Wednesday, October 30, 2019


Three large, quick sketches as I try out new tools:

A newly acquired Duke 551 fude nib fountain pen, which creates some amazingly expressive, broad lines;
Daniel Smith Walnut Ink, which I've had sitting on my shelf for the last 4 or 5 years, finally put to use;
and a cheap 11x17 size sketchbook bought at Homesense, which really lets me be much freer and looser... the broader lines really benefit from this kind of space. Surprisingly, the paper handled the ink washes quite well.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

matsutake 松茸

A series of sketches of some of the wild matsutake mushrooms, generously given to us by a friend we visited last week -- a delicacy for us.

I sketched these with some fairly new pens I am still getting acquainted with, and they all have their unique personalities... 

The Pilot Custom 74 I bought in Japan earlier this year has been my reliable workhorse after ditching the Noodler Ahabs I had been using for the past few years. It doesn't give me quite the fine lines that the Ahabs did, but it's been way more dependable and I am really appreciating its fluid line qualities.

The Jinhao X750 has become a go to handwriting utensil -- a much more rigid, broader, and unvaried line which has its own merits, especially when paired with a lighter ink that can show some shade. It doesn't quite fit my drawing style, but as with all drawing instruments, it's the pen that conditions the sketcher, not the other way around, so perhaps worth experimenting with on larger sheets of paper, especially as it seems to write on the wetter side (at least the one I am using).

The Jinhao pen is quite inexpensive; I bought four of them. I've modified one of them to take a Zebra G, which is a typical, flexy dip pen nib. This means some extra thin linework combined with an array of line thicknesses, but it's often not as consistent as one would like, and the scratchiness is not the most pleasant on the upstroke. If the ink flow were more consistent, it might become my go-to pen for certain subject matter. There's something surreal when combined with a red ink.

The novelty item for me here is the Duke 209 fude nib pen. It allows for a brush-like thickness in addition to a more typical fountain pen line thickness, and I am loving the spontaneous effect. I don't think I am anywhere near mastering its possibilities, but find myself using this pen more and more...

1: Pilot Custom 74 Soft-Fine nib fountain pen, Noodlers Polar Black ink 
2: Pilot Custom 74 Soft-Fine nib fountain pen, Noodlers Polar Black ink 
3: Jinhao X750 medium nib fountain pen, Noodlers Polar Brown ink 

4: Duke 209 fude nib fountain pen, Noodlers Polar Black ink 

5: Jinhao X750 fountain pen modified with a Zebra G nib, Noodlers Fox ink 

6: Jinhao X750 fountain pen modified with a Zebra G nib, Noodlers Fox ink

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Every Day in May 2019

A few months old now...

The few sketches I did manage to eke out this year for the Facebook group "Every Day in May": 

Day 1. Some fruit: a bowl of grapes

Day 2. An insect you would be missing: some origami beetles

Day 3. Some agricultural machine: a pair of garden shears

4. Star Wars Day: a decorative kabuto, Vadar's inspiration

6. Your daily work/office: a view of the office

Sunday, August 11, 2019

a service in the park

A quick sketch from the annual joint worship service at a local park... a little chilly but at least no rain today.

Friday, April 19, 2019

a Good Friday reflection

This Good Friday meditation, read at a service, was inspired by some railroad stakes we picked up while on holidays last summer near Canora, Ontario. These stakes are the closest objects I can think of to the implements that must have been used to crucify criminals in Jesus' time. May it be an encouragement today.

A Good Friday Reflection

How utterly different… How absolutely different… like the day and the night…

The nail, 
crudely fashioned, rusty, jagged, unyielding yet twisted… 
not so much piercing as crushing to get the job done
a mechanical industrial implement, hard, cold, rough, painful, heavy… crude

Human flesh, 
The hands of Jesus, fearfully and wonderfully made… 
delicate and soft, precious, moist
Hands that give life, touch hearts, feel pain, create, heal, bless… 
Instruments of God

How utterly different… How absolutely different…

The one on His right, 
the other one on His left…

The one that provoked, demanding of Jesus, 
 “Save yourself and us, if you are indeed the Messiah!”

The other one that simply asked, 
“Jesus, remember me when you come into Your kingdom.”

How utterly different… how absolutely different…

The soldiers, 
greedy and oblivious, 
casting lots to divide up the clothes of a Saviour, dying on their behalf. 

The Son of God, 
gracious, compassionate, even unto death, 
ensuring the future well-being of his exhausted mother Mary, 
who gave her life for such a divine task.  

How utterly different… how absolutely different…

The fallen world, 
filled with ceaseless violence, selfish pride,
impoverished, needy, shackled, alienated… 

The Kingdom of God, 
where there is only light, only worship, only truth, only the glory of God, 
present today and tomorrow wherever God reigns supreme
Without blemish

How utterly different… how absolutely different…

The mob pulsates deliriously, 
shouting, screaming, 
“Take him away! Take him away!” 
Pilate cowers, haggles, postures … 
The crowd escalates in its intense anger, frenzied protestation, and violent determination, 
“Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” 

The silence of Jesus, the Son of God…   

The silence of God, the Father…

How utterly different… How absolutely different…

Yet, despite this…  no, through this…    
the will of God, his divine plan for all of humanity advances, 
unwavering, with resolve and with truth,
steadily and silently.

For God, at that one moment, allowed the hard, crude nail to pierce His hands, crush his feet. When those nails wedged themselves into bone and flesh, It was as if our fallen world had crushed the realm of God; 
the world, momentarily, was turned upside down. 
Two realms, so fundamentally distant, so incompatible, collided, became entwined, one piercing the other, abandoning the other… 

The father’s loving gaze, the father’s being-with-the-Son… suspended. 

The darkness pierced our Saviour’s soul, condemnation flooded his soul,  He was alone in the world, abandoned, distant from the Kingdom of Heaven…  forsaken, fatherless, Godless… 

absolute death. 

We glimpse the enormity of the step God took, 
the risk he took, 
to invite us back into a conversation with Him, 
to welcome us back into the eternal dance with Him. 

That’s what it took. 

As we remember the death of Jesus, we remember the enormity of the event. 
Worlds that were utterly different, absolutely different, like the day and the night… collided; 
God’s presence, momentarily suspended…  so that a new world, an utterly new world could be reigned in… “resurrected in”… into our lives and into our hearts. 

And we remember…  how utterly changed we are, like the day and the night… 

For though it was my rusted, twisted, jagged heart that pierced his hands and crushed his soul, we are now transformed to be a light in this world, now forgiven, now set free… 

Not only do our hearts ask humbly, 
“Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom…”, 
but our hearts now know that we are given even more than we have asked,

for He promises us that we are with Him for eternity 
in His Kingdom, 
in His glory… 

because the nails pierced His hands and His feet. 

How utterly different… how absolutely different…

Thanks be to God, 


Friday, March 29, 2019

and another three views from an office...

This series continues...

And for kicks, the arena sketch from February, side by side with the one from March. I'll need to fill in the missing piece next week...

Saturday, March 23, 2019

the arena

The downtown arena, two and a half years after opening, whose effect is still evident throughout the downtown by all the offshoot construction that is still happening around it...

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

three more views from an office

Three more wintry views from an office floor, with a few more to come. As with the last three, I've kept the horizon line at the same place on the sketchbook just for kicks, in case I end up with the entire 360 degree view. 

Sunday, March 3, 2019

a baby

A rather spontaneous sketch of our friends' soon-to-be-three-month-old baby, drawn at a restaurant. This brings back memories of years past, when my own kids were this small. Sketching babies, especially from an awkward angle (I had him on my lap) poses some interesting challenges, as their facial proportions are cartoonishly out of whack...

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

three views from an office

The beginning of a collection of views from the office... colour to follow.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

more from Break Forth One 2019

...more notes from sessions at the Break Forth One conference.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Break Forth One 2019

Some notes from sessions at Break Forth One 2019... a now annual sketch posting.

Thursday, December 27, 2018


The kids during a lazy Christmas break, focused and intense, as they create some plastic masterpieces using their new 3D pens.

The 3Doodler Christmas present I bought on sale for my daughter was such a hit that my son also decided he wanted to buy one this Boxing Day. Their creative juices have been flowing all evening.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas!! (a drawing by my soccer-crazy 8 year-old...)

Jesus “Salvatore” van Nazareth scores game winner in match of the ages 

Saints United 2 – 1 F.C. Devils  (FT) 
Sunday, Cosmic Stadium, photo: Gabriel D’Angeles (Revelations Press Service)

   In a showdown that will define the game for millennia to come, an obscure midfielder from a dusty corner of the Roman Empire turned the match upside down in the final minute of additional time, scoring the glorious victory goal in a must win situation for the Saints. The clear underdogs against its long-time rivals the Devils, the team based in Jerusalem but drawing its squad from a variety of towns and villages across the nation, was down one player (Judas, on a late-game red card) and on the verge of elimination until glory finally fell on them, snatching the Cup decisively from the Devils. 

   The tone of the match was established early within the first few minutes. Saints’ veteran striker Adam Eden scored in the 6th minute on a heavenly cross from his attacking mate Eva Giardino. Only a few  moments after, the same pair was lured into an illegal tackle, allowing Devils’ captain and sweeper, Slip Viper to draw a foul in the box. Viper tied the score on an easy penalty kick. 

   The next ninety or so minutes saw the ball mostly in possession by the Devils who appeared to have the upper hand in both technique and stamina, though often using questionable tactics. There were, however, some hopeful moments from the Saints squad, with a tenacious lone run towards the goal by Moses Manna, a screeching header just over the crossbar from Elias Prophet, and some long-range shots by Rex Hezekiah and Josiah King, both which rattled the Devils’ goalkeeper. And the Saints’ defence, despite their lack of experience in the face of a better equipped opponent, did shine, cobbling together some remarkable teamwork to fend off an aggressive (and often creative) offense, thereby setting the stage for the Man of the match, Jesus. In a series of moves that can only be described as “miraculous”, Jesus took possession of the ball from a taunting opposition midfield, leapt high as if being “lifted to heaven”, turned around in mid-air to deliver a bicycle kick from (above) mid-field whipping a shot in the upper-right corner of the goal at the 95th minute, to reign in victory for the home team. 

   So, who is this player, you might ask? 

   A recent call-up, the former Nazarean carpenter was born on Christmas Day under obscure circumstances in Bethlehem. But despite his humble upbringing, documents show that his family ancestry includes such football greats as David Royale and the legendary Abraão, among others. It is fitting, then, that his recent burgeoning popularity as a local sensation has earned him nicknames such as “Salvatore”, and “The Miracle-Worker”. Those who know him well speak highly of him. Former team mate and superstar Johnathan Battista said, “I knew I needed to hang up my cleats and make way for Him – He was the new one that was to come!”. Sports writer and pundit Paulus Apostolos pontificates, “when I watched him play that first time on TV many years ago, my eyes were opened, and I saw the beautiful game in a way that I could never see it before – it’s as if I was born again!” 

   Critics claim that it is just this sort of apparent non-adherence to long-standing tradition and a new sort of zeal that will cause social strain, upsetting the political balance and corporate relationships that the soccer establishment has relied upon for centuries to create power, and millions in profit for those that have it. We only know for certain that He has remained mum on his new-found popularity, but it is rumoured that Jesus himself has tweeted to his close followers what he aspires to bring to the game and to its fans. It is expected that He will reveal more, but there is a growing body of chatter that will continue to testify to His greatness. 

   In the mean time, let us revel in the joy that He has brought to the game and to the world, as we also dribble and shoot our way to victory on the coat tails of His winning goal. 

   Merry Christmas.