Posted on Sep 3, 2013 in Vancouver | 5 comments

Chinatown Night Market 1

For my first sketch, I used a piece of wood veneer with a black pen for the shadows and a white pen for the highlights. I had bought a pizza box full of wood veneer pieces at Lee Valley a few years ago for other art projects; I just hadn’t thought of using them to draw on until now. It was fun experimenting.

Chinatown Night Market 2

Here I used a dark blue paper with the white Pitt pen, drawing an alley scene right next to the market. The downtown Vancouver alleys are unique. I used a black pen to rough in a few lines before colouring in the highlights in white. The high contrast between the still-light evening sky and the darkening alley really helped.

Chinatown Night Market 3

I just had to bring along some China-red paper to try my white pen on. This is a Dim Sum food stand. The sketch was hard to do, and is not very successful, but I am glad to put it out here as an example of my attempt at something difficult. After the sketch, I bought some pork dumplings here, which I didn’t struggle with nearly as much.

We had a Vancouver Urban Sketchers meetup at the Chinatown Night Market today. About 10 people came, a nice group, eager to draw the city. I showed them my wood veneers and some coloured papers that I had cut into my favourite narrow shape, as well as my new white Pitt pen, mainly because it’s an unusual set of materials for sketching. Then we did the usual routine where we spread out to draw separately, some together, then met up again at 8:30 to show each other our drawings. Some people, including myself, stayed on afterwards to complete more drawings.

It was dark, and about 9:30 pm when I walked to my car which I’d parked just south of the Georgia Viaduct, on the east side of Main Street. The light of the street lamps on the grassy, treed landscaped feature beside the viaduct produced exciting shadows with almost no grey tones. It looked like a perfect scene to draw with the white pen on a dark piece of paper.

It’s not the greatest neighbourhood to be sketching on a curb in the dark, on a deserted side road, for half an hour, so I sat in my parked car with the doors locked to draw this. A couple of Greyhound buses coming and going from the nearby bus depot almost took my tiny Yaris out as they rounded the corner where I was slightly illegally parked. And a street person looked like he was going to rest on my hood but changed his mind instantly when he spotted me sitting in the car. He shouted some insult into the air, which one should never take personally in this neighbourhood, and took off. I probably startled him far more than he frightened me.

Downtown Eastside

South of the Georgia Street Viaduct and east of Main. Focussing on drawing only the highlights was great fun, and a good exercise for my brain which is trained to see shadows. I entered “the zone” as I was drawing this, it was a sketcher’s high!