Category Archives: Ink

My new places

My family and I have recently moved from Puerto Rico to Wilmington, Delaware.  We’re looking for better alternatives of treatment and rehabilitation for our son.  A change was probably very needed in so many ways though.

This means I have not only one, but two cities to sketch!  If everything goes well, I’m about to start working in Center Philadelphia next week, and Philly has so many interesting things to sketch.  Besides, in the first few days I met Joshua, a local caricaturist with whom I expect to practice the craft a lot.  I’m attending with my wife a figure drawing class on Wednesdays at DCAD, getting dirty with charcoal… And of course, also I’m still participating on the weekly caricature challenge on Facebook, Caricatura Puertorriquena en FB.

I haven’t sketched that much outside, as it’s been raining most of the days, but here are some of my latest:

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Back to blogging

I can’t believe it’s been two months since my last post.  And it’s not that I haven’t been sketching; on the contrary, I’ve been sketching a lot.  I’ve been trying new materials, new styles, practicing a lot.  Tonight I even been practicing caricatures.

I joined a Facebook group of Puerto Rican caricaturists and got inspired to try it out.  This week members submit their caricature of the chosen public figure, the legendary wrestler Carlitos Colón.  I grew up watching him wrestle and my late grandpa was a huge fan of his.  I tried diverse styles, first more cartoonish, with felt-tip pen and watercolors; then tried a more… elegant style?  I like more the latter, here are both:

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I also have been doing some Virtual Paintouts, last month at Valparaíso, Chile and last night at Vilnius, Lithuania.  Here are both:

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Also I’ve been sketching on location, especially people in action while I was participating in Festival Claridad.  Here are a few of my sketches there:

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Best of all is that I’m enjoying the process, learning a lot and having fun.


Virtual Paintout @ Isle of Man

It has been a long, long time since I engage in one of the Virtual Paintouts. After joining the Urban Sketchers I have exclusively sketched on location, but tonight i was bored and wanted to practice with the bamboo pen.

This month the group is sketching via Google Street View at Isle of Man. I only had heard before of the place because it is home to my former side job, Pokerstars… Here’s my sketch for tonight, done with a bamboo pen, a kabob skewer and Higgins ink on 11×14 smooth Bristol board.

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¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

This may probably the last sketch of 2012, but is certainly my last post of 2012. We’re waiting for the New Year in my home, just family and arghh, no beer! I forgot to go to the store… I only have “coquito”, too sweet for me. I did the sketch with a kabob skewer, dippin on Higgins ink.

Thanks to everyone for your visits, comments and likes. Hope next year is great for you all. See ya on 2013!

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“Stick” figures

Today I sketched with sticks… I had a bamboo pen, kabob skewers and a sharpened chopstick, dipping into Noodler’s Bulletproof Black ink. I really like the primitive feeling of sketching with sticks, will need to use china ink; the Noodler’s won’t dry unless it has contact with paper, so it kind of messed up a bit while watercoloring.

By the way, this was in a very nice beachside eatery, El Salpicón in Barceloneta. So, beside enjoying the sketching, I spent a nice afternoon with my family.

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Back to sketching!

After returning from the USK Symposium a month ago I hadn’t gone sketching. Today, finally we had the chance, as we went to Plaza de Armas in Old San Juan. It started raining a couple minutes into my first sketch, so we took shelter in front of the Alcaldía and sketched from there. When it stopped raining I managed to go out and sketch some more in the Plaza. Here are my sketches:

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The Pen isn’t my Friend

I’ve been reading a lot about sketchers using fountain pens and I decided to see what all the fuss is about. I went to a local shop and purchased a Lamy Vista, medium nib and a bottle of Pelikan 4001 brown ink to start.

The pen is a joy to write with, but sketching with it is another story. I have the habit of rotating the pencil from when I started architecture school and drafted by hand. This is terrible for a fountain pen, it simply stops writing. This had never been a problem, as I always sketched with pencils or felt-tip pens.

Probably it just takes time to get used to, but anyway I simply don’t enjoy sketching with fine lines. I prefer the looser strokes with broader nibs like those of markers or pen brush.

Yesterday at lunch I tried to sketch with the pen and the drawing was feeling so tight I stopped, got out some Pitt art brush pens and tried to salvage it. I’ll give the pen a few more days, just because it looks so much nicer than a Sharpie, but if I can’t loosen up with it I’ll leave it at my desk. Here is the 15-minute sketch, done at Centro de Bellas Artes.

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Washing color inks

I’ve been wanting to use color inks on location, but still haven’t found a practical way to take my inks around. I would love to have separate pen brushes, but apparently the ink would clog the brushes.

This was actually a color test done with Higgins inks with a Cotman brush; then the random blots remembered me of a plaza in Old San Juan and from memory sketched over the washes with a dip pen with black ink. It’s not close to the real thing, but it was a fun exercise. I need to somehow get those colors to the field.

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Some sketches from last week

Here are a couple sketches I did last week in Old San Juan. The first one was done with pencil and watercolor, the second was done with a Sharpie, water soluble graphite and watercolors. Both were done on a cheap, 8.5 x 11 Mead Academie sketchbook.

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Garabateando@Revuelo

Today I went sketching to the Galería Nacional in Old San Juan, where my friends Vladimir Garcia and Doel Fresse have set up a very interesting and attractive exposition called “Revuelo”; they covered the building’s courtyard with 450 pink kites, beautifully contrasting with the bright blue sky and the colonial architecture.

I went larger than usual, using a 10″x 15″ watercolor pad. I used a magenta waterproof drawing ink for the kites and did the rest with watercolors, washing freely over the ink. I also did a few experiments with other media, such as markers and pastel pencil; maybe later I’ll post them.

Before heading home, I purchased a souvenir pink kite to remember the event. Apparently I’m the first person that buys it. I must say that sales are not the strength of the employees there… It’s none of their business to tell visitors they think the kites are expensive. Its not that I didn’t know how much they were, as Vlad had sent me a message earlier this week. Imagine a waiter saying he thinks a dish is too expensive…

Anyways, here is my Revuelo:


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