And now for something completely zoo-related!

OneWeek100People Challenge 2018

What a week!

This year I accepted the One Week 100 People drawing challenge, with both excitement and fear and provided with the following materials:

  • 5.5 x 8.5 inch 100-sheet sketchbook by Strathmore®, recycled paper – I have always liked the texture of this paper. I found this size perfect for my project… also a 100-page sketchbook came handy, mainly because finishing sketchbook = completing the challenge
  • Grey ZIG® Art and Graphic Twin Tip Brush Marker Pen – I ended using this tool a lot, I simply loved being able to use the brush tip to build up tone
  • Pigma® Brush, colour pencil, general markers, Holbein® oil pastels

My goal was to sketch 100 different people on location. I managed to find enough activities that 100 different human beings would attend. Good news is there are many humans around. It would have been trickier had the challenge been finding 100 different giraffes! I sketched coworkers during their lunch break, during Women’s International Day, during boot-camp and at their cubicles while they were working (with their permission, of course). I found plenty of human beings at interesting talks at the Vancouver Public Library and Science World, and often would find unexpected precious opportunities… like observing volunteers separating pink worms from soil (aka worm poo)! A local ballet academy kindly allowed me to sketch at one of their advanced ballet classes! Yay!

It was overall an amazing learning experience. On the skills side, I felt extremely rusty at the beginning, but after a dozen, I really started enjoying the process and fell in love with the dual brush pen (which inevitably died at around sketch #99). Not all drawings came out nicely… some are definitely more successful than others. But the key is to keep going, be kind to yourself and continue. At the ballet class I used oil pastels and I simply loved getting my hands dirty… I felt very Degas, I must admit. Achieving likeness was harder with people I personally know, as opposed to sketching a stranger (there is more freedom when sketching strangers). On the technical stuff, I find that beards, moustaches, headbands, gloves, haircuts (and everything really that someone wears) helps me enormously to “break” the figure I am sketching into very specific shapes and pieces.

On the human side of things, I can remember exactly what I was thinking and the surrounding circumstances of the 100 people I sketched. I got to observe them, think and reflect. To be able to finish such a project in one week was extremely important to me. I am often my worst critic, but I said to myself that ‘if I can do this, there isn’t anything I cannot do‘. Hehehe… that being said, there are still many other projects I struggle with, but the 100 People One Week challenge was an incredible adventure.

Thanks everybody!

Going digital at life drawing!

Trying different brushes in Procreate© for iPadPro©. Fascinating the amount of possibilities. Particularly in love with the odorless turpentine brush.


Learning new techniques, part one

Woa! Inspired by the exhibition “Portrait of the Artist” at the Vancouver Art Gallery, I am redrawing some sketches I made at Maplewood farm using black and white chalk on blue paper, under Artemisia Gentileschi’s watch, of course!




Sketching Glen Keane

Animation legend and nice human being Glen Keane recently visited SPARKCQ in Vancouver, and I was very fortunate to volunteer and sketch at the event. I know! How can I NOT sketch when Glen Keane is talking, gesturing, explaining and drawing! The night he received his lifetime achievement award, I only carried markers and some immigration forms… and I did not hesitate: I sketched on them 🙂 The next day though, I came prepared with the sketchbook I use when sketching with markers.

During his talk, entitled “Thinking like a child”, not only he shared his thinking process behind his designing the Beast, sweet family anecdotes, fun memories from the time he worked at Walt Disney Studios and wise advice. He also showed what a humble, sweet, caring person he is.




Sketching dancers!

Arts Umbrella organized recently a free 4-hour life drawing session with two dancers, during BC Culture days at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre (Vancouver, BC). These amazing dancers would perform at different speed and stop at a given time for 1, 2, 5, 10 minutes. They changed costumes as well, giving me the rare opportunity to sketch some ruffles and tutus… which was, I confess, my favorite part.

These are some 3 minute poses:

These are some 5 minute poses:

These are some 1 minute poses:

This a 10 minute pose:

Oh, this also happened…


A night (sketching) at the theatre: part two

A girl, a piano player and many voices. A heartfelt, character driven, one-woman musical. Oh yeah… it’s also improvised!

A night (sketching) at the theatre: part one

A girl, a piano player and many voices. A heartfelt, character driven, one-woman musical. Oh yeah… it’s also improvised!

A night (sketching) at the opera

8th Urban sketchers symposium: getting there

This was my very first Urban Sketchers symposium, it would take place in Chicago! I had been planing this adventure for months. I assembled the materials I sketch with and decided to travel from Vancouver (British Columbia) to Chicago by train. This was due to a combination of several factors but mainly because… why should I take a 7-hour flight when I can spend 55 hours sketching, meeting interesting people and seeing a different part of the planet? What an adventure!

First I took the Amtrak Cascades from Vancouver to Seattle. I immediately realized I had forgotten my sound-cancelling headphones…

So I moved to the dining lounge, occupied a table and spread my sketching gear to immortalize the moment. Still feeling a little bit rusty, I was hoping to sketch as much as possible – so by the time I arrived to Chicago, I would be ready for the challenge!

In Seattle I killed some time at the amazing Zeitgeist coffee place. I started sketching the actual indoors of the place, but noticed quite immediately that what I was truly interested, what was catching my attention, was the gazillions of coffee pots of different shapes in perfect formation, saluting the senior coffee pot in the middle. From the windows I could glance some interesting stuff as well.

All aboard the Amtrak Empire Builder! Tons of interesting scenery and people to meet, greet and sketch (often with their permission, just in case). I found out that I am not fond of grits and that earplugs can save your journey, particularly to catch some sleep.

The observation car is the perfect place to spend most of my trip. Not only I can observe the world outside the train but also the world inside it! People of all backgrounds, ages and cultures lean on the windows and mingle. And I meet and sketch ’em. Stuart is our guide. He knows. I mean, he KNOWS. It is a pleasure to thank him afterwards and get my sketchbook stamped.

A final pleasant surprise. Do you remember the musicians that made our waiting time in Seattle’s train station sweet? They were on the train all this time! Only at the end they came to the observation car – and I was able to enjoy their music again… and sketch them.

Two-minute gesture drawings!