Retro Sketch

About seven years ago, we took a trip out west to California, visiting San Francisco and Yosemite National Park. Far removed from the practice of sketching at the time, I none the less toted along a small sketchbook, some pens, and a few colored pencils. Here are two sketches I did in Yosemite, which barely begin to capture the awe-inspiring visual grandeur and mind-blowing dimensions of the place.

I will be taking a break from posting this week while I stuff my face and over-fill my belly during the one-two celebratory punch that will be Thanksgiving and Chanuka. Though the two holidays don’t share anything in common – one being a major American holiday and the other a minor Israeli festival – the convergence of the Gregorian and Hebrew calendars last brought the two events together 153 years ago, and mathematically will not do so again for roughly 70,000 years, so I plan to take full advantage of this once in a lifetime event to feast on copious amounts of oil-fried turkey, cranberry sufganiot, and of course, some fine craft beers!

Cheers, and go visit Yosemite!
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Retro Sketch

I took these visual tasting notes during a wine tasting back in 2006, before I even knew about a discipline called sketchnoting. The tasting itself featured five vintages of Hagafen’s Napa Valley Merlot. While others took more “proper” notes on index cards, I broke out the pocket-sized sketchbook, a Pigma Micron pen, and used dabs of the different wines to add some color. And yes; there are some phenomenal kosher wines out there, hailing everywhere from California’s finest vineyards to the world-class growing regions of Israel.

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Retro Sketch

Here is the final post about my broken foot saga from 2006, captured with a small sketchbook, a Pigma Micron pen, lots of painkillers, and nothing but time on my hands. After my second round of emergency surgery, all that was left to do was lay on my back with my foot elevated, read, draw, and watch television. After two grueling months, the bone mended, and an additional two months of intensive physical therapy followed. Everything healed up fine, and I slowly got back to walking and cycling. I also stopped my massive dosage of painkillers, but the scar on my foot pretty much ended my dreams of being a foot model. Oh well, there’s always art. Thanks to everybody for checking out this series of Retro Sketches and thanks for the comments, and please, please, please; watch your step when walking down those seemingly benign ramps!

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Retro Sketch

Continuing the story (read: “saga”) of my severely broken foot IMO this latest series of Retro Sketches, this drawing was a satirical take on my second round of emergency surgery. After the pins-and-wiring contraption assembled inside my foot from the first emergency surgery fell apart, the second surgery had to be as perfect as they come. And perfect it was: the surgeon performing the procedure was the official foot surgeon for a major league soccer team. Deft and agile as a watchmaker, he managed to bolt together the tiny pieces of the fragile shattered bone with one titanium screw. It was, as he claimed, the best foot surgery he’d ever done (he actually called his colleagues shortly afterwards in the post-midnight hours to brag of it!) Of course, surgery is still surgery, and my new prolonged period of recovery meant more time laying on my back with an elevated foot, so to help pass the time, I held my small sketchbook up in the air and scrawled away with my Pigma Micron pen, laying down as many lines, details, and dark areas as possible.

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Retro Sketch

So if you’ve been following the narrative of the last three Retro Sketches, you’ve been reading – and looking at – the story of my severely broken foot back in 2006 (fifth metatarsal, triple-fracture). Well, for this post, it gets worse. The wire-and-pins contraption assembled inside of my foot to hold the shattered bone together came painfully apart. On the way to the doctor, we stopped for lunch. At the doctor’s office, the doctor put the x-ray up to the light, and asked me what was wrong with the picture. It was painfully obvious (aside from the visible pin-shaped protrusion from foot itself), that the whole contraption had fallen apart inside of my foot. With a second round of immediate emergency surgery obviously necessary, the doctor asked me when the last time I ate was. This is when I muttered “oh shi…”, given our meaty lunch of only a half-hour earlier.

Long story short; I was rushed to the hospital, had to wait eight hours for the food to leave my system, plus an additional three hours for a surgery room to open up, all the while holding my throbbing foot up in the air and doped up on more painkillers than was probably legal. I’ll continue the story in the next Retro Sketch, and yeah, it only gets better!

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Retro Sketch

As I described in the previous Retro Sketch post, in 2006 I shattered a bone in my foot, resulting in emergency surgery, near-immobilized bed rest, enough painkillers to stock a pharmacy, and as seen here, crutches. When it comes to cycling and rock climbing, I’m gracefully nimble, but when it came to hobbling around on crutches, I was as graceful as a drunken tight rope walker on a windy day wearing a pair of big heavy snow boots.

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Retro Sketch

In 2006, I had a small stumble at work, which resulted in a major injury: a triple-fracture of the upper section of the fifth metatarsal in my right foot. The tiny crumble atop the tiny top section of this little bone resulted in two rounds of emergency surgery, two months of being laid-up on my back with my foot elevated, three months of physical therapy, and enough painkillers to put a smile on an elephant. There’s not much you can do when laying on your back, practically immobile, with your shattered-and-casted foot elevated gingerly on a pile of pillows, so I grabbed my small sketchbook, a Micron Pigma pen, downed a few happy pills, and started drawing.

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Retro Sketch

Here’s a page from a sketchbook back in 2005. I had just moved to Maryland after ten years of living in New York City, and sitting in a suburban fast food place, I was thinking to myself “what the hell just happened?” While contemplating this, I watched horribly obese kids chow down amidst the horrible music playing overhead. Of course, being a sketchbook warrior, my only course of coping with this new realty was to draw, though I must mention that my time here in Maryland and Washington, DC has actually been quite a good experience.

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