Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Meeting Stephanie Ledoux in Zanzibar

On the Second day Stephanie arrived. Stephanie Ledoux is a fantastic artist. Stephanie is also a great photographer and travels a lot. Specially to far and exotic places.
Check her blog:

Before she traveled she prepared an  old photo album with collages and color backgrounds to draw over later. She keeps collecting things in the streets to add to her sketchbooks. She does not draw chronological in her book, but rather choose a page appropriated to the motive.


We connected immediately, and soon we were wondering through the city and drawing together. I showed her the areas I already know. We didn't had a plan, so we moved at our own pace. It was wonderful how good we traveled together..being able to understand the other's need to stop and draw and most of the time encourage with the example the other to also do a drawing.

We encountered for example this fantastic scene: Two guys playing Bao. When I finished I started drawing her. Check Stephanie's post in her blog Stephanie-ledoux.blogspot  about this experience here.
There are also two other posts in her blog about our time in Zanzibar together here and here.

Trying to get a SIM card.

Where can I get a SIM card for my phone? I asked at my hotel.
At the Darajani Market, they said, and gave me a map.

Stone Town is a labyrinth of small alleys. I was constantly looking at the map trying to make sense of it. Soon a guy started offering me a tour...that I rejected but he started following me and asking where I want to go.. he offered to take me there for free but in every interesting corner he would tell me something about it...

With my "guide" we arrived soon to the market, and he also helped me to buy a card. At the end of course I ended paying for his services.

A cardboard box is all what these two young entrepreneurs need to  have their Sim Card store at the market.

Some drawings I did the next day, like this alley in the Spice Market.

Markets are great places for drawing people.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

From Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar

Dar es Salaam means the residence of peace. I arrived at night at my hotel, but very early in the morning I started hearing the sounds of the city. I drew the view from my hotel window.

The hotel was not far from the port. From my window I could sketch the city. There is certain beauty in the chaos. The text on the left side is part of a page I had to cut, since the guy insisted on having "his" portrait.

Although I grew up country with a colonial past: Ecuador, I forgot that I should have expected a variety of cultures, races, and colors. The many buildings in construction in  Dar es Salaam show that there is money in this city, but also lot of poor people in the streets.

The VIP area in the ferry was comfortable. Juices and water where complimentary. There was a great view of the other passengers.

Zanzibar used to be part of the Oman trade routes, and for a short period even its capital, which explains why the majority of its population is Muslim. The Stewardess in the boat wore colorful headscarves. To draw people in a Muslim in country is a sensible issue, especially women. Even asking permission could be consider rude, I usually start drawing something around and let them to ask me to draw a portrait.


The Flight

Berlin - Istanbul -Dar es Salaam

Although I travel a lot, I always feel fear by flying. It is not the fear of an accident, but to loose my plane. Always I try to arrive to the airport with many hours of anticipation. I can only breath again when I am on the system, usually after check-in, with me seating in front of the the boarding gate. Still things can get wrong, like on my way back when I was waiting at the wrong gate...

I tried to start writing in German this time, but soon stopped.  I feel stupid when I write mistakes. My English is not much better, but I think there are more bad English speakers in the world that bad German speakers, so I feel in a good company.

This was my first time with Turkish Airways, and I was pleasant surprised. If I would hade time I should had stopped a few days in Istanbul. It has always been my dream to sketch in Istanbul. Next time should be..
By the way most of the drawings are made with Pitt Pen from Faber Castell color sepia, size S. These markers are water resistant so I can add watercolor after. I feel is better to spare the color in only few areas,  like my hand and the guy. This is called color bridges.

A nice detail was the Turkish sweets you get when arriving at the plane!

Monday, September 21, 2015


When I was a 10 years old there was an ice-cream shop in my town with the name Zanzibar...without really knowing where it was, or if it was real,  I associated the name of this island with the tropics and spices. I never heard it again and so it stayed in my memory as the echo of something taken from a tale.
In 2015 I got an invitation form the Goethe Institute  to teach a workshop in Dar es Salaam, in Tanzania. After reading the Email, I immediately opened google maps to see where else can I go in that country... And there it was, not far away from the coast: Zanzibar! The island was real.
This is the story of 4 intensive sketching days in Zanzibar, with the best company that I could have imagined: the fellow artist Stephanie Ledoux

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The best Pencil sharpener in the World!

My small material report from the Creative-world fair in Frankfurt

Two weeks ago I visited the Creative-world fair. I had a lot of time to look around and find some new products that I didn't know before. I though I should share that information with you.

While talking to some color pencils manufactures, the conversation turned to pencil sharpeners. I have to confess I never gave much though about sharpeners before. I got a lecture about quality and how important they are, and that sometimes when the mine break is not because of the pencil quality but because of a bad sharpener. They mention that the best sharpeners are made by a German company called Kum,  I never heard that name before so I have to take a look at their booth. I got one from them to try. It is good, but is it the best? I don't know the name of any other company that does pencil sharpeners. I will trust the opinion of the pencil manufactures in this case. The pencil sharpener cage has holes for two different pencils sizes and even come with two extra blades inside.
According to #colorpencils companies #kum makes the #best #pencil #sharpener in the world. I never gave much though about sharpeners before but I had to take a look.
I discovered other interesting products from them but I will tell you about in another post.

PS: There is a little secret about the sketchbook this drawing was made, but I will also tell you about it later,

Sunday, November 9, 2014

25 years of the fall of the Berlin wall

25 Jahre Mauerfall

It felt like  New Years Eve. Many people on the streets walking around the Oberbaumbrücke.  People with cameras, families and friends. The city had a great idea to celebrate the 25 year anniversary of fall of the Berlin wall: thousands of balloons were marking the path where the Berlin wall used to divide the city.

After 7 PM the balloons were set free to fly, in a domino effect. We watched from the other side of the river.