Wednesday, June 30, 2010

EDM #18 Draw the view from a window... V2

As I wrote in my last post, with the second exam on Monday I drew the view out of the window. It was only a class test and not part of the evaluation, so if someone looked sideways it was not too important.

I know a bad workman blames his tools, but I struggled with this. I'm still using the horrible Koh-i-noor 0.05, which I don't like for it's lack of blackness. I've injured my last Staedtlar 0.1, so it's working like a 0.5 or fatter. Finally, there's the small moleskin. I've never had one before, and I know there is a watercolour version available (in a strange landscape format), but I hate how the normal sketchbook does not take washes well. Anyway, I added the colour at the hotel and then did some more drawing on site on Tuesday morning.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Exam sketches

Doing their weekly exam on Monday, I first drew El Tigani with his very upright posture, when I noticed Ahmed was struggling with the test. Moving frequently, Ahmed's most unusual position was wrapping his right arm across his face and onto his left shoulder (he's left handed) and I tried to capture this every time he moved into that position. (portrait sketch top right) He has beautiful hands, which were full of tension, but they moved so frequently I was unable to capture them. I think the bottom portrait has captured his sadness at the difficulty of the paper.

With the second class, I sketched the view out of the window, but was unable to finish it within the time, so I intend to either finish it at break tomorrow or the day after and post it then.

Moved on by the police!!!!

On Saturday, finding a tree that gave shade to rest under and a beautiful trunk to draw seemed the perfect solution to my blue mood, which I was walking off. I leant against a wall and started to draw.Working from the pavement up and across I got the main lines in. I then outlined the road and gate opposite with the framing leaves. Relaxing nicely, I started to detail the trunk, trying to emphasis the twists and turns, when along came a police guard. I showed him what I was doing, uninterested he asked for my passport, which was not on me. So I gave him my driver's license, which he pretended to read as I'm sure he couldn't read English. Then, he told me I could not stay there, even drawing a tree. He had a fair point as the wall I was leaning against both is for the Republican museum and the Presidential Palace. Shame though as I think it would have been a good sketch when finished.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Migraine induced meltdown mitigated by mosque's Magrib prayer.

In the early hours of Sunday, I awoke with the worst migraine imaginable. At 7am, I crawled into the shower when my head-splitting alarm went off after a sleepless night. With the room spinning and the light causing intense nausea I called in sick and returned to bed. Generally, I am happy with my own company, but feeling sick, alone, and with Muslim restrictions meaning friends couldn't visit me in my rooms, not even to drop off Panadol, resulted in some very childish tears, which didn't help. 

A day later, having gone to work to be told I looked dreadful (I knew that), that evening whilst still feeling the after effects of the migraine I sketched my local mosque. I started at sunset with the Magrib call for prayer and it swiftly got dark. I love the fluorescent green tubes around the minaret and used a highlighter pen to try to get them to stand out, as they do in the night sky. Being pleased with the results, and loving the sound that came from the mosque, I felt a smile return.

I forgot to post the sketch above from Friday evening. Whilst waiting for a friend, I did this quick sketch of some Sudanese women watching their children playing. I had my coloured pens on me as I had intended to sketch the England match. The colour on the tree was added later, as it is such a distinctive colour here I wanted to record it accurately.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

World cup fever

Over in the UrbanSketchers' flickr group discussion, Marcelo Bresciani - who's fab blog is here- challenged "in honor of this global event, why not capture our experiences with a sketch?" Following a trend, I sketch myself watching the Australia v Ghana match yesterday afternoon on a large A3 pad. The pad is quite heavy, which is why my thumb is straight, I've no ideas why my toes look tense.

Then in the evening, I sketched Cameroon v Denmark. We were watching in a friend's friend's uncle (or something like that)  indoor shisha (hubbly-bubbly) cafe, which had 2 screens showing the football. People sat around smoking shisha, drinking coffee and watched the football. Unlike during Wednesday's South Africa match. which was quietly watched, last night there was lots of excitement, especially after Cameroon started so well. I first took my sketchbook and the new coloured pens on Wednesday, but felt too embarrassed to draw as I was the only female in there, apart from waitresses. However, on this second visit I thought I'd be brave, but only for a few minutes.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Happy Father's Day: Essence of Dad

It still isn't a good likeness, which I wish it was as I love him and would have liked it to be, but I hope dad will be pleased I tried to capture him. In some ways, the very first sketch, whilst looking nothing like him, captured his spirit the best. oh well.

Since starting this blog, I have been using more and more pencil. I still think I work best in pen & ink, but it has been good to push myself by using it. I started with a 2B mechanical pencil and finished with a 5B Daler Rowney one. Below are the stages:

First picture, for EDiM back on 20th May. 
 Restarted 15th June with Jay Leno's chin.
Getting there, early this Friday morning.
My reference photo. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

EDM - #20 version 3 - restarted

It's a few days away from Father's day (UK) and I thought it was time to continue my portrait. Nelson I can capture in a few lines, whereas dad - I get too tight to draw. On the original drawing I have redone the eyes (thrice), and totally redrawn the jaw and chin (too many times to count), but it still is not working. Consequently, this evening I restarted, larger, and it's still not working BAH! Again, it's the jaw/chin part that is off. In the original it was too narrow and small, now I have over-compensated and it looks like Jay Leno's chin. Time to get out the rubber again!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Waiting to be sent to the laundry

Living in a hotel for the past 3 months has had it's perks: I put my dirty clothes in a bag and 2 days later they come back cleaned, ironed and already on hangers.

This drawing was inspired by the Urban Sketchers on flickr group's weekly theme: Laundry, Clothes, Washing, Wash

Friday, June 11, 2010

EDiM - missing vegetable(s) تبولة‎

I still haven't ventured to the fruit & veg stall, but when my dinner was delivered last night, how could I resist drawing the chopped vegetables in the tabouleh??? It was so beautifully presented, (maybe to make up for the chef's inability to cook?) with great colours that I wish I had some watercolour paper left. Anyway, I did the best with the line drawing before I got too hungry and had to eat it.

The photo below is how it arrived, but certainly didn't look like that shortly afterwards as I ate it whilst drawing. Here's the vegetables I got to draw, albeit chopped up, plus cucumber and the olives, which I guess are actually fruit:
Tabbouleh (Arabic: تبولة‎; also tabouleh or tab(b)ouli) is a Levantine salad dish.
Its primary ingredients are finely chopped parsley, bulgur, mint, tomato, spring onion, and other herbs with lemon juice, olive oil and various seasonings, generally including black pepper and sometimes cinnamon and allspice. (source Wikipedia)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

More exam portraits

When Nywoud came to class last Sunday with her hair in cornrows, I couldn't wait for today, so I could draw them as she took the exam. I'm pleased with the result especially as I think it's the best likeness I have managed. 
 Continuing the theme of hair, I next drew Mohammed with his scraggly beard. He was sitting so slumped in the chair that it was almost on his exam paper.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The spirit of the Gulf challenge

 A Green Sea Turtle hatchling at the surf line. Reference photo by Seth Patterson on flickr.

To raise consciousness about the plight of the Gulf of Mexico, Suzanne McDermott issued challenges to some artists to follow the Spirit of the Gulf Challenge. I received the challenge through two fellow artists and bloggers Cathy Gatland at Sketch in Time and Dan Kent at Dan's Canvas, when they challenged every reader of their blogs to participate. Whilst we cannot change the physical damage which has occurred, this challenge may raise awareness.  After all we live on one planet and it's one sea.


  • Find a photo or other resource depicting some living aspect of the Gulf of Mexico before the oil disaster or
  • Tap into your spirit and use your imagination
  • Make a drawing, painting or other piece of creative work with love and gratitude for the beautiful life of whatever you're depicting.
  • Invite 5 of your friends or favorite artists to accept this challenge, include a link to the original post, the facebook page, copy this description of the challenge and the icon for their sidebar.
I challenge the following artists:
  1. Sandra of Sandraws.
  2. Cathy of Down a dusty lane
  3. Marian of On painting daily
  4. Alissa on flickr
  5. Anyone else who is reading this and wants to accept the challenge.
Whilst others have been depicting the birds I wanted to show something that is equally part of the Gulf's ecosystem, but easily forgotten. My picture is watercolour on 180g cartridge (I've run out of watercolour paper). It is currently in a resting phase as I intended to add ink to the watercolour, but am now unsure whether to or not. Finally, the original is not as brown as this, but I can't seem to get a decent reproduction today, sorry.

    Friday, June 4, 2010

    Solitaire restaurant

    It is very, very hot today, so I walked down the block to Solitaire restaurant to get some lunch. After I ate a bowl of salad I drew these fellow dinners who were on a lower level from me. I think I screwed up the perspective, but quite like the overall feel.

    EDM 275 Draw a tube of toothpaste

    A perfectly flat squeezed tube of toothpaste. I'm a neat-freak, what can I say?

    BTW I think the last time I drew a tube of toothpaste I was an art student  way-back-when.
    BTW2 I think this will be the last time I add colour using coloured Staedtlar. I prefer either pen & ink or pen & watercolour.
    BTW3 I'm using a uni pin fine line 0.1 and HATE it. The black is not very black and the nib is awful. I need to visit home and stock up on Staedtlar pigment liners, which are my favourite pens.

    Thursday, June 3, 2010

    Feet up

    I seem to spend a lot of time with my feet up, especially now EDiM has ended. (I know I've got that vegetable to do but...) The top sketch of my feet was done last night whilst watching tv. The film was boring and I found the way my feet looked stumpy sticking up out of my too long trackpants more interesting, hence the drawing. Then this morning, I did this very quick sketch of the strange foreshortening  caused by my sipping tea with my feet on the edge of the coffee table. I wish I'd had more time to work on it, but I had to go to work. Although I thought I was relaxing before work, I think my toes reveal some tension.
    Next, just for a change, I think I should draw my feet flat on the floor.