Wednesday, June 01, 2005


sketchbook setup, originally uploaded by Puhiava.

I have been keeping a sketch book for many years- more seriously since Graduate School. Unfortunately after graduating with my Masters Degree in Architecture in 1994 I haven't seemed "to find time".

I have a beautiful wife and three beautiful children that need my time when I'm not working and taking time for sketching conflicted with my responsibilities as husband and father. So I had to find something that could work with my family schedule but allow me to sketch. Within the last 4 years I got used to taking a small sketchbook (6 x 8) around with me but I always struggled how to make the most of my time. Most of my sketches were done with my fountain pen collection using beautiful J. Herbin ink and a water brush to manipulate the line and shading of the sketches. But my heart yearned to work with water colors but I couldn't find a setup that would allow me to be productive. I would have to carry water, towels, brushes besides a pencil or a pen. If I planned an outing to paint plein air this would take time and I would be forced to doing this every so often instead of daily. So I took my sketchbook, fountain pen and water brush as my standby kit and it fulfilled my need to sketch.

Two years ago my wife gave me a small travel watercolor palette made by Winsor Newton for Christmas that is small enough to place in my pocket. It would hold 12 half pans and came with a little brush. This was a great addition but instead of just taking my sketchbook, pen and water brush- I had to now take my paint box, brushes, water and towels as well. Now I couldn't inconspicuously put everything on my person but would have to lug around a sketch bag with me. Not to mention I was struggling to learn how to really use watercolor. So I left my watercolor box at home.

Last year I really made a huge discovery. I finally figured out I didn't have to have my red sable Isabey travel brushes to really be effective when painting. My trusty waterbrush does an excellent job at working with watercolors- it was an ingenious discovery (until I found out many other sketchers had already discovered this as well- and to think I made a huge discovery). The problem was I thought only the best brushes make proper paintings- the cheap $7 water bursh works perfectly. Now my sketch kit consists of my 6 x 8 sketchbook, my Lamy fine point Safari fountain pen filled with Platnium Carbon Ink (waterproof), my Niji waterbrush, and my WN travel box (with a paper towel cut to fit inside the box).

Since last yearI have really made a lot of discoveries experimenting with different mediums and making sometimes wonderful sketches and a lot of bowsers in between. The sketchbook has now become a visual journal and although I write a few words besides the sketch it is amazing how much memory and sense of place the sketch creates. I can remember an incredible amount of detail from what I was doing at the time I was sketching it to where I was- what I felt and other sensory memories.

Now I want to share my drawings with everyone else. I have been inspired by Russ Stutler; an american living in Japan who shares a love for fountain pens, watercolors and sketching as an expression of art. Also, by Danny Gregory a New Yorker who found out a few years ago he could draw and he hasn't stopped since- now he has written several books (based on his sketches) and has inspired a following to draw from everyday life. Since they had an online expression it has inspired me to creates this web log of my sketch journal. I hope you enjoy it.

Besides the future entries of new sketches I will post. I would also like to post some of the sketches I have made in the recent past to see where I've come from to where I will be going.

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