Thursday, December 31, 2009

Manic Coffee

Another coffee shop I had the pleasure of sketching in. However, the café americano was so so.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

sketchbook 30/12/09

Using two coloured pens. This is me being daring.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

sketchbook 23/12/09

The last spread in my current sketchbook. I had a lot of fun drawing the snapping turtle at the ROM today. Apparently snapping turtles are an invasive species to the Great Lakes ecosystem and as a result, are creating quite a bit of havoc to the natural native flora and fauna.

When my dad was in the hospital, he roomed with a few gentlemen. This is his second roommate, Guido. I kid you not.

This spread was a reaction to the first day back to the ROM in about a month. My main objective was to lay down a lot of ink. Subject matter wasn't too important.

My sister renewed my membership to the ROM and I have to say it is one of the most thoughtful birthday gifts i've ever received!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Mission accomplished: Naco Cafe and Zoots

It's 3am and I'm way too tired to comment on these images coherently. So I'll return to them in 8 hours.


Good morning all. It's 6.5 later and I'm feeling quasi rested. So as promised I'm here finishing this post. The Naco Cafe is located a block from my place and is owned and run by Julian, a really nice guy from Mexico, I believe. His cafe doubles as an art gallery and constantly has shows running there. I've been there in the past but this was the first time I really looked at the space and how it felt to be in there and it really had a cool vibe. Alot of eye candy going on in the space like the religious icons; a picture of jesus and the small devil's head over the doorway to the back. If you're in Toronto, you definitely should check this space out.

Another cafe is Zoots. It's owned and run by Melanie Janisee, a Detroit native who finally landed in Toronto. I was fortunate that Melanie was curious enough to come up to me to see what I was doing. From this she told me that the name Zoots was the name of the cafe that she worked at while she was in Detroit. So i guess this is Zoots, the Toronto Version. Thanks for letting me idle away a few hours away drawing your cafe, Melanie. (She's also a great artist herself who has a few pieces hanging on her walls, in particular some small vignettes outside the washrooms)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cafe at 181 Dovercourt Road

I was walking through my old stomping grounds and remembered a cafe on the corner that I always wanted to try out. So I did and I didn't regret the decision.

I couldn't find any name to the cafe other that the word "cafe" painted on the side of the building. Can you get anymore concise than that? I like it.

Amendment: I stand corrected. Thanks to Jen Spinner, the cafe is called, The Luna Café. Thanks, Jen.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Alternative Grounds Coffee House

The trouble with sketching in coffee houses is the seat availability. First come, first serve and so I didn't get the seat I wanted to do the interior of Alternative Grounds. So I had to settle for this view of the coffee grinder. I'll probably head back soon and try to draw a view that captures the window because it seems I've gotten into a pattern with the past two coffee houses of including the exterior facing window. So stay tuned and hopefully another Alternative Grounds image will be uploaded with a window in it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

TAN coffee

With the coming of winter, spending more time indoors is not an option, it's a necessity. I've walked by tthis coffee shop many times and always wanted to sketch this bean roaster. So here it is.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


My dad was admitted to the hospital this past weekend and although these are not the circumstances I would have liked to draw him under, these images and this blog try to reflect the experiences in my life.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

sketchbook 11/11/09

I returned to the Art Gallery of Ontario for the second time since the Gehry renovation. It's still an inspiring space and I had hoped to climb the serpentine staircase that cantilevers and inhabits the Walker Court, the main foyer upon entering the Gallery. Unfortunately, it was closed due to over use and a ventilation system was being installed (Frank Gehry didn't anticipate the humidity created by the heavy traffic up and down those stairs). So the closest I got was this sketch.

I also went did a sketch of the Henry Moore Sculpture studio. A Canadian sculptor who produced these powerful, primal, bone like figures. Simply beautiful.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

sketchbook 10/11/09

I had the entire image laid out in my mind. However, it seldom works out the way I usually see it. The gentleman with the glasses was supposed to be sitting to the right of the gentleman with the English style riding cap… slipped up on the proportions of this piece, but I thing it worked out well in the end. Also i couldn't resist sketching the gentleman with the cowboy hat. Who wears a cowboy hat in Toronto?!

For Andrew

A long time ago, my friend Andrew asked me to draw him an image with a castle and fish in it. He didn't specify anything else other than those two elements. I didn't of course, because I was just too lazy. More recently he asked me to draw the young boy I saw who had ta unibrow (i KNow, very un-PC, but the image stuck in my mind). Well I thought the timing was right so I incorporated his initial request with this request.

So here you go, Andrew.

Monday, November 09, 2009

sketchbook 09/11/09

Took a break from some computer work and sketched at the Bloor Gladstone Library.

I'm kicking myself for not sketching outside because it was such a beautiful day...oh, well.

I mucked the bottom lettering. Was trying to take advantage of the transparent nature of the watercolour to get a duo reading.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

sketchbook 08/11/09

I spent an enjoyable, quiet afternoon at Starbucks sketching people.

Friday, November 06, 2009

sketchbook 06/11/09

This is the façade of the old ROM sketched from a walkway that leads to the new Crystal wing. The walkway had a great irregular shaped opening that I thought would be a nice framing device for this view. I wished I got a bit more of the opening

A few things I learned today:

1. Allan Gardens Conservatory is spelled with an "A" instead of an "E"

2. me+watercolour+drawing vegetation don't mix well.

3. sitting on an iron bench for a few hours-- not very comfortable, on several levels.

4. Bring an apple next time.

5. Another great indoor location to sketch for the up coming winter… and it's free.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Sketchbook 05/11/09

The big puddles of ink are covering mistakes. There I said it. One of the rules I've applied for myself for this sketchbook is not to skip any spreads. So I had to do something with the smudges. My initial action was to ignore it, but in the end I liked how these smudges sat in relation to the drawing. The addition of the date was an after thought.

I had made it an objective today to draw 2 spreads. This is the second one and the colour elements were added at home.

There is no rationale for the colour and shape of these forms other than the fact that I wanted them there. I know, I'm a bad ass, a rebel in a cardigan.
Actually, to apply a bit of arm chair psychology, I think it's a willful response to all the rationalizing i had to do as a graphic designer when I worked in an office.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

sketchbook 04/11/09

I's so hard sketching meat! Gotta get down to the St. Lawrence market more often to sketch carcasses...hmmmm, dinner....

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Saturday, October 31, 2009

sketchbook 31/10/09

I didn't have the energy to wander further a field so I returned to Dufferin Mall to sketch people in the food court. What I noticed right away was the large congregation of older european men talking to each other in smaller clusters. I also noticed that most of these gentlemen had really unique shaped ears and noses. Something to sketch, you say?! Absolutely!

sketchbook 30/10/09

I house sat for sister again. She works in a vet's office and is a softie when it comes to animals. So since the last time I was there, she added to her menagerie a hamster named, Peaches.

To house this small fur ball she and her husband bought a state of the art cage called the habitat ovo, a modular system that allows a person to add on more space to the main unit. Very colourful and fun to watch as Peaches ran a circuit while Charles, the cat, eyed her like a walking snack. Very fun, indeed.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Varsity

Well a few days ago I accepted a request to illustrate an article from the Varsity, The University of Toronto's student newspaper. The article was about the differences in male/female brains and the nature vs. nurture issue.

Here are the roughs from thumbnail right up to inking and the finished piece… and I'm going to bed now.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

sketchbook 28/10/09

After completing the previous two spreads by fill hem entirely, this spread really feels unfinished and naked.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

sketchbook 27/10/09

Pre and post client meeting. Thanks to all my unwitting subjects for being such good models. Mwah ha hah ha.

Monday, October 26, 2009

sketchbook 26/10/09

Two things I realized while drawing this spread. I might have A.D.D., which would account for the numerous vignettes on the spread and I like my papermate pen. I was trying a new pen for the middle portion of the page, but it didn't have the right resistance on the page that the papermate ink has. I'll give the new pen another try since it was my first attempt at it (however, I'm forced into using it because I bought an entire box of the new ones and my frugal nature will not allow me to buy some more PM until i use up these ones… boy oh boy)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Varsity trials

Last month , the University of Toronto's student newspaper, The Varsity contacted me about becoming one of their illustrators. I guess it's flattering that someone would seek me out and invite me to illustrate for them, however, it'd be a bigger honour if they paid me for my drawings! However, I do understand that it's a student run paper and funds are limited. It'll also give me a chance to work with a real brief and timelines. Good practice for the real world, I guess.

The concept for the original request was to illustrate a student juggling too many things, such as school/deadlines, work, family, OSAP. I didn't have the time to submit anything for it, however, it gave me a chance to work on two new approaches to illustrating an image. Neither image really speaks to me, but I thought I'd throw it out there to see what you all thought.

Friday, October 23, 2009

sketchbook 23/10/09

Oh it felt so good to get back to my sketchbook. Went to the ROM to get the most of my's coming to an end and I need to pack in as many days there as I can.

It was serendipity once again, because there were some sketchers there who I got on paper. Actually it was a mini field trip for two people who appeared to be taking a drawing class with the woman who I got down on paper (lower right side).

Friday, October 16, 2009

sketchbook 16/10/09

First chance I got to sketch in a few days. I felt like a born again sketcher.
The lady in the image got a bit nervous I think towards the end of my drawing her. I guess i would too if I had a semi bald asian man openly looking at me in spurts!

But it was nice to get this in before more reality comes barging in and takes me away from my sketchbook.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

sketchbook 10/10/09

Now that I think about it, there were quite a few older folk around me having coffee.

Friday, October 09, 2009

sketchbook 09/10/09

Went to the Dufferin/Gladstone library today. This definitely will be one of the locations I come to during the winter to sketch. Location 2. Check!

I drew this with a mechanical pencil and I didn't realize how unresponsive a MP can be. However, I got looser towards the end and that's when I started drawing the pople at the bottom. The Dufferin/Gladstone Library's s story foyer are is great for sketching pople from above. I'd like to call it the poor man's gesture drawing class.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

sketchbook 08/10/09

Scouting for indoor sketching locations for the inevitable winter ahead. I found myself returning to the Harbourfront Centre and drawing Aaron and Bejamin, two glass blowers I've sketched before right here.

It also gave me the opportunity to practice drawing faces. Benjamin's pretty close, but Aaron's a ways off. I'm sure you'll be seeing more drawings from the Harbourfront Centre once the snow starts to fly.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Sketchbook 07/10/09

Trying something new. Moving away from creating a black outlined drawing and using pencil to capture the scene, following by watercolours. Verdict is still out but I will continue on with this process for now.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

sketchbook 06/10/09

Today I went to the Ontario Science Centre. I think The last time I went there was about 25 years ago (I kid you not).

So many things have changed in terms of new exhibition wings and the introduction of an IMAX theatre. However, like a salmon returning to spawn, I returned to the things I knew as a kid. That meant the large electric ball, for lack of a better term. Essentially a participant places their hand on the ball and shakes their head up and down until their hair stands on end.

I sat in on the first show and Doris was our host who enlightened me and 5 students who came on a field trip. She did a great job since it was a really tough crowd and by the end of it, she really got the kids going with her show and passed on a bit of knowledge about electricity.

Another point of interest was the Amateur Radio "shack" located on one of the stair landings. It was manned by two volunteers, Bill Thomson (depicted in the drawing) and Peter Dederer. The "shack" that they manned looked like a modified orange trailer with a window cut out from its side. This I thought was a perfect frame for my drawing.

A little about Amateur radio. Each Amateur Radio operator has a call sign and the Ontario Science Centre's sign is VE30SC. Radio frequencies are allotted world-wide by international agreement and several bands of frequency are designated for amateur use. Speaking to Peter, one of his joys of being a ham radio operator is connecting up with people from all over the world from different avenues of life. Image talking to a Prince in the United Emirate or a truck driver in Spokane (I guess the former would be unlikely, but I could definitely image talking to a truck driver in Spokane). So who needs facebook! just pick up a ham radio set and you're all set!

In addition, Peter gave me a go at tapping out a bit of Morse Code. Tapped out my name but I held the first letter a bit too long and Peter thought my name was "Til". Gotta work on my Morse Code.

Monday, October 05, 2009

sketchbook 05/10/09

I forgot how enjoyable drawing with pencil can be. I think I'll stick with it for a bit.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Shameless plug for family and a new friend…

My cousin Anna Quon, had her first novel published and she was in town to promote and do a book reading from it. It was only a matter of time before this would happen. She's a super talented writer and even better person. Way to go Anna!
You could purchase her book at the Women's Book Store here in Toronto or through Invisible Publishing, Anna's Haligonian publisher.

Attending Anna'a book launch was, Mike Holmes (NOT the TV home renovation celebrity). He also has a graphic novel out and was in Toronto to promote it at his own book launch/reading yesterday night. His book is called, "This American Drive". It's a book about his American road trip with his Texan girl friend, and the experiences they encountered, the food they ate, places they saw, and did I mention the foods they ate? (You really can't go wrong when a book includes, food, travel, and illustrations that depict the trip)

sketchbook 02/10/09

While waiting to attend my cousin's book launch/reading I grabbed a cup of coffee and did what I usually do in this situation.