Trees Sketches

The weather had been beautiful, people were out in the parks, and fortunately I had my pocket size Moleskine sketchbook.

I tried to achieve very minimal in these sketches. Just the shadow details and a touch of colors. Maybe too much color. But I enjoyed not being stressed out about putting in color.

Check out my Flickr page for more pen and ink sketches.

Quick Watercolor Portraits

The nice thing about the internet is its source of references. I have collected photos of ethnic faces to paint. I haven’t had much time or energy to paint in oils. But a 12 pan watercolor palette and a Moleskine sketchbook that I carry always in my handbag and my smartphone, I can paint anytime or anywhere.

Still sketching

Moleskine sketchbook 14DEC2016

Spending most of my time caring for my mother. Sketching keeps me active; keeps the creative juice going. I carry very minimal supplies; my Moleskine sketchbook, 5×8 inches, pen, white gel pen and watercolor set with a waterbrush – all fits in my bag.

Everyday Sketches

I’m continuing on with my daily sketching in my Moleskine sketchbook. I had started out using a Lamy Safari pen filled with Noodler’s black ink. The lines were not as fine even though the nib was a EF (extra fine). So I switched over to a Pilot penmanship (from Japan) and the nib is very fine. Love it!

Then I came across a children’s book, The Gift of the Magi illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger. Her drawings look so delicate of watercolor and light brown ink, possibly sepia. The lines are not that bold. So fortunately I had Walnut Ink by Tom Norton.  I filled the ink in the Lamy Safari and the lines are perfect – not too thick. And also it appears that the ink does not dissolve with the watercolors.



I had just signed for an online workshop, “Draw Like It’s Hot” in  Sketchbook Skool . It’s about drawing food. I welcomed this challenge to sketch food but also to record through drawings food that I used to prepare for a meal. In the final assignment we are to prepared a sketch of a recipe that would be posted on a food recipe website. Kinda like illustrating for a book.

Daily Sketches

I had been carrying around a Moleskine Sketchbook for getting some sketching in. I had been using a Fabriano notebook but found the paper to be too thin. What I liked about the Moleskine is that the paper is thick and holds a light wash of watercolor well.

Sketches by Marlene Lee, 11/2/16
Sketches by Marlene Lee, 11/4/16

Here’s one of my favorite pages of sketches…parents and coaches watching soccer and my mother. With people I worked with quick gestural lines to capture the expression of the spectators. Most of them “posed” for about a minute or two. The sitting spectators posed longer. And, of course, my mother posed longer.

Sketches by Marlene Lee, 11/5/16
Sketches by Marlene Lee, 11/8/16

“5-Minute Sketching: People”

The book is out! “5-Minute Sketching: People” by Pete Scully. I’m happy to say some of my sketches are included in this book. First ever published!

This book is about how to sketch people quickly. As an Urbansketcher correspondent Pete offers great tips about proportions of the face and body and sketching techniques for people sketching. It can be purchased in Amazon. The sketches are great; done mostly by Pete but he also included sketchers from around the world. I had discovered a few favorites. (I had included only the pages where my sketches appeared.)

Just doodling

Lately I had been carrying a Fabriano sketchbook, 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches and a Lamy Safari fountain pen to doodle things in front of me. Sometimes staged like my shoe that I put on the coffee table (my mother would had killed me), sometimes not. Things that surrounds me day by day.

One day is just sitting around the house or looking outside or late at night when my husband is sleeping. The other day would be a visit to my mother or eating at a local restaurant. Then on a Saturday, I made it a point to go out to some soccer games in a nearby field and sketch the spectators.

Slowly I’m building up a visual diary of my mundane everyday life.

10.19.16 & 10.20.16 Doodles by Marlene Lee. Most drawings done with a Lamy pen except for two. I was trying out a Hero bent nib pen but found it too thick.
10.21.16 & 10.22.16 Doodles by Marlene Lee

Also I noted that the Fabriano book is not really a sketchbook. The paper is very thin. Maybe more for taking notes with a finer pen.

In Los Gatos, California

This past weekend I went to a workshop in Los Gatos on alla prima portrait painting. We stayed at a hotel, Garden Inn that had a relaxing patio with palm trees and water fountains. Couple with a cool breeze, it was a wonderful way to start a busy weekend.

Garden Inn Patio at Los Gatos
At Garden Inn Patio in Los Gatos

We went to La Boulanger for breakfast twice. Each time we went there was a homeless woman eating breakfast  with her neatly packed belongings nearby. I was impressed how she carefully wrapped and packed each one.

Well Packed
Well Packed