps I'll get another chance to visit it, hopefully in the summer. You can easily spend two days visiting this area. I didn't get a chance to see the Vietnam Veteran Memorial, the Korean War Veteran Memorial, the DC WWI Memorial, the Einstein Monument, the Martin Luther King Monument, the Jefferson Memorial, and many more attractions in this area. 

Urban Sketching Washington DC Washington Memorial
Urban Sketching Washington DC Washington Memorial
Urban Sketching Washington DC Washington Memorial