Archive for January, 2012

Bringing People Together

Posted: January 31, 2012 in Pencil Sketches, Portraits

Often when I draw I like to make it an event.  I spend a bit of time looking for that perfect picture, gather my supplies and head to a local coffee shop with the intentions of staying a long time.  Usually I do this in the winter.  Cabin fever kicks in and the thought of a hot latte I didn’t make kicks me out.

People are a lot friendlier than we give them credit.  The whole idea of “Stranger Danger” is great for a five year old in a playground; however, adults tend to apply this safe-guard when it’s not always needed.  Nearly every time I have drawn in public I meet someone.

When I drew the above there was a group of people sitting outside the window I was drawing at.  I could tell they were constantly watching my progress on the drawing and this made me nervous.  Not in the ‘Stranger Danger’ sense, but I felt a need to get each thing right.  Near the end of my time there one of the guys from the group came in.  He was in a wheelchair and commented on how talented I was.  He asked me where I got my inspiration from and began to tell me he was also an artist who got inspiration from his travels.  I asked him where he had been and he began telling me of one of his adventures; hitchhiking across the USA and yes, he was in a wheelchair during this adventure.  I bet his story would make an amazing film, but you would have no idea that story was there unless you asked.

I remember an Oprah show once that talked about peoples stories, complete strangers around you who had tales that could win Academy Awards.  The guy Oprah was interviewing on this subject would take phone books, point to random people, call them up and whoever answered the phone got to have a biography on them filmed and aired.  At the end of the show they set up a dartboard of the setting chart of her audience.  The guy Oprah was interviewing threw a dart at the board and the seat it marked had a segment on their story in the following weeks.

I remember the guy who was selected was originally from Africa and had a heart wrenching story of slavery and war. I can’t remember a lot of details and don’t want to attempt to write them from memory to ruin his story, but you get the idea.  Just think about that the next time you are sitting in a coffee shop.  Who exactly is sitting next to you?


Oh Brother

Posted: January 25, 2012 in Pencil Sketches, Portraits

How many of you out there have a brother?
Yeah me too

How many of you out there got sat on by your brother?
Yeah me too

How many of you out there got spanked for something your brother made you do?
Yeah me too

How many of you made your brother’s nose bleed?
Yeah me too

How many of you banged on your brother’s door screaming you hated him?
Yeah me too

How many of you broke something of your brother’s and he got really mad?
Yeah me too

How many laughed with your brother until you cried?
Me too

How many have trusted your brother with a deep secret?
Me too

How many threatened to get your big brother if you continued to be picked on?
Me too

Cried with their brother?

Consider their brother to be one of their best friends?

Couldn’t imagine having to go through something tough without their brother?

Love their brother to death?


My brother:


I have never before made a New Years resolution, until this year.  I was speaking about all the books I have never read with a friend over breakfast on new years eve.  This conversation stemmed from a really great collection of leather-bound classics my friend owned.  Among them was A Christmas Carol, which I have been meaning to read for the past three Christmas’.  The New Years Resolution was then created.

This year I am reading twelve classics in twelve months.  I have created said list and began searching used book stores for these books.  I realize most of these books are free for the iPhone or Kindle, but I prefer to read the classics in the classic covers.  January’s book is none other than Sherlock Holmes.  Mostly because it was the first book I found on my list and it was .25 cents at a library.  I am enjoying it very much!

I did mention in a previous post that I wished to get to the point where I drew a picture corresponding to something in my life.  As such, here is a little something I drew just today!

In Robert Downey Jr. Style, draw entirely with a bic pen, I give you Sherlock Holmes.  Save a slightly crooked mouth I am super happy with this!  I was actually inspired to draw Sherlock Holmes after seeing the first movie.  At the end during the credits there are pictures from the movie shown in sketch form.  I believe this was done using photo-shop; however, it was a brilliant idea and one I want to learn from.  I actually had a friend suggest doing this with any movie, watching it and then pausing it at a random spot and begin sketching.  I still am interested in doing it.

I am looking forward to this New Years resolution.  Perhaps I will post a few more drawings relating to it.  We shall see come February.

Something Different

Posted: January 20, 2012 in Paintings, Portraits

So here is my biggest Craig so far.  It’s 3′-4′ and took me a month to do.  This is the most recent piece of art I have, started mid-December and finished drying out last week.

To give you a view of it’s size, here it is hung above my bed.

I have wanted a large painting above my bed for some time now.  I have spent a number of moments in stores looking for the right piece.  I found two I liked in December, one was a smaller canvas with a fade of purple on it.  That was all.  The second had a variety of colours in the background all fading into each other with a dancer sketched on top.  Right then I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t just put the two together and create it myself.  So I did.

The purple fade was easy, but it took a lot of nerve to paint the woman.  I searched on Google until I found a picture I liked then sketched it in my sketch book about 5 times before I felt like I was getting it right.  You see, I have never really been a good painter, especially of people.  You may laugh when reading this and viewing the above, but it’s true.

You might remember a post a while ago about listening to music while doing art.  I took this very seriously while creating this piece and listened to the following during it’s creation:

I truly believe that music aids in the creating of art.  If you get your mind in the right space before approaching a project you will find the mood behind the art will come easier to you.  I encourage you to listen to the clip above and view the painting again.  My roommate loved watching the progress of this painting, though she didn’t cry when I finished… like I did.  However, I did get her to listen to this song and then view the painting again.  She cried.

Wisdom in a Face

Posted: January 19, 2012 in Pencil Sketches, Portraits

One of my favorite places to sketch is in church.  This is a great place for creativity and often I find creativity comes easily to me when I am there.  I got into quite a habit of punching out a sketch in the two hours spent there.  Sometimes last minute touches would be added to the piece at a neighboring restaurant with friends.  There was this one time I dumped a whole glass of water due to being distracted by my drawing.  Luckily the water completely missed my sketches, but hit the bulls eye of my lap.

I do find my creative drive comes and goes, but when it comes in comes in full force.  This picture took me three Sunday’s to finish.

This is probably one of my favorite drawings, and most likely because I invested so much time to do it.  I love to draw from pictures that can tell a story.  Even more than this I love when I can tell that story by simply looking into the subjects eyes.  This picture is full of wisdom and knowledge to me.  Though not the kind of wisdom that is taught or read, the kind of wisdom that is learned the hard way through life experience and struggle.  This face has ample life experience.  This is the kind of face that when starts talking everything in you shuts up to hear what it has to say.  I love faces like that.

I have two great aunts who both live in England.  Both of these aunts spent time serving, dancing, plane spotting, and meeting the loves of their lives  in World War II.  Over the years these ladies would come to Canada to visit us and each time I soaked up my time with them; even if nothing much was talked about.  There is something about being in the presence of wisdom that brings you to attention.

I was lucky enough to take a trip to England a few years back.  I spent time drinking a pint with these great aunts of mine in a family owned pub.  I also had the chance to ask one of them about her time in the war.  Her eyes seemed to sparkle with memory.  I could see her eyes reliving events right before me.  She talked about watching planes come in, ditching mandatory marches through a town by hiding in bathroom stalls, and getting lost at night after a late night dance at the next camp over.  She was even one of those who lied about her age to sign up for duty.  Throughout her stories she kept on apologizing saying that she was probably disappointing me with her lack of adventurous tales.  She couldn’t have been more wrong.  I was captivated and her eyes also told me it was the best time of her life.

Often when I see elderly people in my day to day I get a little sad thinking I may never hear of all their incredible adventures that have brought them to where they are today.  Even sadder than this, their wisdom is lost to all who don’t ask for it.

I See You

Posted: January 16, 2012 in Pen Sketches

I’ve posted enough art now to start seeing where the trends are in hits.  It seems you really like the pen drawings and anything to do with hands.  I must attempt a hand drawn with pen.  I can’t even imagine the stats that would get!  To test out my theory, here is a pen drawing.

My brilliance decided to give you a good idea of the size, there is my thumb.  That’s not true.  My brilliance had nothing to do with this.  My thumb is in there because I couldn’t get a good shot of this without holding.

After I had a few people tell me I was really good at drawing eyes I decided to draw the biggest eye I could find!  I remember the days following this piece the pen kept transferring from this drawing to my fingers.  With the pen all over my hands I looked like an inkwell writer from the early 19th century.

I really like the pen in this drawing.  I don’t think it would have looked as good in pencil.  The pen makes it shinier, thus giving it more of a life like appearance.  I also really like the eye lashes in this picture.  Usually eye lashes are not something you spend a whole lot of time on, but in this picture they became the second most important thing in the drawing.

I really like this one.  It was from quite a while ago, but every time I look at it I find it striking.  I’m drawn to it.  To be honest, it looks better here than it does in real life too.

Me, Myself and I

Posted: January 15, 2012 in Pencil Sketches, Portraits

Drawing yourself has got to be the hardest and stupidest thing to do.  For Christmas a year ago I drew my mom a picture of myself, my brother and my sister.  I had actually drawn the picture of my brother a few years ago; perfect, done.  The picture of my sister wasn’t hard and brought back a lot of good memories; perfect, easily done.  The picture of me has never brought so much frustration to the tip if my pencil.  I drew two different pictures, both of which I hated.  One I hated a little less.  This ended up being the Christmas present.

Trust me, I am not the type of person who will constantly beat themselves up over the way I look.  That’s a great way to make life miserable day in day out.  Seeing how I’m not really into the miserable I don’t do that.  Sure, there are a few of my features I’m not crazy about, but who doesn’t have that.

Eventually I chose a pictures of myself where half my face was blocked with sunglasses.  At least I wouldn’t have to draw a fifth of my face.

The picture behind this one in my sketch book is also peaking through a bit.  Oops.  I think because I’m not too jazzed on the sketch I didn’t care to fix it.

Remember when I said before you can see a person come together on your page as you draw them, especially in the eyes?  I think this is why it was so hard for me to draw myself.  It’s easy when I draw someone like my brother or sister I can think, “Oh, you, look at you and your silly face.”  It gets a little tougher to do this with yourself.  “Oh self, look how funny and bright you are.  You just kill me.”  Not so much.

I think it is important for all artists to attempt to sketch themselves, but it might be the worst thing you ever do.  Just saying.