Sunday, November 9, 2014

Subway sketching

I spent a few hours sketching people on the subway. Where else can you get so many models for just $3.00.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Sketching the Line 2015

With all the construction going on on the subway line, I often have to take a shuttle bus instead to get to town, especially on Sundays. It's a little inconvenient, but at least there are shuttle buses and this time there was enough space to sit, so I decided to sketch some of the people in front of me. It's interesting to see how strangers sit next to one another sometime. In this case, the girl on the left was sitting as far away as possible to the guy on the right. I think she was so preoccupied by her phone, that sitting comfortably was not even a question. A older man was standing right near the door in front of them, I really like the contrast of his bright yellow cap and his fluffy grey curly hair. 

Speaking of sketching in public transits, Sketching the Line, an international exhibition of sketches of commuters by commuters, will be happening again next year. Earlier this year, Art In Transit featured 78 sketches drawn by 18 artists on screens in various Toronto subway stations, the Edmonton LRT, and the Calgary Airport. Some of the participants included fellow urban sketcher Richard Alomar and Jason Das from New York, as well as local artists Bobby Chiu, founder of Imaginism Studio. 

Art In transit is currently looking for more sketches for their second exhibition. The deadline to apply is January 31, 2015. If you're interested in participating visit their website to find out more.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Public Sketchbook Project

toronto urban sketchers coffee shop

A couple weeks ago I discovered this neat little project curated by Above Ground Art Supplies store called the Public Sketchbook Project. They a sketchbook and all kinds of art material in various local coffee shops for people to sketch while they're having coffee. There was all kinds of interesting artwork in there already and I decided to add a little sketch of my own of the view from where I was sitting and a shameless plug for our sketching group.

toronto urban sketchers coffee shop
toronto urban sketchers coffee shop

Friday, October 31, 2014

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sketching at Bampot

Last weekend, a couple of us went sketching at Bampot Bohemian House of Tea. It's a very eclectic looking space with a lot of interesting things to draw and sketch. We had a great turnout and great sketches from everyone as you can see below.  I kept mine simple and sketched teapots and teacup on the table. I was more focused on talking and eating. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

45th World Wide Sketchcrawl : A Weekend in Ithaca, NY

A couple days ago, urban sketchers from Toronto, Kitchener, Montreal and New York got together for a weekend-long sketchcrawl in Ithaca, NY. The goal was to capture the beautiful scenery around the many falls and on the Cornell University campus.

On saturday morning, we managed to squeeze a couple outdoor sketches despite the rain on the first day. The scenery was breathtaking. A couple of us even sketched on the suspension bridge. It was an interesting experience as you can feel the bridge moving as people walks or job on the bridge. We then joined the rest of the sketchers, including some locals who found out about our little road trip and sketched with us for the day. Toronto Urban Sketchers Sketchcrawl Ithaca NY Toronto Urban Sketchers Sketchcrawl Ithaca NY Toronto Urban Sketchers Sketchcrawl Ithaca NY

The weather was a little less cooperative in the afternoon. But I still got to sketch the statue of Andrew Dickson White, co-founder of Cornell University, located in front of the Goldwin Smith Hall. I had a "Truman Show moment" as I was contemplating sketching the surroundings of the statue : Just as I was thinking about whether I should continue or find an location indoors, a bell rang, the wind picked up and it started raining, like a carefully orchestrated scene. Weird. So we headed inside the building to continue our sketching session.  There were a couple interesting statues inside the building, named after a British historian and journalist who lived in Toronto.Toronto Urban Sketchers Sketchcrawl Ithaca NY Toronto Urban Sketchers Sketchcrawl Ithaca NY

On Sunday, the weather forecast was predicting freezing temperatures, so we changed our plans to sketch outdoors and opted for indoor locations. In the morning we went to the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, which had a lot of interesting features, including a beautiful zen garden visible from inside the museum where I spent most of my time there sketching after taking a look at some of the artwork on one of the floors. We then moved on to the Museum of Earth in the afternoon, to sketch all kinds of interesting skeletons. Mine didn't quite fit the page properly, but next time I might use Marc Holmes' method of spreading the sketch over multiple pages got hid sketch of the whale's bonesToronto Urban Sketchers Sketchcrawl Ithaca NY Toronto Urban Sketchers Sketchcrawl Ithaca NY Toronto Urban Sketchers Sketchcrawl Ithaca NY

I had a great time sketching. It was great meeting like minded people, making new friends in a new location and learning from each other during this trip. It's fascinating the amount of insight you get just from looking at what others are doing when it comes to sketching. We had such a good time that we're planning to do this again next year, probably a little earlier so that the temperature's a little more convenient for outdoor sketching. Toronto Urban Sketchers Sketchcrawl Ithaca NY Toronto Urban Sketchers Sketchcrawl Ithaca NY ...

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A day around the waterfront

 Toronto's Union Station, the central transportation hub, that was modelled after New York's Grand Central Station.

Sketching some boats  down by the waterfront. Nothing like a stiff, cold wind up the pant leg to hasten the pen strokes.

A metal smith working on some jewelry at the Waterfront Centre's open air studio.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Celebrating Year 1

The Toronto Urban Sketchers group recently celebrated its first year anniversary. It seems like it wasn't that long ago that I created my first post on this blog hoping to meet local sketchers in my new home city.

For the event, we were fortunate to be able to get together at Station 477 for a night of food, drinks, sketchbook perusing and great conversations. We were also fortunate to receive several prizes from Above Ground Art Supplies, a local art supplies store whom we've recently partnered with and plan to work on great projects in the near future. Thanks to them, everyone who attended got a prize (sketchbook, pencil, pen, brushes, conté, etc).

Everyone had a great time. We also had a little slide show of our first year, displaying photos of our various events (shown below),  and started some discussions about what we could do for our second year.

I'm looking forward to year 2 and all the fun upcoming sketching projects. If you're in Toronto and are looking for a group of people to sketch with, I hope you join us.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

 Tim Hortons and smart phones... The only good thing about smart phones that it holds its users hypnotized while I sketch them.

Sketching a construction site on a cold afternoon. (I already miss you summer.)

Saturday, October 11, 2014


It's getting cold here in Hogtown, so I'm headed back to my tried, tested and true (and warm) sketching environs of the Bloor Gladstone library.

People sitting by the railing counter at the St. Lawrence Market.

Kensington Market

Thursday, October 2, 2014

1 Year, 325 members, 23 sketching meetups and 1 sketchcrawl

Almost a year ago, the Toronto Urban Sketchers had its first official meetup at a pub. A year later we have a growing community of over 300 members in our facebook group, 23 get togethers and 1 sketchcrawl under our belt. In order to celebrate this first milestone, we'll be organizing a little celebratory get together and talk about plans for our second year. We're currently looking for a sponsors to help make this a great night for the participants. For more details, you can contact me at mj[at]

A big thank you to our first ever sponsor and partner Station 477.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Toronto Antique Vintage Market

A couple of us went to check out the Toronto Antique Vintage Market, looking for some whimsical and colourful scenes to sketch. The market took place at the Queen Elizabeth building in the exhibition place. Despite being a small venue, there was plenty of interesting and colourful set ups to sketch. Had I known I would have gone on both days to sketch a little more. It's  a great event to practice editing when it comes to sketching on location. There's a lot to take in, so focusing on a few important subjects while ignoring or minimizing the presence of other subjects is important if we want to avoid putting too much on one page and creating a busy sketch.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Sketching at the Harbourfront, the Sculture Garden and the Roundhouse Park

I've been pretty busy the past couple weeks and didn't get a chance to post about our sketching outings over the past couple weeks. We visited the Harbourfront, the Toronto Sculpture Garden and the Roundhouse Park.

The Harbourfront
There is a lot of interesting things to sketch at the Harbourfront. Despite being a gray day, we had enough time to spend a little time outside to sketch the many view from the  harbor before rain came pouring down on us. Member of the Kitcherner sketching group came to sketch with us as well, which was nice. There was a lot of activity going on that day and free food sample from a festival going on at the time.

Toronto Sculpture Garden 
We had a beautiful day for the sketching event at the Toronto Scuplture Garden. The garden is a great initiative between the city of Toronto and the Louis L. Odette family, giving artist an opportunity to experiment with public space since 1971. The artwork currently exhibited is by Jed Lind and is called Gold, Solver & Lead made with first generation Honda Civics. An archive of previous work is available on the Toronto Scuplture Garden website.

CN Tower
A couple of us met at the Rounhouse park to sketch the CN tower and the Toronto Railway Museum. Unfortunately that day was a little cold so we didn't spend a lot of time outside. Still, we got a moment of sunshine that gave us enough time to complete at least one sketch. Then we headed over to a local coffee shop to continue sketching. This is the time of year where it's hard to predict the weather and we'll probably be mostly sketching inside until next spring, but seeing how beautiful the weather has been this past few days, we might get a couple more opportunities to sketch outdoors before winter.