Friday, February 28, 2014

Bloor Gladstone Library

Toronto has been hit by a cold spell for the last few days and there are only so many warm places along my route home from work I could sketch at. The B/G Library is one of them. (It actually doesn't take a cold spell for me to sketch there.)

Centreville Amusement Park, Centre Island

I wanted to look for a place that has the old school Carnival charm, and I have a vague memory of what Centre Island was like when I was a kid, so I decided to head over to try my luck.

After doing a few laps on my bike around the park, I struggled to find a place that is both interesting and offers a place for me to sit and sketch. Just when I was about to give up, I found a bench and sat down near the carnival games area to rest.  The Clown Heads game stand was in my direct view, so I watched as children compete against each other to win various prizes.  The 3 clown heads turns back and forth and the objective is to put the ball into the mouth to fill a tray (...something like that).

It was interesting for me to see how parents react when their children did not win the game.  Some of the parents will pay for another game so their children will stop crying, and some will attempt to leave, forcing their children to follow them behind unwillingly. Just as the look on the clown heads suggests, they are indeed quite sly.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


C. had an unexpected morning off work today, and so we braved the cold to go out for brunch. I've already had a late breakfast, so while he ate I whipped out my sketchbook and painted the building across the street, in which a gourmet sandwich place had recently moved into.  I like the contrast of the red bricks with the blue facade of the street-level cafe.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Our New Facebook Page

It's still a working progress, but you'll be able to check out the latest urban sketches from the various correspondents and members. If you happen to sketch something in Toronto, share your sketch on our page.  I hope you "Like" it :) 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Immersed in Their Own World Riding the Subway

These are the latest people I sketched in the subway. A lot of people spend their time reading on their electronic devices and it's interesting to see the various postures they have while they are immersed in their own little world. The dude in the middle blocked my view for a little while. His coat had interesting details so I decided to sketch him as well. I can't help but think that he would fit in a manga series featuring a mysterious character, perhaps a secret agent or detective. He had big shades on too. 

TOUSK Meetup #10 : St-Lawrence Market

We had a great turnout for the meetup at the St-Lawrence Market. It's one of the major landmarks in Toronto named the best food market by National Geographic, it also received the seal of approval from celebrity chef Antony Bourdain. There is a lot of activity and a lot of great subjects to sketch there. The sketchers were very prolific and came up with great sketches as you can see above. I think they successfully captured the personality of the Market.

I sketched some of the merchants's stored on the main floor with the goal of capturing a portion of the feel of the area. It was bustling with people, both locals and tourists. Some were purchasing their groceries, some were eating food, and others were taking pictures. A lot of merchants were giving out food to sample while a musician was playing guitar and signing in the background.

After out sketching session, some of us joined other sketchers at the Queen and Beaver Public House. It's a nice little pub right downtown with a very homey atmosphere. I managed to capture a couple people while we were there as well.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

A day of sketching…

A ride to the dojo on the 505 Dundas East streetcar this morning.

Some post practice sketching at the Cafe Uno in the Distillery District.

I met some fellow urban sketchers for drinks after their sketching session at the St. Lawrence Market. A great opportunity to sketch more people.

…and some food afterwards.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Sketching People Sketching Things

There is no lack of interesting events to go to in Toronto. Yesterday I joined a meetup group where the organizer set up a couple fun still life scenes throughout a room and challenged the participants to draw them within a certain amount of time. It was great to see people getting back into drawing after not doing it for several years and how relaxed and welcoming atmosphere encourage them to have a little fun. There's definitely something about drawing that gets people to relax and forget about the day to day stress and be in the moment. You don't need to be a professional to benefit from drawing. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Dufferin Mall food court

I went to the Dufferin Mall after work to do some grocery shopping and a bit of sketching. Death and taxes are the two things that are guaranteed in life. I'd like to add a third. These retired Portuguese men congregated in the food court chewing the fat. They are the new mall rats.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Bloor Gladstone Library

Took a sketch break after work today at the Bloor Gladstone Library. I imagined people who study at the library would make good models, but these 4 guys were the most fidgety people I've sketched in a while. Maybe they were uncomfortable from me openly staring at them. I will never know.

Ashbridges Bay Park

Ashbridges Bay Park has always been one of my favorite park to visit.  It is always filled with people having a great time.  During the Summer season, beach volleyball tournament is one of the main events, and hundreds of players would gather on the beach playing their matches.

Aside from beach volleyball, the park also features the boardwalk that spans almost the entire park.  It is a very enjoyable walk from the main beach area all the way to secluded spots filled with a sense of serenity.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The St. Lawrence Market

The man in the foreground sat right in front of me while I was sketching the man reading his paper. Serendipity? Anyways, he was a trooper and didn't fidget, look my way or show any thought to me. I'd say he made the perfect model.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Keeping Warm in the Subway

I really like sketching people in public transportation. There's a lot of diversity in subject matters and the unknown limited time limit makes for a nice challenge. These are the sketches I did over the last couple weeks. It's been rather cold in Toronto. I'm told, colder than usual, so people are very bundled up and keeping warm the best they can, while adding a little style here and there. The more I draw these people, the more I'm finding myself wondering about them when I look back at the sketches. Some look tired, some look sad, some look fully immersed into what they are reading or listening too or thinking about. As I get better at this, I find myself paying more attention to the emotion that emits from not only what they are wearing, but their posture, their facial expression, their choice of clothes, etc. 

Tomorrow a group of us will join the Toronto Subway Sketchers. I'm looking forward to it. It should be fun.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Jet Fuel Cafe revisited.

I had a few hours before I had to head to the dojo and I thought I'd take a coffee at the Jet Fuel on Parliment. Incidentally, I was in the same situation a few months back when I drew my first sketch at the Jet Fuel, from a slightly different perspective. I think  it's nice to sketch the same object from different perspectives. It gives you some insight into the subject.