Anatomy of an Urban Sketch Session

28 May 2019: It was a beautiful day yesterday, and I was finding it difficult to get motivated to go outside. Because I had pared down my sketch kit, I told myself that there was no excuse to at least take a walk and maybe inspiration would strike. Central Park is less than a half-block away.

Within minutes I was at the Great Lawn, looking south. Because of the holiday (Memorial Day) the park was bristling with energy.

Since I have been so keen on drawing people lately, whatever I chose to sketch, I wanted the people to come first. The Great Lawn seemed like an ambitious endeavor, but I took a few minutes looking around, trying to find a vantage point that would get me sketching. I plopped my gear down and began to assess the situation.

Assessing the Situation

It was hot in the sun. I wouldn’t last three minutes before I became too miserable to accomplish anything. But I was stubborn. I opened up the sketchbook anyway.

The bright white page reflecting the direct hot sun in my face is guaranteed to produce a great sketch!!??!!

Luckily, a shady spot opened up just two feet behind me. I took a quick sketch of the scene with my trusty Sailor 1911 Standard with a zoom nib loaded with Platinum Carbon Black ink.

Quick Sketch Of The Scene

I pulled out my watercolor supplies:

Preparing to Paint!

It didn’t take very long to splash in the paint.

Splashing Around
A Quick Sketch at the Great Lawn
Mission Accomplished

I didn’t worry too much about details. I just wanted to have fun, and I did! I was so surprised when the Urban Sketchers Instagram reposted this sketch for all of my sketching heroes to see! Thank you Urban Sketchers!

Thanks so much for visiting!

See you later!!!

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Some Art Supply “Fun”!!

22 May 2019

I wanted to go out and sketch for a few minutes this afternoon at the Natural History Museum a few blocks from where I live. I thought it would be fun to take a few pictures of the gear I take out with me.

The well used Miquel Rius cases that hold my travel sketch gear and my current sketchbook, a Moleskine 5″ x 8 1/2″ with a ProFolio magnetic pen holder carrying my Sailor 1911 Standard.

These Miquel Rius cases are so cool because they are covered with urban sketches from one of my favorite artists, Lapin!

The Sailor 1911 Standard fountain pen unsheathed, ready for action!

The pen is always ready to go. I have the sketchbook in hand and I can stop and sketch whenever I have a moment.

The contents of the larger case unpacked

The larger case fits my watercolor palettes, some extra water, a towel, a couple of paper towels and a #6 DaVinci Series 503 sable watercolor travel brush. Paint swatches with pigment information sometimes helps.

The watercolor palettes unfolded!

The small watercolor palette has an integrated water bottle and a cup. I just had an older one rust out on me so now I have two cups, one for clean water and one for cleaning the brush. Great system!!

Sketch done in front of the Natural History Museum

Here’s a sketch made after I took the photos of the gear at the Natural History Museum!

Thanks for visiting!!

See you soon!!

Keeping It Simple

1 May 2019: I have been on a roll lately with my social media postings with Facebook and Instagram, but I don’t keep up this blog as much as I wold like. One of the reasons that this happens is because that it takes time away from the important schoolwork and studying I try to keep up on. Yet I still manage to keep filling up sketchbook after sketchbook!

I am able to make all of these sketches because I have made it easier on myself to be ready to sketch at a moments notice. I keep my supplies close, and the sketchbook is in my hand most of the time when I am out and about. And my fountain pen is also ready to go because I keep it attached to the sketchbook with a magnetic pen holder that grips the front cover. Keeping my supplies simple and available has made it much easier to sketch when the opportunity presents itself.

Stillman and Birn Alpha Series 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ Hardcover Sketchbook with magnetic pen holder containing my Sailor 1911 Standard fountain pen with a zoom nib loaded with Platinum Carbon Black ink. The clip is handy for holding the pages open when I am sketching.

There are a couple of magnetic pouches on the back cover to hold things like a spare fountain pen when I run out of ink. Probably the Lamy Vista broad nibbed fountain pen. Also, paintbrushes and cotton napkin and paper towel for when I am ready to play with my paints.

Magnetic pouches on the back cover of my sketchbook containing readily accessible equipment like watercolor brushes, or a spare pen, even a napkin and paper towel

Speaking of paints, I keep a tiny watercolor palette in my pocket so I am always ready to paint.

Fountain pen on top of cloth case that holds my tiny watercolor palette.

Tiny Watercolor Palette, closed with paint swatches I made for reference
This palette has an integral water bottle and a cup. On top is my main brush, the DaVinci series 1503 Pure Kolinsky Sable #6 travel brush! Perfect for small sketches. Holds a LOT of water and paint

For those times when I want more mixing space and I have a little bit more time, I keep a larger palette with full pans in my over the shoulder messenger bag.

Case on left holds large palette.
Water, cloth napkin and paper towel as well as another very tiny palette fit in this small pouch
This palette has so much space for making washes of color and tinting paint

That’s the basic overview of the equipment that helps me to keep it simple!

This morning when I got onto the downtown C train to school, I had my glasses on, sketcbook in hand, I stationed myself at the far end of the car with nobody behind me and I could lean on the door so I could have both hands free. I picked the left side of the train to begin. I put pen to paper and went for it!

First sketch of the day!
The guy directly to my right, took about three minutes to ink in, then I turned the page.
Back to the left side, started with the guy in front and followed my way back.

That’s what I managed to sketch on my way to school. On a short break, I added the watercolor.

Coming home, I took the A train uptown, picked a side and went for it again!

Uptown A train going home in the afternoon
The person directly to my right. Took about five minutes to ink in. Watercolor was added later.

This is my routine!

Thanks for visiting!

See you later!!!!!

Starting a New Sketchbook (Again)

29 March 2019: Just as I was beginning to get comfortable with the compact 4X6 format of the Stillman and Birn, I finished that book and decided to tackle the larger 5X8 Moleskine sketchbook.

On my way uptown on the C train going to my internship at NYP:

I decided to draw right over the failed attempt of a face with another failed one superimposed over it. Platinum Carbon Ink pen with an EF nib loaded with Platinum Carbon Black ink, watercolor


On a break, I sketched a man on his phone a level down from the cafe at Vanderbilt Pavilion(bottom) and then some sketches of people on my way home on the downtown C:

Sketched with the Platinum Carbon Ink Pen with an extra fine steel nib loaded with Platinum Carbon Black ink, and watercolor.

There wasn’t time to sketch more of the people because they all left after one stop once I started sketching them.

Thanks for visiting! See you later!!


21 March 2019

A couple of subway sketches to and from school today, Sailor 1911 Standard zoom nib, Platinum Carbon Black ink, watercolor in Stillman and Birn Alpha Series 4 X 6 inch hardcover sketchbook.

Downtown A
Uptown A
Uptown A

Thanks for visiting! See you later!!

19 March 2019 Subway Sketches

Left Side Downtown C Train, Right Side Downtown A Train
Downtown A Train
Uptown C Train

In my 4 X 6 inch Stillman and Birn Alpha Series Hardcover Sketchbook I used my Sailor 1911 Standard with a zoom nib loaded with Platinum Carbon Black ink to take a few sketches of the people on the subway. On break from homework, I quickly splashed in watercolor.

Thanks for visiting! See you later!