Thursday, March 24, 2011


                                     Waggis!                        Waggis!                            Waggis!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

SBB CFF FFS Swiss Railway Network

         Gleis. Gleis. Gleis. Gleeiiiissssss. I looove the Swiss German word for train track. Drawn from memory.

One of them fast trains that the U.S.A. better start getting soon! The job situation is bad enough without a nonexistent public transportation infrastructure. Linking our cities and towns by fast rail could create so many more opportunities for people.

                                   A little boy I saw looking out the window from Basel to Laufen.

Train seats and I failed to fit this man in the chair so I drew his dozing face and hands.

Two native Japanese that I rode back with from Luzern to Basel. Ayako and Kosuke. My thoughts and heart are with the Japanese and the tragedy they're facing.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Liechtenstein Tattoo Convention

              I went to a tattoo convention in Liechtenstein over the weekend! My first time to ever be in Liechtenstein, and also my first time at a tattoo convention. It's always nice to pop two cherries at once. The convention was at the most unlikely place I could have imagined, it was in a big hall/room at the University of Liechtenstein. I have never in my life seen so many people with tattoos and piercings, most were wonderful to look at. The convention was in the most beautiful spot as well, here is the view from outside the front door.

                                       Naturally, I had to draw some of the artists at work.

       I went to the convention with two people, a Swiss girl, Vanessa, her brother Marco, and their mother. Above is Marco getting his first tattoo. He got "veritas" tattooed on his left arm. It's Latin for truth. Seen the Boondock Saints?

                 This is Vanessa, she got the name of her zodiac sign tattooed in Arabic between her shoulder blades.

                              This girl was in alot of pain. She was getting Tiger Lilies on her side below her ribs. You can't see it in this drawing, but she kept clenching and unclenching her hands and then held her boyfriend's hands for strength later on.

            While I was drawing this girl, a guy seated next to her watching the job kept giving me appraising looks. I'm assuming he was her boyfriend and wasn't to happy about me drawing her.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Zoo Basel

Sturgeons, Chubs, and Trumpetfish

                                               They really have the cutest advertisements.

                I decided to spend an afternoon at the zoo my first week in Basel. I was not disappointed. I have since been back four additional times. I've never had such close, cheap and easy access to a zoo, it's great! In this post are some photos and drawings, some of what I saw that day in the aquarium.

                                           Started out with some chubs from observation.

              Then I practiced some of my memory drawing. For those who don't know, memory drawing exercises are when you spend some time just looking at something, and then draw with just the memory of what you saw. Robert Henri and others are advocates of this and here is an excerpt from Robert Henri's book "The Art Spirit" to put further emphasis on what I'm talking about.

        "I have often thought of an art school where the model might hold the pose in one room and the work might be done in another. The pupils would have their places in both rooms, one for observation and the other for work. The pupil could return to the model room for information. In  getting the information he could view the model from his place or could walk about and get an all-around concept; he could also make any sketches he might desire to make--for information--but these drawings are not to be carried into the work room. Into this room he carries only what he knows."  - Robert Henri

       This really struck me when I read it, and I have been doing exercises since to develop what Robert Henri is talking about. Of course the ultimate purpose of all this isn't so I can see a fish and then draw it exactly. But doing this exercises develops the skill to remember visual and emotional phenomena and fix them in the mind. The moments in life that are most profound are the ones so important to hold onto and communicate.So this day in the zoo I started out with the chubs from observation and then did some sturgeon sketches from memory. For the below sketch, I watched the fish for about a minute, and then moved away and drew what I could remember.

             and here is the subject my memory was working from...the drawing is an ok likeness, not great.

             I did this again, with a side profile from memory. The top sturgeon is from memory, and the bottom drawing from observation.

                                                                sturgeon at zoo basel

                                        These three trumpetfish are from memory. I finished one, then I would go back and look again, then draw again until I had these three. Notice the improvement in each step.

                                               and a trumpetfish drawing from observation

trumpetfish from zoo basel

  I drew this after I got home from the day, the memory of this water plant was very vivid in my mind.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Swiss Rhino Cow Cat Mother and Babies




 Momma. Thirst. Mommma. Thirst.



Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Basel Tram People

           In the city of Basel where I'm currently living, the trams are a very useful form of transportation. They are also interesting in the sheer variety of people using them. I always carry a small sketchbook with me, and will draw the people I see whenever I have the opportunity (about every day). These drawings are just from inside the trams and at tram stops in Basel, Switzerland.

                First here is a map of the tram network in Basel, all the lines are color coded and numbered, and where the trams don't reach, the gray bus lines do.

             A typical tram in Basel. They're similar to subways except they run above ground on rails in the streets. Each of the cities in Switzerland have different colors for the public transportation, Basel is green, Zurich is blue, Bern is red, and I'm not sure about Luzern or Geneva. Notice the bikes? Basel is also a very bike friendly city.

               These drawings are all very fast, at the most 5 or 10 min. People don't stay on trams for very long, you get on and you're usually at your destination in ten minutes. This fast type drawing is very good exercise to train my eyes and hand, and very invigorating to do. I always leave with a greater appreciation for the subtleties of people around me.

         The man who has his arm raised was practicing for Basler Fastnacht on this night. It is the largest festival and carnival celebration in Switzerland. Many people practice music and work on costumes all year in preparation for this 3 day event. He was carrying a big drum set that rested on his shoulders and chest. He was with a young woman who was carrying one of their masks.

Basler Fastnacht

            The young teenager who is staring out of the center of the page noticed me drawing people and came up to me and insisted I draw him. He was very cocky and his ego just was tickled all over when I proceeded to draw. He was with a group of very rowdy teenagers. They all came onto the tram in a storm of yelling and pounding on the tram windows. Many people moved to other parts of the tram to be away from them, but I wanted to draw what I could of this rowdy bunch.

                The big woman in the coat on the above page was talking to the tram driver. This was funny because every time the tram stopped (about every 3-5 min.) she would get out to let people in, and then get back in to continue her conversation. 

Yes, and people bring their dogs onto the trams, all the ones I've seen are very well behaved.