Bernie and Hillary, Hillary and Bernie

vl_hilary_and_bernieI really enjoyed the debate last night between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, vying for the democratic nomination for President of the US. Besides my interest in their positions on the issues, I LOVED drawing their body language! Tells a lot.

I was definitely “feeling the Bern”, as Bernie Sanders was all hand movements and emotional gestures and passionate talk. And I felt that Hillary, all control and direction, was definitely someone who could “get things done.” Will be interesting to follow these two across the country in the next weeks and months, and mostly I’m so glad to see a debate without name calling and other bad behavior. Both candidates, I feel, did well last night.

 #hillaryclinton #berniesanders #democraticdebate #feelthebern

Murray Tinkelman

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I was very saddened yesterday to learn of the death of Murray Tinkelman, an illustrator and educator who has meant so much to so many. It is especially hard as this happens such a short time after the passing of his wife, Carol. Murray and Carol have been called the father and mother of illustration, and that’s no exaggeration. They worked together as a team; you rarely saw one without the other. And they approached the world with synergy, energy, and always, passion for each other and the art of illustration. Personally they were both inspiration and friends to me, and I appreciated their support.

The drawing above is of Murray giving a talk at the Norman Rockwell Museum, where he had been honored with a solo exhibit and named the 2014 Artist Laureate. Someone in the audience asked Murray if the work he did, which was full of detail and layers of cross-hatching, was “labor intensive.” His answer: “It is the easiest and most pleasurable thing I do.”

Rest in Peace Murray and Carol Tinkelman. And my sincerest heartfelt condolences to their family.

7th International Urban Sketchers Symposium

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Happy to announce that I will be in Manchester for the 2016 Urban Sketchers Symposium, teaching my workshop, titled: Puzzling Out the Picture.

Hope to see some of you there!

 #USkManchester2016

 

PUZZLING OUT THE PICTURE

Many times, when a sketcher arrives at a busy urban location, there is a sense of being overwhelmed. So many people moving in so many different directions; so many buildings towering above; so many shops; so many cars; so many signs; so much of so many! This workshop will teach you how to puzzle it all out, bringing the pieces together in a wide picture full of dimension, graphic expression, and of course, storytelling.

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To all of those who celebrate Christmas, I wish you a Merry Christmas.

And to everyone a happy holiday season, and a peaceful new year.

Urban Sketchers Handbook: Reportage and Documentary Drawing

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I’m so happy and proud to announce that my book: The Urban Sketching Handbook: Reportage and Documentary Drawing, has been published by Quarry Books! (find it HERE)

The book is full of inspirational ideas and tips to help you tell stories with your location drawings, and use your drawings as a way to reach out to others. It’s illustrated with images by yours truly, as well as some beautiful works by the members of Studio 1482, Dalvero Academy, and, of course, many of your favorite Urban Sketchers correspondents! Special thanks to my editor, Mary Ann Hall, for her guidance, support and enthusiasm. :)

I hope you’ll enjoy the book, and would love to hear your thoughts on it. Click here for a lovely review on Parka Blogs.

Mystic Exhibit and Other News

Haven’t posted in a while – it’s been a super busy fall season. Here’s a bit of what I’ve been up to:

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Holiday illustration, mid-animation, at a NYC Chase branch.

 Above is a picture of the holiday illustration I was commissioned to create for JP Morgan Chase, on display in a New York City branch – what a nice feeling to see that! I drew it on location last summer, and added the snow – who knew then that the NYC winter would be so mild, that I’d still be using my imagination for the holiday themed weather. It’s funny to think of how I was sweating as I made those snowflakes fall…

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Whale Song Coat kimono, center, with details to left and right.

Besides that good news, our Dalvero Academy exhibit, Journey of Transformation, opened on November 21. (website HERE) It’s the work of myself and 28 other Dalvero artists. We drew the 38th Voyage of the Charles W. Morgan through the waters of New England, and our drawings are on display throughout the Mallory building gallery at Mystic Seaport. Also on display is each artist’s individual response to issues of ocean and whale conservation. I created an art-to-wear kimono, called Whale Song Coat, as seen above. I loved the idea of creating a ceremonial robe to honor the whale. The piece speaks to the importance of understanding our whaling history, as well as what we need to do to preserve cetaceans (and our oceans) in the future. Ironically, because of whaling we have a better idea of what habitats the whales migrate through, information we can use to protect them. It is also interesting to me that throughout history, the hunting of whales as they migrated facilitated the migration of people, both along the underground railroad and across oceans. I illustrated those ideas and others with a palimpsest of maps, symbols, and navigational cues, from 19th century whaling maps to GPS notations of  humpback whale migration. Will try to post some inspiration ideas and process shots soon. I really enjoyed the tactility of working with silk and sewing, and have some big plans for 2016. ;)

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Heading into Boston/ sea shanty. Reportage illustration from the 38th Voyage of the Charles W. Morgan.

This is one of the drawings I had the privilege of making on board the Morgan as she traveled from Provincetown to Boston in the summer of 2014. A great memory! You can see some of the posts I made from that voyage here.

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East Village fashion, on exhibit in Poland this season.

And last (but of course not least) I am happy to announce that some of my fashion illustrations are traveling around Europe this season with the exhibit: Across Poland with Best Fashion Illustration, Fall 2015 – Spring 2016. More info on that HERE.

It’s been such a whirlwind, but I do feel so grateful that work is keeping me busy – it’s what I love to do. STILL haven’t finished scanning my drawings from Cuba and Bali this past summer, hope to do some of that during the holiday weeks. Along with a lot of visiting family and friends, eating good food, and drinking good wine. Cheers!

Busy, Busy, Bangkok

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Bangkok is one BUSY city. I don’t really know what I expected, I guess my biggest image of Bangkok was informed by the movie The King and I. There were definitely many opulent temples and palaces to admire (more on that in another post) but the thing that struck me the most about this city was its D-E-N-S-I-T-Y. The drawing above was made sitting on a corner in Chinatown, just adding all of the pedestrians, tuk-tuks, bicyclists, cart-pushers, cars, and buses as they went by in an hour. Did I leave out mopeds and motorcycles? I did, but they were there too. And the back drop of all of this mishegas is a layered city of old structures, older temples, and electrical wires everywhere. See drawing above as a case in point. The various configurations of electrical wires are almost as lyrical as the Thai alphabet – amazing. And dangerous too, I would think? I was rather obsessed with them while I was there.

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I made the Chinatown corner drawing on my way to meet a few Bangkok urban sketchers at Wat Trimitr, one of the temples of Bangkok that happens to be in the middle of Chinatown. Again, some super density, with gold leaf hammered on top! The street level of the temple was an awesome display of monks, vendors, and local people milling about, mixing with the tourists and generally trying to make a living, through praying, cooking, or selling. All were present at the steps of the temple, and the top of the steps was crowned by a picture of the King of Thailand. No one in Bangkok passes his photo without stopping to give a motion of thanks, known as the wai. It’s hands together, as in prayer, accompanied by a slight bow. I found it a beautiful gesture, although in the crush of people it was sometimes hard to accomplish, ha ha.

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Next door to the temple was a school. The children were having some kind of a play, and I laughed to see how the little boys in the audience were mimicking and making fun of the little girls dancing on stage. Culture may be different the world over, but some things stay the same. I had to draw these kids, they were so cute! Check out the boys wrestling in the top right corner of this drawing. The monks were having a hard time keeping everyone in line! My Thai friend Pramote told me that the principal was making an announcement (in Thai, of course) over the loudspeaker that the children should be respectful, and leave the artist from New York alone to do her work. As you can see from the photos below, the children had trouble listening!

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(photos courtesy of Luis Simoes)

After we spent the morning at the temple, Pramote took us to a wonderful corner stand to have lunch. There are outdoor cooks working like this all over Bangkok. We had the most delicious stir-fry I’ve ever had – flat noodles with shrimp, pork, and mixed vegetables in a small personal frying pan. So good, and so fast, and so many people around eating it. Again – dense!  I enjoyed watching the chef, and making the drawing below while we ate.

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After lunch, we all walked over to the main Chinatown gate to draw. Pramote and the other Bangkok Urban Sketchers were so nice and full of hospitality. They seemed to think that I was a little nutty when I wanted to sit right on the edge of the street with all the activity, but politeness won the day and they all sat there with me. Such wonderful people, and what a nice time! Plus, the Chinatown Gate was also sufficiently dense, and busy, to allow me to continue my drawing theme of the day, which was, WOW, and I thought New York was a busy city! I love Bangkok!

chinatown_gate_bangkok_fullIt’s amazing how all the people on bicycles, in cars, in tuk-tuks (an open air kind of bus, very precarious looking to me), on foot, and on motorcycles all manage to co-exist and race around this corner at a breakneck pace without any collisions. Even the dog (lower left) was in tune with the vibe. Bangkok dancing machine.

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After we finished at the Chinatown Gate, Pramote took us on an interesting walk through the back streets of Chinatown to the river, where he had a plan for us all to eat dinner with a beautiful view for sunset. Guess what, the river was just as busy as the streets are! The long boats you see in the drawing are commuter boats that go up and down river, stopping at various ports along the way. People stand at the docks of these ports blowing whistles, and the folks running the boats blow whistles back – some kind of code, I guess, to let them know when to stop, but it creates quite a racket! Whistles seem to be a thing in Bangkok, there are a lot of whistle blowers at the aiport too, to get your baggage, a cab, whatever. I guess with all of that density you need a whistle just to be heard!

I definitely enjoyed Bangkok, and the people I met there. But honestly, I was always happy to have a little quiet time back in my room at night. What a place! Hope to be back soon. ;)

Waterloo Street, Singapore

This has been an unbelievable summer of travel for me. From Havana to Ubud, and many stops in between. So many experiences, and so many drawings, I don’t know where to start. So I decided to start with Waterloo Street in Singapore, where I had the privilege of teaching a workshop at the 6th Annual Urban Sketchers Symposium.

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Waterloo street, where I did a workshop called the Urban Sketchers Cookbook (more on that in another post) is located somewhere between Little India and the Malay sections of the city. Singapore is a true melting pot of cultures and religions, and while there I was constantly impressed with how active all of the religious temples/churches/mosques were, and with how they seemed to co-exist  harmoniously. The drawing above is of the Sri Krishna temple. All of the workshop instructors were asked to donate a drawing for a silent auction for USK scholarships. This was my donation, in which I decided to include the elements of my reportage workshop. Please excuse the i-phone photo, no scanners in the hotel. (The man in this drawing did not feel that I captured his likeness, but I can tell you that it was right on, lol.)

I was so impressed with this temple – and the rest of Waterloo street – that when I had time between workshops I went back to do a few more drawings.

vl_Waterloo_STreet_Hindu_Temple_total_tonedHere is the Hindu temple again – you can see the devotees praying with incense, and the Hindu gods and goddesses praying behind them. Also in the distance is the Chinese Buddhist temple – these different temples are literally next door to each other, almost like a kind of religious-themed EPCOT. Amazing.

vl_Waterloo_Street_Hindu_Priest_watercolorAs I was drawing the temple, there was suddenly a lot of chanting, and a priest came out and poured ghee over one of the statues. There was a lot of focused energy and high concentration of chanting and swaying while this went on. It was a very serious affair, and I felt privileged to be there and able to capture it. After this quick religious event ended, the temple quieted down again, and I decided to walk toward the Chinese Buddhist temple to see what was going on there.

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The atmosphere near the Buddhist temple was somewhat livelier than next door at the Hindu one. And right outside of the Chinese Buddhist temple on Waterloo Street sit some of the hardest working women I’ve ever seen. They sit under these umbrellas in the hot sun all day and sell flowers and incense to worshippers entering the temple. My understanding is that these offerings are for Buddha, and also for ancestors. Actually, there are many stores lining the street in which you can purchase gifts for your ancestors and deceased relatives to help them on the other side. Lin Chan, one of the attendees of my workshop – and a wonderful artist – explained the various gifts to me: paper money, so they can buy what they need; paper cell phones, to make calls if necessary; paper dresses to wear, etc. etc. The idea is to buy these items in paper and then burn them, thus sending them to the other side for your relatives to use. What an idea and way to connect, and continue to take care of, those we’ve loved and lost. And also, what a busy business goes on outside the temple to sell all of these items and more.

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Inside of the temple there were more activities happening, and more things to purchase to enable those activities. There were a lot of people shaking what looked like sticks, and throwing them out on the ground. Apparently this is some kind of divination practice, where you can ask the Buddha a question, throw the sticks, which in turn give you certain numbers, which you then bring back to the counter where you purchased the sticks to receive one of a set of answers that are attached to each number. Wow. A lot of people had a lot of questions, and the sound of sticks clacking was very loud indeed.

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Right outside the gates of the temple were more vendors, and some beggars too. It was a very active scene, and even the beggars seemed to be a part of a whole social eco-system. As I sat making the drawing above, a Chinese woman sat next to me hawking fans. I don’t speak Chinese, but whatever catch phrase she was using, she was repeating about three times a minute. Became like a mantra. As I was finishing this drawing, the clock must have pointed to dinner time, because the entire operation – vendors and beggars – suddenly began to pack up and leave. The Chinese woman next to me, without missing a beat of her fan hawking, leaned over quickly to me and said, “Don’t worry, they’ll be back tomorrow!” I loved it! And wished that I, too, could be back tomorrow, but my plane for Thailand was leaving at 11 am the next morning.

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As I headed back to my hotel to get changed for the Symposium closing party, I had to stop and draw this joyful scene around the Golden Buddha. People were smiling, laughing, and posing with the Buddha; as well as rubbing his belly for luck. I did too, more to thank the Buddha for my luck in having been able to spend some time in Singapore. And thank you to Urban Sketchers too. It’s always a privilege and a pleasure to teach at a Symposium.

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This past June I took a trip to Cuba with Margaret Hurst and Julia Sverchuk, along with other members of a group organized by Jim Richards and Marimar tours. I have still not finished scanning those drawings, and this week I am in Singapore with the Urban Sketchers Symposium, and staying on to do some drawing in South East Asia.

I will never catch up with the scanning – we need some kind of scanning drone to hover over us and capture the images as we make them on location! I’m not complaining, I feel so fortunate to have these opportunities to draw, I’m just saying, this fall there will be a lot of scanning and blog posting happening…

…I will be ALMOST as busy as the old woman sweeping the walkway who shows up in my drawing of this Havana park above. It was early morning, and there were booksellers arriving and setting up their stands. And this woman was all over the park. I drew her twice in the picture above, but she probably passed me at least twenty times while I was drawing it. What a dynamo! and she was ornery too – shooing people away from the areas she had just cleaned. Which the park goers found very amusing, as did I. Will post more on Cuba – and Singapore – when I get back home!

 

Dalvero Canson Pads

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Check your local art store – the Artboard location pads from Canson featuring four of the Dalvero Academy artists have arrived! Above is the watercolor from Amsterdam I did that is on the cover of the, of course, Watercolor pad. :) So nice, and the paper is wonderful too. Other pads are: Canva Artboards, cover by Margaret Hurst; Mix Media Artboards, cover by Julia Sverchuk; and Illustration Artboards, cover by Evan Turk. Yay!

Here’s a preview:

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