laughing buddha at the aria

MJ SKETCHBOOK | Urban Sketching - Las Vegas : Laughing Buddha at the Aria
There's a laughing buddha at the entrance of the Aria. I noticed that many hotels have asian decor elements at the entrance of their casinos such as two lions on either side of the main entrance door. It was interesting to see how people would react to seeing the statue. Many went over to take some pictures, some would rub his belly and some would even leave money next to it.  
MJ SKETCHBOOK | Urban sketching - Las Vegas : Laughing Buddha at the Aria hotel

bar vdara from the market cafe

MJ SKETCHBOOK | Urban Sketching - Las Vegas bar Vdara from the market cafe
While sitting at the Market Cafe you can see a portion of the bar Vdara and do some people watching at the same time. 

aria hotel lobby

MJ SKETCHBOOK | Urban Sketching - Las Vegas : Aria Hotel Lobby

I love to see the various design feature of hotel lobbies. In Vegas, most of them are huge, just like this one at the Aria.  Notice the giant floating sculpture above the registration desk. I just love it.  If I get a chance to go back to Vegas again I might do an urban sketching tour of all the hotel lobbies on and off the strip. They are really interesting to draw. 

MJ SKETCHBOOK | Urban Sketching - Las Vegas Aria Hotel Lobby

vdara elevator lobby

MJ SKETCHBOOK | Urban Sketching - Las Vegas Vdara elevator lobby
Right in front of the elevator lobby at the Vdara, there's a cozy sitting area for people to relax while waiting for someone. It was a great place for me to start my day of sketching. It's interesting to draw a place like this because with the coming and going of people, there's an "time traveling" component to the sketch, as they were not all drawn at the same time. A little after I was done, one of the security staff came to see what I was doing and and we ended up talking for a little while about,  the education system, science and research being done to cure humans from aging. It was a neat encounter. 
MJ SKETCHBOOK | Urban Sketching - Las Vegas Vdara elevator lobby

paris entrance in vegas

MJ SKETCHBOOK - Urban Sketcher - Las Vegas Paris Hotel
The entrance of the Paris Hotel in Vegas is quite interesting. The attention to details is quite impressive. Adding sketches of the various people who passed by while I was drawing almost add a new dimension to the sketch as they were not all there at the same time. 

MJ SKETCHBOOK - Urban Sketcher - Las Vegas Paris Hotel

life drawing workshop : caitlin

Another great workshop today. The model had really cool poses throughout the session. I also drew the model during one of the breaks. She had a really neat kimono inspired robe. I starting to really like the 90 seconds gesture (even though they are a bit intimidating). You're forced to draw the bare minimum to represent the entire pose but you really get a good sense of the proportions once you stop comparing your sketch to the model :) 
MJ SKETCHBOOK | Sandy Hill Life Drawing Workshop - Caitlin

vegas' eiffel tower

MJ SKETCHBOOK - Urban Sketcher - Las Vegas - Paris Eiffel Tower
The replica of the Eiffel Tower in Vegas is definitely a landmark that I wanted to draw. There is a lot of detail on this structure and I ran out of space at the bottom. I was located in a high traffic area, overlooking the Bellagio fountains so a couple people stopped over to look at my drawings and gave some compliments. That was nice. 

the cosmopolitan earth warriors

MJ SKETCHBOOK - Urban Sketching - Las Vegas The Cosmopolitan Earth Warriors
While wondering around inside The Cosmopolitan, I came across a group of beautiful giant warrior sculptures. I found out later on that they are the creation of artist Cheryl Ekstrom. The artist states that they represent the five Chinese elements (earth, fire, metal, water and wood) and they are about harmony and peace. They were definitely intriguing, and she's right about the fact that there were a lot of great art to see there in the little video below. If you're inspired by modern art and you're in Vegas, it's definitely a great place to go. 

sketching around in Ottawa

I got a new sketchbook recently and decided to fill it up with sketches from Ottawa.  Here are the first few drawings so far. I'm currently using a simple PILOT Fineliner to sketch. I'll probably get a waterproof pen once I finish my box so that I can add color with either watercolors or marker. The Pilots are not well suited for color (unless I used colored pencil) since they are not waterproof. I might color them at some point in the future.

  MJ SKETCHBOOK | Urban Sketcher - Ottawa Ottawans : Here I tried to draw people walking down a street in the city one morning. It's not easy to capture them while they are walking, especially from above.

  MJ SKETCHBOOK | Urban Sketcher - Ottawa Kent & Nepean: This is looking down towards Nepean from Kent in Centretown next to the Saint-Patrick's Basilica on Kent.

MJ SKETCHBOOK | Urban Sketcher - Ottawa Saint-Patrick's Basilica: I couldn't fit the whole church in my sketchbook from my starting point. This is just a portion of the top front.

  MJ SKETCHBOOK | Urban Sketcher - Ottawawaiting room: waiting rooms are a great place to sketch when you have to wait. It's a little challenging when people come and sit down right in front of you though.

  MJ SKETCHBOOK | Urban Sketcher - Ottawa MJ SKETCHBOOK | Urban Sketcher - Ottawa Bowich: We often go to Bowich. On one occasion I drew the pass thru and on another occasion, I drew the dining area.

  MJ SKETCHBOOK | Urban Sketcher - Ottawa Tunney's Pasture: While waiting I had time to draw a portion of the parking lot. It's still warm enough for people to used their motocycle. There were three parked in front of me that day.

  MJ SKETCHBOOK | Urban Sketcher - Ottawa Canadian Tire: Time to switch to winter tires. We went to Canadian Tire to change them and while waiting I did a little sketching.

vegas pedestrian bridge

MJ SKETCHBOOK - Urban Sketcher - Las Vegas - Pedestrian Bridge
It looks to me that Las Vegas was not designed originally with pedestrians in mind. Still, to handle the heavy flow of pedestrian traffic and minimize the number of car accidents involving pedestrians, there are a number of pedestrian bridges over the roads, linking many of the popular blocks together. It can be annoying at times because you have to make a lot of detours to get from point A to point B by foot. On the other hand, it's also an interesting feature that gives you a nice viewpoint of the strip. I just wish there were more shaded area because on a clear sunny day (which is the norm in Vegas), it gets really hot up there. Fortunately, I found a nice little shaded spot near the Cosmopolitan
MJ SKETCHBOOK - Urban Sketcher  - Las Vegas pedestrian bridge

aria waterfalls

MJ SKETCHBOOK - Urban Sketcher - Las Vegas - Aria waterfalls
The Aria has a nice little spot with man-made waterfalls along the pathway and unique seats in the shape of pigeons. The way they created the waterfall is such a great idea: It's basically an angled and heavily textured wall onto which water flows down. It creates a very soothing sounds and cools the area down. The only drawback for me is that little bugs are also attracted to the moisture, so they were a little annoying while I was drawing. 

the pods

MJ SKETCHBOOK - Urban Sketcher - Las Vegas - The Pods by Wolfgang Puck

There's a really neat little coffee shop inside the Crystal mall called The Pods by Wolfgang Puck. I love the nest-like structure around the counter area. Their sandwich was really good too. 

life drawing workshop : dwight

The model for this week's life drawing class had really challenging poses for the 90 seconds gestures. I was able to identify areas I want to work on when it comes to life drawings. Perhaps next time I'll start with the overall shape instead to capture the entire body. I used regular pencils this time. 
MJ SKETCHBOOK | Sandy Hill Life Drawing Workshop

I'm happier with the results from the longer poses (30 minutes each). I didn't use an eraser to force myself to be more mindful of where I draw the lines. For the last drawing I was a little quicker, so I decided to draw the surroundings as well. I saw the organizer do this the first time I was there and thought it was a great idea. 
MJ SKETCHBOOK | Sandy Hill Life Drawing Workshop
MJ SkETCHBOOK | Sandy Hill Life Drawing Class

canoe tree sculpture

MJ SKETCHBOOK - Urban Sketcher - Las Vegas - Big Edge by Nancy Rubins Canoe sculpture

Not too far from the Vdara, there is a really neat sculpture made out of over 200 canoes. I was fascinated by it so I decided to draw it. Not easy. As I was drawing it, I realize that it looks like a giant man made tree. I wonder if that was the intension of the artist. I found out later that it was created by a well known artist called Nancy Rubins and it is called Big Edge. Isn't it beautiful? 
MJ SKETCHBOOK - Urban Sketcher - Las Vegas - Big Edge by Nancy Rubins Canoe sculpture

vdara lobby

MJ SKETCHBOOK | Las Vegas - Vdara Lobby While in Vegas, we stayed at the Vdara : a neat non-smoking boutique hotel on the strip without an attached casino. And unlike a lot of the newer hotels on the strip, the lobby is small and cozy (by Vegas standards) and perfect for us. On this particular day I decided to start sketching in the hotel and drew the lobby. It's interesting to see the coming and goings of the people in the hotel. 

MJ SKETCHBOOK | Urban Sketch - Las Vegas - Vdara Lobby

elmo on the strip

MJ SKETCHBOOK | Las Vegas strip street performer

In Vegas, some street performers dress as characters from TV shows or movies so that you can tip them to take a picture with you. I decided to draw Elmo near Caesars Forum. He got two separate tip during the time I was doing my sketch. 

MJ SKETCHBOOK | Las Vegas Storm Trooper Miracle Mile Shop
Not all costumes are created equal. Some are better than others. The storm trooper walking next to the Miracle Mile felt more real. It would be neat to one day see a number of them strolling down the strip just for fun. 

horse sculpture at the wynn hotel

MJ SKETCHBOOK | Las Vegas - Wynn Hotel
While making this sketch, I realized how important location is when you chose a place start drawing. For this sketch, I decided to stand right at the entrance of the Wynn hotel to draw a really neat sculpture on the other side. It took a little longer to draw because I would be blocked by cars stopping to drop off people quite often. Some cars would stop longer than others. But it was worth it. 

life drawing workshop

MJ SKETCHBOOK | Life Drawing Woman It's been a very long time since I've been to a life drawing class and lately, I've been thinking about getting back to it. Fortunately, I found the Sandy Hill Life Drawing Workshop and decided to enlisted a friend, who also likes to draw, to come as well. It was really fun. I hadn't touched Conté sticks in years. It was fun to re-familiarize myself with them. They are a little messy, but you can create really neat shading effects once you get used to them. I will definitely go back again and I hope to be able turn it into a recurring activity on my schedule. Life drawing classes are an excellent way to fine improve your overall drawings skills. Just look at the progress of artist David Smith (aka Napoleoman) on Deviant Art here.Very inspirational :)

fashion show food court terrace

MJ SKETCHBOOK | Las Vegas - Fashion Show Food Court
While walking along the strip, I discovered a large mall, The Fashion Show, and decided to grab a bite to eat in their food court. For fast food in Vegas, I like to go to the Panda Express because you can get a lot of fresh vegetables. I also keep the my fortune cookie message. 

There was a nice little outdoor area so I decided to sit outside and draw the main entrance of the food court. Notice how the entrance is surrounded by a giant fork and knife on either side of the doors. The arch also looks like a giant plate. How fun is that? 

spiral escalator at the caesars forum shop

MJ SKETCHBOOK | Urban Sketcher - Las Vegas - Caesars Forum spiral escalator
I really love the spiral escalators at the Caesars Forum Shop. I was amazed the first time I saw them because I had never seen anything like this before. I only see boring straight escalators in my area. I wish there were more spiral ones like these. There's just fun. 

crystal mall rose

MJ SKETCHBOOK | Urban Sketching - Las Vegas - Crystal shop

I really appreciate nice outdoor art sculptures. They really add interest to a city, just like this giant metal rose outside the Crystal Mall in Las Vegas. I was so focused on drawing the rose, that there wasn't much space left for the building or the people around it.  But it turned out nice. The picture below gives you a better idea of the scale of the structure. 
MJ SKETCHBOOK | Urban Sketching - Las Vegas - Crystal shop

inside the crystals mall (part 1)

MJ SKETCHBOOK | Urban Sketcher - Las Vegas Crystals Mall Aria

Visiting the Crystals shopping mall was inspiring.  It's a beautiful building with a unique architecture. It really looks like a giant sculpture with many angled walls. There was also couple interesting art installations inside, including the one above where a couple of illuminated tubes would randomly fill up with water and create vortices. It was a popular attraction for visitors.

The place was also decorated for fall with nice flower arrangements and giant leaves suspended from the ceiling. I really appreciate the effort that went into this place. 

MJ SKETCHBOOK | Urban Sketcher - Las Vegas Crystals Mall Aria MJ SKETCHBOOK | Urban Sketcher - Las Vegas Crystals Mall Aria

market cafe

MJ SKETCHBOOK | Las Vegas - Vdara Market Cafe

There's a really neat coffee shop / market inside the Vdara where you can grab a coffee, a meal or a couple items to cook in your own room. I went there almost every day either to grab a snack or eat a meal. I really like their DIY burger, their salads and their apricot desserts. They were fantastic. On this day I decided to draw a portion of the counter, while eating a light lunch before heading out. By the time I was done with the drawing, a new group of guys had showed up really close to me so I didn't take their picture. However I found  I found this photo online and the view is almost bang on. 

vdara view (part 1)

MJ SKETCHBOOK | Urban Sketcher - Las Vegas view

We had a nice view from our hotel room on the 37th floor. I love seeing the mountains surrounding us in Vegas. It was also neat to be able to see the sunrises on the left and the sunsets on the right. You could also see the planes leaving the airport not too far from the strip.

The scale of building in Las Vegas is impressive. They are huge. When you walk down the strip, you get the impression that the buildings are much closer than they really are, but it's an illusion. Plus with temperatures over 100 degree Fahrenheit with a clear sky it's can get a little uncomfortable, specially walking a little outside of the strip. Good thing on the strip, there are a lot of public buildings close to one another, so you can take little "breaks" the heat. Mind you some are a little too cold inside for my taste, but it's appreciated. 

MJ SKETCHBOOK | Urban Sketcher - Las Vegas view

bellagio's fountain

MJ SKETCHBOOK | Urban Sketcher - Las Vegas Bellagio Fountain

I believe the Bellagio is known for its water fountain show in Vegas. When you get closer to the entrance, there's a smaller water fountain as well. I found a nice a little shaded area to give it a go. It's interesting to draw water with a black pen. I think it turned out good. Some of the passerby seemed to like it too, which is always nice to hear.  

MJ SKETCHBOOK | Urban Sketcher - Las Vegas Bellagio Fountain
MJ SKETCHBOOK | Urban Sketcher - Las Vegas Bellagio Fountain