Archive for July, 2011


Suicidal Tendencies

July 31, 2011

This first drawing is of my two friends Manny and Janet (aka Manet) done one night when we were all playing games and laughing and having a good time. As you can see, I did not exactly capture the joy of the evening.

When Janet saw this she said, “Oh that must have been right before we committed double suicide.”

Since then I have tried to focus more on capturing facial expressions, which is something I find very difficult to do. Expressions are very fleeting and constantly changing.

When someone laughs or smiles or talks it doesn’t just involve their mouth. Their entire face changes shape with each new expression. The eyes, eyebrows, cheekbones, everything is affected. And when a person turns their head, even just slightly, everything changes again.

In order to capture an expression you really have to just take a picture with your mind and then try to sketch it out as close to that memory as possible.

Here is another drawing of Manet (along with my other friends Demis and Nicole) from another night when we were all laughing and playing games and having a good time.

I still haven’t captured the spirit of the evening, but at least these guys don’t look suicidal. And Janet has given her stamp of approval, which of course is the highest honor of all.


Ideal Conditions

July 30, 2011

These are drawings of old master paintings that I did while visiting art museums. Every once in a while the stars will align to put the following conditions in place:

1) Carrie has enough patience to stand still for a while.

2) The museum allows drawing.

3) No guards around to hassle Carrie.

4) No curious onlookers around to hassle Carrie.

The result = a pretty decent drawing. Conte crayon on gray paper.


Beauty and the Beast

July 23, 2011

I did this one last October when I saw Beauty and the Beast at Gammage Auditorium. It was a great show and I loved it every bit as much as the Disney movie. I don’t usually find stories about Stockholm Syndrome to be romantic, but this is an exception.


Lost and Found

July 22, 2011

A couple months ago my hiking club did a tough climb at Finger Rock in Tucson. It was a pretty small group and we all got pretty spread out on the trail. A couple of the women on the hike actually went down the wrong side and ended up getting very very lost.

Our fearless leader, Charles, found out that they were lost and spent several hours standing on a rock halfway up the mountain, in the heat, with no water, trying to direct them back onto the trail via cell phone.

While the three of them sweated it out on the mountain, I spent the evening in the parking lot, hanging out with two other hikers from the group. We had a good old time relaxing in cozy lawn chairs, replenishing our energy, and talking until nightfall. I did this sketch of Rob, laying on the pavement, and enjoying the fact that he was not lost.

The other three finally made it down safely and we all lived happily ever after. But we never did make it to our traditional post hike dinner.


Mixing Moments

July 19, 2011

Holidays with my family are extremely casual, fend for yourself, kind of affairs. We don’t dress up, we don’t clean up, and we’re more likely to order a pizza than cook a ham. This year, due to some scheduling conflicts, we did a Christmas Eve breakfast instead of dinner, and I spent most of the time working on this drawing.

Once again I made the mistake of “mixing moments” and getting odd results. I focused so much on trying to capture my bros with their mouths open, that I did not pay attention to what else was going on.

I never realized until after this drawing, that we humans don’t actually open our mouths to take a bite until right before the fork hits our lips. Here I’ve drawn their hands in a completely different moment, leaving them with their mouths hanging open in a sort of “duh”-like expression.

While technically I should consider this an error, I happen to love the dopey looks on their faces and wouldn’t change it if I could.


How to Be

July 15, 2011

Last Sunday my friend Janet and I took a day trip up to Flagstaff with big plans to do all sorts of productive activities.

Shortly after we arrived we set off for a long walk/hike at Buffalo Park and ended up getting caught in a heavy rainstorm. By the time we returned to the car we were completely soaked and wishing we’d had the foresight to pack extra clothes, or at least an umbrella.

So we found our way over to the mall and wandered off in separate directions to seek out new clothes and towels. We met up afterwards, all dry and newly attired, to discover that we’d bought the same T-shirt. Luckily the shirts were in different colors, so it wasn’t that obvious.

We continued shopping and walking around the mall until it closed and we simply had no other choice than to relocate to Pita Jungle for dinner. After we’d verified that the Flagstaff PJ was every bit as awesome as the ones in the valley, we headed over to Starbucks where Janet got to work revising her play and I read the paper and did this drawing.

Although the rainstorm ordeal may have made it sound like the day was a bust, we actually had a really fun time throughout the entire adventure. When the Starbucks closed down at 10:00 PM we finally decided to call it a day and head back to Phoenix.

By the time I got back home and into bed it was 2:00 AM, only four hours until I had to get up and get ready for work. I usually know better than to start the work week off on so little sleep, but sometimes you just have to say to say “screw it” and enjoy the moment.



July 14, 2011

Here is the sketchbook that I’ve been using lately. The covers are flimsy and don’t provide that support that I need, so I collaged things onto them in order to make them a little sturdier. On the front I have some pictures I saved from an old Futurama calendar.

The inside of the front has some random postcards from art shows, along with a sticker from Phantom Ranch to remind me that this is the sketchbook that I lugged down into and back out of the Grand Canyon.

On the inside of the back cover I attached a pocket so that I can keep postcards and other random papers. It is always handy to have a couple postcards around in case you want to draw something and you have no interest in drawing your surroundings. (Better artists than me would draw things from their imagination)

The photo of the old man sculpture is from a catalogue of an exhibit we had at the library a month or two ago. Sketches from that exhibit can be seen here:

On the back cover I pasted a large postcard that I got from the Bodyworlds exhibit a while back. The art anatomy reminds me of the life drawing books I studied in college. I had to add the Disneyland sticker to remind me that I’ve got drawings from my last Disneyland visit in here too.


No Pens Allowed

July 9, 2011

A few drawings from the Phoenix Art Museum, where it is absolutely forbidden to draw with a pen. They only allow pencil, which seems to be a rule enforced by only the lamest of museums. In the Louvre you can can take pictures with flash, you can set up and easel and do a painting right in front of the art, but in stupid old Phoenix Art Museum (which has a nice collection but seriously, nothing famous) it’s pencil only and even then you will have guards breathing down your neck. Same thing with the Guggenheim Vegas.

I actually enjoy drawing in pencil but it makes a big mess of the sketchbook and after a couple years of rubbing against the next page you are left with nothing but a large grey smudge. I have taken to taping a piece of wax paper over pencil drawings, and that seems to protect them  pretty well.


Washington DC

July 4, 2011

In the summer of 2009 my little brother got an internship in Washington DC, so I took the opportunity to go over there for a weekend to sketch, hang out with Brady, and try not to argue about politics.

We spent my first evening there rollerblading up and down the mall between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.

I made two attempts at the Lincoln Memorial. I have this obsession with Lincoln. Whenever I come across a Lincoln statue I must draw it.

The next day, Brady had to work, but part of his job is to give tours of the Capitol Building to visitors, so he gave me my own personal tour, which was way more interesting than I thought it would be and which included riding the secret underground kiddie train from the senate offices to the Capitol Building.

Then I went off to explore for the rest of the day on my own while he kept working. I probably walked about 10 miles going back and fourth between the major sites.

Eventually I stopped for lunch at Old Ebbitt’s Grill, where many presidents have dined, along with one of my favorite writers, Sarah Vowell.

After that I loitered around the National Gallery where I saw Manet’s Plum Brandy (one of my favorites).

And Rembrandt’s Polish Nobleman.

I even came across another artist…

Now what we have here is a drawing of a woman doing a painting of a painting by Berthe Morrisot. Oh and the Morrisot painting also has a painting in the background.

And on the right is The Ragpicker by Manet.

The next day Brady and I went to Iwo Jima.

Then it was back to Old Ebbitt’s for a drink.

Later that night we got in the car and tried to find a place to have dinner, but every place we went you had to pay at least $20 for parking. So we ended up in Maryland at a place called Plato’s diner, where Brady updated his Facebook and learned all about Scrapple.

All in all it was a pretty great time.

Happy Fourth!


A couple of gestures

July 2, 2011

Gesture drawings seem to come out better on the gray paper.