Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Evolution of a Nonsense Sketch

Sadly, I have gone completely to the dark side now. I am a digital sketcher. Believe it or not, this sketchbook page was done completely digitally. No pen was put to paper; no watercolors diluted; no brushes stroked. My hands are pristine--that's unusual! New technology is a wonder. This year as we continue the challenge, I want to show you that all the same rules and principles apply to digital sketching as apply to physical sketching. I made this page in the same haphazard way I make all of my art...it's an evolution.

I created this graphic to illustrate how I went about creating this nonsense page for my virtual sketchbook. If you click on it, you can see it better.

1. Start with what you know. You don't have to dream up something big when you're doodling. I've drawn a million spools, so that's where I started.
2. Add color. I need color, juicy color. I got the digital paper wet and used a sponge to add blue and red and purple in a nice squidgy mix. 
3. Add sense or nonsense. Now what? I wrote a word that popped into my head. It's unrelated to the spool, but I just like that word (I am a wordy person, so it's appropriate). Let your mind wander and free associate.
4. Incorporate another element. Here I added a text box. All of my drawn things like to think or speak.
5. Play with that element. I wrote the first thing my daughter said when she came into the room.
6. Mess it up. I drizzled some virtual bleach. Oops!
7. Mess it up some more. Splatter water and dab it with a paper towel.
8. Really mess it up. Chuck some salt and accidentally drip some other colors.
9. Go back in. Get back in there with a pen, marker or charcoal pencil and add more shading.
10. Make it fancy. Add something unexpected. I added cat ears to my spool.
11. Look at your page and let it speak. It's probably not the image you intended to create...so what IS it?  I realized that my idea of the spool as a cat was not working, so I decided to make it look like the cat was behind the spool and added a tail peeking out.
12. Just when you think you're done, do something else. Go back in and saturate the color. I whited out the loops in the letters and filled them with random color.

And that, my friends, is how my art evolves. Evolution is pretty cool. To peek into my digital studio and hear more about my tools, click here


  1. I love this... doesn't look digital at all!. I love the humor and whimsicalness in this... I noticed the kitty right off...

  2. Very cool! What program or app do you use?

  3. I'm using Corel Painter 12. Could I love it any more?

  4. I also would like to know what app you use -- I have several but none that have all the things that you did :0)

  5. Was wondering if I could use my digital doodles in sketchbook. Just got an I-pad and some cool drawing apps. It is addictive! Love your post.

  6. thanks for info, but unfortunately I cannot download on my samsung galaxy 7 tablet -- i will have to search for a different app that lets you use all of those neat things like salt,etc.

  7. I would certainly think that digital sketching should qualify for Sketchbook Challenge. It's an interesting dialogue to have because, for instance, can you submit a digital image for the journal page challenge at Cloth Paper Scissors? I doubt it. It's kind of like when we start incorporating robots into our own bodies and we don't know if we're human or robot. Okay, that's a stretch, LOL.

  8. I love it!! Interesting question about submitting digital work to the Sketchbook Challenge. I actually posted my digital doodle a couple of days ago, so I hope it's okay! I did, however, wonder about it. I'll be interesting to see other people's thoughts.

  9. This is fab. It feels like "Kelli." You are doing some very cool things with that program!

  10. But of course digital sketching is okay to submit to the Sketchbook Challenge. Doesn't matter if you're sketching with a pen, pencil, a piece of chalk, paintbrush, a tree branch dipped in ink or a digital stylus - it's all good!

  11. These are pretty neat suggestions the next time I feel stumped for something to draw I will listen to the people around me.

  12. Kelli what an awesome doodle drawing! I can't believe that it is all done on the computer! I may have to try that...I am so non techy though...wonderful!

  13. Technology is amazing. Like your thought process. Cool!


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