The pendulum swings back
As I have said many times, sketching can be like a pendulum. Sometimes it dominates your life, and sometimes it is not even on your radar. But it will inevitably swing back.
During 2010 and part of 2011 my sketching activity was at a minimum -- but not entirely stopped; I occasionally posted sketches from that period at the Sketching Forum and also put a few in my Book on Sketching which is sort of an ongoing project.
The reason for the hiatus was that my spare time was spent in intense study (and journaling) as I considered the possibility of a major change in my life (for those who are interested, the details can be found in my article Why did I become a Catholic?).
By the summer of 2011 sketching came back as I knew it would to fill my spare moments as it had in the past. I got myself a new Moleskine watercolour notebook and picked up where I left off. Here are a few sketches from this current pendulum swing.
Near my school
2011 was also the year my work place changed. The school where I teach was temporarily relocated to a different part of Tokyo while a new building was constructed in our original neighborhood. We found a junior high school campus which had been closed for lack of students, because the number of young people in Tokyo has drastically decreased.
Near the end of Spring term I used my lunch breaks to sketch subjects near the school. Here are two of those midday sketches. Well, the left page of the first sketch was done in the train; I don't stand that close to people if I'm sketching them outside.
The sketches above were inked with a brush pen and the one below was done with a Platinum Carbon ink fountain pen which has an extra fine nib and extra big ink channels to prevent clogging which can happen with Carbon Ink. Like all my color sketches these were colored with watercolors.
Foliage near Ryogoku Station
Here is a rather ambitious sketch of foliage in a park near Ryogoku Station. You can barely make out a huge bell in the background. The drawing was done with a Platinum Carbon Ink fountain pen plus watercolors.
A church and a museum
On the left page is my new Church home, Ichikawa Catholic Church, a small church not far from home by train. On the right page is a scene from a museum depicting life in Tokyo during the Edo era. These were also done in the Moleskine with the Carbon Ink fountain pen and watercolors.
More museum sketches
These were done at a different museum in Tokyo which also had scenes from Tokyo during the Edo era. I did the left sketch with brush and ink (brush pen) and the right sketch with the Carbon Ink pen, plus watercolors.
Then I went to a museum which showed life in Japan during World War II. These were also done with the brush pen plus watercolors.
Here is one of my favorite sketch subjects, Tokyo's iconic Nihonbashi (in English, "Japan Bridge") which has been reconstructed a few times sine the Edo Era. Now it is in the shadow of a highway bridge but I hear they are planning to move the highway underground so this bridge will once again be in the open space and sunshine. Carbon Ink fountain pen and watercolors.
St. Mary's Cathedral in Tokyo
This is one of Tokyo's landmarks although it is a bit of a walking distance from the nearest train stations. The impressive interior is worth the walk, though. Carbon Ink fountain pen and watercolors.
My school campus
There is nothing in this scene which grabbed me or compelled me to draw it, but since this is a temporary location for us, I made a sketch for posterity's sake in the fall of 2011. The building in the back was not at a right angle to the buildings in the forground, and makes for an awkward sketch if you expect everything to be at right angles. Carbon Ink fountain pen in a cheap sketchbook I happened to have in my desk.