A Bit Of Fake Location Sketching

I’m becoming frustrated about not being able to do sketching on location.  I did go for a walk in the rain, yesterday, though.  And when I went to Kristy Kreme to buy donuts I managed to draw a woman who was ahead of me in line.

Somehow that wasn’t sufficient, though, and when I got home I got out my sketchbook, pen and watercolors and went looking for a “location photo.”  I found this little girl and drew her very quickly, as I would have to do if she were standing in front of me.  Total time, including the paint, was no more than two minutes.  But this was enough to ease my frustration at least for the day.

Online Victoria And Albert Museum – Great For Artists



“Canada spends all spring waiting for spring to arrive.”


I don’t know who wrote this. It was a blurb associated with a Weather Channel video.  It may be the best descriptor of how a sketcher feels in Canada when he/she looks outside.  I was supposed to go to a coffee shop to sketch this morning because it was supposed to rain.  Well, it did rain, kinda sorta.  It is currently raining ice pellets and accompanied by high winds.  As crazy as I am, I’m not crazy enough to go out in that mess.  And so I’ll write about art instead [sigh].

Indoor art it is.  I’m probably the only guy on Earth to discover the Victoria and Albert Museum’s online resource, but I got excited when I found it.  I haven’t seen an online resource that provides such high-resolution graphics of museum holdings, allowing the user to zoom and scroll over the work.

Here’s an example and one I’ve started to work from, a sculpture by Aime-Jules Dalou of a woman nursing her child.  If you click on the website image you’ll find several images of the statue and the ability to scroll around them, zoom into them.  I decided not to do the entire statue but rather to zoom in, rotate a bit and capture a more typical portrait graphic.  This was the result.

I’ve only started on the drawing and stopped with a very light massing in of tone.  I stopped because I’m not sure if I want to complete it with pencil, the original idea, or to do watercolor washes to capture the sepia look of the statue.   This is done on Stonhenge paper, though, so I’ll probably proceed with pencil, taking me down yet another road where I have little experience.  I did increase the contrast of this scan somewhat because many of the lines are very light.  Hopefully working on this will mitigate my frustration of those ice pellets hitting my window.

France Belleville-Van Stone Is The Bomb

One of my favorite sketching books is Sketch, by France Belleville-Van Stone.  The “how to draw content is great but what I really love about the book are the early chapters on her philosophy, the value of art, and how to approach doing art.  Like her videos, there is a clarity and practicality in her words.

France has been doing real-time videos of her drawing process for several years and I have watched many of them.  I haven’t gotten involved because she did them on Sktchy, which for the longest time operated as though there was only one operating system in the world and it wasn’t the one I used.  I don’t think it is that way any longer but their resistance to things Android and Windows still leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

I actually missed her transition but France now has her own site from which she streams her videos and classes.  When I found this to be the case I signed up for her latest, Showing Up At The Page.    It’s a series of videos where we draw animals, cars, people, etc. and all done in France’s typical style, though with a slightly looser hand that she calls “fuzzy hatching.”

I certainly need more hatching practice and my drawing has become pretty sloppy due a drawing kinda-sorta-hiatus to replace a knee, live through a pandemic, trying to oil paint and all the rest.  So, this should be very good for me.  It also fits my recent goals of  learning to see surfaces/form more than just contour edges.  Here’s my first attempt, done with a Bic ballpoint pen.

Some More Daily Doodles

I thought I’d post some more of my daily doodling, mostly because my doodles from the past couple days have been different than those I posted in my last blog.  Rather than scan these I just took photos of the pages.  Hope that’s ok.

Sometimes I just start doodling and this typically means a labyrinth of pipes and containers.  This little one, done in my scribble book is no exception.

There’s a white, porcelain cookie jar in our kitchen and I did a quick scribble of it in the same sketchbook.

I got to do a few people sketches yesterday.  These were done in a 5×8 sketchbook using a fine Micron pen.

I’m a big fan of France, aka “Wagonized” and I was watching one of her ballpoint pen videos.  While she did a very nice drawing I did this tiny prairie dog in my scribble book using a purple ballpoint pen.  I’ve got to pay more attention to ballpoints.  They sure are handy and CHEAP.

We’ve remained above freezing for the past 24 hours.  This may not seem like much but for us it’s significant.  Some finches showed up at my feeder today too.  Spring is definitely in the air.

Preparing For A Season Of Street Sketching

It’s -10C outside my window at the moment and the sidewalks here are full of ice, very lumpy ice.  But weather reports suggest that melting should commence in earnest starting tomorrow.  My daughter tells me that Montreal sidewalks are free of ice so that’s a hopeful sign.  Anyways, very soon I’ll be joining those of you who are currently scurrying about your cities drawing cherry blossoms and crocuses (grin).

I’ve been involved in learning to paint, or attempting to and because of that I haven’t been drawing much.  I decided that I should get some pointy sticks out and start pushing them about to see if I still can.  Also, in the recent past I made a comment about not posting my casual sketches and someone asked me why not and encouraged me to do so.

In answer to the first question I just don’t want my practice to feel like I’m “producing content.”  I confess that I sometimes think all the posting to the internet may be one of the worst things that has happened to artists though I confess to being addicted to look at sketches produced by others.  Those views cause me to keep a lot of what I do off the internet.  It’s also time consuming to scan/post every sketch I do.  In short, I’m lazy.















Alvin Mark posts a lot of great vlogs on his YouTube channel and he was doing a sketchbook tour.  I took that as an opportunity to quickly sketch some of the people he had sketched on the Singapore trains.


While sitting in my studio/office I just started drawing stuff, using ballpoint pens.  The red pen was giving me a lot of trouble and I made a mess of the scissors trying to chase the intermittent lines it was creating/

Here’s a page from the small scribble book I carry everywhere.


Last and probably least, I was enjoying a snack and quickly moved this stub of a pencil around until the page resembled something.

I’ve found that my time hiding from COVID and making messes with oil paints have left my pointy stick skills rusty.  I’m hoping to get lots of miles done this summer.