Architecture and Monochrome

From geometric patterns on skyscrapers to the ironwork on historical buildings, there are many opportunities to capture the beauty and complexity of architecture.

One of the tallest buildings in Miami Beach (and one of the most expensive places to live) is the Portofino. Even though it’s a tall skyscraper of a building, it still manages to look Art Deco in style. You can’t fail to miss the bright orange and blue building reaching into the sky.

The iconic Portofino

In the day the next building is nothing special but at night it comes alive with a spectacular light show. I think it really shows the architecture of the building better at night.

Colorful Lights

The next buildings are examples of some of the art deco hotels and buildings we have here in Miami Beach. The height restrictions are preserved in the art deco district so we’re lucky not to have high rise condos and hotels ruining the area.

Picture a dreamlike setting complete with exquisite, hand-painted frescos on barrel-vaulted ceilings, brilliant travertine floors, fine marble columns, intricate leaded glass fixtures, carved mahogany furnishings and lavish gardens. Then picture this all in the shadow of a spiraling Moorish Giralda tower. The Biltmore Hotel

Is it a Spanish castle or a grand Venetian palazzo?

Although The Biltmore in Coral Gables, Fl does resemble the finest in classic Mediterranean architecture, it is neither an Italian palazzo nor Iberian castle. Instead it is the centerpiece of George Merrick’s vision of Coral Gables as an elegant, stately suburb, which he called “The City Beautiful.”
Combining his deep affection for lush South Florida landscape with a high regard for Italian, Moorish and Spanish architectural influences, Merrick realized his dream in the construction of his masterpiece.

You can find out more about the Biltmore Hotel here

Architecture and Monochrome

The above buildings work really well in color but what happens when you turn them black and white. Which do you prefer?
take a look at the results

Sketch Sunday: Caricature

For this Sunday Sketch I drew a caricature style figure and again looked at various shading and hatching techniques.

For this sketch I used the following:-

  • Different grades of graphite pencils: 2H, HB, 2B, 4B and 6B
  • Strathmore Windpower Drawing Sketchbook
  • a kneaded eraser
  • pencil sharpener

First of all draw a square on your sketchpad as a border. This will help contain the drawing area and make it easier to keep the proportions aligned well for your caricature to sit and to help you shade the background easier.

Next with an HB pencil lightly sketch the outline of the hair. Add outlines to show the position of the ears. At the midway point add eyebrows and eyes.

Lightly sketch in the nose and mouth.

Outline the neck, the collar of the shirt and the shirt.

Before continuing check that you are happy with the position of all elements and amend anything using the eraser.

Now it’s time to add the shading using various pencils, such as HB, 2B, and 4B. For example, an HB makes lighter lines than 2B or 4B.

find out how next

The Leopard

The Leopard
The Leopard


Drawn using Artrage, the iPad and the JaJa Stylus

Did you know?
Leopards are nocturnal.
Male leopards are up to 50 per cent larger than females.
They don’t roar as loud as lions, but leopards can also purr.
King John kept leopards in the Tower of London in the 13th Century.
Leopards can take prey as large as antelopes, but will also eat dung beetles and other insects.
They are famously good at climbing up trees, and down – they often descend head first.
A male leopard can drag a carcass three times its own weight – including small giraffes – six metres up at tree.

Drawings and Doodles on Tumblr

The Picture Window – my adventures with an iPad, stylus and Tumblr.

I’d like to share a selection of my most recent doodles and drawings that can be found on my Tumblr account – The Picture Window. They are drawings plucked from my creative mind or inspired by surroundings or my interests.

Tom & Jerry up to their old cat and mouse tricks
Tom & Jerry up to their old cat and mouse tricks

I had been drawing some well known cartoon characters for a while that were full of bold colors and larger than life features and I really enjoyed the challenge of trying to capture everyone’s favorite cartoon icons. It’s harder than you think!

Mickey Mouse
Mickey Mouse

I then started to explore black and white doodling. One of my favorites is Moonlight. It’s very simple but sometimes the moon really is that big and makes you feel very small.

I made the drawing using the app Paper by 53. It really does make it easy to pick up your device and start drawing. Paper by 53 is just like using an old fashioned piece of paper. There are no fancy layers or hundreds of options to delete your work. You have a selection of pens and pencils of varying strengths and thicknesses, a palette of colors with a mixer option, a great zooming in feature for all the small detail and an eraser. With only these options available it really focuses the mind just like using the real thing.


The drawing of the cat on the lined paper is not my drawing but one I found amongst the many talented artists who post their work on Tumblr.


The featured image of the sneakers I’ve used to illustrate this post was quick and easy to do. I was really pleased with the results and I hope it conveys a sense of relaxation when you look at it. Even though I didn’t define any legs I think it gives the illusion that there are actually some there. My mind seems to fill in the blanks. I’m also hoping that the actual shoe looks like it is filled with a foot so I tried not to make it look flat and lifeless.  Did it trick your mind too?

which stylus do I use…read on