Starbucks at Harvard Square

Urban Sketchers Boston had a meetup at Harvard Square, and the interior is so cozy and nice with a warm atmosphere. For this I used the Carbon Platinum fountain pen, the finest point I have ever seen on a fountain pen! and my favorite brand of notebooks Stillman and Birn, Zeta series, great for ink

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Latest portrait Sketches

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11012065_951165904935124_3476144564064591375_nIt’s been a while since I did some watercolor portraits, so I decided to add some new to my portfolio. As usual I use Stillman and Birn notebooks in this case the the Zeta Series.

I usually work pretty fast on these, as spontaineity is key to maintain a loose efect on line and strokes.

I probably spend more time on selecting my limited palette and color composition than I do creating the strokes.

A good base drawing doesn’t need much as it sustains itself, but color excess can ruin even the best sketch

I was more happy with Dan’s portrait from all three

Tutorial on a 20 min sketch

I gave a workshop yesterday and prepared some handouts on my 20 min technique for urban renderings. Here below, is the process from beginning to end including the color wash.

There was a great attendance, I am quite happy. I presented using a sequence of panels and the second half of the time was to put all this to practice by the local Urban Sketchers Boston. It’s been two years and our group is growing. We are about 415 members to date and Christ Tritt and I run it every weekend, planning meetups and researching the local architecture to give an insight on the site prior to visit. Now with great weather, we can do more plein air workshops like this.

This demos were done in a 9″x12″ Stillman and Birn Zeta series notebook heavy stock for mixed media. The linework was done with a Lamy Safari EF. Some of the black brush strokes in the values study were done with a multiliner brush pen.

I wanted a support that could be smooth enough for fine linework, heavy ink brush strokes and take a few layered watercolor washes, so I decided to use the mixed media notebook.

One of the things I wanted to emphasize is the drying time between the watercolor wash layers. When you are working on a fast sketch, the wash has to be light so it can dry faster, most important, the base layer, as it covers about 80% of the paper (I do leave a lot of white untouched areas in the peripherals of the sketch to allow it to “breath” visually)

First layer is the lightest value of the local colors on every area, the subsequent layer is massing the main shadows, the third layer is the smaller darker areas, and the fourth layer is the accents that will enhance key areas to give it depth and good contrast.

I concentrate most of the pigment toward the horizon line and toward the center of the paper. I create interest in the focal point/area during the prior ink drawing process by  doing more detail and making it visually heavy in those areas keeping the rest of the drawing very loose.

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Four Layers Fist Pass Step by step A contour line exercise adding values study

Ink Portraits

Pen and Ink has always been my favorite media. These portrait sketches I did today were on Stillman and Birn Zeta series notebook with a Lamy pen and Noodler’s ink.

I love the feel of this paper, the ink just flows beautifully. Portraist is also my mani subject, as I have done them for over 20 years now 🙂

Leo’s accidental watercolor

I used my own carved wood sticks to make this drawing and permanent ink, on a stillman and birn Zeta series notebook. Then I applied W&N cotman’s watercolors witha petit gris brush

the result was ok, with a few spots here and there but overall I’m happy with this 🙂

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