Saturday, June 13, 2015

USk Philippines May Sketchwalk: Fort Santiago

Derwent watercolor pencil on Bienfang 140 lb. watercolor paper

After looking around Fort Santiago for interesting subjects to draw, I decided to settle in a shady spot, from which a number of kalesas (horse drawn carriage) were visible, to shelter myself from the scorching heat.  When I showed the finished sketch to a friend, she thought that the kalesa was drawn out of my imagination as it resembles the pumpkin carriage ridden by Cinderella to the ball.  But the kalesa is a real one, and I guessed, was designed as such to attract tourists.  What really caught my attention was the shadow made by the foliage on the ground.

Unexpectedly, bird poop fell on my wrist and on the sketch after having just finished my sketch.  Can you locate the exact spot where the bird poop landed on my sketch?

Saturday, May 16, 2015

My Collection of Coca Cola Tin Can

I began collecting Coca Cola tin cans when I saw piles of distinctly shaped Coca Cola cans  (second from the left) in a supermarket in Taiwan back in 2008.  I am not a fan of softdrinks but I so wanted to own one of those cans that I grabbed one to the cashier.  Now, there are five in my collection.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Wong Tai Sin Temple Hong Kong

After climbing the first flight of stairs leading to Wong Tai Sin Temple's main altar, I was greeted by human-sized statues of the twelve Chinese zodiac signs.  I walked past tourists busy looking for their own zodiac signs to take photos with them, and continued to the next flight of stairs.  The main altar came into view, before which devoted worshippers silently communicated their prayers.  This scene was made even livelier by the red and yellow lanterns hanging above the courtyard.  I then directed my attention to the surroundings.  The columns on both sides of the courtyard immediately caught my attention because of their intricate dragon carvings.  I made a sketch of one of the columns as shown in the photo below.

Derwent Watercolor Pencil on Strathmore 400 Series Watercolor Paper

The temple is so spacious that it even houses a garden named Good Wish Garden.  Pavillions of different height levels, connected by walkways traversing a pond, are built to allow visitors to view the garden from different angles.

The temple is definitely worth a visit.  Plus, it is conveniently located just outside Wong Tai Sin MTR Station.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

First Sketch for 2015

I really love the color pattern exhibited in this building along Paterson Street, Causeway Bay , Hong Kong: the diagonals of bright red and orange squares against the white background made the structure very visible.

Derwent Watercolor Pencils on Strathmore 400 Series Watercolor Paper

Monday, November 10, 2014

Filipino-Chinese Friendship Arch

I was inside 7-11, enjoying a bottle of Minute Maid, when I sketched the Filipino-Chinese Friendship Arch.  The passing vehicles were the most difficult to draw.  I need to be fast enough in sketching the vehicles before the stoplight gives them a go signal.  Sadly, I was not fast enough.  Long before I finish a sketch of one vehicle, all vehicles would continue to their respective destinations and be gone in a second.  I cannot remember how many vehicles had passed before I was finally able to draw the jeepney you can see in the above sketch.      

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Bund at Night, Shanghai

Walking along the Bund was a pleasurable experience.  It felt like being in two places at once because of the contrast in the sights of the two sides of Huangpu River.  Facing Huangpu River, Shanghai's skyscrapers, including the iconic Oriental Pearl Tower, come into view.  Turn to the other side and go back in time with the sight of historic structures.  Once the sun is out, lights are turned on to bring everything to life, offering quite a different, yet equally dazzling sight, from what is seen at daytime.

I chose to sketch one of the historic buildings along the Bund, the Customs House, at night.  One trivia I learned from the audio guide we rented while inside Oriental Pearl Tower is that the clock on the Customs House is the largest one in Asia.  Anyway, this was my first time to sketch at night.  I thought the experience would not differ so much from daytime sketching, but I was wrong.  I could not see the color of my pencils and had to look closely at the color labels for me to recognize the colors.

Derwent Watercolor Pencil on 125 lb. Hahnemuhle Mixed Media Spiral Pad

The lights made the structure really attractive that I became determined to capture it in my sketch even though I was feeling lazy.  

Monday, October 27, 2014

Longhua Pagoda, Shanghai

In my trip to Shanghai this October, I used a new medium for my sketches: Derwent Watercolor Pencils.  These pencils are lovely.  Put one color on top of another and tada!!! a new color emerges, making the creation of immense colors possible even with just a limited number of colors to start with.  Block in the shapes you have drawn with colors, just like a kid doing a coloring exercise, and create a beautiful watercolor painting by just adding water to the colors.

Here is the outcome of my first attempt in using watercolor pencils in my urban sketch.

The sketch shows the Longhua Pagoda in Shanghai.  The pagoda consists of 7 storeys with each storey smaller than the one below it.  Unfortunately, tourists are not allowed to climb the structure and can only appreciate its architecture through looking at its exterior.  According to the plaque placed on the wall surrounding the pagoda, walking clockwise around the pagoda is a sign of respect to the gods.  Immersing ourselves in the culture, we walked around the pagoda once before entering Longhua Temple.

I am not an expert in sketching, but I would like to share what I learned while doing this sketch.  I had a difficult time drawing the corners of the pagoda's roofs.  After drawing the roof of the top storey, I had to look carefully on how the corners of the second storey's roof are positioned relative to the corners of the top storey's roof.  I continued doing this for the third storey's roof until I realized that there is actually a more efficient way of drawing the roofs.  I drew straight lines that served as guides on where the corners of the roofs should be placed.  See below for illustration.

I think this technique can be applied in drawing any architectural structures.  Try to look for patterns and draw lines that will serve as guide for the position of parts of the structure.  This will ensure that the structure is drawn in proportion.

Photo taken by my brother while I was sketching.

Something interesting happened while I was working on this sketch.  Two curious men were watching me sketch and when I turned my head into one of them, I was greeted with "Langfei shijian!"  "What you are doing is a waste of time!," said one of them.  I just smiled and continued with what I was doing.  I guess only a sketcher knows the joy in the process of sketching.  We draw our interpretations of what we see, creating a unique picture that no one can imitate.