EDM 86 : Traffic Sign

Today's challenge was to draw a traffic sign. I sketched a no entry sign I saw when I was in Barcelona last year. I had to do a double take because it looked legit for a moment. I realized that someone had added a little stick figure on to of it cutting the white bar. Well done. 

EDM 85 : Neighbourhood Store

Today's sketch challenge was to draw a local store. One of the places I really like to go to is our local butcher. They offer local organic meat as well as great sandwiches and prepared meal. It' nice to be able to get exactly what you want as opposed to pre-packaged meat that come from random unknown places. Even my dog notices the difference. 

EDM 84 : Bread

The challenge today was to draw bread. There are so many different types of bread around the world it took me a while to decide. I finally decided to draw BBQ Pork Buns. They are really good. I first tried them a long time ago with friends in Montreal's Chinatown. I was in awe of such an ingenious way to eat what is essentially an enclosed warm sandwich. The cleanest sandwich you can have. Nothing spills out. It's the perfect street food.

EDM 83 : A Nearby Body of Water

Today's challenge was to draw a nearby body of water. One of my favourite is Lake Ontario from Toronto's waterfront. I can't wait for the weather to be nice enough to go sketch there and explore a little more. I was there a little over a year ago on a sunny day, walking along the boardwalk and was inspired by the beauty of the surroundings. I took a couple pictures including the one used to create today's sketch. 

EDM 82 : My Art Space

For Day 82 the challenge was to draw my art space. Where ever I bring my sketchbook becomes my temporary art space. My ideal art space is outside with a great view on a warm sunny day, especially in places like Barcelona and Ibiza :)  That's one of the main advantages of being an urban sketcher. I also spend a fair amount of time sketching on my desk in front of my computer so I chose to sketch that. 

Sketchnotes from Neil DeGrasse Tyson's Lecture

The lecture by Neil DeGrasse Tyson was awesome. He's a really funny man who also happens to be a physicist. It was great to see how comfortable he seems to be on the stage and interacting with the audience. It looked like he was having as much fun as we were. 

I learned quite a few interesting things during his lecture and took a few sketchnotes as shown above. He had this really neat tree of life image showing where humans are amongst all living things. It was quite fascinating. He also spoke about his observations of the world in relations to science, how general views of science has shaped history and its importance in the world. There was also a Q&A session at the end that kept us there until 11PM. I get the impression that he would be a really fun person to hang out with and talk to.

Sketching While Waiting for a Dunlap Lecture

I got a chance to attend Neil DeGrasse Tyson's lecture the other day at the Convocation Hall of the University of Toronto. Since Dr. Tyson is kind of a big deal, the organizer's repeatedly reminded us to be there in advance and that any empty seats would be given away after a certain time if the ticket holders didn't show up in time. So I made sure to be there in advance and brought my sketchbook to do a bit of urban sketching while waiting for the lecture to start.

I first sketched the crowd and view from my seat. I was lucky to get a seat where I had a great view of the stage and screens. People around me were keeping busy playing guessing games, talking and watching videos of Tyson on their laptop. There ushers were making sure every seat were occupied. They did a good job organizing the crowd. Each areas were filled in sections as people came it. The main floor was filled before people were directed to the balconies.

The convocation hall has great architectural features. It has a cupola with interesting carvings around it. I attempted to reproduce one of them. On the right is one of the attendants who was reading from his tablet while waiting for the lecture to start. After the initial introduction, I switched to sketchnoting

First World Dog Problem #12


Sketching at the Bedford Academy

Some members of the Toronto Urban Sketchers group got together for a brunch and sketch at Bedford Academy. We got a nice cozy spot where the temperature is above zero and there's a lot of natural sunlight. I attempted to take a picture of the room I sketched with my drawing but the reflected light was too bright to show the background. There was a group of four eating and talking together that I was able to capture. They seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Since we stayed there for a couple hours, I also got a chance to sketch a customer (on the left) who was very animated with during his conversation with his friend and had an interesting style. After they left I also captured one of the sketchers sketching (on the right) and bits of conversation we had during our session.

We had a great turnout and the sketchers did a great job capturing various elements of the pub as well as the group.

EDM 81 : Street Lights

Today's challenge was to draw streetlights. They are really boring around here so I decided to draw what I wish our streetlights would look like instead. Phillips created this really neat solar and wind powered street light concept inspired by flowers. It would be so much better than what we have right now.  I wonder what's the hold up. 

EDM 80 : Something Happy

The challenge for Day 80 was to draw something that makes me happy. There are a lot of things that make me happy so it was a little hard to choose but I chose the 24hoursofhappy.com website. When  I need a little boost, I just go on the site and watch random people dancing. For some reason seeing them dancing while listening to that song makes me smile. 

Artst Tlk Sketchnote with David Salle and Kaws

The Arst Tlk episode with Brian Donnelly (known as Kaws) and David Salle was interesting because I got to see and compared two different paths of the life of artists of two different generations: 

Donnelly, born in 1974 in Jersey city, would take the train to Manhattan and create graffitis, which led to him traveling and meeting other graffiti artists from around the world and even trade his art for a trip to Japan. I know of his work because of people like Pharrell and Kanye West who bought his art. Pharrell has a giant sculpture of his in his Miami home (photos by The Shelby) and Kanye's 808 Album cover was his art. 

Salle, born in 1952 in Oklahoma, raised in Wichita Kansas, moved to New York to pursue a serious career as a painter, but had to get various jobs to support his art until he became more established. His path is more traditional. 

One thing I retain from this talk is the opportunities in bartering for artist. Definitely something I need to look into. 


Reading and Subway Conversations

I recently started to record conversations when I'm sketching people in the subway when my  view is blocked or I'm not in the mood for sketching for whatever reason (it happens). It's a fun way to get an even better picture of what was going on at the time and keep "taking your pen for a walk". 

Last night in the subway I was sketching this guy intensely reading a book and when he moved out of my view I started to record the conversation of people nearby. I like the result. 

EDM 79 : An Ear

The sketching challenge this time was to draw an ear. I took this opportunity to learn a little more about this complex shaped body part. I never realize how different the shape of someone's ear can vary from another, not only is size but in shape too.

EDM 78 : A Souvenir

Today's sketch challenge was to draw a souvenir from a place I've been. This is a bag I bought in Ibiza last summer when I was looking for a larger bag to hold my art supplies while exploring parts of the island. The transaction was done in English and Spanish. :) I normally don't go for colourful bags but I guess when you're on vacation on a sunny day, I tend to be a little more "daring". 

EDM 77 : Something Cold

This time the challenge was to draw something cold. I'm not a fan of the cold but I'm a fan of the ice hotels in Quebec city and in the village of Jukkasjärvi in Sweden. I have yet to go and it's on my bucket list of places to visit. I'm not sure I would be able to stay overnight surround by snow walls and ice windows, but it must be so pretty in real life. 

EDM 76 : Flowers

The challenge today was to draw flowers in bloom. We're still a long way before the flowers bloom in Toronto but I'm looking forward to go see them at High Park this spring. I've heard a lot about them and I can't wait to go sketch them. 

EDM 75 : Ingredients

Today's challenge was to draw ingredients and/or process of a favourite recipe. I chose this simple, healthy and delicious dessert called German Chocolate fudge bites. All you have to do is blend all the ingredients together, make small balls with the dough and they are ready to eat. My version had almonds instead of pecans. It was the perfect guilt free dessert. 

First World Dog Problem #11

CSI Coffee Pub

Today I met with a couple people at  CSI Coffee Pub. They have a large open space with an interesting decor. One of the things that I like about the design of the space was the installation on the windows. Plants were suspended from the ceiling right in front of the windows in a nice grid of three columns and three rows. It looks like whoever installed this put careful thought on how to arrange the plants as the larger ones were aligned on the top and bottom row and the smaller ones were aligned in the middle row. It's a clever way to add plants and art in the room without taking any extra space. 

There was a lot of people working in the space. It seems like it's a popular spot to work in group. In front of me was a group of people seemingly working on solving a problem. Who knows, they might be working on the next big social media application. 

EDM 74 : Clouds

Today's challenge was to draw clouds. I love watching clouds from above, in a plane. It's always sunny above the clouds. I really like watching the big fluffy ones that look like giant cotton balls. They sometime create amazing landscapes of giant cloud mountains and it's fun to imagine myself walking on them. 

Back Sketching at The Allan Garden

It's still cold outside in Toronto but at least we have the Allan Garden to be surrounded by plants. A group of us went there to sketch and were welcome by the beautiful smell of the flowers for the spring show. I spend most of my time in one area, interacting with the other sketchers and working on my plant sketching skills. It's a little overwhelming because there are so many plants and it's hard to know where to start and how much details to put in. It's still a fun exercise and I can already see improvements compared to my previous sketch from there. I'll probably go back and sketch there again. 

Below are some of the sketches from the group using various mediums.

EDM 73 : A Mailbox

Today's sketch challenge got me thinking about how boring most mailboxes are in apartment and condo buildings. It seems they haven't changed for hundreds of years. They are the same ridiculously small grey boxes where your magazines and large envelopes get squished all the time and you can't receive large packages. I don't understand why. There are other more aesthetically pleasing options, especially in Europe. A bit of colour and larger format would be a great improvment. I blogged about this a couple years ago after seeing original mailboxes in a small apartment building in Ibiza. I did a little search and discover a fun mailbox like the Mailbox Mail Me designed by Fabrica. It would be great to come up with new and original mailbox designs for multi-unit buildings. Perhaps I should look into this as some point in the future. 

EDM 72 : Somewhere New

The challenge for today was to go somewhere new and draw the place. I didn't have time to go anywhere today but last summer, before going to Ibiza I found out about Es Vedrá, an uninhabited island with an interesting history and random myths. I forgot about it until we were about to land and I realized that we were flying right over it. It's beautiful! Then throughout our stay Es Vedrá randomly came into our conversations with different residents of the island and how we should go visit it. We didn't get a chance to go that time, but hopefully next time I'll get a chance to visit and sketch it. Actually, it would be great to have an urban sketcher symposium in Ibiza. Just putting the thought out there :) 

Artst Tlk Sketchnote with Karim Rashid and Kenny Scharf

I tried a new method for the Artst Tlk episode with Karim Rashid and Kenny Scharf, using color pencils and markers. It takes a lot longer than watercolours but it's more precise. I was getting a little impatient, but I guess it's a good way to work on that aspect. 

The interview is really interesting. I'm a huge fan of Karim Rashid. I've been following his work for a while and love the way he approaches design : It's modern, fun and comfortable. I even had the opportunity to purchase his Oh Chair for a design project a couple years ago and saw one of his bar design in Vegas. One of the main statement I retained from him is the fact that whatever he feels he wants to do, he tries whether he's good at it or not. Judging by his success, it's a great way to approach challenge and create a great body of work. 

I'd seen Kenny Scharf's work before but didn't know who he was until I saw the interview. It's interesting to see two different approach to improving our surroundings and the various objects we come in contact with. Kenny's driving force is elevation from the mundane and making the world less boring. I think a lot of public places would greatly benefit from some of his art and break the monotony a little.  

EDM 71 : Something Representing Your Favourite Sport

I haven't played sport in a while, but I used to like playing tennis. I liked playing other sports such as volleyball, basketball and soccer, but out of all of them, tennis was the one I put more time in. So for today's challenge I decided to draw a tennis ball. 

EDM 70 : What You Are Afraid Of

Today's challenge was to draw something I am afraid of. What came to mind is the fear of not realizing my full potential. Fortunately, I'm working at it with the goal of creating great body of work. 

One of the things that got me started to draw and paint again was the realization, a couple years ago, that our life is like a big blank canvas and we each have the opportunity to create a masterpiece with the tools that are given to us. I realized that I was spending more time watching others create masterpieces and ignoring my own canvas and set of tools. So I decided to switch from being mostly a spectator to becoming a more active participant, figuring out my tools and experimenting with them. I honestly believe that everyone is an artist. The engineer, the model, the cook, the actor, the teacher, the programmer, the electrician, the fashion director, the plumber, etc. : they are all artists who have the opportunity to create unique masterpieces using different sets of tools. It's really a matter of discovering what these tools are, figuring out how to use them and create as much as possible. 

EDM 69 : A beverage

Today's sketching challenge was to draw a beverage. I don't drink a lot of soft drinks but from time to time I get San Pellegrino. I think the first time I tried it was in Ibiza a couple years ago. Vodka lemón was a popular drink in the bars and they were using this brand. I like it because the ingredients are simple and mostly natural. No aspartame, no glucose-fructose, no artificial colours or other weird stuff. 

EDM 68 : A computer

Today's challenge was to draw my computer. What is a computer? Wikipedia defines it as a general purpose device that can be programmed to carry out a set of arithmetic or logical operations. By that definition, a computer is not only the desktop computer we're used to, but it's also a mobile device, a digital camera, an ipad, a laptop, a tablet, and more. So for this challenge, I sketched my most intriguing computer : my iphone. I'm intrigued by the numerous possibilities and untapped potential of this little device that has 240,000 times more computing power than the Voyager

First World Dog Problem #10

TGIM 21-Day Challenge Workbook

TGIM 21-day Challenge workbook
This week's TGIM is a call for action. ET challenges us to challenge ourselves in achieving a goal in 21 days. Since the purpose of this video is to get people get results, I decided to change things up a little and create a workbook to track my progress. 

The workbook is a simple 25 page printable pdf file that includes space to write your goals and list the tasks you need to do each day to achieve them. I also added a page to break down your main goal in 21 manageable mini goals, and  a result assessment page at the end. 

I intend to use it myself for one of my goals and see how far I can take it. I figured I would share it in case it can help other people who will also take on this challenge.

To download your copy of the workbook file click here
TGIM 21-day Challenge workbook

EDM 67 : Something About Mom

The challenge today was to draw something that reminds you of your mom. I drew this ring that I wear almost all the time and belonged to my mom. The ring is simple and yet complicated to draw at the same time because of it's odd angle. I love its simple lines, it's very modern. 

EDM 66 : A Yellow Fire Hydrant

Today the challenge was to draw a fire hydrant. Fortunately I didn't have to go outside to draw one as there are two I can see from our windows. They was too far to see the details, but close enough to get the basic idea. 

Did you know that fire hydrants are color coded? The color of the bonnet or nozzle cap indicates how much water fire fighters can get from the hydrant and lets them know what size hose to use. It's interesting to see how little fire hydrants have changed over the years. They essentially look the same as they did 100 years ago. 

Reference: National post

Dr. Sketchy Toronto with Cassia Sparkle

I finally got a chance to attend a Dr. Sketchy event in Toronto. The new organizers recently started these unique life drawing sessions in Toronto after a 3 year hiatus. The drawing sessions are held at Round Venue located in the Kensington Market. It's my second time at this venue for a sketching event and I like it, it has a really nice vibe.

Our burlesque model this time was Cassia Sparkle : the living mermaid. She brought three wardrobes and posed for three hours. I was able to produce a lot of sketches that night and added color later on at home. It's definitely something I'm going to try to do on a regular basis. The organizers also ran a couple sketching contests during the breaks and winners were able to get a couple fun prizes. 

The food there is really good too. I got to try their poutine presented in a jenga-like tower. :)

The caliber of artists attending this event is quite impressive. I only had time to do some pencil sketches, while others had fully colored rendering of the model and great cartoon versions of her.

EDM 65 : A nose

Day 65 of the Everyday Matters challenge calls for a nose. I waited for my dog to fall asleep and was able to capture his little brown and pink nose. Since this little nosey guy likes to smell everything, he's the perfect candidate for the challenge. 

EDM 63 & 64 : Metallic surfaces

The challenge for Day 63 was to go on a nature walk, pick up an item and draw it. It's still a quite cold around here and going on a nature walk in this temperature was not going to happen, specially living in the city. There's mostly snow and dirty trash. The alternative was to draw something that was picked up by my husband at the store that day : a pack of Sapporo, Japanese beer. They come in tall aluminum cans and have a neat design. It was a great opportunity to practice metallic material and reflection. 

For day 64 the challenge was to draw a sink. I drew the the bathroom sink, but concentrated on the faucet that I don't like. There's essentially four setting to this faucet : Scorching hot, uncomfortably hot, uncomfortably cold and freezing cold. They should seriously discontinue this model of faucet. But it was a great opportunity to practice a metallic surface again.