Saturday, December 29, 2012

Imagine How Tough This Guy Would Look With a Complete Nose

I took another trip to the Seattle Art Museum today and ended up drawing this Roman sculpture from the 1st-2nd century (that's what it said on the wall text, sorry I can't be more specific) of a "barbarian." This particular barbarian has lost a few bits and pieces over the centuries, but he still looks tough enough to take my lunch money.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Oranges in Ink

Yep. Like the title says, this is a still life in ink with three oranges. I'd like to dedicate this drawing to anyone who thinks the NRA's proposal of armed guards in every school in America is the stupidest thing they've ever heard.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Car on 17th ave, Seattle

This is a car that is permanently parked down the street from my apartment, one of those neighborhood fixtures that I try to get into the sketchbook whenever I can. I've never been much of a car guy, a state of affairs that I think was alternately disappointing and puzzling to my father (a self-professed "gearhead"). That said, they can be fun to draw. There are a lot of interesting perspective challenges involved, several of which I failed to overcome in the present drawing.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Bauhaus Coffee, Day After Thanksgiving

Today my wife and I made the long walk in the rain through our flooded neighborhood to pay a visit to Bauhaus coffee, which is unquestionably one of my favorite places in Seattle. I realize that this drawing doesn't exactly scream "coffee shop" since there are no people and no coffee, so you'll just have to believe me when I tell you that this was in fact drawn while sitting inside such a place. I opted to skip the usual subjects and instead go with the back staircase and the bookshelves against the wall, which really are a substantial part of the experience.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What Americans Think of When They Think of Europe

This is an ink drawing done from a photo in the New York Times travel section. To me, this pretty much sums up the image most Americans have of life in Europe: funny-looking cars and old churches. All that's missing is socialized medicine and a few Italians waving their arms around.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

At the Seattle Art Museum with the Urban Sketchers

The Seattle Urban Sketchers had their monthly sketch crawl this morning at the Seattle Art Museum. The drawing at the top is of a sculpture by Yayoi Kusama called "A Pair of Shoes." I'm not sure how well this reads in a pencil drawing, but it's basically a white plaster sculpture of a pair of shoes with rocks, bean bags, and other "mixed media" attached. It's actually kind of a beautiful thing to see in person, I hope I've done it justice.

The second drawing is a sculpture by Louise Bourgeois called "Winged Figure." I'm fairly confident that I did not do this one justice with a pencil sketch, but I'm including it here anyway in the spirit of over-sharing on the internet. This is actually the second time I've drawn one of her sculptures - I think this one from the sculpture garden in New Orleans did a slightly better job of capturing what it's like to actually stand in front of her work.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Here There Be Dragons

Sometimes I take my sketch book to a museum and spend a lot of time wandering around trying to pick something to draw, saying to myself "hey, that looks kind of interesting, but then I also really like that sculpture I saw downstairs. Hmmm... what to do?" Other times, I walk into a room and right there before me is a guy riding a dragon. At that point, the decision is made.

This was my experience when I went to the Seattle Asian Art Museum yesterday afternoon. According to the wall text, this piece dates from the Ming Dynasty somewhere around the 14th century. Apparently this was actually used as a roof tile and there were buildings whose outer walls were covered with them to ward off enemies and bring good fortune to their inhabitants. I'm thinking of asking my landlord if he can put a few of these up on my roof.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Me vs. the Parthenon

This is a pencil drawing of a section of the north frieze of the Parthenon. I actually started this a few months ago but, for reasons known only to the voices in my head, tucked it away in a drawer and only just got around to finishing it. It's not quite the drawing I originally intended (I had grand plans of including a lot more of the details), but in the end I'm pretty happy with it and I think I've reached a point where I need to stop messing with it. I really would like to go to Greece someday.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Have Nothing In Your House That You Do Not Know To Be Useful Or Believe To Be Beautiful

This was drawn from a photo in a book entitled "The Gardens of William Morris" that my friend had in her living room. I'll admit that I didn't know a lot about William Morris before I started flipping through this book and I mostly selected the subject because his beard looked like it would be fun to draw. It turns out that William Morris was actually a pretty righteous individual, as evidenced by the quote I copied on the drawing. For those who can't read my handwriting (which would probably make my third grade teacher hang her head in shame), it says "have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." Sound advice.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The View From Here

It's getting cold in Seattle, so the time has come to find interesting things to draw from within the comfort of my own home. This is the tree that sits just outside my living room window, which can be drawn while sitting inside enjoying the comforts of central heating and a cup of tea. I make no claim to being willing to suffer for art.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Word of the Day is "Rhyton"

I went to the Seattle Art Museum yesterday and happened upon this rhyton which, according to the wall text, dates from somewhere around 538-331 BC. I had no idea what a rhyton was, so I looked it up on Wikipedia and discovered that it "is a container from which fluids were intended to be drunk, or else poured in some ceremony such as libation." In short, when you and your ram need to do some serious drinking, this is the way to go.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

It's About Time

Tuesday night is consistently my favorite night of the week in Seattle. This is because some very good friends of mine host Tuesday Night Drawing, a weekly event in which they open their home to a small group of people, cook up a delicious dinner, and then encourage us all to sit around their dining room table and draw whatever strikes our fancy. A few of the drawings I've produced during these sessions have ended up on this blog, and I am now adding one more to the pile.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

This is Not a Church

OK, I know it looks like a church. At some point it was probably even used for church-like things, but now it is occupied by a marketing company called Catalysis. I didn't realize this until after I finished the drawing and went over to look up the name, assuming it would be Saint-something-or-other (patron saint of pens running low on ink). I actually think it's very cool that a private company bought this building and seems to be making an effort to keep it looking nice. Plus I live about two blocks away, so it gives me something interesting to draw just around the corner from my apartment.

Flowers in Ink

This is a still life of an iris and some other sort of flower whose name escapes me sitting on my friend's dining room table. I might have been better able to remember the name of the other flower if there had not also been a bottle of wine sitting on this same table. I did put in some highlights with a little white conte, but it doesn't seem to have come through in the photo. Yet another case of the internet being a poor substitute for real life.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


This is an ink and watercolor sketch of the toy bull that I keep in my bathroom, which I actually drew and posted a couple of years ago under vastly different circumstances (the bull and I have both been through a lot since then). I am a firm believer in having a toy bull in the bathroom. It keeps the wolverines out.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Lunch at the Burke with a Sabre Toothed Tiger

One of the best things about working for the University of Washington is that I can wander into the Burke Museum of Natural History any time I want to free of charge. I took advantage of this during my lunch break this afternoon to spend a little quality time with a sabre toothed tiger.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Ink Still Life

Some good friends had me over for dinner and drawing last night and, having enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine, I was disinclined to get up from the table in search of a subject to draw. Lucky for me, there was a shelf right there in the room with all sorts of cool bottles and jars.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Me vs. Massimiliano Soldani

This is a drawing of a small part of a 16th century sculpture by Massimiliano Soldani called "Lamentations Over the Dead Christ." I did this in a couple of sessions, the last two of which were several months apart. The act of digging this one out and taking it back down to SAM is part of my ongoing effort to actually finish my drawings as opposed to starting in on an ambitious subject, getting a off to a decent start, and then leaving the thing 75% finished and languishing in a drawer or on a forgotten page of my sketchbook. I make no promises as to how long this effort may last.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

At the Seattle Public Library with the Urban Sketchers

The Seattle Urban Sketchers group - led by the amazing Gabi Campanario - got together for a Sketch Crawl at the library this morning followed by a really inspiring talk from Gabi about his book, "The Art of Urban Sketching," which everyone should buy immediately. It was all kinds of fun and I'm looking forward to going to many more sketch crawls with this fine group of local artists.

Note: for those who can't make heads or tails of these images (which probably includes everyone on Earth who didn't happen to be at the library this morning), the one on top is the fourth floor elevator and the one on the bottom is the little scanner thingy that they use to check out your books.

Bauhuas Coffee: Breaking The Animal Drawing Streak

Those looking at my recent posts on this blog might think I draw nothing but animals, be they extinct or living in all their glory within the pages of my friend's calendar. Allow me to put an end to all of this wild speculation by posting a quick drawing I did from the balcony at Bauhaus Coffee last weekend. I think this drawing may have gone faster than usual because it was accompanied by a cup of incredibly strong coffee and a house-made Ding Dong.

Rhino vs Brush Pen

Here's another one drawn from the same calendar the produced the Infamous Blue Footed Booby Drawing. Have I mentioned how much I love my brush pen? I'm currently in the process of composing an epic poem about it, although I need to learn Greek first. I'll post that up here as soon as it's finished.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Nope, I had never heard of a Cryolophosaurus either until I found a picture of one in a dinosaur book. Note the bony ridge on top of the head that looks a little bit like a mohawk, resulting in a mind-bending confluence of two of the major influences of my youth - dinosaurs and punk rock. How could I not draw this?

I should note that, with a little encouragement from my wife, this was drawn in ink without an initial pencil sketch. This is kind of a terrifying way to work and it does tend to result in slightly less accurate drawings, but I think it also forces me to concentrate in different ways. It also makes things go faster, which means I can actually get to a finished piece in one sitting rather than adding to my ever-expanding pile of drawings that are 75% done but that I just don't feel like going back to.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Me vs. Gabriel von Max

This was drawn from a painting by Gabriel von Max called "Renunciation." I actually drew this from a flyer for a show of his work at the Fry museum a couple of months ago, which I really enjoyed. The monkey paintings were definitely the best part, but then who doesn't love a monkey painting.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Li Chen Sculpture

I drew this from a sculpture by Li Chen called "Earth Piercing Fire" that I saw at the Fry Museum in Seattle. The whole show was really wonderful and it will be up for about another month, so anyone reading this who happens to be within a hundred miles of Seattle should step away from their computer right now and head down to the Fry to see some fantastic sculpture.

Blue Footed Booby

This is a Blue Footed Booby, drawn from a photo in my friend's National Geographic Calendar. Wait, maybe it was the World Wildlife Federation (which still makes me think of Hulk Hogan, Macho Man Savage, and the other WWF superstars of my youth). Well, let's say that the calendar in question was put out by an organization-to-be-named-later that really likes birds and whales and whatnot and that also happens to take some very fine photographs. Also, anyone who is snickering at the word "booby" should hang their head in shame for being almost as immature as I am.

Kitchen Still Life

I am once again back from the grave. Well, not really. I've just been too lazy to update my blog. I'd love to say that this will never happen again, but the truth is that it probably will.

This is a still life drawn in my kitchen with our Cuisinart and an apple. I should note that the shadows were done with a Pentel brush pen that my aunt gave me for Christmas two years ago and that I've been using a lot lately. I really love the feel of it and the way the ink flows in deep, smooth lines.