New colouring book!

Book, Colouring-in, Mexico, Publication, Street scene, Värityskuvat

For the past three years I’ve been chipping away at a little project of mine: a colouring book featuring street scenes from San Cristóbal de las Casas in Mexico, the picturesque town I live in. There’s so much detail and colour going on that it’s hard to take much in while we stroll around… apple blossoms peeking over a wall; a house painted in turquoise and peach; Chamula women’s blouse embroidery fashions; a courtyard from the 1500s; a garage opened to sell multicoloured pastries; the breakdance crew at La Merced; street dogs rolled up to sleep; the spectacular piercings of an Argentinian hippie.

With this colouring book, I want to give us fans of Sancris a chance to sit down and contemplate it, one scene at a time. And here we can finally paint a house in magenta and purple.

I’ll be distributing in independent bookshops in Sancris, but if you’d like to order some, drop me an email on develoment.cartoons@gmail.com!

Women’s festival batch 3

croquis, Events, Mexico, Sketch

More croquis from the EZLN International Festival for Women who Fight! (Although the verb luchar in Spanish in this case means “struggle” as in “the ideological struggle” , rather than actually fighting. It also means wrestling, as in lucha libre. Fun with etymology.)

I drew these women during a really confused lecture on “Dismantling The Man into Things”. Hence the sceptical faces.

Women at a lecture

Mexico, Sketch

More sketches from the women´s encounter in March.

I drew these during talks on masculinity in childhood (halfway through which two boys in the audience started shooting us with imaginary pistols) and on social organization as love. There was a whooooole range of talks, some weirder than the rest…
These croquis are of varying quality depending on how still the “model” was and how much time I had to draw her. I chose faces that interest me.

Zapatista women’s festival

Events, Mexico, Sketch

7000 women make a noise like a low-frequency beehive. Every morning when we crawled out of our tents in the freezing, clear air, the hum was already going and it kept getting stronger as more people woke up and started looking for breakfast. The festival was organized by the Zapatista movement and hosted by Caracol 4 in Morelia. Nobody knew quite what to expect. I arrived with a contingent from Ama-Awa, the women agroecologists, carrying tents, food and water for three days. We were pleasantly surprised to find abundant flushing toilets, food outlets (although the queues did stretch out), showers and drinking water taps… all without the presence of a single man. And no alcohol either. My friend’s ten-year-old daughter could attend any session she liked without her mum having to worry. And there was plenty to choose from, ranging from lectures on land rights, Indigenous lesbianism, masculinity in childhood to art, dance and theatre and workshops for making reusable menstrual pads. And a Colombian batucada.
I sketched participants during the lectures, amazed at the sheer range of women there… tall, short, skinny, round, old, young, lawyers, hippies, gorgeous, ugly, of all colours, made-up and rolled-out-of-bed. Here are some of them.

History of the festival: http://luchadoras.mx/mujeres-zapatistas/

Amazing photos by Trasluz photographers 

Cancuc zapatista with daughter

At the opening ceremony

 This was just one of the hardcore women who brought their babies to the event and stood with them in the hot sun for hours during the first day’s plays. Wearing layers of heavy clothing and knitted black balaclavas.

WimminCompress25

Tostada seller

WimminCompress3

Smoking and chatting

WimminCompress4

The Danish delegation

 

San Cris felt souvenirs

Mexico, Sketch, Street scene

Would you buy a multi-coloured felt cow with goggly orange-rimmed eyes? Of course! They are endearing! These marvels of creativity are sold by scores of handicraft sellers in San Cristóbal de las Casas in Chiapas, Mexico, and once you start looking, you start noticing how amazing they are. The quality of the felt, the sense of colour combination, the finishing, the creativity… Felt bulls and chickens are classics, and the current fashion is for felt unicorns and Tyrannosaurus Rexes.

Sketch of the day: Tenejapa carnival

croquis, Events, Mexico, Sketch

The week-long carnival in Tenejapa in the Chiapas highlands includes several colorful elements, such as this “chasing of the cow”. The men dress in red ceremonial finery and, among other things, chase a woven-mat “cow” around the town plaza. (Later there’s “chasing the bull” at another plaza, looking exactly the same as “chasing the cow”, but at that event cameras aren’t welcome… so I figured sketchpads aren’t either). It’s a day full of symbolism and prehispanic references and local pride – also lost of whooping at jokes. It’s very contagious and after we left we spent the rest of the day going “i-e-e-e!!”

Tenejapa001

Special costume including a stuffed ocelot.

Tenejapa002

Even though he was standing still it was hard to get all the textile detailes!

Tenejapa003

The procession’s drummer.

Tenejapa004

The “cow”!

Tenejapa005

Ocelot man from another angle.

Zapatistas and zapaturistas

Events, Mexico, Sketch, sustainable development

Some sketches from the art festival CompArte at the zapatista centre Caracol Oventic. The festival took place for a week at the campus of CIDECI with concerts, changing art shows, workshops, documentaries and theatre; and at the weekend there were performances at Oventic too.

barrier

EZLN soldiers holding the crowd barrier

An intrigueing experience for sure. This time I had a bit more time for sketches as most people stayed put watching the performances of theatre, dance, poetry and music.

bailable

A “bailable” dance

The girl band – like all the zapatistas, wearing Indigenous traditional dress and balaclavas – were a riot of energy and power.

singer

Zapatista girl band singer

bassist

Zapatista girl band bassist

As always, people couldn’t resist filming instead of watching. Or, in my case, drawing.

filming

Filming

audience

Spectators

ears

Ears

sketches-july-ezln1

EZLN soldier holding up a crowd barrier

Adults’ colouring in

Colouring-in, Events, Mexico, Värityskuvat

I took a pile of my colouring-in pictures to a work party recently, reasoning that not everyone would like to join the bachata class or read a poem and this could be  a nice activity for the less extroverted of us. It worked a treat! The table with the pictures and box of coloured pencils quickly became a centre for chatting and colouring.

I was also surprised over how different everybody’s style was. Antonio started by colouring the whole elephant an even grey, according to me the most boring part of the picture. Lupe coloured all the shoes and was the only one who finished in the sense of covering her whole picture in colour. Giovanna added patterns and psychedelic details to the forest scene. Both she and José Luis gave the little girl in the picture a green or blue elf skin tone. I think this could be a hit at other events too. party-colouring-chayoparty-colouring001-compressed3party-colouring001-compressed1

 

 

Sketch of the day: grasshopper salesman

Mexico, Sketch, Street scene

A Mexican street scene: one of the guys selling toasted snacks, peanuts and grasshoppers (chapulines) with lemon and hot sauce. (In addition to people selling macadamia nuts, creamy pastries, shoeshine services, oranges whole, peeled or juiced, cotton candy etc… and I haven’t even mentioned the textiles or child labour)

Chapulines

 

This guy was one of the least enthusiastic salesmen I’ve ever seen, and I’ve lived in African controlled economies.

Sketch of the day: guajolotes aka turkeys

Mexico, Sketch, sustainable development, Uncategorized

In honour of the US American Thanksgiving holiday coming up, here’s a sketch of turkeys! And the small boy who was chasing them gleefully. Turkey
These two black turkeys came high-stepping down the path like they owned the place. They were not much smaller than the smallest kids playing football on the path, and for a minute I was worried about how the beak vs cheek contact would go. But the Southside Team goalie stepped up and chased the turkeys back the way they’d come with an exuberant series of sideways leaps, as if he was swinging on invisible lianas or vaulting invisible fences. At one point he did go splat on the ground but the turkeys looked at him indignantly and beat a dignified retreat.
Turkeys are called guajolotes in Mexico and are one of the few animals to have been domesticated in Mesoamerica. Provecho!

Hammock croquis

Mexico, Sketch

You’d think that someone lounging in a hammock on the beach would stay still for more than five minutes. Not the case. My drawings of friends in hammocks ended up as express sketches – croquis – live drawing done with very little time.

Hammock 2
Hammock 3

But once they moved and messed up my portrait I could still work on the ropes and knots.

Hammock 1

Hammocks define the outermost points of the person inside… it’s as if they wrap a plane around limbs and protrusions which makes for fun drawings. There’s something early-90s-computer-graphicksy about them.

Hammocks2

And you get to feel like you did something creative on holiday.