week 21 daily sketches

For week 21, I decided to practice sketching techniques from the Pencil Sketching book I bought not too long ago. Instead of using a pencil, I decided to use gel pens. I just reproduced some of the drawings that are in the book. It's one thing to learn from the theories, it's another to learn from practice and learning from practice is much more effective. I'm hoping this will help improve my sketching technique when I'm out and about urban sketching.

TGIM sketchnote 13

This week's TGIM sketchnote is a little more colorful. I guess I'm still working on my work :) There's always something that can be improved. I do critique my own work from time to time, but I never thought about studying my work before and reflecting on it. It's something I'm going to have start doing. It makes a lot of sense as it's more constructive than just critiquing the work. 


Italian Greyhound puppy Newton
Italian Greyhound Puppy Newton

Newton loves to run. We're discovering new places around town for him to run "free" and use up some of his abundant puppy energy by attaching a 50-foot rope to his leash and letting him run back and forth in the field. The rope is there just in case he decides to go after a pigeon and we have to run after him. He is FAST!  

Garden of Provinces and Territories tree sculpture

I did a quick sketch of a portion of the Garden of Provinces and Territories not too long ago, where there's a bronze fountain representing a tree and three opening on the wall in the back for water to pour into a zen inspired water feature. Unfortunately there was no water the day I did the sketch. I'll have to go back when it's in operation. 

TGIM sketchnote 12

Work! Work! Work! Work! Grind! Grind! Grind! Grind! I'm really feeling this week's TGIM. It's not going to happen if you just talk or write about it. I constantly have to watch out for the overplanning side of me where I can end up with a great plan and not much work done. There has to be a point where you just start and adjust as you go because things always changes anyway. With that said, I better get back to drawing :) 

week 20 daily sketches

My favorite one of the bunch this week is "Grumpy the ottoman bird". We have to keep it off the floor for now because the puppy likes to chew on its wings. 


This week, Newton finally got to meet his extended family dogs : Max (a border collie mix) and Aspen (a german shepherd), who are much bigger than him. Of course, that didn't phase him at all. He got right in there with them, playing tag, running around. He went on for hours. I have no idea how so much energy can come from such a little dog! 

At some point he was running laps with Aspen in the backyard while making the funniest bark ("yip! yip! yip!"). I wish I would have videotaped them. It was the funniest thing I've seen. 
Aspen pretty much adopted him as her own. It was adorable to see. I'm pretty sure she was teaching him a couple things that I can never teach him. She's a very smart dog.  Max was not quite sure what to do with him, Newton had way too much energy for him so he mostly watched him. 

It took a little while for him to settle down. He was just to excited to play with other dogs. But when we got back home, he totally crashed. 

manga inspired portrait

I'm a big fan of manga/anime style of drawing. I used to practice a lot when I was a little younger, watching TV shows like Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball and Great Teacher Onizuka. My brother and I would pause the recorded shows and draw them freehand. It's something that I'd like to get back into sometime in the  near future. I recently did this portrait of my brother in manga style using SketchBook Pro for ipad. I'm a little rusty. It's a little rough but it reminds me of Riley from The Boondocks :) 

twitter header design

Last week I closed my old twitter account to concentrate on my new projects. I feel, focusing on one thing instead of many will help me get more things done. Before closing it, I designed a little header that illustrates my move from the @m2jl nest to the @mjsketchbook. Since twitter is represented by a bird, I imagine my twitter name is a nest.  I really like the idea and wanted to share it with you. 

12 points in a classical balance

This really neat sculpture by Chung Hung is located at the Garden of Provinces and Territories, right in the middle on a field of grass. The abstract sculpture is made out of red cedar in the shape of a "loop" bending at 12 locations (points). It looks really nice against the various types of trees and was a good challenge to draw. I wonder if the 12 points was supposed to represent the 12 provinces and territories at the time, since it was built in 1982, before Nunavut was added. 

TGIM sketchnote 11

We're in the second quarter of the TGIMs so I decided to make some little adjustments to the look of my sketchnotes. It looks like this quarter is going to be about taking action. I always internalize ET's instructions and I can already see a couple thoughts I need change (not an easy thing to do, but it's necessary), some adjustments I need to make and massive actions I need to take. I guess we all have our weights we carry around in life for whatever reason and the key is to see how they can be used to help us get to the next level. There's a lot of things that involve an amazing life for me and I can tell you that my amazing life includes a lot of art and a modern luxury villa in Ibiza  :).

week 19 daily sketches

These are my daily sketches from last week. I like the fading background from the "Munny World" sketch. It wasn't planned. My marker was running out and I ended up with a better result from it.  It's my favorite background thus far from this "series".  Newton's non stuffed toy was interesting and challenging to draw. It turned out better than expected. The chew toy didn't turned out as I would like, but still interesting.  I'm also liking the border using the word "shower" on the side at the bottom. Will probably use that again somewhere else. 


Newton | Italian Greyhound puppy
Little red riding hood Newton got a new shirt this weekend, perfect for the cooler spring days. He's got the "eat treats" part, we're still working on the "keep calm" from time to time :p. 

the beer store

I did a quick sketch of the Beer Store in front on Dundonald Park the other day during our little walk with Newton. The yellow building really stands out on the street, you can't miss it. 

paint chip sketching

I'm testing a new idea for some of my urban sketches, using paint chips as a my "canvas". It's an interesting way to "add colours". These are my first few attempts. 

I've been able to complete two so far using permanent markers. The first completed one is a view of the Alexandria Bridge over the Ottawa River. While I was drawing it I met this old Metis man who was really happy to see me draw with Newton and told me about a tipi that's along the river near another bridge that I should check out. He also showed me how to write "Inuit", "Nunavut" and "Nunavit" in Inuktitut syllabics. It's a writing system used by the Inuit in Nunavit and Nunavik, Quebec. So I have also have neat  symbols in the back of that paint chip, which makes it more special. 

The second one is the view from the window of Whalesbone Fish Supply shop. I did it while waiting for our brown bag lunch. 

urban sketching bag

I'm on a hunt for an urban sketching bag and I'm considering buying the Covert Emissary Bag from Datsusara. It's all Daniele Bolleli's fault :) He talked so greatly of the bags before his podcasts that I had to check them out. And although that particular bag is not made with urban sketchers in mind, it seems like it would work well. It has tons of compartments and seems quite solid and is environmentally friendly. I'm also fond of the name of the company, Datsusara, which is said to be a Japanese phrase meaning "to leave the salaried/corporate worker life". There's even a cute little animations based on Bolleli's explanation of the brand. Unfortunately, they are currently out of stock and I'd love to get this bag before heading out to the Urban Sketcher Symposium this summer.  Hopefully, they'll be ready before then. 

science religion

Sometimes I get the impression that science is slowly becoming a religion with strick rules and doctrines on how things should be. It's strange to hear scientists mocking other scientists because they are studying things outside the currently accepted norms or are making discoveries that would completely change the way we currently understand various things in life. Or maybe it's always been that way? Change make most people uncomfortable and therefore always seem to bring a lot of resistance. The biggest discoveries of our time seem to always have encounter a lot of resistance. Perhaps as a scientist, it's a good way to know that you're on to something. I wonder if the next big step in science will include the study of consciousness.

park perspective

I get to visit a lot more parks with Newton around town and it's a great opportunity to do some quick sketches and test various pens. This time I used some random gel pens.  This little park is located near the Supreme Court of Canada. There wasn't a lot of people around when we were there on a Sunday afternoon. There are a couple benches for people to sit down. Some of the benches are oddly high for some reason (my feet couldn't touch the ground and I'm not short!). I wonder what's the story behind that. 

There's also a focal point (not shown in the drawing), where the yearly tulips are getting ready to show their colours. I noticed it as we were leaving. Maybe I'll go back and draw them next time.  

flight vol

MJ ILLUSTRATES | Urban Sketching - Ottawa | Flight Vol street art

This sculpture, located on the corner of Bank St and Spark St (Ottawa,ON), was created by Sorel Etrog, a Romanian-Canadian artist, writer and philosopher. Named "Flight Vol", it is made out of bronze and was part of the Canadian Pavilion during Expo 67 held in Montreal. It caught my eye as I was walking with Newton the other day. It's a very abstract and interesting sculpture to draw. To me it evoque the embrace of a couple.  

more daily sketches

Looks like I might be making more daily sketches to practice on a weekly basis. I find it not only helps to draw various objects faster, but also I get to test various techniques and layouts. I like challenging myself by not using an eraser and draw with a pen directly. I'm also playing with the lettering. I recently bought a calligraphy marker to change things up a bit. It takes a little getting use to but there's a lot of fun thing that can be done with it. The titles on the bottom three sketches were made using the calligraphy marker. 


Newton - Italian Greyhound puppy
Newton is exploring the city and turning heads. He gaining confidence everyday and is getting more confortable meeting strangers. It's amazing to see how quickly he gets over things that he's not sure of and how he challenges himself to just go for it. He can now grab things of the counter. That's 36 inches high for a 3.5 month old puppy! Unbelievable. This week he had an impromptu meeting with his pals at the vet this week. Everyone was happy to see him, except his mom. :(  

Above photograph by: Bruno Schlumberger, Ottawa Citizen
Newton's parents were also feature in the local news this week, as shown above. Wanna know where he got his good look from? Check out his dad (tallest of the bunch, second dog from the left) and his mom (black and white dog next to him). 

We found a couple secure places to let him run loose. He LOVES to run and is slowly starting to be interested in animals other than dogs. 

perspective exercise

The last homework from my online workshop is about perspective. Above is the final result. I was rushing to get this drawing done as the sun was coming down and took a picture of the area so that I could properly add the shading afterwards. That's a tricky thing with urban sketching : The longer you take, the more the scenery changes so it's important to be aware of that when you draw. When I have more time on site, I wait until I finish the line drawing and then add the shading all at once in order for the drawing to be more realistic as opposed to have shades from multiple time period. If I don't have time, I just take a picture and use it as a reference to add the final details afterwards. Adding people is a different thing. I like to add them as they come and go. I feel that way my sketch transcends time. 

dundonald park

Urban Sketching Ottawa Dundonald Park
Today was my first time attempting urban sketching with Newton. It's a little rough, but I'm hoping to do this on a regular basis so that it becomes more refined.  We went to the Dundonald Park and spend a little extra time sitting at the park and watching the comings and goings of people passing by and taking a little break. I also recorded sample conversations I overheard on the left (including those involving people coming to see Newton because he's so cute). I like the idea of recording conversations as well. I find it ads an interesting layer to the sketch. It's not my idea. I remember first seeing the sketch of a various conversations at a coffee shop and ever since I've been wanting to do something similar. I'll probably do it again.

jar challenge update 4

The month of April just flew by.  One third of the year is already over and I'm about half way through the jar. Not too bad :)