Sunday, December 30, 2012

At the Mercy of the Mob... black and white final

(click to enlarge)

And here's the final version of my latest illustration for Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine (pencils here).

My goal with this illustration was to create a dynamic black and white composition full of contrasting angles (the placement of the long lights above, the top of the desk, the captive guy's legs, the angle of his torso and arms, and just for good measure the beams of light streaming down from above). I wanted the areas of black to emphasize and play off of these angles even more. I often work my blacks into my illustrations in a free, more abstract way... they don't always reflect the properties of light. In this drawing, the aim is to have the blacks work in their own way, with their own inner logic, to compliment the composition so that when you squint your eyes you get a dynamic, interesting abstract image in its own right. It's also important that everyone's faces are hidden, or partially obscured, to add to the feeling of anxiety and claustrophobia. At the same time, the woman's face is partially revealed because of the role she plays in the story.

Can't say any more than that! Look for the illustration and the accompanying story in the upcoming issue of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Mag...

As always, Corel Painter 11 + Wacom Cintiq 21UX.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Rough Night..

(click to enlarge)

Pencils, for an upcoming mystery magazine illustration...

Wacom Cintiq + Corel Painter

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Lil' Thief

(click to enlarge)
It was a cold and drizzly weekend in Ottawa... good weekend to stay in and work up my "Lil' Thief" illustration, which continues my fascination with New York's garment district in the 1950's. You can see the pencils here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Keyboard Player (5 min. SketchTime iPad Sketch)

Keyboard Player (detail)

Keyboard Player (click to enlarge)
I've already written about how great SketchTime is... It is my favourite go-to sketching app for the iPad and iPhone. As it happens I'm beta testing a new version right now, which includes more colours and even more shades of grey! Look for it soon in the Apple app store. This was the first lil' sketch I made while giving it a go on my iPad 3. As with all my iPad and iPhone sketches, I'm letting loose and having fun... not too worried about flubs, more interested in capturing a neat subject with energy and hopefully grace. Lately I've been enjoying selectively building up forms (the face, the forearm) while leaving other parts of the sketch less finished... Very quick sketch (5 minutes).

As a reminder, you can see all my iPhone and iPad sketches at my dedicated iOS sketching site: !

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Chance Encounter iPad Sketch

Chance Encounter (detail)

Done in Procreate on my iPad 3... definitely going for a loose, sketchy feel here. I've been doing a lot of iPad/iPhone sketches and posting them on twitter and on my iOS sketchblog,

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Lil' Thief... (sketch)

Process sketch for a new illustration. The drawing took about half a day (lots of referencing old photographs on the net). You may notice that the woman's torso has been adjusted (she's rotated leftwards slightly from the waist up. She was bent much too sharply toward the man in version 1 of the sketch...)

Done using Corel Painter 11's awesome "real 2B pencil" setting on Wacom Cintiq 21 UX.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Button Man! Recent Illustrations (part two)

Here's the final version of a "pencil"* drawing I published in my previous post. It's a piece for a short story by Joseph D'Agnese titled "Button Man" (a great read by the way!). Look for it in the March issue of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine.

*All my drawings are done using Corel Painter + Photoshop on a Cintiq 21UX. Even though my workflow is 100% digital, I continue to be obsessed with merging the latest technology with traditional techniques.

Hope you like it!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Brave New World of "Graphic Journalism"

Illustration by Ralph Steadman

With the recent success of my Urban Sketching course at the Ottawa School of Art (Ottawa's first-ever USK course!), I've been keeping my ear to the ground for topics relating to the brave new world of urban sketching, sketch journalism, etc.

Here's an article by Samuel Burr about "Graphic Journalism," which I came across this morning in American Reader. While tangential to Urban Sketching, Graphic Journalism interests me nonetheless because of the inventive and genre-bending way it combines text with images (urban sketches also often use text; however, they more clearly favour the image). One of the things we cover in my Urban Sketching class at the OSA is how urban sketching differs from visual journalism. The two are obviously closely related as well (kind of like cousins...).

I find Burr's description of how one encounters images within the body of text in graphic journalism very interesting. I've reproduced this discussion below. For the full article, click here.

Evidence of this is a new form of journalism, which is edging its way into the mainstream—graphic journalism. Signs that this form of journalism is very much on the ascent have glowed bright neon for a while now. Ralph Steadman’s illustrations combined with Hunter S. Thompson’s text in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas laid some ground work. Still, it was not quite graphic journalism. An influence, certainly. A foundation, not exactly. Graphic journalism mixes coverage of real events of a broad scope (investigative journalism, event coverage, even critical examinations and first person accounts of travel, media, et cetera) with illustrations, as Lucy Knisley’s current piece “The New Life of the… COMIC BOOK” demonstrates. Artists with rooted interest in graphic journalism at this early stage, such as Ms. Knisley, are not only pioneers, but they are progressively shepherding this new form of journalism towards a wider audience. When it will truly “arrive” is up for debate, but the mainstream (though it is this form’s inevitable destination) has no purchase on graphic journalism from an artistic standpoint. So, enjoy graphic journalism now, as these roots are as plentiful as they are pulchritudinous.
One of the fascinating elements of this genre is the manner in which the illustrations that break up the passages not only leaven the text as artistic evidence of sorts, but also allows one’s mind to engage the subject and go places that one does not when reading a text-only article. The pauses engendered by the pictorial breaks recall the experience of viewing art in general. That affinity between the calm act of encounter and the pause the reader must take in the midst of reading is a curious and important one.
But how these two experiences—encountering illustrations in graphic journalism and viewing art in a traditional gallery setting—differ is perhaps most interesting. When you meet with an illustration in a work of graphic journalism, you are in the midst of an unfolding narrative that is not your own; you have a story; you’re already implicated in another world by proxy of the text. When viewing art in a traditional setting, however, you may go into the gallery thinking about your daily to-do list: perhaps worrying about your laundry, your girlfriend, your life—you go in thinking of something, and so, in an important sense, your mind is not free. Because the artistic act is doubled in graphic journalism—because you first give yourself into a written narrative, and then to a visual one—your mind is free (or at least, freer). Your mind, perhaps subconsciously, absconds from the quotidian, from your lamentations of the past and your presentiments of the future. It is more possible to live in the moment, however fleetingly, because you have here, in one contained genre, two modes of escape, two accomplices. And so, in an interesting and deeply compelling way, this newest instantiation of the doubled art experience opens new avenues to the imagination, new ways of engaging the senses.

(Again, for the full article by Samuel Burr in American Reader, please click here).

Friday, July 6, 2012

Up You Go!

Sometimes it's great to just come back to traditional pencil and paper... This is a little drawing I made last night from my head. I had seen a similar drawing by someone on Flickr, which I really liked. I focused on creating the illusion that the little baby has weight and takes some effort to be lifted by dad...

Click to enlarge.

Up You Go! (pencil on paper)


My recent readings on astronomy inspired this impressionistic little drawing of a moon illuminating some snowbanks...

Procreate on iPad. Click to enlarge.

Moon (Procreate on iPad)


On iPad using the Art Set app. Click to enlarge...

I love the real media effects in this simple app. Also, it's far more responsive (though limited) compared to Art Rage on the iPad, which is so slow as to be unusable for me.

Witch (Art Set on iPad)

As Seen Through My Eyes...

I've decided to post some of my favourite recent twitter sketches to this blog too. From now on, I will post new sketches to both twitter and Meanderink, with the exception of the urban sketches (which always appear on my Flickr blog). Click for larger image.

Being Creative (SketchTime on iPad)

Writing (SketchTime on iPad)

Table (SketchTime on iPad)

Sleeping (Procreate on iPad)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tweet Tweet!

These days I'm posting more and more sketches on Twitter that I make on my iPad using my favourite sketching apps (Procreate, Sketchtime and Art Set). Don't forget to check my Twitter feed for lots of new drawings!

Evan Fox-Decent's Book Sovereignty's Promise Shortlisted for Macpherson Prize

I was happy to learn recently that Sovereignty's Promise by Professor Evan Fox-Decent, published by Oxford University Press with cover art by me, has been shortlisted for the prestigious Macpherson prize by the Canadian Political Science Association.

More from the McGill University Faculty of Law announcement board

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sketch Time on iPad 3: Sketches & Review

Sketch made with SketchTime on the new iPad (Click for full size)                                                                        

SketchTime by developer Hansol Huh is still one of the best apps for quick sketching available for the iPhone and iPad, but unfortunately there are a few issues using SketchTime on Apple's 3rd-generation iPad. I am told the developer is working on these and a solution may be in the works. For now, though, don't expect to replace your Wacom Cintiq just yet...

For those artists (like me) who made the jump to digital thanks to the outstanding responsiveness of the industry-leading Wacom Cintiq, there's no going back. Instead, we're now watching Apple and third-party developers to see whether when the ultimate dream of Cintiq-like performance on a tablet as thin and light as the iPad comes true. Wacom's patented pen technology with over 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity and up to 40 degrees tilt control probably won't make it to the iPad anytime soon, but that doesn't mean Cintiq-like speed and responsiveness isn't seriously within reach. Of course, Apple has made things even more interesting by producing the fastest, most pixel-intense and most graphically powerful iPad yet. I won't waste space here gushing about the 3rd generation iPad's much-hyped Retina Display. Suffice it to say, I'm convinced it is every bit the luscious game changer Apple claims it to be, and in time all computer displays will be Retina. It definitely has artists around the world standing up and paying attention. I for one can't wait to use my new iPad as a truly responsive, portable digital sketchbook.  (more after the break).

Guitarist (my first sketch using SketchTime on the new iPad)

SketchTime is great for laying down LOTS of lines quickly...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Grow and Be Creative! More Twitter Sketches :)

Some more sketch tweets up on my Twitter sketchbook. Trying to stick to one every day...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Twitter Sketches, Sketch Time, and my Burgeoning Twitter Sketchbook...

In recent weeks, I've started using my Twitter account as my a personal digital sketchbook. What a great way to quickly spread the simple beauty of sketches in a way that echoes, in visual art, what Twitter itself does with words! Short and sweet... the sketch tweet! At the same time, I coincidentally stumbled upon SketchTime, an iPhone and iPad app by Hansol Huh. I had to get in touch with Hansol and thank him personally for finally creating an app that can keep up with how fast I draw, even on my iPhone 3GS! Since then, I've been posting sketches made on my iPhone using SketchTime directly to my Twitter account at the rate of about one a day... it's been great fun and I've met quite a few new people along the way! Personally, I can't tell you how happy I am that I can finally use my iPhone as a portable sketchbook, and tweet the results directly using iOS's native Twitter integration. Talk about not losing the moment! 

The potential is huge for sketchers using SketchTime. So far, I don't own an iPad so can't comment on the iPad version of SketchTime (however, today's rumoured iPad 3 announcement is less than half an hour away ... what a boon a retina display iPad with a suitably powerful processor would be to digital artists! Perhaps there's an iPad in my future yet ha ha :). I've also been updating my SketchZebra portrait site every Monday (as promised). This week's portrait is of a woman filmmaker I greatly admire, whose latest documentary won this year's Academy Award - check it out

And keep sketching :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Image: Krishna and His Mother

Today I want to share with you an image of the tender loving gaze between the child Krishna and his mother, Yashoda. Krishna was a mischievous child; however, in the eyes of his mother he could do no wrong. Their tender gaze transcends culture and tradition, and speaks of universal love...

I made this image during a 4-week apprenticeship at the studio of Babu Lal Marotia, a famous painter of Indian miniatures, during my trip to Jaipur, India in the summer of 2007. Sri Babu Lal was so warm and kind to me, and I'm very grateful to him and his family for inviting me into their home. I remember my time in Babu Lal's little rooftop studio among the impossibly narrow streets of the old town of the Pink City, seated between him and two of his relatives as they worked meticulously on miniatures destined for national or international exhibitions ... or the eager hands of tourists perusing the art stalls in Jaipur's City Palace. The process Babu Lal uses is the exact same one that artists in Jaipur and other parts of Rajasthan used during the lucrative art trade in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. First, pigments are carefully ground by hand from stones collected in the surrounding hills. When a painting is complete, one of Babu Lal's relatives cuts and applies a tissue-thin layer of gold leaf to such elements as jewellery and crowns (as he generously did in my painting). Jaipur has been a major centre for miniature painting and visual art since at least the eighteenth century. Sri Babu Lal is one of the city's great artists who lovingly keeps the tradition of Indian miniature painting very much alive in the twenty-first century.

To see more work from the studio of Babu Lal Marotia, click here and here.

Here is the full painting (still unfinished in parts) that I created during my 4 weeks with Babu Lal:

And finally, here is a painting by Babu Lal himself of Lord Krishna (a little older) and Sri Radha, Krishna's consort, which Babu Lal generously gave to me at the end of my summer with him. Thank you Babu Lal! Blessings to you and your family.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Drawn Portraits of Writers and Celebrities - Welcome to!

People often tell me, "Tom, I love your sketch portraits of writers, artists, politicians and other celebrities... you should devote a separate blog to them." Well friends, I'm really happy to announce that my new blog "Sketch Zebra: Drawn Portraits by Tom Pokinko" is up and running at! I urge you ALL to check it out and throw your support behind it by following it as well. And don't worry, there's plenty of reason to keep coming back since I'll be posting a new drawn portrait every Monday! That's a new philosopher, writer, artist, musician, poet, politician... or someone else (currently accepting requests!) every week :)

Sketchzebra also has a web store where you can buy my portraits as fine art quality prints (framed and unframed) as well as prints on stretched canvas... all for VERY affordable prices! Why not support the arts and buy a perfect one-of-a-kind gift for yourself or your loved ones and friends? Ideal for the book lovers, musicians, political pundits and philosophers in your lives! Take a look by clicking the "Sketchzebra store" link on the top right of the ..... or just click HERE to go directly to the store!

Some examples of framed prints available at the Sketchzebra store:

Sheila Watson (writer)

Michael Jackson (musician)

Leonard Cohen (poet, musician)

Don Draper (TV character played by Jon Hamm)

Jeffrey Eugenides (writer)

Albert Einstein (scientist)

Lester Young (musician)

Jurgen Habermas (philosopher)
Thanks guys! Hope to see you there sometime! Remember... "follow the black and white" each Monday for a new drawn portrait! :)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Leonard Cohen's "Old Ideas" Brings the Down-to-Earth Artist Ever Closer to the Divine

(My tribute to Leonard Cohen. Click to enlarge)

As you may know, venerable Canadian singer/songwriter/novelist/poet Leonard Cohen has just released his first new studio album in 8 years. It is called "Old Ideas." I bought it this morning and have had a chance to listen to it over a cup of coffee as the beautiful snow is falling outside here in Ottawa. In something of a departure for this blog up to this point, I just have to share my thoughts with you (and more importantly some of Cohen's new poetry) in this impromptu review of this wonderful album ...

I have been a fan of Leonard's work for many years, having first discovered it in the form of an old Best Of tape (yes - a casette!) back in the mid 1990's. A few years ago, I had the privilege of seeing Leonard perform live in his hometown of Montreal, Canada. That experience was one of the highlights of my time living in that great city! Having explored his back catalogue of recordings as well as his published poems and novels, I feel more certain than ever that he is one of the world's most important artistic voices. A brilliant poet, an earnest spiritual seeker, and a true gentleman ... what more can you ask for?

Perhaps another album from 77 year-old Mr. Cohen? Yes, please, if it's not too much trouble! Apparently it's not since Cohen, fresh off a tour that lasted over two years (!), is said to have completed this album in mere months. As far as first impressions go, I think this may be one of Cohen's strongest collections poetically in two decades.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

New Urban Sketches...


(Playing with iPhone)

(Morning Meeting 9 a.m.)

Just posted some recent urban sketches on my Flickr page... check out the full set here!