Friday, December 21, 2012

USK Taiwan 2012

I visit / see my family once a year. Either I go back to TW or they come to US to visit me. It has been 7 years now. (wow, time flies..) This year I went back home and had an awesome quality of time with them. Families and Friends are just like my backbone that provide the ultimate supports. I feel I am blessed and loved. Every second bit of it. :)

It has been 2 years already since I attended the travel sketching class at PAL (w Steve Curl). I finally have the little (still not much) confidence to reach out to the sketching group in Taiwan and ask them if they would have sketching events during my visit. Professor Carton Chen was the one that organized the USK Taipei event (dedicated for me! super!) and we had a great great time. Not only I felt the honer to draw my hometown but also with a group of people shared the same passions and interests. :)

The traditional house - san ho yuan (three-section compound) in Taipei. It's rare to be seen in such space-limited, high-density population Taipei city nowadays.

The city park behind Guandu MRT station.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Space Shuttle Endeavour

Can you imagine how awesome when a laying-down-kinda-skyscraper aka retired space shuttle is slowly crawling through your neighborhood and you can see it by just peeking out your house window? Oh well. I cannot physically experience that awesomeness but I certainly can celebrate its achievements to all human beings by using my own way.  Drew it down! :) 

This sketch was done while doing its last historical flyover from north cal to south cal in september, 2012. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Sketchcrawl SEP & AUG 2012

We were heading to Half Moon Bay for september south bay sketchcrawl. Thanks for Pierre's van ride so we could chat a little bit on the way to there. It was a perfect, not-too-windy day with lots of sunshine upon our shoulders. There was some boats selling fresh fish, crabs. Not too busy until we left around 3 pm, the in coming traffic was just bad for about 10 miles.....

First sketch: Half Moon Bay, Kayak co. "Getting ready"

Half Moon Bay, Kayak co. "Pre-training"

A quick 5 mins boat drawing.

Sketchcrawl on August, 2012.

This time we went to Stanford Mall @ Palo Alto for some sketching. Dedicated members: Conni, Pierre, LuLu, and me. Here are some results:

Kate Spade Store

Louis Vuitton Display Window

Friday, September 7, 2012

Vista House, Crown Point, OR

This Vista House at Crown Point Oregon is the main entrance if you are going to Multnomah Fall. You can get a very nice view of Columbia River from the top of the building. 

Fun Facts: Edgar M. Lazarus was the lead architect at the time. Vista House is an example of German “Art Nouveau” architecture. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Crater lake, Eugene, Portland

This labor day was quite pleasant that I can join my friend, Carrie and her bf, road trip to Oregon. Here are some highlights of the trip:

Inside the car: Tim was the only driver of the whole trip. We 2 girls were either chi chatting or sleeping. Ha. Thanks Tim. 

Phantom ship is actually really small compare with the Lava island (Wizard island). Carter lake is super blue. I only have like 5 mins to complete this sketch. Not bad I think. :P

It's kindda hard to spend time on sketching if you travel with friends aren't into drawing. I use thumbnail concepts to captures some interesting scenes or places that we went to record this wonderful memory instead.

We also went to Multnomah Falls (35 mins away from Portland) on Sunday. it's sooo pretty. The 2 tier falls could be as nice as Yosemite Fall I would say. especially the bridge in between. Pretty sure it has been seen in plenty of movies. My hardcore-disney-fan friend just pointed out the new Cars theme at California Adventure has this bridge and waterfall in it. Maybe SolCal gangs can double check that if my friend is correct. :) 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Kite Runner

I must confess that I don't read novel or fiction book nowadays except for graphic novel or art related books. The last "book" in general I fully finished was Diary of a wimpy kid 3 by Jeff Kinney. (Yes, I know, they are at book 7 now...geesh) But if you ask me what the last novel I read was actually "The Kite Runner". (I have 30ish pages left, almost there.. woohoo..)  I love the story thus far and kinda feel sad in heart a bit. Don't know why. Maybe the way Khaled Hosseini describes the story was so close to real life that not everything has happy ending or is perfectly stated. But, that's also the beauty of the life, isn't it?  Let's embrace it. :)

I am glad he lives in San Jose and is willing to do a lot of FREE public speakings to inspire people here or around the world. Luckily I attended one of them and got his kind words and autograph! I'll keep up the good work. :)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Gnome Gnome and Gnomes

This pass weekend I got a chance to revisit friend's grandpa grandma's house. Last time when I was there I haven't started my sketching yet. I always admire their decorations in the house, yard, and kitchen. I'm usually just taking pictures around the house, but this time I asked if I can sketch their back yard. 

There are so many gnomes around the front and back yards. I tried to fit as much as I can in my sketch........ and luckily they just repainted them.... love the vivid color. Feel like living in the fairy tales.... :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Last Saturday late afternoon. An hour before San Jose Art Museum was closed. 

Took a quick look at the level 1 and 2 exhibitions and at second story there was an artist drawing hell illustrations that caught my eyes. Pretty scary and surreal.

All the backgrounds are in major big cities: New York (time square, Brooklyn bridge), San Francisco, Los Angelus, and Tokyo. It's called "To Hell and Back: Sandow Birk's Divine Comedy". Well, apparently not a "comedy" for me, but the drawing skills are just spectacular! 

Went down and quickly drew the Mexicanisimo through artist's eyes, a tradition Mexican-senor and a street vendor cart. The Nacho man is quite interesting. I should go again at Bank of American Free Museum Day. Watercolor the nacho man might be fun too. Hmmm.

Photos of reality:

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Little Practice at the Hood

Last saturday, looking around and see what I can draw from my neighborhood. 
Started with this awkward, disharmony scene right behind the busy Ranch 99 Market plaza. 

I named it....."the truck and the bulldozer"

2012 USK SDQ Symposium V

V Improvising with line and color: The Urban Sketcher as a Storyteller
Instructors: Orling Dominguez and Inma Serrano

This is a really interesting workshop, you kinda have to put all the techniques you learned in previous 4 together. Here are the 3 steps that taking you into the "Orling & Inma illustration world":

1. Yes, again, starts with thumbnails:

The two little dominican brothers are in everyone's drawing that day. They are walking around and ask to be sketched. :)

2. Put your stories together, even includes some thumbnails.

I started with the Columbus statue on the top left and walked around decided to go with the side view of the statue so that I can draw the beautiful dome in the back. Inma suggested with the people in front of me and make them bigger, so the whole drawing would look more layers and more diminutional. The 2 thumbnails on the bottom are suggested by Orling. I like the result a lot. Took me about 45 mins to finish it.

3. Add some colors and words in your drawing. Don't write your thought or words after, make it part of your drawing.

We had like a little less then 40 mins to draw this assignment. I immediately know that I won't be able to finish a cathedral or something too complicated. So I look around and see the faces on the cathedral gate, so was thinking if I can put them in the drawing will be pretty awesome. 

Here is how it looks like:

The closer look:

Here are some results of the workshops, everyone has their unique way of seeing the scene. It's interesting and very inspiring.

SDQ USK news:
We made it to the Dominican Republic local TV!!!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

2012 USK SDQ Symposium IV

IV The Decisive Moment 
Instructors: Veronica Lawlor and Jonathan Schmidt

The workshop started with lots of wonderful good examples of lines sketching. complete and incomplete. That actually helps a lot when we actually on the street to search for the drawing subjects.

Start with the thumb nails stories like this: (sorta like a screen play that either the camera is zooming in or out, depends on each storyteller...)

If you enlarge the drawing, there is a very useful tip on the second left.....

It shows a simple but very useful principle for your drawing:

1. things you draw that are closer to you, should be bigger, vice versa.
2. try to include both close to you and far from you elements in the same drawing. So the drawing would looks more like what people actually see.

Then go into the details with your thumbnails story (or other things else, no obligation).

Saw a couple were using their own gadgets for like 15 mins straight. No single conversation exchange.

I just love their lamp poles, can't keep my eyes of it unless I draw one. :)
Also, figured that I should put something, maybe activities around the area to make the drawing more complete. So I add some loose lines chess competition that are very common things you can see at the Santo Domingo.

I still had not tried the completely loosen lines yet at this point. Just go ahead did this drawing: (I am not that satisfied with it but Veronica said she actually like this one then the previous one, coz she can see I am actually loosen up in the drawing. Hmmmm. ok.)

Last try for the workshop b4 everybody wrapping up theirs: (sakura brush pen, brown color)

After the workshop, I was starting feeling loosing up of my drawing, but it was already the 4th workshop of the whole symposium... I wished I could learn faster and had more energy to finish more..... 

It was just so exhausted and the humid weather made you got tired so easily.... I guess I am so used to the nice sunny california weather that I totally forget I was actually live in the same sub-tropical weather of my earlier 25 years of life. :P 

Monday, August 6, 2012

2012 USK SDQ Symposium III

III Architecture: Personal Viewpoints with Frank Ching and Liz Steel

The plan was draw at the back of the Cathedral Santa Maria then go inside to try the gorgeous ceiling. I was a bit overwhelmed with the gigantic architecture and have no idea where should I start. I just used my comfortable ink pen and started with the outlines shape of the cathedral, couldn't resist to joggle back to the details sometimes....  

Here is the result :

Frank's suggestions: try to see your subject as 3 dimensional. (mine is very 2D looking) Liz: draw from the top and with the outside shape, then the details. 

Everyone's work:

Everybody was so into it and some people were even do 2 or 3, very quick and with vivid color, too. Awesome! we only have a little time to go inside the cathedral.... 

I was having hard time drawing the cathedral, even Liz demonstrated it so well (you can see her notes in note 1note 2, and 3). She can do it like 10 secs and show you the perspectives, eye levels, etc... accurately. Unfortunately, we got kicked out by the security guard like 15 mins after we went in. I was unable to finished not even 1 drawing, but there are lots of good ones that posted at SDQ USK blog, if you are interested. 

I guess it does take a lot of practices and thinking to get the look and feel right within a short period of time. (more mathematically?) (I tried again the other days when I come back. I should say some tips does really help!)

Monday, July 30, 2012

After Santo Domingo Symposium......

After the annual symposium training......
my drawing starts showing some changes.... a little bit or maybe more then a bit?

I start to think about using some tips crossed the workshops I learned and also some results from the inspiriting attendees, consciously and unconsciously. The lines, the thick ink pens, brushes, colors....etc...., it just popping up randomly.

Here are the 2 latest sketches I did over these 2 weekends....

The Grace Cathedral, Nob Hills, San Francisco

It really took a lot of energy to finish such an enormous, magnificent architecture. I almost gave up at the second pagoda/tower I drew. (It had been passing the 30 mins mark which was about to reach my Short-attention-span limited..)
But took a second glance at felt so languish about my drawing. 

I am glad I did. The half lines and the steeple behind the cathedral are pretty good to fit in the page. Even though it was still an unfinished architecture, it does have a little more of the feelings. I think. Oh well, next challenge will be a complete cathedral. :)

p.s. I am still having a hard time drawing the interior/ceiling in the cathedral...probably need more practices to confidently pull out these geometric aesthetic pieces.

City Hall Dome, San Francisco

Liz's tip: start with the building top so that if you don't plan your space well, your drawing would still looks good instead awkwardness.
Turn out its a very useful tip for a rookie like me. 

Hope you enjoy it. Keep sketching! :)))))))

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

2012 USK SDQ Symposium I & II

First of all, I would like to thank Conni (mzsketchusa) for her information, without her, I wouldn't know what urban sketcher is and what the symposium is about. Well, maybe will have to find out way later by myself. Also, her encouragement to put all the experiences in words. Thank you, Conni!  

This year's USK Symposium was chosen to host in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The place that I've been always known my whole life bcoz the diplomatic relations history with Taiwan. I immediately want to join the events and of course with the visa advantage plays the big part of it too.

Ok. enough of the pre-stories, let's jump into the workshops I'd taken during the symposium:

I. Mercado Merengue with Melanie Reim and Nathalie Ramirez

I was a little bit overexcited with all the workshops, so I didn't really get all the words Melanie&Nathalie were lecturing before we go to the Market place. All I remembered was "Drawing 3 different size of scenes: small, medium, and large", "you maybe be overwhelmed by all the people and noises surround you but using a thumb nail to identified your stories".  (correct me if I didn't get it right, plz) 

Here are my results:
SDQ symposium Mercado Merengue workshop
Mercado Merengue Front

A Dominican Republic native elder, sitting next to me while I was drawing the market front. I was asking if I can draw him and he seems nervous but happily gave me a "si si".

Nathalie suggested with some medium size scene like the market store. I quickly draw the toys that was in front of me. (using graphite pencil and brown micron brush pen)

Here is the what it was looked like when I was drawing the elder. (Thanks for my roommates who traveled with me stopped by that day for some awesome/ memorable photo shots)

II. Capturing the Event with Tom Thorspecken

I was fascinated by the color and energy that shows on Tom's works at SDQ blog pages. 
I desperately want to know how to quickly put a scene with a story and vivid color together in such a short time. Just like a camera capture a event moment. My attention span is just really short unfortunately. I am trying to concentrate longer every time I draw.

The techniques/instructions that Tom gave us are:
1) limited your drawing in 2 hours. (45 mins drawing, 45 mins coloring, extra time for adding lines or final touch)
2) try to put people, buildings, furnitures, and surroundings altogether in 1 drawing.
(aha, he caught me. I always separate the 2. either building, things or just people. I am so bad with putting them in one scene)

Ok. the whole point of all the workshops are challenged ourselves and GET OUT OF OUR COMFORT ZONE!! I think I made it not too badly. 

Side story: while I was in the middle of the "capturing the event" workshop, a native came and tried to talk to me... I couldn't understand what he was saying, so I was just smiling and kept finishing my sketching. 10 mins later, another native came by and try to approach me. Seriously, I was pretty scared and thought that I should probably wrap up my sketch and leave. Turn out, he was just so excited that I captured the same angle as he did 10 years ago. He painted a fighting scene on the street and there was no lamp poles and electrical wires at the time. Looks similar? you judge. (I laugh at my cowardness but feel blessed with such a coincident that happened to me.)

There are three more to share.... to be continued......