Monday, December 31, 2012

Opportunities to Learn: Workshops and More

Workshops & Online Classes with your favorite Sketchbook Challenge artists.

We keep our commercial presence to one monthly post so that we can share other opportunities to take workshops, purchase art or enjoy other offerings from all of us. Check out our workshops and  books. Thank you for being a part of the Sketchbook Challenge! It's an honor to share this journey with you.

Susan Brubaker Knapp

Jan. 22 and 23, 2013
Start With a Photo
(same class is offered both days)
Venice, FL

Pam Carriker
by Pam Carriker

Awaken your muse with our newest collection of cling mount stamps by Pam Carriker – reflections of her own hand drawings and carved images originally featured in Somerset Studio! Transform these distinctive portraits, reminiscent of a Shakespearean cast of characters, in your next paper crafting, art journaling, and mixed-media creations with a dab of paint, intricate lettering or personal musings, and the addition of any materials of your choosing. Lovers of handmade, make your mark with Pam Carriker's debut stamp line to infuse your own signature style.

StencilGirl Products
StencilGirl stencils are designed by artists who know and love stencils and use them regularly. I'm excited to offer three lines of designs that, Art Journaling, Portals, and Instructional Stencils all add to your mixed media work and can be used in a multitude of ways! 

Lesley Riley
52 PickUp: A Year of Inspiration & Motivation
Make 2013 YOUR year to:

Stay on track
Stay inspired
Stay focused
Stay accountable to your dreams 

Join Lesley Riley for a year of inspiration & motivation delivered weekly to your inbox starting in January. More info HERE.

Diana Trout
Longstitch, 2 Ways Class with Diana Trout

Learn the Longstitch with a twist! In this class, you'll create 2 books using the simple, flexible longstitch. One book (5 1/2" x 6") will have an exposed spine with papercloth woven into the warp that is created from the stitch. The other book will be a bit larger 8"x5" with a wrapped softcover. You can use my free papercloth tutorial for the covers for these books.
Clear instructions are great for beginners. Seasoned binders will find a nice twist. PDF's, videos, flickr site. All of my online classes are permanent access to a private blog. $40.00.
More info here.
Carol Sloan

April 24, 2013
"Birds of a Feather"
Art & Soul Retreat  Virginia Beach, Virginia

August 21-27, 2013
Build a Book of Italian Memories 
Sulmona, Italy @ Abruzzo Creative School of Art
 More info here

Lyric Kinard
January 26, 2013 Playing With Paint
On-Line class at
4 lessons, six weeks.
Let me introduce you to the wonderful possibilities of fabric paint.  Using paint with an assortment of brushes and sponges, you can add fascinating patterns to fabric, learn to carve simple stamps, cut basic stencils and print with found objects!

Start your planning for next spring!
June 26 - Jul 2, 2013 The Elements of Art for Quilters: a five day retreat at the Abruzzo School of Creative Art, Italy
The beauty of the Italian countryside is a glorious setting for awakening your creative abilities.  More info here.

Jane Davies
Unlocking the Secrets of Color  
This online workshop is six weeks, beginning January 9, 2013.
More info here

Exploring the Self-Portrait
This online workshop is six weeks, beginning January 9, 2013

January 10 - 12, 2013 Mono Print Fabric-Paper, Tucson, AZ  
More info here

Kari McKnight Holbrook

Artistic Artifacts in Alexandria VA
Information here
Vintage Vessels                                                                                                       Friday, January 25, 2013  9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Relic Rings
Friday, January 25, 2013   6:00 – 9:00 pm
No Sew Journal On The Go! 
Saturday, January 26, 2013    9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Delectable Doodles & Funky Fonts
Saturday, January 26, 2013    6:00 – 9:00 pm
Jane LaFazio
ArtWalk ~ San Diego. Sketching and Watercolor and a week in San Diego. January 13-19, 2014. All the details here.

 There are still a few openings in The Blue Mountain Nature Journal, in Maryland in May 16- 20, 2013  with me and Lesley Riley at the The Red Thread Retreat.

Sketching and watercolor Lake Como, Italy! October 7-13, 2013. More info here.

Deborah Boschert

Deborah Boschert's new DVD workshop from Quilting Arts was just released! "Contemporary Fabric Collage: Design, Stitch and Finish" includes segments on fabric selection, using sheer fabrics and hand embroidery. More info here.

Sign up for Deborah Boschert's e-newsletter for regular updates and free pdf downloads.


December 2012 prize winners!

The winners of the December 2012 give away prize packages, chosen by random draw are:
(click on the winners names to see their sketchbook page)

Winners must email Sue at with their full name, flickr name and mailing address by 1/9/13 in order to claim their prize.

Prize package from Blue Twig Studio: 

The Winner is: Kate Fern!

one lucky winner will receive a 4 pack of Pitt journaling artist pens!

Prize package giveaway from Gelli Arts:

The Winner is: Reggiecs11!
One lucky winner will receive an 8"x10" Gelli Art plate!

Prize Package from Meinke Toy:

The Winner is: obcean_libra!

one lucky winner will receive a $25 gift certificate to Meinke Toy!

Winners must email Sue at with their full name, flickr name and mailing address by 1/9/13 in order to claim their prize.

Thank you to everyone who posted photos in the flickr group and congratulations to all the winners!   

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Fun Gift Tradition Gets Sketchy

San Antonio Santas
(on my front porch)

Gorgeous light display in San Antonio

Happy Holidays from Leslie!  I know many of you are probably trying to find the floor of your house again (I know I am).  Maybe, and I hope this is the case, some of you are sitting, feet propped up, cuppa in-hand, taking a little break after all the festivities.
I thought I would tell you about a gift tradition that we have had since our kids were really small.
Each year I hide 3 ornaments on our tree on the morning of the holiday:  a red carrot, a purple fish, and a bright green pickle.  After each kid finds the ornament they have to find the gift with the matching symbol on it.  The last few years the gifts have been in envelopes, usually massages and pedicures or some other form of pampering.  Even though the girls are adults, we still get a kick out of doing this.  I think I would (I mean Santa would) be in trouble if it got overlooked.  Sort of like the tooth fairy who (oopsy!) forgets to appear during the night..

Regardless of which holidays you choose to celebrate, I hope you are having a wonderful month.
I wish everyone who stops by a healthful, creative New Year.  Do you have a fresh sketchbook?
Let's get started!!  Woo Hoo!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas from the Sketchbook Challenge Artists to all of you!!

Desiree Habicht here, We all wanted to wish you and your families a Very, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Wishing we could all be together, across the globe, sharing a Hot Chocolate and our sketchbooks while we visit! Merry Christmas!!

Leslie Tucker Jenison here.  It is an honor and privilege to be a part of this online community.  I'm continually inspired by the amazing work that you take the time to post on the Flickr site.  The Sketchbook Challenge is truly a "gift" that I cherish.  I wish each of you a wonderful, inspired holiday season and the very best for the year to come.
As I write my three daughters have returned home for the next ten days.  Hearing their laughter fill the rooms of our home gives me so much joy.  Family and friends, the ability to make art, and the opportunity to share ideas just doesn't get much better than this!  Here's to a healthy, art-filled New Year!
This photo was taken while in Houston at the International Quilt Festival.

Take the time to observe.  Sometimes what you see will surprise you!
This lens was positioned in front of an installation of thread spools
at the Houston Quilt Festival.

pinecone dec 2012
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from
Jane LaFazio

and for you, a tutorial on how I drew and
painted this pinecone, on my JaneVille blog.


I wish you all love the gifts of love and peace in your home this Christmas from Pam Carriker


So much of Christmas, for me, is about memory. Memories of a wonderful, loving childhood; my sweet parents, now gone from us; my children as babies, toddlers, teenagers—all wrapped in images of snow and twinkling lights and early Christmas mornings.

I have never purchased Christmas cards. I have made them for years, and they provide a touchstone to memory for me, and a visual record of all the Christmases of my married life.

This block print is of the first house we owned. How I loved that little house! So many memories. Each year I take out my scrapbook of my handmade cards and the Christmases of the past flood over me.

I wish, for you, wonderful memories—both of Christmases past and the memories you are making today.  Peace!  Terry Grant


Red paper ornaments with hand drawn designs in silver metallic and white gel pens, around a silver cardboard letter.  May your Christmas be Merry & Bright!   Jamie Fingal  p.s. 'bright' is still in process.

Monday, December 24, 2012

The gift you give yourself...

is savoring the season. We celebrate the holidays, but we also celebrate the season, the beauty of winter, the joy of family, the last dark days before the light begins its return and our creative gifts give it all special meaning.

Terry Grant here. One year I became obsessed with cutting paper trees to decorate our house. I had small children and plenty to do, but once I got this idea I could barely wait for a few moments to grab my papers and scissors and begin cutting. No two were alike Here are a few of the trees I made:

Want to know how to make one? First pick some nice firm, but not too thick paper that is opaque white. Standard sketchbook paper works well. Printer paper is a little too floppy. Card stock is too hard to cut—you'll be cutting 4 layers together. You need a pair of small scissors with a sharp point on at least one blade. I like a pair of bandage scissors given to me long ago by a nurse friend.

 Start with two sheets of paper and lay one atop the other, then fold down the center lengthwise. Then take the paper to your sewing machine and using white thread, sew along the fold line through both sheets.

Then fold all four "pages" together and cut your tree. I like cutting spontaneously. I have ruined a few, but I often surprise myself by what emerges as I cut. If you don't feel confident about cutting without any guide you can add a sheet of thin tracing paper that you sew along with the two main paper sheets. Draw your tree on the tracing paper and use it as your pattern for cutting.

Your cutting design will be half of a tree silhouette, with the stitching at the edge that will be the center of the tree. Be sure your design includes a nice, wide base for the tree to stand on when you open it up.

If you have used a tracing paper pattern, after you have cut the tree out, carefully tear the tracing paper away from the stitched line and discard. Now your tree is clean and free of any pencil marks.

Carefully open up the tree so the four identical sections form an X.

For more than 25 years, I have pulled out the old manila envelope I store them in and set them up somewhere in the house. They look as good as the day I made them, though I notice a couple have begun to yellow a tiny bit on the edges. They are like a little gift from my much younger self and bring back so many memories—especially of the year of my paper tree obsession.

Wishing you all a joyous season—
Terry Grant

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Gifts that nurture the soul

Merry Christmas, and a Joyous Holiday Season!  I hope your friends and families are gathered near, enjoying time together during this wonderful time of hope and love.  Kari checking in.  I've been such a busy elf with tons of deadlines, most work related, a few self imposed as I enjoy making gifts for a few on the "nice" list.  It's so easy to get caught up in the 'shopping' mode and lose sight of the fact that spending time with our loves is one of the most precious gifts of all.  I realized this was taking me over a couple years ago, all the work and hustle and bustle- so I began a journal to keep Christmas quotes in.  Quotes that inspire me to appreciate the true heart and nature of this season.  The actual making of the journal out of watercolor paper, acrylic paint and my stamps was a gift of time I allowed myself!  !5 minutes a day to add another quote is a nice start to a happy attitude habit.  I've found that it's helped me keep my sanity this year, when I've actually been too busy to set up ANY decorations at all.  It's helped keep me from hitting a holiday depression because the funds don't allow for us to do as much for others as we would like this year.  It's kept me centered and focused on what TRULY means the most to me in my life:)
I hope you enjoy, as I'll share a few of my favorite quotes having to do with gifts here.  More general Christmas quotes on my blog.  Happy Holidays to one and all.  May you all be blessed beyond measure!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Artist Profile: Meet Graham Toms

"The West of Ireland" by Graham Toms

Leslie here.  I'm honored to introduce you to a friend and amazing artist, Graham Toms.  I met Graham about 15 years ago when he was working at the Disney Institute in Orlando, Florida.  Graham's family roots are in County Down, Ireland.  He was encouraged to paint by an uncle, who painted as a hobby.  Graham's formal studies include a BFA in Illustration and Animation from the University of Ulster, in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  After graduation he worked in Europe doing illustration and animation before taking a position with the Disney Institute in 1995, where he taught quite a variety of animation techniques.  Eventually he began to work for Newtek, a company that creates a variety of video and animation products.  In his role at the company he creates content for 3D animation products, is an educator, and also works with a wide variety of studios and organizations all over the world.
He and his family live in San Antonio TX.
Graham is passionate about drawing and I rarely see him without some sort of drawing utensil and paper in his hands!  His love for drawing is contagious:  He loves nothing better than to share his passion with kids and adults, alike.
Graham's work has been shown all over the world.  I hope you will take some time to visit his blog, which is listed at the end of this post.

 After graduating and word the team at Newtek, Inc., developers of Lightwave 3D, as a 3D Education Specialist.  In this position, he created content, worked

Why do you keep a sketchbook and how often do you work in it?

A sketchbook helps arm me with tools for critical analysis, observation, interpretation, inference, evaluation, explanation, and finally, meta-cognition. The process of recording this data into one book also displays a Chronological order of how ideas evolve. So it's value is multifaceted. 

So although I have a Sketchbook, I never use it, ideas are dangerous and it makes me cry for my book in homage for pulped trees, OK just kidding . I sketch everyday and if I do not have my sketchbook at hand, I find that wonderful commodity of pulped wood from somewhere else, a restroom if I must. Bathroom handtowels, the “OTHER” paper is waaaay to thin. However, I expect there are Ninja scribblers out there who could easily caress and mark the surface like a Raphael.

Do you work in just one at a time or do you have several going at 

I have a number of sketchbooks, the one I choose at a particular moment depends on where I am going. The other factor might be “oh no, were did I put it. OK, there's another one, i'll just use that”. That can break the continuity you'd prefer to keep in the one book, but better that than nothing.

Do you differentiate between a sketchbook and an art journal?

Art journal, that sounds very regal and ceremonious, something only despots, Royals and self appointed deities would use. Drawing in an art journal would only make me nervous, sounds like an absolute beast. This peasant knows his place and will continue to humbly record my notions in a sketchbooks. 

How do you use your sketchbook? For example, do you use it to 
make studies for larger pieces, for experimenting with 
materials, to practice drawing, or for making beautiful pages as 
artworks in themselves?

Storyboard sequence and writing ideas would be the other categories I would add to what already is mentioned in the question in how I would use the sketchbooks.

What's your preferred format (sketchbook size, type of paper, 
single sheet, spiral bound etc?) and preferred medium for using 
in your sketchbook? watercolor, pen, pencil, crayon, collage etc?

I like a variety of sizes and mediums. The only type of sketchbook listed in the question I don't like, would be spiral bound. That would break up the middle of the page if I wanted to go landscape mode. I use everytype of medium unless I think it would dissolve the page.

How is your sketchbook different from your art-that-is-not-in- 
the-sketchbook? Is there anything about working in your 
sketchbook that is different from working on pieces that are not 
in your sketchbook?

I treat napkins and scrape paper like a sketchbook, but this are processes, bridges to help me towards a final piece. So basically, the sketchbook is a place to rapidly gesture ideas that will be finalized in another medium.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to keep a 
sketchbook but doesn't know how to begin?

I think the sketchbook has to become a well used habitual instrument. In order for that to happen, there has to be a clear philosophical understanding of it's purpose. For me it's purpose was partially stated in the very first answer of the interview. To try and summarize in a different way, it's the catalyst for beginning an idea. Most of all, don't procrastinate, be proactive about your ideas, record them.

Please visit Graham's blog:

here are links to work for specific shows/commissions:

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Santa brings gifts

santa topped cupcakes
Jane LaFazio here. Gifts of cupcakes and a 'swarm of santa's on top!
painting papier mache
Gifts for my 20 Mundo Lindo (after school art program) students.
christmas card ~ in progress
I made the Santa cupcake toppers by photo-shopping a watercolor I created for our 2010 Christmas card. I printed them on card stock, cut them out, and taped a toothpick on the back. 
santa topped cupcakes

Monday, December 17, 2012

Use your gifts.

Susan Brubaker Knapp here. Several years ago, I made a small art quilt featuring our family, and our “House Rules,” the basic things that everyone in the house was expected to follow:

Count your blessings. 
Do good. 
Dream big. 
Use your gifts. 
Be good to the earth. 
Apologize if you do something wrong. 
Read good books. 

Say ‘I love you’ every day.
You are responsible for keeping yourself busy and happy. 
Be patient. 
Be nice. 
Make music. 
Do your best work. 
Be gentle. 
Wait your turn. 
Say thank you. 
If you make the mess, you clean up the mess. (This one is next to the dog, who never cleans up the mess she makes. Sigh.)

The Golden Rule is around the sun: “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” (When she was little, my oldest daughter always insisted that the rule was “Other people should treat you the way you want to be treated!” which always made me laugh.)

One day, when my youngest daughter was about 5, I was talking with her about the rules, and asked her if she knew what I meant by “Use your gifts,” and she said, “Yes. When you get your birthday presents, you need to use them, and not just stuff them in the closet or throw them on the floor.” I laughed and told her that, yes, you did need to use your birthday presents, but what I had meant was something bigger than that. That I wanted her to discover her talents, her special gifts, and to use them. Finding and using your gifts is a way of honoring your own life, and of making a unique contribution to humankind.  

Here are some of the sketches I made when I was teaching an online class several years ago at based on this art quilt. We had to have lots of different kinds of dogs and cats (and fish):

Basic body shapes:

I drew this for people who might want to make a version of this art quilt to celebrate a wedding:
 Basic bodies:
Basic faces:

My nuclear family:

A simple house with the most important rule of all:

This is a version of the same quilt that I made earlier:

This photo shows how the piece featuring the entire family looks stitched to a mat and framed in a shadow box:

Can you imagine what a wonderful world it would be if we all followed these House Rules?