Archive for the ‘Pen Sketches’ Category

The Talent Show

Posted: September 8, 2012 in Pen Sketches, Portraits

I recently went on a trip to Kenya with an organization called Free the Children.  My small group in this big organization decided to have a talent show on one of our last nights.

I made some amazing connections while I was there, mainly with the locals.  One of the people I met is Jacob, our Maasai Warrior Guide.  Jacob was there for us to pepper with questions whenever we felt the need to ask.  I learned more from Jacob than anyone else on the trip.  Jacob told us all about agriculture and types of trees in the Mara that are used for different things.  Among these trees we learned about a bush that is used as a natural bug repellent – popular with the animals.  Jacob also taught us about Maasai culture and certain rights of passages that are completed by the boys as they grow up.

Jacob was very inspiring and an incredible human being.  He loves his family tremendously and treated us with respect, care and love.  When it came time for the talent show I knew I wanted to draw a portrait of someone on the trip.  I managed to get a fabulous photo of Jacob just after he had beat someone at a game called Sumo Slaps.  He was quite proud of himself and flashed a huge smile.  Snap!  Got it!  Drew it for the talent show:

Unfortunately I’m an idiot and didn’t listen to anyone when I was told 100 times to bring my pencils and sketch book.  I figured this would be unwanted weight and space-taker-upers when I will only use it maybe once.  Considering I was tool-less I took a pen used for my journal and begged one of our facilitators for some blank paper.

It all turned out in the end.  When I presented the photo at the talent show four girls burst into tears and Jacob himself, tough Maasai Warrior fought the emotion of such a gift.

Jacob told one of my friends later in the night that he planned on keeping the drawing his whole life.



Follow the White Rabbit

Posted: February 29, 2012 in Pen Sketches

“Start at the beginning.  When you come to the end, stop!”

I guess I’m on an Alice in Wonderland kick, with a pen, because it’s the only thing I seem to enjoy drawing these days.  I’m not sure if it’s the art style or if I was really missing drawing with a pen that much, but I have two more Alice drawings for you:

Don’t we all wish we had a White Rabbit in our lives.  Someone who peaked our interest in adventure and easily lead the way down the rabbit hole.  No one willingly jumps down a rabbit hole, but if you are lead by curiosity it becomes a whole lot easier.

The Mad Hatter tea party is one of my favorite scenes in this movie and it was, obviously then, one of my favorite chapters in the book.  The Mad Hatter’s table is a place where everything that is reason becomes not and everything that is not becomes reason; without question.  In fact, if you question this you yourself become questionable.  If you become questionable you are immediately the one who is mad and must be immediately removed from the table.  It is a place where lemon fixes a watch and mustard will not!  Jam solves anxiety and it’s your birthday everyday… well sort of.  A place where having none means you can’t have any less and there is never room at a table full of chairs.

People these days are afraid to be silly.  This is why I love Alice in Wonderland so much!  It gives you permission to be completely silly without having to give any reasoning.  If you feel you have not appropriately filled your allotment of silly to day, please do yourself a favor and watch this…

It’s a Wonderland

Posted: February 18, 2012 in Pen Sketches

So in the theme of my New Years Resolution I have drawn you a little selection from my February book. As you may or may not remember, Sherlock Holmes was my January book. This months book was none other than Alice in Wonderland. This story has always been a favorite of mine. Though many people viewed This story as a drug trip I viewed it as a wonderful imaginative getaway. I love the creativity of the story telling, characters, visuals and humor.


Have you ever thought to play croquet with a flamingo? Order a pack of cards to guard your castle? Thought to ask a caterpillar it’s name? Looked at a mushroom and considered its ability to cause you to grow taller than a tree or shrink you smaller than the mushroom itself? I didn’t think so. I do think that of more people thought this way the world would seem a much more magical place!

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.

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.

Photo vs. Pen

Posted: January 6, 2012 in Pen Sketches

The funny thing about drawing with a pen is you more colour in than sketch.  I think I touched on this once before in Black Out.  This is one of the hardest things to wrap your mind around when working with a pen.  If you try and shade with a pen the way you do with a pencil it wont work.  You almost have to block off your sections of shading and then progress your scribbling from little to lots.  That’s a line right out of a text book… Progress your scribbling from little to lots.  Yup, I went there.

Enough of the chat.  I’m an artist.  I do my talking through pictures:

The pillars in this picture gives a better example of what I was trying to say.  The pillars themselves consist of horizontal and vertical lines.  The space behind the pillars is horizontal, vertical and diagonal in both directions.  Just progress the scribbling!  Another good example of this is his coat on the bottom left (your left).  I had to block out his whole left side and colour it completely black.  The folds themselves are also blacked out, while the cloth beside his leg is only partially coloured.  The cloth over his leg is completely white.

I would like to try and do this picture again in pen and then in pencil right after to contrast the difficulty of the shading.  I always loved this picture.  I’m glad I kept the original photo on the page.  This is something I should do more actually, pin the original to the copy.  It’s a good comparison.

Black Out

Posted: December 22, 2011 in Pen Sketches

When I was sketching with pens only I found it really hard to pick photos for inspiration.  Anything too bright or anything with too many details often didn’t work all that well.  Anything too dark would take up too much pen and too much time.  I did, however, decide to thow all cation to the wind and  see if I could empty a pen on just one sketch.

Shockingly I did not finish the pen.  Those people at Bic really know how to pack a pen full of ink!  I even remember starting this drawing with a fresh pen, just to see if I could do it.  I think the outcome of this drawing is striking.  It was a very unique experience drawing inverted, if you will.  The whole way through this drawing I didn’t think it would work.  I had to keep reminding myself to colour it in, fully, otherwise it would look odd.  My mind wanted to do the exact opposite; leave it blank, sketch a little bit for shading and leave it alone!

NO!  Colour it in!!  I always like looking at this picture with squinted eyes.  It blurs all the lines just enough to make it seem like solid photo without all the small gaps of white.  I think I would like to do more art in this fashion.  To be honest, posting about the drawings done in pen inspires me to fill another sketch book with only pen drawings.  It’s time to reshape those skills and apply some discipline!

The sketch above is from 2004, so it has clearly been a while since I have exercised this.