Missing a place

6 July, 2022.

Two years of pandemic. No travel. Another year of supposedly “post-pandemic,” (yeah, we’ll see.) and while I’ll be in St Martens in a few weeks, I won’t be in Europe. I miss not being there in the summer and found myself scrolling through travel photos from the days before Covid. It’s not the same as being there, but I enjoyed revisiting places I should have, but didn’t sketch while in situ.

How to… vehicles

5 July, 2022.

I get a lot of “how to” questions that appear in email and on social media. The answer isn’t always easy, or even intuitive. This is especially true about drawing vehicles because I’m not particularly vigilant about accuracy to detail, and also because (like most things) I purposely distort proportions. But I’ll give it a shot today, and probably wind up leaving out most of the details people are looking for.

It sometimes starts like this, with very generally placed lines to indicate roughly where the important contours are located.

Without attempting to camouflage or hide those initial construction lines, I’ll start drawing at a point that I find interesting. In this example, it was the split windshield and the curved roof that caught my attention.

I intentionally avoid doing much with the wheels at first. I want to get the skeleton fleshed out before I focus on the concentric ovals that represent the tires and wheels.

Once I do block in the wheels, things start to take on more of a believable and finished state. Notice that, as I said, I tend to exaggerate proportions. The wheels are slanted and often splayed to give the vehicle a little more aggressive appearance.

I’ll add a little more detail, but what really makes it all come together is the addition of strong, contrasting black shapes.

Independence Day

4 July, 2022.

Go ahead, get up early, blow up fire crackers and fill the air with smoke. Fire up the grill, and fill the air with even more smoke. Crack a beer, or two, or three. Gather with family and friends.

But first, I’m going to go fishing. See ya around the grill, and have a safe Fourth.

Barbecue joint

3 July, 2022.

I love good barbecue, and by that I really mean Kansas City style barbecue. This city is the undisputed kingdom of barbecue… well, undisputed by anyone not living in Carolina or Texas.

One of my favorites is Gates. I love the sauce, and their Beef and a Half with Fries is pretty tough to beat, even in a city filled with top notch barbecue joints. Their Main Street location is fun to visit, too, with a cross-sampling of many cultures and walks of life visible.

Country roads

1 July 2022.

After finding myself down an old road with little more than a pencil and a tiny sketchbook, nearly all of my sketches at Table Rock Lake last weekend were handled in similarly spartan fashion.

The fish weren’t biting.

29 June, 2022.

It was hot. The fish weren’t biting. And I had a pencil with me, and a small sketchbook (see below).

As I sat there along the bank, sweating like crazy, a Jeep pulled up and parked. An old man in a huge t-shirt and wide brimmed straw hat laboriously unloaded and set up his gear. It was heavy duty stuff, so I think he was probably rigged for catfish.

With a mighty heave, he cast his line deep out over the lake. Then he slowly and carefully set the pole down and leaned it against the lakeward side of his Jeep, making sure it was standing tall. Then he slowly made his way round to the driver side, climbed in, rolled up the windows and turned on the air conditioning, there to await a bite.

I wondered what would happen if he did catch a fish, and imagined his fishing pole suddenly leaping toward the water and getting dragged in. But that scene never developed, because it was hot. And the fish weren’t biting.


27 June, 2022.

Forgive the terrible photo of this small sketch, it was photographed under less than optimal lighting I guess! One of the fun aspects of the subject I chose for this year’s #30x30directwatercolor challenge is that stones lend themselves to compositional experimentation.