Sunday, April 20, 2014

43rd World Wide Sketchcrawl in Toronto

Despite still being a little too cold to spend the days sketching outside, a group of us participated to the 43rd World Wide SketchCrawl. The plan was to go through a portion of the Toronto PATH and stop at various locations to sketch our surroundings. I had plan to start at Osgoode subway station, then visit the Four Season Centre for the Arts, the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel Lobby, the Richmond Adelaide Complex, the Hilton Hotel Lobby and then finish with a meal at the Vegetarian Haven. A few adjustments were needed in order to accommodate for the fact that the Four Season was closed, but it turned out great. We had a little over 20 participants and a lot of great sketches. (See the Toronto Urban Sketchers Facebook page for more pictures). 

I started sketching in the subway on the way to Osgoode station (colours were added later at home). There was not a lot of people around since it was rather early on a Saturday. 

Our first stop was at the Sheraton Hotel. They have a spectacular lobby including a beautiful courtyard with two waterfalls, greenery and stone sculptures. This was obviously a great subject to sketch and the sketchers were able to find comfortable places on two floors to sketch it. Can you spot some of them in the photo below ? 

Despite being a little chilly, I decided to venture outside to sketch the waterfall a little closer. It was warm enough for me to get most of my lines in but my fingers were getting a little too cold to complete it outside. It was great being in this little oasis, with the sound of the water in the background and birds chirping from time to time. Whoever thought about designing this area for the hotel created a great asset. As I was sketching, I was wondering about the bright leafy green near the stairs. It's obviously not quite the time for leaves to come out since it's still quite cold. I wonder what kind of bushes they are.  
After our sketching session at the hotel and a quick lunch, we headed over to the Richmond Adelaide Complexe and sketched items around the area. I spent some time in the sun outside and sketched one of the outdoor seating areas. I like the giant flower pots near the chairs. I'll have to pass by again later during the summer to see how it looks when the leaves are out. 

We then headed toward the Hilton Hotel and sketched in some of the areas around. There's this really neat building right in front of the hotel which is home to Momofuku restaurant. The entire building looks like a piece of art and includes a very complex sculpture. I later found out that it was made by artist Zhang Huan and the piece is called Rising. It is intended to be aphilosophical reflection of the world around us. It was too intriguing not to sketch, even if it was very complex to draw, I gave it a shot. The sculpture has several birds seeminglly flocking towards a mass that looks like an abstract animal that's difficult to define. According to the info on the artist's site, the objective was to  convey the message that humans can exist in harmony with nature, and that, if this delicate balance is struck, our cities will become better places to liveThrough the monster-shaped tree, he would like to advocate the protection of ecology, and the harmonious relationship between humans and nature. The doves in the tree symbolize the peace of the world and his wish is for beautiful city life to be shared by mankind and nature. I completely agree with his view. 

Unknowingly, and perhaps inspired by the sculpture, on our next stop I wanted to capture the fiberglass geese in the Toronto Eaton Centre. This installation was created by artist Michael Snow and called Flight Stop.  

Overall we had a fun and prolific sketching session for our first SketchCrawl with a lot of great talent and people sharing valuable ideas, insights, experiences, tips and tricks along the way. There's a lot to see in Toronto and I'm looking forward to do it again in the future so that we keep showing Toronto one sketch at a time. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Robarts Library

We had a great sketching event at the Robarts Library this weekend. It was my first time seeing this fascinating building up close. Built between 1968 and 1973, this brutalist style architecture has a lot of interesting angles and geometrical details to sketch. 

There was a lot of students studying in the building, so there weren't a lot of available seats nears the windows, but I managed to find a chair overlooking and interesting portion of the library. I really like the perspective between the shelves. Unfortunately my spot was near a cold vent, so I had to leave after a little while and completed the colouring at home.

The 3rd floor gives  a great birds eye view of the main entrance on the second floor. The ceilings are really high and give a grand look to the place. Most students were fixated on their laptop. I'm sure it must be quite a change compared to how things used to be when the library first open in the early 70s. 

I ventured outside for a little bit to sketch a portion of the building since the weather a little warmer. Not warm enough to spend hours sketching details, but enough to get an idea of the building's architecture. I'll have to come back on a warmer day to try various viewpoints. It was really fun to sketch all these angles. 

Back inside, I sketched this student talking on the phone near the escalators from a floor above. It was a great opportunity to practice a birds eye view perspectives. 
We had a great turnout with a couple new sketchers including our youngest sketcher to date: only 6 years old. He did an awesome job! See if you can find his sketch :)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Commuters' Hairstyles

There are various triggers when it comes to choosing a model to sketch in the subway. For the two drawings above it was the models' hairstyle. The one on the left had a really high bun and I like her way the hair was wrapped above her head. The one on the right presented a great opportunity to study how hair falls in a loose ponytail. She was standing and reading a book. I've also taken a liking to add snippets of conversation I hear in the subway. Coincidentally on both occasion they were talking about a girl. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Water and Coffee

It was a beautiful day today. I had to get out and do an outdoor sketch to harken the arrival of true spring time weather (unfortunately it stayed pretty cool). I went down to the waterfront and walked along the Martin Goodman trail and saw a little patch of beach with some armour rock and a beautiful uprooted tree. Perfect subject matter for a sketch! I'll be returning to this spot to give the root another try.

I had to warm up after the beach sketch so I headed up Roncesvale to one of the many ubiquitous indie coffee shops, for a coffee, scone and some sketching.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Sketching While Waiting for a Dunlap Lecture

I got a chance to attend Neil DeGrasse Tyson's lecture the other day at the Convocation Hall of the University of Toronto. Since Dr. Tyson is kind of a big deal, the organizer's repeatedly reminded us to be there in advance and that any empty seats would be given away after a certain time if the ticket holders didn't show up in time. So I made sure to be there in advance and brought my sketchbook to do a bit of urban sketching while waiting for the lecture to start.

I first sketched the crowd and view from my seat. I was lucky to get a seat where I had a great view of the stage and screens. People around me were keeping busy playing guessing games, talking and watching videos of Tyson on their laptop. There ushers were making sure every seat were occupied. They did a good job organizing the crowd. Each areas were filled in sections as people came it. The main floor was filled before people were directed to the balconies.

The convocation hall has great architectural features. It has a cupola with interesting carvings around it. I attempted to reproduce one of them. On the right is one of the attendants who was reading from his tablet while waiting for the lecture to start. After the initial introduction, I switched to sketchnoting

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sketching at the Bedford Academy

Some members of the Toronto Urban Sketchers group got together for a brunch and sketch at Bedford Academy. We got a nice cozy spot where the temperature is above zero and there's a lot of natural sunlight. I attempted to take a picture of the room I sketched with my drawing but the reflected light was too bright to show the background. There was a group of four eating and talking together that I was able to capture. They seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Since we stayed there for a couple hours, I also got a chance to sketch a customer (on the left) who was very animated with during his conversation with his friend and had an interesting style. After they left I also captured one of the sketchers sketching (on the right) and bits of conversation we had during our session.

We had a great turnout and the sketchers did a great job capturing various elements of the pub as well as the group.

Monday, March 17, 2014

CSI Coffee Pub

Today I met with a couple people at  CSI Coffee Pub. They have a large open space with an interesting decor. One of the things that I like about the design of the space was the installation on the windows. Plants were suspended from the ceiling right in front of the windows in a nice grid of three columns and three rows. It looks like whoever installed this put careful thought on how to arrange the plants as the larger ones were aligned on the top and bottom row and the smaller ones were aligned in the middle row. It's a clever way to add plants and art in the room without taking any extra space. 

There was a lot of people working in the space. It seems like it's a popular spot to work in group. In front of me was a group of people seemingly working on solving a problem. Who knows, they might be working on the next big social media application

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Back Sketching at The Allan Garden

It's still cold outside in Toronto but at least we have the Allan Garden to be surrounded by plants. A group of us went there to sketch and were welcome by the beautiful smell of the flowers for the spring show. I spend most of my time in one area, interacting with the other sketchers and working on my plant sketching skills. It's a little overwhelming because there are so many plants and it's hard to know where to start and how much details to put in. It's still a fun exercise and I can already see improvements compared to my previous sketch from there. I'll probably go back and sketch there again.

Below are some of the sketches from the group using various mediums.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Bloor Gladstone revisited, again.. for a third time.. maybe a fourth.

RGD HeadStart Conference 2014

I decided to attend RGD's HeadStart Conference to get some constructive feedbacks on my portfolio and also learn more about the graphic design industry.  The event was located at the Toronto Reference Library, a truly magnificent building with a tremendous sense of space.  I'm ashamed to say that this was the first time I've been inside this library.

My first session was the portfolio review.  I was assigned to Team-K, which consists of professionals: Andy Edgecombe, Emily Fung, and Philip Yan.  While talking to Philip Yan, he introduced me to the practice of sketchnoting, which is sketching the notes instead of jotting down the notes. Curious, I decided to attempt at this practice by doing sketchnoting in both seminars after my portfolio review.

I don't know if I succeeded, but I had a ton of fun doing different fonts and drawing the panelists while listening to their sound advices.