Materials don’t make the artist, but they can hinder the art

watercolor drawings of banana peopleSome recent spreads from my sketchbook. It is not a Moleskine— I chose a knock-off for this trip, which was a little wider, and had white paper instead of the cream color of moleskines. Unfortunately, though the paper is nice and heavy, this paper lacks the clay coating or whatever it is that makes a moleskine so great for watercolor.

watercolors of NYC iconsOn these pages, the watercolor just sinks in immediately, losing its vibrance and its ability to move around, meander a bit before settling.

The only color here that is vibrant is the cadmium yellow, which is a different brand of half-pan than I’ve been working with, which is more like a gouache, really. (The red on the second spread is mixed with some of that yellow)

It lacks true transparency unless used with a lot of water. A problem, as I tend to paint over inked drawings, whose lines can get obscured beneath it.

A couple of mild disappointments— and lessons!

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Returned from a trip abroad

cartoonish drawing of zac jon and i

Apologies for the long gap in activity here. I did so well with a minimum of 1-2 posts per week for over two years, and recently dropped the ball! I was on a trip to my usuals over the past couple of weeks; Amsterdam, Berlin, and Paris— photos forthcoming as I go through my selects, and follow the threads of some stories.

I traveled with Z, and by younger brother, J. We had a wondrous adventure and spent lots of time with old friends, and some new ones. Above is a little cartoon I drew of us one evening in Paris. This is purely from imagination, not a true portrait,  but I think it captures us on our trip rather well.

More posts to come very soon, as I find time here and there to process and unpack the many photographs (and thoughts, feelings) from my travels.

Most of her hair was piled up inside a wooly hat

ink sketch of the woman behind the bar

Just a little drawing I did yesterday at Halyard’s, where I stopped for a little while during my wander.

On Friday we leave for our trip to Europe! It’s been just over two years since my last visit, and I’m super excited. I still have some freelance work to do; drawings for the documentary— and of course my regular full time job as well. But no doubt this week will fly, as has this whole month.

On messing about with the interplay of color, briefly

abstract geometric watercolor composition

Here are a couple watercolor studies I did last night involving compositions of overlapping shapes. I haven’t touched my half-pans in months, and it was nice to get out the brushes again.

These are related -somewhat- to elements of a small design system I’m in the midst of at work for an upcoming event. In particular the top one, where the colors are doing their natural combinations when overlapped.

abstract geometric watercolor composition , another

This second composition was rather a departure or experiment that, while some interesting things happened, rather collapsed the visualization of the colors’ transparency. By removing the natural order of color interplay, the whole thing flattened out altogether to the eye. There’s no reason or logic to it.

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These are the last; there will be no more

sketches of people at the dinerOn offer today: some marker and pen sketches of folks from the last Friday night at Hope & Anchor. Officially closed as of Sunday, and as I understand they had a sort of second line jazz funeral for the beloved diner and karaoke joint of Red Hook.. It’s a place I’ll sorely miss; another casualty of the sweeping change that’s been a kind of secondary storm in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
pencil sketch of people at the diner

Jolly sketches of karaoke time at the diner

drawing of someone singing karakeSpent some time in Red Hook over the weekend; went to say goodbye to that institution of a watering hole Bait & Tackle, followed by a visit into Sunny’s (where yesterday’s photos originated), and finally dinner and some time with friends who sing at Hope & Anchor, also soon to be no more.

This is a city that changes constantly, it’s true. But there’s something altogether too fast about it when three places at the heart of a small community like the Hook all disappear in short order (the third will be Ice House; not sure when). It’s going to irrevocably change the fabric of that area, and for the worse, I’ve no doubts. Especially judging from the new bits of residential real estate that’ve been popping up.

Development, left unchecked, will be the undoing of any kind of character or authentic qualities this town has left.

ink drawing of someone singing karaoke

Everything pales as it recedes

Here is a fox. This is a study or start of the character design process. He will appear in the animated short I’ve undertaken to create. I’ve still not done any story boards, nor have I a story set in my mind, but I do tend to get ahead of myself with these things.

Below are some scratchy starts of other potential characters; deer, and the horses (who shall be background characters, seen off in the distance where the farm is). I’m beginning to have grasp what a lot of work this will require, creating the whole thing of layered pencil drawings! But jolly fun.

At the bottom you’ll see two of the six sets of trees that so far comprise my introductory forest scene; dark trees are foreground, and everything pales as it recedes.

pencil sketches of deerpencil sketches of horsespencil drawings of trees