TGIM UFC special sketchnote

TGIM UFC Special Eric Thomas
This week instead of the regular TGIM, ET posted a speech he did  to inspire Anthony Pettis and his UFC mates. Following the instructions from the second episode, I decided to go back in the lab to perfect my possible. In my case it meant drawing the skechnotes  using a software instead of scanning a hand drawing. So this is my first attempt at improving my sketchnotes.

Although this talk was geared toward MMA fighters, there's a lot of info you can take with you even if you're not aspiring to become a MMA fighter.  ET defined what it means to "want it as bad as you wanna breathe": Its not a mentality, it's a lifestyle. 

Everything I know so far about UFC and MMA, I learned from listening to the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. And someone who's a good example of turning this mantra into a lifestyle when it comes to MMA is most likely Anderson Silva, aka The Spider : One of the greatest  fighters of all time. Out of 37 fights, he won 33 of them! He holds a black belts in each of the following disciples :  Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo and Taekwondo, plus a yellow belt in Capoeira! There's no question the he is the best at his craft and he embodies it in his day to day life. 

On a side note, if you're into MMA, you might want to listen to the JRE # 316 with MMA fighter Enson Inoue. You'll get to hear real life example of someone who wants it as bad a he wants to breathe.  He was always willing to die rather than tap out and almost did. If it wasn't for the doctor stoping oen of his fight and his coach keeping him from trying to get up, he probably would have died. I think that's the type of dedication ET's talking about...

star fusion

Here's another of my entries to the Threadless East Meets West Contest. I have been playing with this concept one for a little while and wasn't sure if I should submit it, but really what do I have to loose? I like the idea, even if it uses a common symbol. Mind you turning it sideways gives the impression of some character looking right at you :). 

My version of the yin and yang symbol takes into consideration the fact that both the American and the Japanese flags include a depiction of stars. The American flag has 50 stars and the red disk on the Japanese flag represent the sun, a star. 

Below is a close up of my drawing. I was inspired to create sun flares around it. I put this one together using Sketchbook Pro on the ipad and I'm pretty happy with the final results. 

not so lucky cat

Earlier this year I signed up with Threadless, a creative clothing company working hand in hand with a community of graphic designers and artists to create unique apparels. Artists submit their design and get rated. The popular ones get printed and sold directly from the website and the artists who's artwork got printed get some money in return for contributing. There's also a series of contests that seems to be running on a regular basis, so I decided to give it a try and participate to the East Meets West challenge. The goal for this challenge is to create a T-shirt design inspired by the theme "East Meets West".

Above is my very first entry for this challenge. For this particular project, I decided to merge the popular Asian lucky cat (Maneki-Neko) with the currently popular American Grumpy Cat (Tard). It took me a little while as I was also learning a new software at the same time.  I have a couple more ideas that I might also submit before the deadline. You can also see more entries at . There are some really good ideas there.  

ANIMAL CONNECTIONS 014 : wolfgang got rescued

I came across this really neat photo project called Why We Rescue by photographer Theron Humphrey showcasing New Yorkers and the pets they rescued. Each photo session is also accompanied by a short  audio interview about their story. I love this concept. It would be great if more rescues would team up with photographers like him to do similar projects and help more pets in need of a home. One of my favorite is the story of John an Wolfgang shown above.  

life drawing workshop : jason

I was wondering if our life class was going to be cancelled tonight because it's been so cold outside. Right right now it's -25C (-13F) but with the wind it feels like -35C (-31F).  It turned out that the model didn't show up. Fortunately, Jason volunteered to be the model for tonight's class. He had great challenging poses too. It's too bad I didn't get to finish the last one. I was getting cold (I sat next to the outside door and there was frost on the inside) it might have slowed me down a bit. Jason was a  trooper. 

TGIM sketchnote 2

TGIM sketchnotes 2 Eric Thomas
Just finished my sketchnote of TGIM episode 2. Now that the bulk of the work is done (i.e. figuring out out what we want this year in episode 1), it's time to get in the lab and figure out what we need to do to make it happen, to get to "impossible". But before you achieve the impossible, you have to be able to master the possible by following three key points : 

  1. Do what is possible : Whatever you do, don't take the easy way out. Do it to the best of your current abilities. In my case, part of it means take the time to draw well.
  2. Drive possible : Be consistent with your work, do it everyday. In my case, this means draw something everyday. It definitely develop skills. The more I draw the better I get. 
  3. Perfect possible :  Take a step back and look at how you can improve your own work on a daily basis, and make the necessary changes to your routine. This is pretty much what I did for this sketchnote. I looked at the previous one, saw a couple things I could improve and implemented the changes. 

Now it's your turn. Check out ET's video below. :)


This fox and his guardian are so cute. It looks like the fox is winking too. Foxes are such adorable creatures. To me, they're like a mix between cats and dogs: Very agile, very mischievous and very smart. According to Wikipedia there are 37 species of foxes  of which 12 are considered "true foxes", like the red fox pictured above. In some areas, you're allowed to have them as pets but it's not wide spread. 

Three Wise Tilleys [UPDATE]

Well, I thought that I had a good chance of being part of the finalists for the sixth annual Eustace Tilley Contest, unfortunately the judges who selected of the 12 finalists didn't think so. Out of  over 400 entries, these are their top 12.  

Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. Some I like, others not so much.  It would be interesting to know why they choose these ones. 

Below are my favorites (including mine) 


This drawing was a special request :) The thing that I like the most about this one are the eyes. Very often as a kid (and still today), one of the first thing I used to draw when I was in a doodling mood, was to draw eyes.  I find eyes  to be very fascinating to draw. This makes me think that I should, at some point do, an exercise challenge to practice drawing more realistic eyes (humans and animals) and draw as many as possible. Maybe this could be my next 100 drawing series... I'll keep that in mind. 

life drawing workshop : caitlin

Today's life drawing workshop was with a model Caitlin. It's a bit of a milestone for me because having a recurring model is proof that I've been consistent going to the classes. I can still see room for improvements, but it's nice to see the evolution over the pass couple weeks.  

podcasts : good for the soul - Part 2

The third podcast I like to listen to is The Drunken Taoist with Daniele Bolleli. He's a bit of a rebel professor and like to do things his own way, which is refreshing to see. He's also a writer and martial artist, among other things. The format of his podcasts are a bit more structured compared to the previous podcasts I talked about. Perhaps it's the professor in him :). There's even a list of links and notes with each podcast, which is nice. 

I recently discovered him through Joe Rogan and Duncan Trussells podcasts, where he's been a guest many times. I believe the first time for me was when he was talking about teaching and education in universities, what works and what doesn't, as well as his take on the whole thing. Being the curious person that I am, I had to check him out and started to listen to his podcast. My favorite so far is Episode 7 with Mike V. 

TGIM sketchnote 1

I like to watch Eric Thomas's video series ,TGIM, that I discovered last year. There's a lot of good advices to take from his videos and to implement in everyday life for just about anyone. By watching all the old episodes it was really neat to witness the improvements in his own life, as he's been doing these series for a couple years now. Yesterday, he started a new season and I decided to create sketchnotes from each episode as a way to fully take in the information he's providing, but also to draw more and to share that valuable information. The first episode is about starting the year right. Instead of making a resolution list for 2013, answer these three questions : 
  1. What do you want this year? 
  2. What are you willing to give up to get what you want? 
  3. How far are you willing to go when the going gets tough? 

ANIMAL CONNECTIONS 011 : sloth hug

Sloths are such interesting animals. They seem so passive. I have yet to see a picture or a video of an angry sloth, they always seem content. I wonder how they survive in the wild, because they are so slow, even crossing the road. Lucky for them, it seems like people will pick them up and help them cross faster so that they don't get hit by cars.  This little one seem to have found a new friend to hold on to. 

ANIMAL CONNECTIONS 010 : Miss Kat and Miss Nyancat

After drawing Joel I had to draw Kat VonD as well. So here's Miss Kat meeting Miss Nyancat for the first time (?) 

abstract graffitti

walls notebook
It is what it is.

Lil Wayne's inner Calvin

I'm fascinated by Lil Wayne as a person and as an artist. He's very creative in the way he writes his lyrics, the way he dresses, the way he learns, and the many projects he works on. For some reason, I've been seeing a connection between him and Calvin, from Calvin and Hobbes (one of my favorite comic book series) and I've been toying around with the idea of merging the two together for a little while.  Finally I decided to put something together and this is my first attempt. I used SketchBook Pro for the iPad. 

podcasts : good for the soul

Last year, I started to listened to podcasts while drawing or cleaning things around the house. It all started when I first heard a portion of Joe Rogan's podcast on YouTube about reality. It was so inspiring that I felt compelled to create a series of sketchnotes about it. This then lead my discovery of The Joe Rogan Experience Podcast, the first one of a series of podcasts I would like to share with you.  

The Joe Rogan Experience podcast

There's always something interesting to learn from Joe Rogan, Brian Redban (his cohost) and the rainbow of guests that come and talk about anything and everything.  They come from all walks of life : comedians, MMA fighters, authors, artists, musicians, scientists and more. So far, I've benefited greatly from their casual 2-3hr discussions, learning about great books to read (that's where I got the War of Art suggestions), alternative philosophies of life (where I learned about the Christmas mushrooms theory), nutrition tips (The Blendtec is now on my wish list), political views, many aspects of science and more. It's really fascinating. Yesterday, the guest was Neil deGrasse Tyson, renown astrophysicist. I'm hoping Michio Kaku will also be a guest at some point in the future :)

The second podcast I'd like to share with you is the Duncan Trussel Family Hour
I discovered him through Brian Redban's Icehouse Chronicles. Duncan is also a comedian, but his podcast have a completely different feel. They are more profound and personal to him I would say. The first episode I heard, was the one with his mom who has cancer. It was quite touching and interesting to see how people deal with things like that in a positive way. I was hooked after that. He's very insightful in his way of seeing life in general and how people should interact with one another. He also has a very creative way of talking and explaining thing and I often get the urge to draw what he says. I probably will at some point in time, hopefully soon. 

There are more! These are only the first two of my favorite go-to podcasts. They are very enlightening and have been giving me new perspectives that would be nearly impossible for me to get in my current environment and I figured it could benefit my readers here too. 

So, stay tune as I complete their headshot, I'll be adding the on the sidebar with the link to each of their podcast. Interesting how wanting to add a couple extra links on the side lead to me creating a news series of portraits using Sketchbook Pro on Ipad. It's good excuse to finally practice on it. :)

ANIMAL CONNECTIONS 009 : deadmau5 doesn't always hold dogs, but when he does...

I recently spotted this funny photo of Deadmau5 (aka Joel Zimmerman) with this rainbow dog and figured it would be a nice addition to my Animal Connections series. I took the liberty to modify his cap. I wonder if these are available. I just thought it would be neat to hack a cap into a Mau5cap. It could make a neat merchandising items for fans attending his shows... then again, Joel might be tired of seeing the same Mau5 head all the time in the crowd... 

life drawing workshop : curtis & zoe

I'm finally back in class! Today we got to draw a couple. They are always fun to work with because it's very challenging two draw two different people in the same amount of time. I think it forces me to draw fast and changes the way I approach drawing. They were really good. The poses were look simple but they were not easy. Time just flew by. I'm looking forward to our next workshop.

READ IT - Aspire : Discovering Your Purpose Through the Power of Words

Title : Aspire : DIscovering Your Purpose Through The Power of Word
Author : Kevin Hall
Format : Audiobook 
Summary : An expert recognized for his uncovering the hidden, and often secret meaning of words, Kevin Hall now shares his wisdom with us all. In Aspire! he teaches readers to understand what words mean in their purest sense and unlock their importance as they develop a thoughtful new vocabulary. As Stephen R. Covey so beautifully elucidates in his foreword, "this masterfully written book will help you understand that words have an inherent power, a force capable of lighting one′s paths and horizons. Used correctly and positively, words are the first building blocks for success and inner peace. Used incorrectly and negatively, they are capable of undermining even the best of intentions. This is true in business, in personal relationships, and every other walk of life." By focusing on eleven words-one per chapter--Aspire! shows how to use these words as building blocks for success and inner peace. The words, from the very familiar to the very unusual, will become touchstones in personal development and in business.

Why this book ? : One day, out of the blue, I noticed an image of the cover of this book on Jada Pinket Smith's facebook page with her comment saying that it was "simple but profound" and a "must read".  Since she's one of the people I find inspiring and insightful, I decided to give it a try. Also, the reviews online are good.

My Review : Loved it! It was simple but profound indeed. Basically the author gives you an explanation of eleven important words and goes into details as to what they mean and how they can benefit your everyday life. He also gives a lot of examples and anecdotes that further illustrate the meaning and impact of these words. There are a couple quotes that really got me like, but the main one is : "Talent wasted is a sin". If you don't develop your own personal and unique gift, you're not only depriving yourself but the people around you. That resonated with me: loud and clear. 

I listened to it two times already.  Now I want to take the time to do the exercise he suggests to the readers, which is to make your own Book of Greats and find people that represent each words defined in the book. I most definitely recommend this book. 

Favorite quotes and notes from the book
Never treat people in a condescending way, including yourself. 
Always have two books with you : One for reading and one for writing.
Talent wasted is a sin.
Anything is possible if you are willing to pay the price.
Starting is easy. Finishing is harder. 
Live life in crescendo.  
A master never stops learning.
To inspire is to breathe life into another 

ANIMAL CONNECTIONS 008 : drinking with monkey

You can almost see the monkey (a tufted capuchin) think about the taste of the beverage in this image. Capuchin monkeys are said to be the most intelligent of the New World Monkey. They can use tools and teach their offsprings to do the same. The most fascinating thing about them is the possibility of them being self aware, or close to it. According the the research of Dr Frans De Waal, a dutch primatologist and ethologist, capuchins recognize that the "monkey in the mirror" is not another monkey behind glass nor is it a stranger. During their experiment, the found that female capuchins would find themselves almost enticed by their reflection and male capuchins would freak out and try to escape the room. 

Three Wise Tilleys

Last night, I finally decided to enter the sixth annual Eustace Tilley Contest, which involves reinterpreting this iconic character from the New Yorker. I learned about this contest through the Blown Covers tumblr last month, but I couldn't think of anything clever enough to submit. Having participated to the Blown Covers contests a couple of times last year, I quickly realized how clever the idea behind most winning drawings were and that in order to win, you need a strong concept. 

I wasn't going to enter, but last night I just decided to doodle until some sort of idea show up and came up with merging the iconic dandy with the three wise monkeys concept. I made the sketch last night and completed the drawing this morning. Now I have a submission and I'm rather happy with it.

The contest ends tonight at 11:59 pm (if you're interested). Twelve winners will be announced and you'll be able to pick your favorite amongst them between January 14 and January 22. The top five readers' choice will received a signed copies of the book, Blown Covers signed by Francoise Mouly, author and creator of the Blow Covers contest. It's a pretty neat price and I'd like to win it. Now it's time to wait and see.  

wake up

walls notebook
Inspiration comes with work. As much as I sit down and wait for a brilliant idea to just magically appear in my head, the best (and hardest) thing to do is just start doodling. Eventually something good will come out of it. So after waiting for a great idea to show up so that I can fill my Walls Notebook with some amazing graffitis, I decided to force myself to sit down and start doodling with a pencil. After a couple minutes, I though of two words : "wake up". Then something started. Ideas began to form. Next thing I know, I had a plan. I did a little reference research, started to draw my idea. As I was drawing, it generated more ideas to tweak what was already there. And soon I was done! Above a photo of the final result with the tools I used to create it. Not bad for doodling!  I'm quite happy with the final result too. 


Inkling digital pen by Wacom

I just discovered this gem of a product (or at least it looks like a gem, since I haven't tried it yet), called Inkling by Wacom. It gives you the best of both worlds : The ability to draw on paper and have it recorded digitally so you can tweak it on the computer without having to essentially start from scratch. You can even record your drawing in different layers! 

This little portable machine currently retails for $200. It includes a digital pen, a rechargeable pen battery, a pen ink cartridge, a charging case, a receiver, a rechargeable receiver battery, a usb cable, four spare pen ink cartridges, and Inkling Sketch Manager Application and a guide. 

Inkling digital pen by Wacom

Inkling fascinates me. It's so futuristic. The online reviews seemed rather positive. So it's going on my wish list as the first item of 2013 :)
Inkling digital pen by Wacom

ANIMAL CONNECTIONS 007 : sharing a meal with a tiger

There's a place in Thailand where monks live along side tigers. Known as the Tiger Temple, this place is said has been rescuing abandoned cubs for the past fourteen years. Tigers and monks live side by side and it seems to work. There's something fascinating about the possibility of humans and tigers living in harmony like this. 

ANIMAL CONNECTIONS 006 : a girl and her giraffe

Giraffes are very interesting animals. For some reason, I always thought of them as the gentle and passive type until I saw them fight online.  Have you ever seen a giraffe fight? It's the weirdest thing ever. They use their neck to hit their opponent's neck or legs. It seems so wrong, but I guess that's nature for you. 

jar challenge 2013

Back in 2011, I saw this interesting concept from Craighton Berman called Sharpener Jar as a way to for a artists to quantify their creative output. It's essentially a jar with an integrated pencil sharper that allows you to keep a large amount of shavings.

As I was starting to get back into drawing, I thought it was a fun visual way to see the work done and motivator at the same time. As I had a couple of empty jars waiting for a purpose in life, I decided to give this concept a try in 2012. I even took pictures of the first five months. And although I stopped taking monthly pictures, I continued to save the shavings and took one last picture at the end of the year. Results : I managed to fill half of a jar. Not bad, but I can do better. So I'm challenging myself to do it again ...

So I emptied my 2012 jar and I'm ready for 2013.