Monday, December 27, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I noticed last night that Facebook has this cool App called Graffiti. It's a pretty simple drawing app where you can control the width of your lines and the color and and opacity. Once you're done, you can post it to a friend and the cool thing is that it replays it for anyone to see how the drawing was done. This is my first one - mostly just messing around. Try it out - it's fun!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Biking in Kyoto

On our last day in Kyoto we rented bikes. We rode to Nijo Castle and walked around/sketched, went to a sword shop. Then we rode over to the International Manga Museum. I wish I had more time there. There were thousands of books spanning the past century and hundreds of people reading Manga books. It looked more like a library than a museum. There were some amazing figurines and drawings on display there.

Anyway, I did this sketch the other day from a photo I took on the bike ride that day. The photo was of a street scene and this sketch is a little scene way up high off the street. I didn't really notice it at the time, most people probably don't - it's just more visual noise in the city. But it grabbed my attention and now it has yours!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Tykona

This is one of those sketches that didn't quite turn out the way I hoped it would but I still like it for some reason. It's kind of hard to tell what it is unless you were there. This is a cruising boat at Migis Lodge on Sebago Lake - about an hour NW of Portland. It's a 1936 wooden Chris-Craft known as Tykona.

Anyway, I had this idea to fill some waterbrush pens with Doc Martins Ink and try painting with them so this was an experimental sketch with that technique. The inks are pretty intense and saturated so I found I had to water them down which I did by brushing some water, brushing with my ink brush, then mixing it with my plain water brush. I think I need to keep working on it...

Monday, November 8, 2010

New York City

I went to the US Open back in September. I got to see Roger Federer and Raphael Nadal play some amazing tennis (not against each other unfortunately, but in separate quarter final matches) I even ate breakfast at the table next to Roger Federers babies. They are very cute but wow, they can cry. I did this sketch the very first morning from Lenny's, a diner on the corner of 2nd and 77th.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Day 3 - Nagano

At just about every temple we visited there was a priest or some official who would provide a calligraphic signature for that temple for a small cost - usually about 300 yen. Alex and I made a game out of seeing who could collect the most signatures (he won, of course). I like the way the sketches work with the signatures. There are more of these to come.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Day 1 - Arrive in Tokyo

(This is Ken and Alex's Excellent Adventure in Japan - our first overseas trip together and it started in Tokyo. The next couple of weeks I plan to post my sketches from this trip.)

My son, Alex, has wanted to go to Japan for a long time - at least since he was 4 or 5. So, when the opportunity came along for us to travel it was the obvious first choice for our first overseas trip. I had been on a couple of tours with Gap Adventures - Thailand and Ecuador - so when I found a tour that was featuring Temples, Castles, and Hot Springs I signed us up for it. The trip we took follows along with this itinerary from Gap.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


First sketches from Japan. The one on the left was done by Alex at the first restaurant in Tokyo near the Shinjiku Star Hotel. It is a sketch of a tile on the wall in the room we ate in with the tour group. The sketch on the right was from outside our hotel looking across the street. Alex and I both couldn`t sleep so we wandered the streets of Tokyo from 3 to 5 in the morning exploring and started sketching when it got light.

We`re visiting the castle in Matsomoto today and then visiting Zenkoji Temple later.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Trek Across Maine Camping

Last month Alex and I did the Trek Across Maine - a 180 mile, 3 day bike ride with about 2500 other riders that benefits the American Lung Association. We rode a Trek tandem and camped out along the way. This sketch shows our campsite at the University of Maine Farmington. We camped on the soccer fields. The nice thing about this spot is that it's close to the river where the swimming is fantastic after a long day in the saddle. Alex helped out with this sketch and colored in the tents in the background. It was a fun 3 days and he did awesomely.

We're headed to Japan tomorrow with sketchbooks in hand for 2 full weeks to explore mountains, cities, hotsprings and temples.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Camden Harbor Sketching

A sketch from down at the harbor in Camden. The night before, Alex had some friends over for a "sleepover" but it ended up they were awake all night. Amazing... Anyway, after the last kid left on Sunday, I escaped for some solitude and sketching.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Farewell to a Boat

I found a new watercolor journal a couple of weeks ago at Rockport Blueprint. It's a hand-book journal 8x10. This is my first sketch in it.

I rode my bike down to Rockland on Wednesday afternoon to sketch near the waterfront. I stopped here at the Apprenticeshop Boatyard and found a nice spot away from the wind. I loved the color of the front boat. After an hour or so, a young man and woman arrived and began working on it - evidently prepping it for being put in the water the next day. Awhile later, an older man approached and started chatting with them. I gleaned that he had just sold them the boat and I could overhear him describing the boat's peculiarities in the water. But I think mostly he had stopped by to bid farewell. To say goodbye to a boat that meant something to him.

As he was leaving, he stopped and looked over my shoulder. He asked if I was going to sell this painting. I said no, that it was going to just stay in my sketchbook. I said I'd be happy to scan it and email it to him. He gave me his card and I emailed it to him this morning.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

An Island in Maine

Well, it's a kitchen island actually.And just a quick sketch...

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Half-a-House

This is an interesting little project I am working on in Rockport, Maine. This house use to be a full cape but about 30 years ago (so the story goes) two brothers inherited the house and decided to split it - literally. One brother took his half of the house across town and the other one lived here. It's less than 1000 SF and either needs to be torn down or completely renovated.

The sketch on top was done on my Cintiq tablet. I designed the porch addition in Sketchup, a cool 3D modelling program from Google, then rendered it in another program named Piranesi. This program is amazing. It's like Photoshop in 3D. Each pixel in the exported epix file from Sketchup has material and distance-in-space information so you can just lock the planes or material and paint away without worrying about masking areas. Entourage such as cars, people, plants, etc comes into the drawing at the proper height depending on where in the image it is placed. It is really fast. This sketch was done in about 2 hours and I hit the undo button a lot! Once I was happy with it, I brought it into Artrage for some final tweaks.

I wish the renovation was going to be that easy!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Back to Morocco

I still have a bunch of sketches from Morocco that I haven't posted. This one was inspired by a painting in the riad we stayed at in Marrakech. I usually use pen with watercolor so this was a departure for me. The original is full color. I was just playing around with this color focus effect in Picasa and liked it.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Gulf

I really didn't intend to be gone this long from sketching and blogging. It's actually been kind of nice though. My energy and focus has been directed at renovating my kitchen and dining room. I usually design these things for other people so it has been really nice to not only design it but do most of the building as well (I was a builder in my previous life). It's almost finished and it's turning out really cool. Perhaps I'll post some photos when it gets done.

Anyway, this sketch is of a gas station up near Stonington, Maine. I snapped a photo of it on a bike ride with Valerie over the fourth of July weekend last summer and this winter I sketched it in my Moleskine. Today I was watching the news about this oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico (I hate that they keep calling this a "spill") I'm not behind the scenes there but it seems to me that the world is expecting way too much from British Petroleum. There should be a global response like none other to contain this thing. It just seems like there is not enough outrage about this disaster. Well, I am outraged and this is my little drawing.

So there.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

In Essaouira

This is a quick sketch to get some elements down that I thought made an interesting composition. I'd like to do a larger version of this one...

Monday, March 1, 2010

Moroccan Riad

In Essouira, we stayed at Riad Villa de l'Ô. A Riad is a traditional Moroccan house with an interior courtyard. In the past 10 years or so riads have become popular in Morocco and are offered as intimate inns in the heart of the old cities - sort of like bed and breakfasts are here in the States. From the outside, these riads look pretty plain - just a hole in the wall. Sometimes a simple hand carved door but there is no way you would know what kind of beauty lies beyond. Once inside though, it is a visual feast with tile mosaic floors and fountains, hand carved columns, balusters, and furniture and beautiful perforated metal lamps that cast pearls of light in all directions. In the central garden of traditional riads there are often four orange or lemon trees and a central fountain.

This riad in Essaouira has been recently renovated and departs a bit from the traditional Riad. The feeling in this Riad was decidedly Safari with leather chairs, animal hide, and a simple pallette of colors that you see in these sketches.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Every now and then I pull up the posemaniacs website and open Artrage in a window next to it and draw the 30 second or 60 second set. In this drawing I did a layer in blue and a layer in red and then turned on both layers for this effect. It's a pretty cool site, especially if you like drawing people in strange poses without skin.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Charcoal Study

It feels good to get my hands dirty messing around with real charcoal.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Casablanca, Morocco

I was expecting more from Casablanca. We arrived early Saturday morning and had a short layover before flying on to Marrakech. I wandered around the airport hoping for a view of this fabled city but could barely even find a window. So I came back to the waiting area and sketched the food kiosk. Not too exciting, but hey, I was in Morocco.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Willey House Sketch

I went to Minnesota back in October 2009 to see the Marvin Window factory. The factory itself is actually way up in North Minnesota near the Canadian border in a small town named Warroad. Anyway, before we took the Marvin company plane up there, we had an amazing architectural tour of Minneapolis. The sketch on the left side I did from the balcony of the Guthrie Theater. To call it a balcony doesn't really do it justice. It's really a gi-normous cantilevered bridge that runs through the theater and hovers out over the Mississippi River. I was on the end of this bridge/balcony thing sketching the Gold Medal Flour company building.

The highlight of the trip was seeing the Willey House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The owners, Steve and his wife, Lynette, led the tour and described the restoration process. It was amazing. There is nothing like it I have ever seen. Evidently there were nearly 80 pages of drawings by FLW on this one house that is not more than 1700 sf. Not only did they restore it, they obtained the drawings from the Taliesen Fellowship to actually finish the house and furnish it with the furniture Wright specifically designed for the house. The little sketch on the right was done in the 5 or so minutes (and colored later) I had before we left. I sat in one of Wrights chairs and sketched away. As you can see, I didn't finish and sort of left out the middle. I wish I could have stayed for a week to sketch it and soak up the beauty that is there. If you want to learn more, click here to go to the Willey House website. That's cool too.

Oh and I had my picture taken with Mary Tyler Moore!