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Travel Journal – Sketch Entries

Hey guys! Well, my journey is finally at its end. I am currently at my parents’ house in Albuquerque after having been redirected here due to severe snowstorms in Denver. We are going to road trip it up there today with a borrowed car and will be home by nightfall. I can hear the cries of despair now…” oh no! Where have you been? What did we miss?” I know there have been a few gaps in my posts, but never fear! I will be filling those gaps in the coming weeks. I’m going to take a little artistic license and pick up near the end for now. I hope you don’t mind.
Marin and I spent the last month on a lemon farm just outside Santiago, Chile. We found out about it on this website workaway.info, which offers exchanges of work for meals and board. All you have to do is sign up (for a fee), search for a business in the area you want to stay in, send them a message and wait for their response. If you are accepted, it is a super cheap way to spend time in a different country and get to know folks from different cultures. This particular farm was full of Europeans and Americans, with a few Kiwis and Canadians thrown into the mix. For some, this configuration would seem a little disappointing. I mean, why go all the way to Chile, only to speak English the whole time? We were not bothered. In fact, our brains welcomed the break from Spanish, especially the Chileno dialect, which is pretty rough. (They don’t finish their words! Sometimes they don’t bother enunciating!) And it reminded me of my international boarding school days (UWC crew, you know what I’m talking about).
We got settled into our room, made our skills known to the head volunteers (painting for me, gardening for Marin) and got started on our new schedule. We would work for 5 hours a day, 5 days a week, with 2 days and many hours free to do whatever we wanted. There were a number of jobs to choose from, including carpentry, gardening, irrigation and more. I started on carpentry, then moved to irrigation, lemon picking, clearing a field, and a little bathroom tiling, before settling into painting signs. Everyone took turns cooking lunch and dinner and the meals were consistently delicious, even if they were mostly vegetarian. We got meat about once a week, so I wasn’t in total withdrawal. The owner of the farm also had a tendency to rescue dogs, so there were about 10 on the property including a very pregnant female named Paloma. We were still there when the puppies were born. They were so cute!
 It was almost a challenge figuring at what to do with our down time. By day 3, the internet was terrible, so I stopped writing blog posts. I got some drawings and paintings in, sometimes sketching what was around me, sometimes going through photos from the trip so that I could do more detailed drawings and paintings. I wasn’t always up for this level of productivity, though. There were so many interesting conversations going on around me, I couldn’t help but take part. I learned so much about politics, education, language, and many other topics from my fellow work awayers. They provided me with perspectives from their own countries and their own experiences, many of which I hadn’t even considered, many of which I found truly enlightening. I felt so much closer to these people than any one else on this whole trip because of all of the quality time we spent together. It was a priceless experience.
Check out the drawings from those 3 amazing weeks. I will be telling more specific stories in future posts.
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Puppies! It’s really hard to live sketch puppies.
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There were owls on the farm. How cool is that?
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I will never understand why people shave their dogs like this.
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Fifteen minute portrait. I’m going for speed.
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Chicken sketches. I sat by the coop for and hour watching them.
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Fifteen minute portraits.
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Fifteen minute portrait sketch.
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I wasn’t sure what this lady had going on, so I drew her to find out.
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I went through my photos of cats to come up with this composition. I think there should be a kitty receiving the mouse offering, but I haven’t decided yet.
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People drawing in the park. This was our last day in Santiago.
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Our couch surfing host in Valparaiso. Next time I’ll draw the dog.
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People watching in Santiago.
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Thumbnails of a sign I painted on the farm. Now I know how to pick basil correctly.
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Travel Journal -Drawings, Drawings, Drawings!

It occurred tome that I am VERY behind on my posts. How far behind, you ask? I have been in Chile for over a month already! Here is a quick (VERY) recap:

We left Cusco and went to Arequipa, which is GORGEOUS. From there, it was South to Tacna and across the border to Arica. Two days later, we took an odd 24 hour bus ride down to La Serena (this is all in Chile now) , stayed for two nights and headed to Valparaiso. We crashed at the house of this dude we met through couchsurfing.com for a week or so before landing in a lemon farm just outside Curacavi where we have spent a week earning our keep.

I promise, I will elaborate on all of this in future posts. Internet connection has been spotty at best, so consistency has been a real challenge. Well, that and I am easily distracted. In any case, please enjoy the sketchbook entries below.

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What I Need In Life -Part 1

As I have made my way on this journey, I have started to take note of the things I truly need in life. This has changed since leaving because I literally can’t carry with me all of the comforts of home and have stripped my life down to the bare essentials. Here of some of the things I’ve written down.
1. A comfortable bed
A Comfortable BedIMG_0039
There is nothing like sleeping in a different place every night to make you appreciate a comfortable bed, not simply in how soft or firm it is, but also its proximity to, say, a bar on karaoke night or the ocean breeze. When moving around, you begin to cherish a good night’s sleep, especially after the overnight busses which seem to have looked at La-Z-Boy technology and said “nah, I’ve got a better idea. Instead of tipping the whole seat back and raising the feet so that your weight is evenly distributed while you recline, let’s only tip the seat back 160° so that you spend the night sliding slowly downward and your weight finally settles in the delicate tail bone, right where you want it.” I have never appreciated my bed so much.
2. Good, healthy food
GoodFood
We have discovered that Peru is the land of meat and potatoes and Chile is the land of bread and cheese, at least as for as the restaurants are concerned. Ok, this is not entirely true, but it mostly is. When eating out, vegetables have been hard to come by, to the point that even my carnivorous nature is being put to the test. I have found that I am a bit less energetic than usual, something I attribute to my lack of green leafies in my diet. Now, we are taking the time to cook for ourselves and it has been glorious. I can’t wait to get back to our garden.
3. Snacks
Snacks
I am giving this its own category because until I was on a bus for 22 hours in a row, I never before appreciated the importance of having my own food to sustain me. This has something to do with not knowing when the next meal will be, what the next meal will be, and whether it will have the correct nutritional values. Bananas, nuts and raisins will trump cookies, bad tea and soda every time.
Thanks for reading. I have more thoughts to share, so check back in. And if you have any questions or suggestions for me, please feel free to contact me either in the comments below or shoot mean email.

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Machu Picchu – Part 2

Welcome back for Part 2 of my Machu Picchu adventure! As I’d mentioned in Part 1, we decided to do Machu Picchu without a guide, so I honestly couldn’t tell you much about the history of the place. A Google search would probably take care of that, so I’ll just tell you about our experience.
We followed the crowd though the ticketing area to the ruins, beholding not only the monument, but also the mountains beyond. These were shrouded in mist, giving them an ethereal feel. It was as if we had been admitted to a movie set. As I said before, it was breathtaking. We were standing on stones more ancient than I could possibly fathom, crafted by hands that had never touched a power tool and placed by those who would never see a crane or forklift. What wasn’t stone was a lush green. From above, the ruins looked like a puzzle or an elaborate maze. Although it was early, there were plenty of people around, so we knew we had to act fast if we wanted photos that weren’t filled with tourists.  Fortunately, most had opted to use the tour guides, who would take a while to explain each site, so we had a little time to play with.
We heard some voices behind us and turned to find two Black dudes who looked American. I got excited, because I hadn’t seen too many of us in Peru, so we waited for them to catch up. They were from New York. We chilled with them for a while, since they also skipped the guided tour, and traded South American experiences. These brothers (for real, they’re related) have family in Brazil and invited us to stay with them when we finally get down there.  We told them that we do capoeira and it turns out we actually have some friends in common (I love how small the world is sometimes). Just as we were exchanging contact information, the llamas arrived.
I wasn’t sure what to do at first. I haven’t spent much time with wild animals, least of all when they’re not behind bars or a fence of some sort. When I realized they didn’t see me as a threat, I started taking pictures, being careful not to spook them. Selfie sticks are not just for selfies. They come in very handy when you want to shoot an animal up close without getting llama spit in your face. There were four of them, two smaller ones and two bigger with matted fur. The younger ones were all awkward energy, running around and stumbling on stones, while the the older ones were much more graceful and self possessed. We later learned that they were the mothers of the younger two when one of them started nursing. We must have spent twenty minutes to half an hour with them before resuming our exploration of Machu Picchu.
Not to sound irreverent, but the llamas were kind of the highlight of our experience. Without the guide, we really had no point of reference for what we were looking at. We climbed higher up the mountain, having said goodbye to our new friends (human and animal) to change our perspective. As we were taking photos of the ruins, now filled with people, and trying to imagine what it must have been like centuries ago, it started to rain. This made everything even more beautiful, adding an air of mystery and mysticism to the place. Unfortunately, before long I couldn’t appreciate it anymore. My glasses were all fogged up and it was getting cold, so we took this as our cue to leave.
There were still people coming up in busses as we made our way down and I hoped the skies would clear for them so that they could experience Machu Picchu as we had. Then I realized that this was an impossible expectation. I would bet money that even the guides who are on that mountain day in and day out, never have the same experience twice. That is the beauty of life. There is always some new discovery to make, if you are open enough to see it.
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Machu Picchu -Part 1

When visiting Peru, you HAVE to go to Machu Picchu. It’s just what you do. I don’t think any of our family or friends would have forgiven us if we didn’t go. I mean, it’s one of the Seven Wonders of the World. We had to go! We had no idea what we were in for….

First, we had no idea it would be so expensive to go to Machu Picchu. Many people pay upward of $400 (that’s USD) to take the train there from Cusco, pay the admission fee, and stay in a decent hotel . We didn’t have that kind of money to burn, so we paid $100 each to take a van which picked us up at 7:30 am and drove for seven hours up, around and down these crazy mountain roads. (The train would have taken about 2 hours). It was hot but the driver wouldn’t let us open the windows because of the breeze from the speeding vehicle. This was problematic for one Chilean woman because she wasn’t doing so well. Fortunately she had a plastic bag on hand, or else things could have gotten VERY unpleasant. I had to use the bathroom about 2 hours in but it was not to be. At about the 5 hour mark, as everything was starting to take on a yellow tinge, we stopped for lunch.

There was this stand alone patio area in what could generously be called a town, where there was a buffet setup. A little further down were the bathrooms. I made a bee line for them and all was right with the world again. We ate a simple meal of soup, some kind of stew over rice, and some other stuff I don’t remember anymore, and it was back on the van to continue our journey. Traffic signs are treated as a suggestion, rather than the law and somehow every driver has the right of way. This mentality caused several occasions where our van had to reverse out of a narrow passage because two more vans were coming the other way. Ah… Peruvian driving….

Beyond that the most interesting thing about the drive was the way the landscape changed around us. We were in the mountains the whole time, but we went from a sparse, almost barren landscape with low grasses, to pine trees in the clouds, down to rainforest where there were plants growing on the plants.

When we finally stopped, we were at a train station which hosted a tiny line that took people to Aguas Calientes the small town just outside Machu Picchu. The train ride was not part of package and we didn’t want to shell out $25 each, so we walked to town. They said it would take 2 hours. With our bags it was more like 3.

It was about 7:20 pm when we reached the Plaza de Armas and we were led to our hostel on what felt like the outskirts of town. We were informed that dinner would be at 8pm as we were handed the key to our private room. We asked about the hot springs, the “aguas calientes” after with the town was named. Apparently those closed at 8 pm, were a 20 minute walk away and it was already 7:40 pm, so that was not happening.

We slept on separate beds and awoke at 5am to take a bus up to Machu Picchu. Many people in our group walked up, but Marin had twisted her ankle on all the gravel the day before and though it was feeling a little better, we weren’t taking any chances. We reached the entrance, waited in line, showed our tickets and were finally inside. The view was breathtaking! It seriously made the whole ordeal getting there worthwhile. We had opted to go without a guide, so this ancient civilization was our playground.

Check back in for the rest of the story and the rest of the photos.

 

 

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Sketchbooks are for Sketching

Sometimes I start a piece and get a bit overzealous with details. I hit a point with this drawing where I had to remind myself that it’s only a sketch and I don’t have to “finish” it. It helps that the paper is so absorbent, it is difficult to get really small details.

The beauty of the sketchbook is that you can safely experiment with different styles, techniques, and subject matter in a way that is far less daunting than if you are working toward a finished piece every time. This is where practice and exploration happen and is an integral part of every artist’s arsenal.

I had been in “finished piece” mode for quite some time now, leading me to neglect my sketchbooks. Out here, it is both refreshing and frustrating that I am only allowed to sketch. Refreshing because I feel freer than ever to play. Frustrating because when you get into the finished piece cycle, you begin to see unfinished pieces as time wasted. I can’t sell the contents of my sketchbook, the quality isn’t good enough. I have to remind my self that l can draw it bigger and better later, on the good paper.

I also remind myself that I now have more compositions than I had before and that is exciting enough to keep me from picking up a ream of paper in a local art shop.

Surveying her territory. This llama owns it all and isn't afraid to show it.
Surveying her territory. This llama owns it all and isn’t afraid to show it.

 

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Parque de las Papas – Part 3

The driver took us back up to this greenhouse we had passed some time before and there we waited for the others. The man and woman we had gone up the mountain with were finished and were walking down along with the two men Marin had come to speak to in the first place. When they arrived, I translated while Marin asked questions about the park and about the work they were doing internationally. These guys are up to some amazing things!
As I mentioned in part 1 the purpose of the park is to preserve over 1400 varieties of potatoes and tubers indigenous to the area. They believe that the only way the crop is going to survive climate change is to retain the biodiversity that will allow some species to thrive while others fail. Their mission is to spread their message and their potato seeds around the world, working with organizations of other indigenous growers around the globe to share their techniques and their culture.
Both men, who were in their fifties, had been invited to multiple conferences across four continents to talk about their work. They hold the passionate belief that food is the most important thing in the world. It nourishes us, brings people and cultures together and its destruction will lead to the destruction of the human race.
After the interviews, we said goodbye to our new friends, headed back down the mountain with our original companions, ate some dinner, and headed back to our Air BNB apartment. We were sun burned, a little dehydrated, and sore, but we agreed that it was an amazing day and that there was no way we would have had that experience had we stayed on the tourist track.

Ironically, we saw no potatoes.

Marin with her interviewees. They are showing off the gifts she brought (Chinese tea) and the bag they picked up in Burma (where they met her friend).
Marin with her interviewees. They are showing off the gifts she brought (Chinese tea) and the bag they picked up in Burma (where they met her friend).
The whole gang.
The whole gang.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Parque de las Papas – Part 2

So there we were, stranded and freezing on the side of a mountain with two people who were all bundled up and prepared to walk up even higher. They offered to take us with them, but we had come to a decision already. We needed to GO! After finding out that this was their only plan for the day and that we weren’t going to any other part of the park, Marin and I started walking. The logical part our brains said “We’ll just find the driver, he must be close.” The more primal part of our brains was saying “itt’ss tttoo cccooolddd!”
We had walked maybe a quarter of a mile when we came across a woman selling some scarves by the side of the road. I thought this odd because I hadn’t seen her on our way up, but shrugged it off. I was too cold to think that hard. We asked if she knew where the driver might have gone, hoping there was some main office we didn’t know about. She said no and proceeded to try and sell as her scarves for 70 Nuevo Soles, nearly twice as much as we had paid for our sweaters. After finally convincing her that no, we didn’t need any scarves, handmade or not, we were on our way again. Curious, I looked back and found that she had packed up her wares and was heading home again. Apparently, she only came out because of us.
On our way down, we discussed what had gone wrong and how we could remedy the situation. After a time, we began to notice the landscape around us. It was breathtaking! There were all these stone walls and mud brick houses with thatched roofs scattered around the lush green mountainside. Men and women worked the fields here and there and we would occasionally pass children leading sheep, cows or alpacas along by braided rope. Animals grazed and the whole thing felt as though we had stepped out of real life and into a fantasy movie. It was getting warmer and we stopped worrying about our plight and started taking pictures and reveling in the beauty around us.
Several hours later, we reached a crossroads and weren’t sure which way we should go. Marin’s phone finally had service, so she called the driver and he came to pick us up. To let him know where we were we referenced a sign with the name Parque de las Papas, and the elevation: 3800 meters. On the ride back up the mountain, we were informed that we had passed him an hour ago, that the park was over 900 hectares in size and consisted of five different communities of indigenous people, and that where we had been dropped off was over 14,000 feet in elevation. We had done a 14-er and didn’t even know it!
Here are some photos from that crazy day. Check back in to find out how it ended.
Some more irrigation. I thought these dams were so beautiful.
Some irrigation. I thought these dams were so beautiful.
This donkey tried to ignore me. It didn't work.
This donkey tried to ignore me. It didn’t work.
I don't think I've been this close to sheep before.
I don’t think I’ve been this close to sheep before.

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Mud bricks, ready for building.
Mud bricks, ready for building.
There were so many little streams.
There were so many little streams.
The long road ahead.
The long road ahead.

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Note the elevation.
Note the elevation.

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Effective irrigation. No hoses needed.

I loved these stonewalls. I loved these stone walls.
Effective irrigation. No hoses needed.
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Parque de las Papas – Part 1

Talk about going off the beaten track! This has to be one of the most awkwardly amazing parts of our trip so far. Sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me begin in the beginning.
Before we left on this crazy trip to Peru, Marin was told by a friend in China that she HAD to check out Parque de las Papas, or Potato Park, because they were cultivating over 1400 different varieties of indigenous potatoes and tubers in and effort to retain the biodiversity of the crop. He gave her the contact info of someone he knew worked there, so that she could set up a visit. This was all well and good, except that they don’t really speak English over there and Marin’s Spanish could use some work (it’s quickly improving).
This is where the misunderstandings began. While we were in Lima, it became clear that the person she was in contact with thought that we were tourists and gave us the price of the tour; about $150 each. We didn’t budget for this, so she had a local in our hostel write an email gently explaining that we didn’t want to pay for a tour and that Marin only wanted to know at little more about their work for her research. She dropped the names of the two guys her friend had met, hoping to get across that this would be more of a favor. It works in China, so why not Peru?
The day finally came while we were in Cusco. We were told to meet some folks in their office at 7:30 am and that they would take as to the Park. With these paltry instructions, we hailed a cab and headed off. They arrived a little after we did, prepped a few things, herded us into the truck and we were on our way. Our companions were two men and a woman. We chatted in broken Spanish about this and that, mostly sticking to the topic of her time in China, on the bendy, twisty, bumpy ride up the mountain toward the park. After what must have been an hour and a half, we got out of the truck and followed the younger man and the woman across a bridge and up the mountainside.
It was cold, windy and misty and while we shivered in our new Alpaca sweaters, we were finally informed that we could follow them to check on some potatoes they were testing at higher altitudes. We realized then, that there would be no reprieve from the cold, that the mist we were standing in was, in fact a cloud, and we watched in dismay as the truck we had ridden up in drove away.
This lady hitched a ride in the back of our truck.
These two hitched a ride in the back of our truck.
A woman walking by carrying a huge bundle. I'm not sure what of. She's blurry because of the bumpy road.
A woman walking by carrying a huge bundle. I’m not sure what of. She’s blurry because of the bumpy road.

 

 

 

 

 

 

see that mist over the mountain? That's a cloud. We were in that.
See that mist over the mountain? That’s a cloud. We were in that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Chocolate Museum

Marin and I are obsessed with the Choco Museo, or the Chocolate Museum. We discovered it on our first day in Miraflores and have not been able to resist going back again and again.

Both of us are kind of chocolate snobs. We won’t eat milk chocolate, dark chocolate that’s less than 67% or any chocolate containing soy lecithin, the additive that makes chocolate feel waxy in your mouth. We know our chocolate!

When you first walk in, you are handed a cup of chocolate tea. You know how when you drink hot chocolate, there’s this grittiness in your mouth when you’re done? Well, chocolate tea has all the deliciousness of hot chocolate minus the grit. You make it by steeping the hush of the cocoa bean in hot water and adding sugar or honey. We were in love at first taste!

After the tea, we were shown different varieties of beans from different regions in Peru, given samples of white, milk and dark chocolate chips, as well as liqueur, jams, butters and bars.

There are several Choco Museos around the country and each offers chocolate making workshops. We are excited to attend the one in Cusco where we will learn how to make chocolate from bean to bar.

In honor of this magical place, I have created this painting. I am definitely going to have to duplicate it when I get home.

The sketch phase, done with my nifty stick pen and blue watercolor.
The sketch phase, done with my nifty stick pen and blue watercolor.
Inking. I pulled out my Microns for this job. I wanted that illustrative feel.
Inking. I pulled out my Microns for this job. I wanted that illustrative feel.

 

 

The final colors. I want you to taste the chocolate! Go on! Taste it!
The final colors. I want you to taste the chocolate! Go on! Taste it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Impressions of Peru in Watercolor

I have been trying to draw paint something in my journal every day. Some times I succeed, sometimes, not so much. Fortunately, the no page days are made up for by three page days, so I still feel good about my progress. Not every page needs its own post, however, so here are a few all in one go. If you would hi he me to elaborate on any one image, please feel free to ask.

 

I was sitting in Plaza de Armas in Central Lima with Marin and a friend when I saw this couple. I am starting to think a little bit more aboutsaw this couple. I am starting to think a little bit more about composition with my people watching.
I was sitting in Plaza de Armas in Central Lima with Marin and a friend when I saw this couple. I am starting to think a little bit more aboutsaw this couple. I am starting to think a little bit more about composition with my people watching.
As we were coming into Mira flores by cab, we were stopped at this huge intersection. Out of nowhere, this guy jumps out into the street, tosses his hat down, busts a few windmills, stands upI and walks off before the cars can get going again. So cool!
As we were coming into Mira flores by cab, we were stopped at this huge intersection. Out of nowhere, this guy jumps out into the street, tosses his hat down, busts a few windmills, stands upI and walks off before the cars can get going again. So cool!
On a walk from Mira flores to Barranio, we stopped at this cute little cafe by what looked like a school. 'loved the umbrellas and had to sketch them.
On a walk from Mira flores to Barranio, we stopped at this cute little cafe by what looked like a school. ‘loved the umbrellas and had to sketch them.
Met this Venezuelan guy named Daniel at our first hostel in Huanchaco. I tried painting him from memory which reminded me have very difficult that is to do.
Met this Venezuelan guy named Daniel at our first hostel in Huanchaco. I tried painting him from memory which reminded me have very difficult that is to do.
The "My Friend" hostel in Huanchaco had this cafe with these really cool tables with shells and sand under glass. I painted this while waiting for lunch.
The “My Friend” hostel in Huanchaco had this cafe with these really cool tables with shells and sand under glass. I painted this while waiting for lunch.
For practice, I thought I would sketch the faces of people around me. The kid on the right kept moving around like crazy.
For practice, I thought I would sketch the faces of people around me. The kid on the right kept moving around like crazy.
Vivid color! I realize I tend to paint in muted tones and so I focused on punching up my color here. The base tones are the pure color from the palette, minimally diluted.
Vivid color! I realize I tend to paint in muted tones and so I focused on punching up my color here. The base tones are the pure color from the palette, minimally diluted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Little DIY for the Day

I’m loving my fancy new stick pen! I have been fiddling with it a bit and now I think I’ve achieved the perfect balance of sharpness and durability. The pic I posted received a few likes on the old Facebook and a bunch more likes on Instagram, so I thought I’d put together this little how-to illustration to show how, you too, can make your own fancy stick pen.

The basic steps
The basic steps

I haven’t done an instructional illustration in ages, so I’ll talk you through the process here.

  1. First (and this is very IMPORTANT) find a stick. Make sure you like the way it feels in your hands, otherwise, you will strongly dislike your new pen! Besides, you’re making this for you. It should feel good, otherwise what’s the point? My first stick pen was way too skinny, and I knew I wouldn’t use it much so I started over.
  2. Get a sharp blade. This could be a pocket knife, box cutter or X-acto. Sharp is important because dull blades drive me crazy! They don’t cut the way you want, so you can’t get good lines or curves and you have to use WAY too much pressure, increasing the likelihood that you’ll cut yourself instead of the stick and they suck! They suck so bad! (End Rant) Remove any excess twigs that would make using your pen awkward.
  3. Rotate your stick in your writing/drawing hand and decide how you want to hold it. Again, comfort is key.
  4. Start shaving your stick about half to three quarters of an inch from the end, staying aware of how you want to grip your pen. You want to start making a curved area for your ink (or paint or blood or whatever) to pool in.
  5. Once you have your curve, start shaving the sides to make your tip. Mine is about a 45° angle which gives me the kind of tip I want to draw with, since I so love my skinny lines.
That’s basically it. Throughout the week, I found myself shaving a little bit here, a little bit there, in an effort to get the perfect line. I noticed that when I tried to make the tip look more like a quill or a fountain pen, I lost the sharpness very quickly because the wood would soften and lose its shape. When you look at it from the side (curve on the left) the very tip of my pen is around 1/16 of an inch wide and angled slightly to give it a sharp point. This seems to be thick enough to retain its structural integrity while allowing me to draw the way I want.
I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial. As an added bonus, here’s the original drawing. I tweaked the earlier image with photo editing tools to help it read better.
original drawing
original drawing