Retro Sketch

Here’s a little drawing from 2010, which combined my love of all things Israeli and all things punk rock. After checking out the daily news from Israel, I plugged into one of my punk rock stations on Pandora, and on came one of the most classic of American hardcore punk bands. The band’s logo, along with my daily briefing of Israeli affairs, ultimately sparked this logo. Let’s see if you can figure out whom the band was…


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

These are from a sketchbook back in 2003. Both are graphic renditions, rendered in markers, of two aspects of Israeli culture. The first is a graphic take on the festival of Sukkot, where living and eating is done outdoors for seven days in a temporary shelter with a porous roof designed to let the skies show through a layer of reeds, bamboo, and vines. The second is a closeup of the tallit, loosely translated into English as a “prayer shawl”, and focuses in where the shawl meets the tzitzit – the four knotted group of strings at each corner, with the total number of knots adding up to 613 – one for each mitzva in the Torah. The tallit is generally white, with a blue striped pattern, though this is not a standard rule, rather, just a custom.



Retro Sketch

Here’s a drawing I did in 1996 of a violinist in the Israeli city of Tzfat. I initially took a picture of him, then worked from the photo to do the rendering. This was shortly after my art school days (pre-digital), so my emphasis was on rendering flesh tones, coloring, and detail, but in glazed colored pencils rather than the more traditional oils and watercolors that were always pushed by the teachers at the time. Everything else was rendered in ink.

Retro Sketch

Here’s the first of a new series of postings titled “Retro Sketch”. These are pages from my older sketchbooks, which I compiled before I began this blog, including sketchbooks from before the days of sketch blogs in general.

This first piece is from 1996: an on-site sketch of the Machtesh Ramon in Israel’s Negev Desert. This was done with watercolors and watercolor pencils, and as I quickly discovered, working with water-based mediums in an arid desert is quite the challenge, as your water dries out rather quickly.

Trip to Israel, Part 5

All good trips must come to an end, and we eventually had to leave Israel. As we prepped for our early-morning flight out of Ben Gurion, I swapped out my travel sketch journal for my regular sketchbook. As I began drawing the El Al 747-400 that would take us to London before boarding a connecting flight to the states, I realized that I only had about 45 minutes left to grab the last bites of Israel’s awesome food. After a quick wake-up of coffee and croissant, it was over to Burger Ranch for more meaty Israeli kosher goodness. I did two quick drawings on the plane, but by the time we got to London, I was so exhausted that I put to the sketchbooks and pens away, and saddled up to a British airport pub for a pint of British ale.

Thanks to everybody who stopped by to look at these sketches. I hope you enjoyed them, and hopefully I’ll be able to get back to Israel and do some more drawing soon!


Trip to Israel, Part 4

These pages cover our last day in Yerushaluyim. We started at the Shuk Machane Yehuda, a large oriental-style open-air market where I sought the colorful spice stalls that are the money-shot for sketch artists and photographers alike. It’s also a great place to shop, meet, and eat some fantastic Israeli street food and café fare. Afterwards, it was off to the ultra-orthodox neighborhood of Meah Shearim, where a I sketched a street corner scene, all the while drawing an audience of curious, yet very friendly haradim, and making friends with the surrounding merchants. Finally, as the daylight waned, we headed over to the beautiful new Mamilla Promenade overlooking the walls of the Old City. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the right colors to capture the spectacular sunset skies, but I did get a nice drawing from Café Rimon, a great place for a lovely sunset dinner.

I highly recommend a trip to Israel; it’s really a lovely, vibrant, and very fun place. Be sure to bring a bathing suit for the warm Mediterranean beaches, an appetite for some of the finest foods, wines, and craft beers anywhere, and of course, cameras and sketchbooks to capture the visuals and aesthetics of this truly fascinating country.

Trip to Israel, Part 3

After lounging around Tel Aviv and the Binyamina region, we headed up to Yerushaluyim. These pages cover an evening exploring the ever-growing craft beer culture in Israel (chili-spiced wheat ale, anyone?) as well as our friend’s apartment in the Katamon neighborhood, which I sketched at the end of the night. There are two drawings done in the Old City, including the Kotel HaMa’ariv and some random architecture. And finally, more Israeli food; this time some good ‘ol  and very delicious Hummus with meat, plus a little Turkish coffee spiced with cardamon!

In doing these drawings, I realized I’d brought the wrong colors for Israel. My assortment of markers and colored pencils are more honed for the conservative tones of Washington, DC than the vibrant palette of Israel. Next time, I’m bringing more hues of beige for the marble architecture, plus plenty of pink, magenta, and turquoise for Israel’s spectacularly-colored skies, especially late in the day as the sun begins to set.

Trip to Israel, Part 2

On my most recent trip to Israel, I brought along my new 5.5″ x 3.5″ Handbook travel sketch journal. These pages cover our overnight in Tel Aviv near Neve Tzeddik, followed by a trip up the coast with a stop at the beach in Cesearea before heading into the Binyamina region, where we stayed in Zichron Ya’akov and Pardes Hanna Karkur, including a visit to the stunningly beautiful Dor Habonim beach. Along the way, we indulged in the stellar world-class foods, wines, café fare, and increasingly, the craft beers of Israel.

All drawings were done with Sakura Pigma pens, Prismacolor markers, assorted color pencils, and dabs of some very good Israeli wine. Apologies in advance for my lackluster Hebrew, which may be grammatically and linguistically wrong in places, but I love the look of the language none the less.


Upcoming Israel Sketches…

Busy time and late night here for this tired little Sketchbook Warrior; just scanned and processed more sketchbook pages from my recent trip to Israel. In the next few days, I’ll do a larger postings (or just a large post) of all of the sketches done in my new 3.5″ x 5.5″ Handbook, but in the meantime, here’s a sneak preview of what’s to come…