Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Back After a Long Break!

Hi everybody,

after an extended break of four months (I know - way too long), I finally have time to return to urban sketching! I am also living in Ottawa, Canada until at least August. This is quite a change from London, where I spent the summer months. It's not quite Montreal either. Here it's COLD(er) and SNOW(ier) than MTL or London, and people generally dress... well, a little more conservatively let us say. During these winter months some people really dress for the weather in overblown puffy jackets and big sweaters. In Montreal by contrast (where the weather is much the same) people don't bother - they just freeze while looking good :) Don't know which is better. The Ottawans are a cheery bunch, however. Very kind and warm-hearted. I should say I benefited from this since I spent most of my childhood and adolescence in this city. Here, then, are the first few NEW urban sketches! These are from the Bridgehead cafe near where I'm living (Bridgehead is one of the best things about Ottawa by the way: good fair trade coffee. I keep telling the people that work here that they should expand into downtown Montreal because Montrealers love this kind of stuff!). Hope you like these drawings! More to come soon!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Downtown LA Life Magazine Feature

Hey everybody, please check out the short feature on my drawings in Downtown LA Life Magazine, a web magazine out of LA: http://downtownlalife.tripod.com/id506.html

(be warned there is audio on this webpage!) Thanks :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Muslims in Canada

Muslims in Canada

I'm writing this after a delay of almost a month... Wow, it's hard to believe my time in London is over! (for the time being, that is) I loved all the drawings I made over there - drawings that I now plan to put into book form (this is one of my projects - more on this later). Meanwhile, I've been busy setting myself up back in Canada. One of the little side projects I've gotten into while back is being asked to create some illustrations based on the theme of the book Diaspora By Design: Muslim Immigrants in Canada and Beyond by Haideh Moghissi, Saeed Rahnema and Mark J. Goodman. The book interviews 2,350 Iranian, Pakistani, Afghani, and Palestinian immigrants on a wide range of personal, religious and political topics. Along the way it successfully busts some damaging stereotypes. It also takes seriously the unfortunate "culture of fear" that exists beneath the veneer of tolerance even in a land as diverse and accommodating as Canada. Of course not everyone participates in this culture but enough people do, in my opinion, that such a book is both warranted and welcome. In essence, I feel the book celebrates the diversity of Canadian Muslim life, and this is what I've tried to capture in these simple drawings of Muslims from the countries mentioned in the book. So you have the urban Iranian Muslim woman in a fashionable scarf and black blouse smiling broadly, alongside a pious elder Afghani man deep in prayer. Also there's the bright eyed Pakistani boy and a veiled woman in a burka, whose eyes also tell a story (if I've succeeded in drawing her right, that is). I'm proud to have made these drawings upon my return to Canada - it's a fitting start and a nice first project. Incidentally these drawings are for the upcoming October issue of the Literary Review of Canada (LRC). Check out the LRC website at reviewcanada.ca/

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Last Few London Drawings

Sorry I've been away for a little while... I've been packing and moving. Sadly, my time in London is (for the time being) over. I'm sure to be back, however - my girlfriend and I love this city! We returned to Canada a few days ago and are still getting adjusted to life back on this side of the globe. Here are the last few drawings from London, done during a shopping trip on Oxford Street. I loved my time in London - what a great city! So much to do there, so much inspiration. However, I'm also happy to be back home. Over the next year I will divide my time between Montreal and Ottawa, so stay tuned for more sketches from two different places! Each city has its own charm: Montreal has great character, interesting people, while Ottawa (the country's capital) has its own character and also beautiful natural spaces. As always the rule will be whatever catches my eye... we'll see what happens! :)

By the way, I am currently working on putting my London drawings into a book - more details to come soon. Also, thanks to exposure from Flickr, it looks like I'll be the subject of a lead feature in an on-line publication called Downtown LA Life Magazine, an arts and culture educational and community magazine that reviews and informs about artists, art, etc and looks to have some pretty cool connections in LA! More information about that coming up too...

And finally, I wanted to say a TEMPORARY goodbye to all the friends I met in London. You made my time there very special! Thank you so much and we'll keep be in touch - I know we will meet up in one place of the globe or another! :)

Friday, July 17, 2009

At the Cafe Nero

This man was sitting with a coffee and cigarette and staring idly at the Strand, a major street in London, during a quiet gap in the traffic. That's a row of telephone booths and a double decker bus behind him (by his head)....

Waiting for... Godot!

It's been a weekend full of theatre for me! The day previous to our Hamlet adventure, and with the same brother I mentioned in the previous picture, we lined up at 6 am in front of the GORGEOUS Haymarket theatre in the heart of London's Theatreland to get tickets for Waiting for Godot. We scored some AMAZING tickets: front row for 10 pounds! In contrast to Jude Law's so-so performance as Hamlet (see other pic), Ian McKellen (aka Gandalf, Magneto) delivered what I can say, without exaggeration, was the best acting I've ever seen on stage! Wow. We even waited around the stage door to get an autograph for my brother. The only downside to that amazing evening was that the other great Shakespearean actor who was on the bill, Patrick Stewart (aka Capt Jean Luc Picard), was unable to perform because of a sore throat. His understudy took the part and was fine, though a bit stiff. What bad luck! But still.... an amazing evening and (again) worth the early morning wait. I call this piece Waiting for... Waiting for Godot :) 

Waiting for... Hamlet

My brother came to visit me in London this past week. He's a big theatre buff and so he somehow got me and my girlfriend to line up at 7am outside the theatre with a bunch of other people. We sat, read the paper, had coffee and chatted until 11, when the box office opened. The play was Hamlet at the beautiful Wyndham theatre. Waiting definitely had its benefits: we got seats in a box about 5 meters from the stage! Hamlet was played by Jude Law... so I got to see him up close. He's alright - not my favourite and actually pretty bad as Hamlet! But the shrieks of the women in the audience at the end smoothed over any criticisms and Jude's beaming face seemed to say "see, I really am as great as all that!" 

Friday, June 26, 2009

Thursday, June 25, 2009

New Sketchbook... Same Brushpen

Ok so the unthinkable happened. I ran out of pages in my sketchbook... and forgot to bring a replacement to London with me from Montreal. This might not sound like a big deal but it is - the sketchbook I've been using was PERFECT for its rough pages that gave the brushpen its characteristic texture while holding the ink without bleeding - even when doing the thinnest lines. After a hard day's work of sampling different books (what is it with sketchbooks these days that have almost no "tooth" - smooth as glass plates?) I finally found a decent replacement book. These are the first few drawings from it (I bought it at the London Graphics Centre in Covent Garden so these scenes are all from the C.Garden area). Overall the results are good - it's textured enough to show what the brushpen can do; however, its ink retention leaves something to be desired (you might not notice but these lines all bleed, or "spider," in a way the previous lines in the other book didn't...). Still, I think it was a good buy in a pinch. When I return home in 2 months, I'll be sure to return to my original sketchbook - and probably buy 2 or 3 extras for the future! ............ Anyway, so these drawings are of an outdoor clothing market on Earlham St, Covent Garden (that's a car and bike in the foreground against the post if you didn't notice); of the famous 7 Dials in C. Garden, and finally of three lovely elderly ladies eating and gossiping in a regal looking pub... also in C.G.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Lipstick Ravens Cover

I like to create album covers in my spare time. This is one I created a few days ago for a fictitious band with the unlikely name "Lipstick Ravens" (I imagine them as an underground 80s punk/hair band from LA - a sort of wanna be Guns 'n Roses or LA Guns... oops I may have just given away my age by saying that! :)

Album Covers

I like to create album covers in my spare time. These are some of the covers I created over the past few years... The "Jams" cover is for my current band - Chuck Mandrel and the Undercuts. We're a rock/blues band with funk and jazz overtones. Most of our stuff is instrumental. We put out a self-produced album of improv jams recently so I made this for that album. Then our guitarist, Mike Sankey, put together his own compilation of Chuck jams so I made a cover for that. The "Electric Shlokas" is a cover for an upcoming album of my electronic music (another side project of mine - by the way "shloka" means "verse" in Sanskrit) and finally the "Stories of the Street" cover is for an album of guitar songs I made a while ago. The photographs are from atop Mount Royal in Montreal...

Friday, June 5, 2009

Queen's Visit

Going to Britain and not seeing the Queen is like going to Canada and not seeing snow! --- and I can say that because I actually saw her today (for 0.5 seconds as she sped past in a motorcade in the rain). These sketches capture the mood of the various people gathered around.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Girl Checking Herself in the Mirror

One of my favourite images ... typically it was done rather quickly at the end of the day, when I thought I had gotten all my good work out for that day :) 

Watching Football

These were done in a local eatery during the final of the European Championship (final verdict: Barcelona 2-0 Man U...)

In the Library - Part Two

Went to a local library the other day and sketched students studying for their final exams...! At least they kept fairly still :)

In the Library - Part One

Went to a local library the other day and sketched students studying for their final exams...! At least they kept fairly still :)

People in the Park

These are drawings of people in the Lincoln's Inn Field. It was a beautiful sunny day and there were many people out and about!

More from Lincoln's Inn

I've been busy putting these images on my Flickr site (make sure to check it out! Go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-pokinko/)... almost forgot to put them up here and hence have a bit of a backlog! The adventure in Holborn continues... more pics from Lincoln's Inn: some buildings (quite beautiful and abstract in their own way), a funny one with a lamppost dead-on obscuring the surrounding Chambers buldings, one of the garbage can in the nearby park (who says a garbage can can't be a great subject? :) and finally two of people - lawyers having pints after work and a man waiting for his taxi...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

At the Pub (again!)

Some sketches from the Penderel's Oak on High Holborn. Been feeling like loosening it up lately so did these quick studies, with some patches (top one, of the man reading), some scratches (the middle one), and rather thickly applied ink (the guy's jacket and other bits in the bottom one).