Starting a New Sketchbook with a Different Format is HARD

21 June 2018

The day before yesterday, during some much needed breaks of filling out applications and cover letters which always seem to come out like empty effort since i work so hard and hear nothing, I took a quick stroll to Starbucks.


Sweet Corner Bake Shop. I had only coffee. I swear.


Paris Baguette never seems to run out of interesting characters and compositions to draw.


The same could be said for Lenny’s Bagels for a lunch break.


Today i had a grand plan for getting another one of those 3 X 4 inch Pentalics that I so enjoy. I figured at the very least I could have the larger format Pentalic that I haven’t used at all. My store did not have them so I went to DaVinci and went for one of my old standbys, the Stillman and Birn Alpha series, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches. After using the tiny books, I was used to honing in on the facial expressions and mannerisms that I could quickly and stealthily jot down on those tiny pages. It was like trying to solve a calculus problem in front of the class on a whiteboard with erasable markers.

I had an eye exam today that suggested there may be some symptoms of glaucoma, but I am not worrying about that until I see an opthamologist this week. In the meantime, I scraped out a couple of sketches with my trusty fountain pens with some added watercolor.062118a062118b062118c062118d

I’m not sure how I feel about today’s efforts, but I gave it a shot. I drew today.

Thank you so much for visiting!

See you later!!



Battled Through the Semester, Here’s What I’ve Done All This Time, Huge Update!!

14 June 2018

My absence due to trying to stay on top of school has left you out of the loop, unless you have been following me on social media like Facebook and Instagram, so I want to make it up to you by showing the highlights (for me) and not showing every single sketch. Some have stories, many do not, but I will start where I left off at the end of April.

A couple of train sketches:


This next sketch, the train must have been stuck between stations so I managed to scratch out a few more details that I normally wouldn’t have focused on:


Julia and I  are at this point trying to find a new place to live, which is frantic in NYC, so much less time was spent on sketching than on apartment searches, but nevertheless, here are a couple of hurried sketches.


One of the apartments I saw was on Madison Street, jut below the Manhattan Bridge. Here’s a quick sketch before the appointment to see the apartment.


The apartment had five and a half foot ceilings with a singed out fake fireplace. Someone tried to actually use the fireplace and it was not pretty. My neck hurt from being bent over. That apartment was meant for smaller people than me and Julia, that’s for sure.

On the way to see other apartments, I scratched out a couple of hurried train sketches:


There was an apartment available at West 71st. Street, so I met the agent, but not before taking a quick sketch at Verdi Square, the West 72 Subway Station park.


Later that day I received news that my younger step-brother Richard had died. I made this self portrait titled  Self Portrait with Jade and Thoughts of Richard:


Finals week was approaching and my sketches had to be quickly done on the subway to and from school.


Here’s a quick lunch-break sketch


Back to the subway. Quickly as possible.


Finals week finished, overdue assignments handed in, a celebratory sketch titled Lunchtime, a Happy, Magical Time   done at Lenny’s Bagel Shop,


A New York City Urban Sketchers event gave me the opportunity to sketch one of my heroes, Mark Leibowitz, sketching with his Ipad at the main plaza of Lincoln Center using my Moleskine Watercolor Sketchbook, double vertical spread, as an experiment.


Finally having found a place to live, I now focus on filling out internship and job applications. I usually start my day at a coffee shop fueling my planning session where I make punch lists and get motivated. I also try to grab a quick sketch or two before I get to work. This first sketch was odd. Done at Birch Coffee at Columbus and 97th Street, the woman on the right panel was carrying a cardboard box which held a large dead bird that was also made out of cardboard. The sketch couldn’t do it justice, but the memoty of its hollow cardboard beak, a toilet paper cardboard base, looked as creepy as anything I have ever seen, not to mention the reverence which the woman carrying this box was emanating. I feel as though I am missing something! Religious? Stage set prop? I don’t know. Creepy? Yes!


Then Birch Coffee house got busy for a while.


Another morning started out at the Paris Baguette, planning session in place, and a couple of unsuspecting models.


Then this gentleman sat at the table in front of mine and read the paper. Something about his mood and essence struck me. He was slightly frantic, so I sketched quickly.


Another morning at Paris Baguette, where it takes an incredible amount of patience and tenacity to endure and survive the line to get to the register. It is always nice to have a table for myself though so I can sneak in some sketches.


Being a fountain pen fan, it is always nice to connect with another fountain pen fan. Here is a sketch of Larry Berrones who has been complimenting my work, and asked if I would do a sketch of him so he could use it for a design for one of his new T-shirts. This was done from a recent video that he made, this particular scene was significant for me because he was emphasizing the importance of family values, and how introducing members of your family to fountain pens can strengthen the bond between family members. This is not the way I usually draw, but I gave it a shot.  He told me that he really enjoyed the sketch and would use it. For me this is an honor. Thank you so much, Larry! You ROCK!!


Back to my morning ritual this time starting at Birch Coffee


Lunchtime break at Starbucks, where I found a couple of victims.


Next morning at Birch Coffee, a heated discussion captured my attention


Early lunch at the Paris Baguette


Later coffee break at Lenny’s Bagel where this lonely woman became my next model. It was hard to see her loneliness, and to make matters worse, a visitor arrived, smiling and posing in front of her. ” You don’t recognize me, do you?” The lonely woman looked at her and there was no sign of recognition, and perhaps even some shame in not knowing who this person was. It was a lot to take in. The lonely woman awkwardly moved her cane and made space for this unfamiliar friend to sit and join her in conversation.

Maybe next time I see her I will offer to buy her a coffee and sit and talk with her, help her to think about her memories, where she came from, why Lenny’s Bagels, etc. She probably wouldn’t recognize me again, but at maybe I can hear about some happy times she had in her life. I know people who have lost their ability to remember stuff. It is heartbreaking stuff. The mind can be so fragile. Life can be so fragile.


Getting caught up, finally, this morning at Paris Baguette, a conversation:


After my morning warm up, I had a much needed pedicure at a new place close to where I live. May did all of the heavy lifting, she even gave my ears a good waxing. Hopefully Julia will approve of the work, and she can make an appointment there too. Here’s Mimi doing the heavy lifting:


Fashion 74 Nails closed its doors, so here is the first attempt at Oasis, Broadway and 87th. Thanks, Mimi!

Well, that was a lot to catch up on. I hope it isn’t too all over the place. Thank you all for being so patient!

See you later! (not much later, I hope!)


Finishing and Starting another Pentalic Traveler Pocket Journal This Week

21 April 2018

Spring is inching its way to NYC, and school has been tough to stay on top of recovering from being sick. My professors have been very understanding and helpful, so I have been working very hard to catch up with missed assignments and exams.

On the subway to school, I try very quickly to knock out a few impressions of faces and people on the subway by drawing continuous lines following the contours. Sometimes it works, and sometimes not. But it’s always fun and a challenge. Here are some downtown on the way to school subway sketches. Fountain pen with Platinum Carbon Black ink, watercolor washes added later in the Pentalic Traveler Pocket Journal, 72 Lb. Sketchbook 4″ X 3″.



Below is a boy next to his mother playing games on an iPad.


Below is an attempt to sketch the boy’s mother.


Going home after school with the Pelikan 400nn fountain pen.


Rush hour, from 42nd Street to 72nd Street, The shoulder in the foreground below is almost knocking into my sketchbook.


Friday the 13th, I had lunch at the Metro Diner on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, close to home. Arugula salad and a coffee. Below are some of the customers I secretly sketched.


That evening I had dinner at the Manhattan diner, also Upper West Side.


Below, order up!


On Saturday the 14th, there was an Urban Sketchers gathering at Sutton Park, Midtown on the East Side at the river. Below is a fellow Urban Sketcher trying her new easel setup!

Sketched and painted on location!


Queensboro Bridge


Below, a man reading the paper, I noticed that his left hand was plastic.


On the way home from the Urban Sketcher’s event, waiting for the uptown 1 train at 57th street.


Below, during morning coffee at Starbucks:


Below, at the cafe in the afternoon during a study break.


Below, assorted subway sketches using the Pilot Custom 823 fine nib fountain pen, loaded with Platinum Pigmented Sepia ink.


Last page of the 4″ x 3″ below


Below, first page of the 6″ x 4″ Pentalic Travelers Pocket Journal:


Below are some of the above sketches with added watercolor washes:


To and from school, the subway, below.


At the doctor’s office getting a blood test, a man in front of me reading the paper. Pilot Custom 823, below.


Below, subway sketches on my way to and from school.


Below, today’s lunch break at the bagel place across the street.


Thank you so much for visiting!

See you later!

Taking the Pelikan 400nn to School

The Pelikan 400nn is a fountain pen produced in 1958. It is a small, lightweight pen that contains its own filling system, a piston filler, with a HUGE ink capacity. I am challenging myself to take only one or two pens with me in order to lighten my load and reduce time wasting decision making.

Here it is next to my 4X3 Pentalic Traveler Pocket Journal:


My 400nn has a 14K gold extra fine semi-flexible nib and I keep it loaded with Platinum Carbon Black ink.

I started the day taking the downtown 3 train from the Upper West Side to Brooklyn.


Lecture at Namm Hall, room 1021:


Heading uptown on the 2 train from Borough Hall, Brooklyn, to Upper West Side, Manhattan:






This morning, a study break at the bagel shop gave me a couple more models.


I enjoyed sketching with the Pelikan 400nn very much. I never had to worry if the pen was about to run dry. If it did, I could always have the 140 ready to go as well.

Thank you so much for visiting.

See you later!!

The Lunchtime Adventures of the Sailor 1911 Large with an Extra Fine Nib and the Sailor 1911 Large with a Medium Nib

5 April 2018

The apartment has been without gas for over a month. I haven’t been able to cook, so an awful lot of take-out and delivery food is what has been eaten. Occasionally there’s a chance for an adventure by eating a meal at a restaurant. This afternoon I had one of those adventures, and I took my two Sailor fountain pens with me.

I didn’t want to go far, so I went to the Metro Diner a couple of blocks up and had an arugula salad with some balsamic, and a coffee.

I decided to start the exciting adventure with the medium nib in the Stillman and Birn Alpha Series 4 X 6 hardcover sketchbook, looking straight ahead to the booths in front of me.


The closest group of people left, so I did another quick sketch in the same direction with the extra fine nib in the 4 X 3 Pentalic Traveler Pocket Sketchbook.


I didn’t manage to capture the interesting way this woman was holding her fork, medium nib, S&B 4 X 6:


A woman directly in front of me looking at the menu, this was tricky because it was so difficult to be discreet while I was sketching under the table and trying not to look obvious. Extra fine nib, Pentalic 4 X 3:


Here are the pens with their respective sketches in a group shot!


The ink used is Platinum Carbon Black.

Thank you so much for visiting!

See you later!!

This Morning’s Adventures of the Pelikan m800 and Pilot Custom 823

5 April 2018

Spring break is allowing me the time to catch up with schoolwork, and this morning as I am trying to break down some calculus exercises, a jackhammer is literally being used in the hall outside the apartment.

I decided to take a break.

I took a couple of pens and my 4 X 3 Pentalic Traveler Pocket Journal to the cafe around the corner.

I found a spot where I was hoping to get an interesting subject for a sketch. Then a small family sat at the table right next to me. They were eating a couple of bread-type items, and the baby in a stroller was being entertained by cartoons being provided by his father via his iPhone, while the mother was entertaining herself with her own iPhone on the table top.


They were there for about five minutes and left as quickly as they came.

As I was hoping for another interesting scene, a group of four occupied the same table as the family that just left. Very interesting faces, but my position was compromised, as I was occasionally being glanced at by one of the gentlemen in the group.

I switched my position and noticed a group of youngsters playing chess at the back of the cafe.


I usually like to add washes of color, but I did not take my colors with me, so I may add later, so I may update this post later. In the meantime, the first was sketched with the Pelikan m800 with an extra fine nib, loaded with Platinum Carbon Black. The second was sketched with the Pilot Custom 812 with a fine nib, also loaded with Platinum Carbon Black.


Thank you for visiting!

See you later!!