Torontonian 10 : Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey is a very proficient actor and comedian who's done countless number of movies and TV shows and has a unique way of making people laugh and think. It's fascinating how multi-dimensional his comedy is. I once saw an interview with him and Oprah Winfrey and it was fascinating to hear about how he went about fulfilling his dream of becoming an actor. 

43rd World Wide Sketchcrawl in Toronto

Despite still being a little too cold to spend the days sketching outside, a group of us participated to the 43rd World Wide SketchCrawl. The plan was to go through a portion of the Toronto PATH and stop at various locations to sketch our surroundings. I had plan to start at Osgoode subway station, then visit the Four Season Centre for the Arts, the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel Lobby, the Richmond Adelaide Complex, the Hilton Hotel Lobby and then finish with a meal at the Vegetarian Haven. A few adjustments were needed in order to accommodate for the fact that the Four Season was closed, but it turned out great. We had a little over 20 participants and a lot of great sketches. (See the Toronto Urban Sketchers Facebook page for more pictures). 

I started sketching in the subway on the way to Osgoode station (colours were added later at home). There was not a lot of people around since it was rather early on a Saturday. 

Our first stop was at the Sheraton Hotel. They have a spectacular lobby including a beautiful courtyard with two waterfalls, greenery and stone sculptures. This was obviously a great subject to sketch and the sketchers were able to find comfortable places on two floors to sketch it. Can you spot some of them in the photo below ? 

Despite being a little chilly, I decided to venture outside to sketch the waterfall a little closer. It was warm enough for me to get most of my lines in but my fingers were getting a little too cold to complete it outside. It was great being in this little oasis, with the sound of the water in the background and birds chirping from time to time. Whoever thought about designing this area for the hotel created a great asset. As I was sketching, I was wondering about the bright leafy green near the stairs. It's obviously not quite the time for leaves to come out since it's still quite cold. I wonder what kind of bushes they are.  

After our sketching session at the hotel and a quick lunch, we headed over to the Richmond Adelaide Complexe and sketched items around the area. I spent some time in the sun outside and sketched one of the outdoor seating areas. I like the giant flower pots near the chairs. I'll have to pass by again later during the summer to see how it looks when the leaves are out. 

We then headed toward the Hilton Hotel and sketched in some of the areas around. There's this really neat building right in front of the hotel which is home to Momofuku restaurant. The entire building looks like a piece of art and includes a very complex sculpture. I later found out that it was made by artist Zhang Huan and the piece is called Rising. It is intended to be a philosophical reflection of the world around us. It was too intriguing not to sketch, even if it was very complex to draw, I gave it a shot. The sculpture has several birds seeminglly flocking towards a mass that looks like an abstract animal that's difficult to define. According to the info on the artist's site, the objective was to  convey the message that humans can exist in harmony with nature, and that, if this delicate balance is struck, our cities will become better places to live. Through the monster-shaped tree, he would like to advocate the protection of ecology, and the harmonious relationship between humans and nature. The doves in the tree symbolize the peace of the world and his wish is for beautiful city life to be shared by mankind and nature. I completely agree with his view. 

Unknowingly, and perhaps inspired by the sculpture, on our next stop I wanted to capture the fiberglass geese in the Toronto Eaton Centre. This installation was created by artist Michael Snow and called Flight Stop.  

Overall we had a fun and prolific sketching session for our first SketchCrawl with a lot of great talent and people sharing valuable ideas, insights, experiences, tips and tricks along the way. There's a lot to see in Toronto and I'm looking forward to do it again in the future so that we keep showing Toronto one sketch at a time. 

Torontonian 09 : Stacey McKenzie

I think the first time I saw supermodel Stacey McKenzie was on the TV show Canada's Next Top Model. She was one of the judges and I just loved how unique her look was. I was impressed to see that models didn't have to all look the same and it was very refreshing. I'm even more fascinated by her accomplishments and her story about how she became a model. She had a vision of who she wanted to be as a child and despite the difficulty to make it in the world of fashion she made it happen. She never gave up and trusted in herself. Reading her bio was very moving. Her spark happened when she saw a photo of Jean-Paul Gauthier and Madonna in a magazine when she was 6 years old in Jamaica. That's when she decided she wanted to become a model. Fast forward a couple years later, the first designer who fell in love with her and booked her for a fashion show was Jean-Paul Gauthier in France. How amazing is that! 

First World Dog Problem #15

Torontonian 08 : Deadmau5

The first song I heard and video I saw from Deadmau5 was Ghosts N Stuff. I thought it was a really catchy and fun video. Of course I especially like the mouse head concept. We went to see one of his set a couple years ago and seeing a big head playing on stage at a club definitely adds a fun atmosphere to the club. 

One of the things I find really interesting about him is that he shares his work process online and even though I'm no EDM expert, I find it very motivating because you get to see the amount of work it takes to come up with a good product. I used to leave his live stream playing in the background while I was working on interior design projects at 3-4AM. For some reason it was encouraging to not be the only one working during "odd" hours, trying to get things right. Now I'm more into his coffee run video series on YouTube. It's such a great opportunity to be virtually sitting with them and be able to learn from people who are doing what they are passionate about and are very successful at it. I find it very inspiring and manage to learn a lot from these little clips. 

Robarts Library

We had a great sketching event at the Robarts Library this weekend. It was my first time seeing this fascinating building up close. Built between 1968 and 1973, this brutalist style architecture has a lot of interesting angles and geometrical details to sketch. 

There was a lot of students studying in the building, so there weren't a lot of available seats nears the windows, but I managed to find a chair overlooking and interesting portion of the library. I really like the perspective between the shelves. Unfortunately my spot was near a cold vent, so I had to leave after a little while and completed the colouring at home. 

The 3rd floor gives  a great birds eye view of the main entrance on the second floor. The ceilings are really high and give a grand look to the place. Most students were fixated on their laptop. I'm sure it must be quite a change compared to how things used to be when the library first open in the early 70s. 

I ventured outside for a little bit to sketch a portion of the building since the weather a little warmer. Not warm enough to spend hours sketching details, but enough to get an idea of the building's architecture. I'll have to come back on a warmer day to try various viewpoints. It was really fun to sketch all these angles.  

Back inside, I sketched this student talking on the phone near the escalators from a floor above. It was a great opportunity to practice a birds eye view perspectives. 

We had a great turnout with a couple new sketchers including our youngest sketcher to date: only 6 years old. He did an awesome job! See if you can find his sketch :)

Torontonian 07 : Melanie Fiona

Melanie Fiona is another successful artist from Toronto with quite a few hits on the musical charts, including collaborations with several internationally renowned artist. She has an amazing voice perfectly suited for her traditional R&B style. She also used to be part of a girl group called X-Quisite.

Torontonian 06 : Bob Proctor

I first found out about Bob Proctor through a friend who shared a clip of one of his seminars two years ago. He's a successful author and coach from Toronto. There's one thing he said in the clip that literally turned an light bulb in my mind and got me to start focusing more on improving myself. He said, everyone should read books that allow them to study themselves and learn more about things that interest them. I had stop reading books after being force fed tons to technical books in university in such a way that my interest for reading completely vanished after graduation. But when I heard him say read books that help you understand you, I thought "why didn't I think about this before? It makes so much sense." So I started listening to audio books and reading books about things that interest me and that help me understand me and others more. I'm slowly building my library and expanding my mind :) 

Torontonian 05 : k-os

k-os is another great Toronto artist who marches to the beat of his own drum. He has a very creative and unique style. The name k-os originally meant "Kevin's Original Sound", and later developed to "Knowledge of Self", very fitting for this artist. I love his videos and the fact that he's got something to say and things that make you think when you take the time to listen to the lyrics. I think the first songs I heard from him were Crabbuckit and Heaven Only Knows

Commuters' Hairstyles

There are various triggers when it comes to choosing a model to sketch in the subway. For the two drawings above it was the models' hairstyle. The one on the left had a really high bun and I like her way the hair was wrapped above her head. The one on the right presented a great opportunity to study how hair falls in a loose ponytail. She was standing and reading a book. I've also taken a liking to add snippets of conversation I hear in the subway. Coincidentally on both occasion they were talking about a girl. 

Torontonian 04 : Kardinal Offishall

Kardinal Official has been a major player in the Canadian Hip Hop industry for a while now and judging by the songs he puts out, he's a very proud Torontonian. His videos are always fun to watch and he has a lot of great collaborations song with many internationally renown artists. 

Greatness is Upon You Project

If you bought ET's Greatness is Upon You book and workbook, you might have noticed my name in the credits. That's because I was fortunate enough to work with his team in the production of the books last year. I did the illustrations and created the layout for both the book and workbook. It still a little surreal to hold an actual copy in my hand after working on it on the computer. Just a couple months ago, I thought it would be cool to create some sort of day planner with ET after watching his TGIM videos on YouTube and next thing I know, a couple months later, I'm working on something similar to what came to my mind!

It's even more surreal to see people tweeting photos of them using the book and workbook. I'm glad I got a chance to contribute to this project and get to add one more check mark on my creative list. Hopefully I'll get to do this again. 

Torontonian 03 : Fefe Dobson

I think the first music video I saw from Fefe Dobson is "Take Me Away". There was something about her style, energy and attitude that was very refreshing and unique. She's got a great voice and style and has done quite good for herself thus far. I really like the creativity and storyline behind one of her latest videos called "Legacy". 

Torontonian 02 : Russell Peters

I had the opportunity to see Russell Peters' show in Montreal a long time ago. It was in a small venue, small enough that you could pick your seat and we sat at a table right in front of the stage, a couple feet away from him. He even asked me and my sister what was our background and made a funny impersonation of the Haitian accents. I think it's the only time I laughed so much at a show that my stomach muscles were hurting the next day. He's definitely one of my favourite comedians. I hope I get to see him again in a small venue perhaps in Toronto at some point in the future. 

Torontonian 01 : Rob Ford

I'm starting a new series this month to practice portraits with watercolour pencils. I thought it would be fun to sketch various well known Torontonians. First up : Mayor Rob Ford. The media loves to talk about him a lot. I can't imagine how stressful it must be to be mayor of such a big city. Mind you the city seems to be doing well despite all the complains I hear about what he might have done in the past. So far, all I've seen from the ones competing to take his job are bad jokes and repetitive insults but not much about what they are actually going to do for the city and day to day lives of citizens. It will be interesting to see how the elections pan out in the fall.

EDM 89 : Button

The last EDM sketch for the month of March : a button. I sketched one of the buttons from an old jacket. Well this was an interesting challenge for the month. It certainly got me to get more acquainted with my watercolour kit.