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A few more Portraits via the Sktchy App

January 15, 2017


Remember that app Sktchy?

They noticed the sketches I posted, and I’ve been invited to do a live-stream on their facebook page next week (Jan 19).

If you’re on facebook, here’s the event. Stop by and say hi in the comments!

I’ve been testing out my on-air setup, doing a few small portraits (about 5×7″).  These start with a linear pencil sketch, and a big washy silhouette. I hit it with the hair dryer, and lay the small details on top. Larger-to-Smaller, Lighter-to-Darker! That’s all you need to know for watercolor :)

If you tune in on the day, I have 45 minutes to do one of these start-to-finish under the camera.


The app certainly makes it easy to find inspiration. Every so often I’ll add someone to my picture queue – and last night I did these three all in a row.

I was asked what I look for in a subject – and that’s a tricky question to answer. Something about the person’s character just shows through in their photo.

Sketching Zeona, you see a very European face of course – but then the little clues, like she’s stretched her ear lobes, and has an alternative haircut (I’m guessing it’s a mohawk). Suddenly you’re making up stories about this person. I see a lot of underground bars and zine conventions somewhere like Berlin or Amsterdam.

Funny co-incidence – or maybe the Sktchy app is match-making behind the scenes? But turns out Zeona knows Stuart – one of my first Sktchy portraits. Small world on social media :)


So download the app and post you selfies! Artists everywhere are waiting for inspiration!

Your Secret Winter Drawing Spots: Send my publisher a Comment and Win a Copy of The Urban Sketcher!

January 12, 2017


Hey everyone! I wanted to point to an article of mine about winter sketching: Drawing Inside, Looking Out.

It’s up on my publisher’s blog as of this morning – AND – they’re running a contest!

If you’re a US citizen – all you have to do is post a comment on their blog and you’ll be entered to win a package of art supplies. (I don’t know what – probably donated product samples) – as well as a copy of The Urban Sketcher. Which all of you have already I am sure, but will make an excellent gift to a friend, or donation to your local library.


The idea of the article is to collect your secret spots where you can stand inside, and draw looking out.

Like this view from the third story lobby at the Hotel Bonaventure, overlooking Place du Canda. (Link to Map). I found this spot by accident while attending a conference, and have been back to draw it a couple of times. They have another spot – a glassed in faux-Japanese garden – so you get two for one here. Plus the hotel bar if you are so inclined.


Or this fun one from the Montreal Science Center (Link to Map). You can stay as long as you like in the giant lobby without paying to get into the exhibition. Use their huge windows to sketch the old port in all directions, even sketch from the museum cafe.


This little church is hidden in a courtyard behind the Palais des Congrès de Montreal, seen from the ground floor lobby, facing Rue de la Gauchetière. (Link to Map). You can get there from the metro without even going outside :)

If we all post with our city and our favorite ‘secret winter drawing spots’ everyone benefits :) They can even be used in warmer weather on a rainy day.

At the end of the month I’ll summarize the list here for everyone to use. Feel free to include a link to your own sketch if you like. You’ll be helping out everyone as we hunt for good places to sketch this winter.


Urban Sketchers Montreal is Going Sketching for Chinese New Year: Jan 22!

January 8, 2017


If you’re in Montreal on Jan 22, maybe you’ll join us at the Pointe-à-Callière Museum to sketch their exhibition From the Lands of Asia.

Check out the USK:MTL blog for details: HERE.




Announcing: Early Registration for USK Chicago, Feb 11

January 5, 2017

The registration site is now live:

Basic Info:

  • Early Bird Registration
    Opens February 11 at 8 am CST (14:00 GMT)
    Workshops pass US $415
    Basic pass US $12
Find out more, including instructions for a successful registration at this post on
I have applied to teach a workshop, but we don’t know for sure yet – I’ll keep you updated on my own plans. Either way, hope to see  you there :)


Personal Trainers Hate this Sketcher – How to lose weight by drawing!

January 4, 2017

Like many professional artists, I’m about 20 pounds heavier than I ought to be.

I think that’s normal for anyone with a desk job. And being an artist and blogger is definitely a desk job. I probably do seven hours at the computer for every one drawing.

Oh, I have more excuses too: we were doing a lot of travel last year – that’s always detrimental to proper diet. And I did all the artwork for my recent digital-art book this summer. That was a lot of butt-in-chair-time. To make matters worse, it’s the holiday season with all the celebratory eating that entails.


To that end, I’ve recently completed a 1 week (7 day) experiment in tracking sketchwalks.

Read more…

One Minute Watercolor: Equestrian Statue

December 30, 2016

Every so often, as I find the time, I’ve been working on my video editing skills. Here’s a one minute short done as a test for an all-iOS workflow. This is shot on iPhone5 and edited in iMovie on the iPad pro. I’m looking forward to bringing video to what I’m doing here on the blog.

That’s all for now – enjoy, and have a great new years! – m

Winter Watercolor : Five Tips for Sub Zero Painting

December 20, 2016

Over on they’re doing an article on winter sketching, and they’ve tapped a few northern correspondents for our top tips on winter sketching. Click on over for the full article.

Inspired by the request from our editor Suhita, I check the weather – and it’s zero centigrade today (Dec 13). which is pretty nice considering the forecast has us in for -16’C this weekend. Therefore – today it is! I grab my go-bag and head out for a quick sketch in the snow.


Read more…