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Sunday Sketching: July 27th: McGill Campus / Redpath Museum

July 3, 2014


We always go to the Redpath Museum in winter – which means we don’t actually draw the McGill campus, or any of the surrounding area on Sherbrooke.

On July 27th, lets meet at 10am in front of the Redpath Museum, and we can see about some summertime sketching around McGill.

Please note – Myself (Marc) and Shari will both be out of town that weekend – but please do come out and sketch – by now we have many regulars who can meet any new members. As well, Montreal sketcher Raynald Murphy will be on hand to greet everyone and get the ballpoints rolling! I’m sure Ray will have some great sketchbooks to see – ask him about his new book “Carnets de la Gaspésie“. Available now on Amazon.


44th World Wide Sketchcrawl July 12th

July 3, 2014

World Wide Sketchcrawl is an event much like our USK:MTL Sunday Sketching, but going on all around the world on the same day. Every major city from Abu Dhabi to Zagreb is drawing together on July 12th. Click the Sketchcrawl globe to find out more. Here in Montreal we will meet at 10am at the Café des Arts  in Marche Bonsecours in the Old Port. (350 Rue Saint Paul Est, Montréal, Québec, H2Y1H2). We will start at 10, then meet back at the Cafe at 1pm for lunch (if you like) and again at 4pm to see everyone’s sketchbooks. I’ll be there to draw with the group – hope to see some of you on the 12th! ~marc

Announcing a new book from Marc Taro Holmes and North Light Books: “The Urban Sketcher: Techniques for Seeing and Drawing on Location”

June 24, 2014


I’ve been holding in this announcement for months now! I’ve been well nigh bursting with not being able to talk about it.

Finally I can tell you guys about “The Urban Sketcher: Techniques for Seeing and Drawing on Location”.  My up coming how-to art-instructional  ‘workshop in a book’. It’s a hands on course condensing everything I’ve learned about urban sketching and drawing on location. It’s coming out in October from North Light Books, and is already available on Amazon for pre-order.

In the next few weeks I’ll have more news, some free tutorials to expand on the book content, and possibly some details about a book-related online workshop. (Possibly! If there’s enough interest :)

I want to say thanks very much for following my blog all this time. This book would not have been possible without all of your interest and involvement.

Click here to hop over to my new BOOKS page for a few teaser images and more details!



Cracking open the Beehive : Visiting Montreal’s Rooftop Bee Colony to Talk about the End-of-the-World

June 23, 2014

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I imagine we have all heard the stories about the vanishing honey bees, collapsing colonies, and the risk it all poses to the production of food. This spring it seems every news outlet was running something about bee-troubles. (Note – not a domestic honey bee in the sketch – I was down at the Jardin Botanique, so I popped into the Insectarium and sketched the exotic bees on display).

The strangest I saw was about bee rustling. This is crazy right? The idea that beehives are now so important to food producers, that it’s become worth it to steal some hard working beekeeper’s insects. Unscrupulous individuals show up in the dark of night, steal the bee-boxes, spray a new logo, and the bees are in a different field the next day. It’s a beehive chop shop!

That’s a spectacularly negative example of people adapting to the problem of bee scarcity.

When I heard there was a beekeeping collective here in Montreal, I thought – Let’s go down there and find out about some of the positive things we can do? See the sketches and interview below the fold:

Read more…

A Simple Trick for Planning a Sketch : Connect the Dots

June 22, 2014

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Just back from sketching with Urban Sketchers Montreal. Here’s my morning drawing from the Chinese pavilion at the Jardin Botanique.

This one turned out to be a useful example of what I call “Marking Extents”. How to design the page with small dots measuring the height and width of key objects, and their internal landmarks (doors, windows, floors, etc).

After the break – A few process shots that might explain:

Read more…

Tam Tams on Mount Royal

June 18, 2014

The weather this year has been awesome (knock wood). Seems like the sun is syncing up with the weekends!


Last week I was over in Mount Royal park hanging out at the Tam Tams. This is super opportunity to sketch people in action. If you want some practice figure drawing – you don’t need to go to UQAM, just come here :) It’s a lot of fun, sketching with the music.

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Washable Ink at the Botanical Garden

June 9, 2014

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Earlier this spring, a bit before drawing on the street was seasonable here in Montreal, I spent an afternoon sketching in the greenhouse at the MTL Botanical Garden.

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Looking back in time, my location drawing has been a fairly steady transition from black and white line drawing, through line and wash, and towards painting on location.  Mostly I see this as a natural progression. An ‘improvement’ from drawing towards painting. I think most people would feel that paintings are somehow more challenging. A ‘higher art’ than drawing?

There’s some biological reason behind it I’m sure. A painting, being tonal, can tap into the eye-to-brain function and convince us we’re looking at reality. But, oddly, that’s why I love line work. Because it’s not such a straightforward illusion of reality. There’s something about an ‘unfinished’ sketch that really appeals to me. It’s partially the speed of execution (they are more fun for the artist – no labor, just free-flowing seeing), and partially the way line is both specific about detail yet an abstraction at the same time. A line drawing conveys so much, so compactly. I can’t get over the joy of that magic trick.  How does it work? That a drawing can make us see an object in our mind?

That’s why I’m currently hooked on washable ink.

It really is the best of both worlds. I’m convinced that this approach is the ultimate sketching tool. The Lamy fountain pen, (or washable dipping inks – Lamy in a bottle, or Private Reserve) I’m using these days, combined with watercolor. It’s so much fun. Melting your drawings, into paintings. (Yes, yes, I’ve said it all before - but I love this so much, it’s a mini-obsession right now). I’ve recently discovered that the paper matters a great deal. I’m getting nice results with coated stock, such as this 8×8″ watercolor book by Hand Book.

Here’s another before and after showing the drawing, the melting with color, and the results.




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All this being said – I am still on that path, walking from drawings toward painting. In a future post I’ll show you more of that transition. I’ve been getting some nice stuff recently. Things are piled up on the scanner waiting for you.


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