Monday, January 31, 2011

January Prize Winners!

Thank you to everyone who posted photos of their Highly Prized sketchbook pages!

The winners of the January 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 and mailing address by 2/14/11 in order to claim their prize.

The Interweave Prize package goes to Cornishcontemporary!

The Golden Artist Colors prize package goes to Ginaleekim!

Violette's book Journal Bliss goes to Sunnylandgirl!

Winners must email Sue at with their full name and mailing address by 2/14/11 in order to claim their prize.

Congratulations to the January winners!

"Highly Prized: Women Friends"

Leslie here.  This page is one that I started a couple weeks ago and finally finished the writing.  I think this page is not finished, but since I completed all my writing I thought it would be fun to share.  In the spirit of Dawn Sokol's style, I gently marked some curved lines on the page as guidelines for "filling" in the script.  I wanted to work in a variety of scales to add visual interest, yet "say" what I wanted to  on this page.
As with my writing on textiles, it isn't important to me that the viewer be able to read the writing.  The chances are that, even if I made an effort to write clearly the viewer would not be able to read it!  My writing is, er, a bit difficult to interpret.  Long ago, my mother joked that she enjoyed my letters so much because it took her so long to read them!
I'm using Pitt pens, Sakura pens, and Staedtler pens for this page.

This page is a love-letter to my women friends.  Since I am the last person remaining in my family-of-origin, I now get to "acquire" my extended family.  I think we can all choose to do this, but it has taken on more meaning for me in the last 8 years.  I think most of us realize just how precious these special friendships are.  As my own daughters grow up I find that they, too, love my women friends.  I know that my friends are there for me through thick and thin.  I feel the same way about them.  I am a very fortunate woman.  That is the essence of this page.

Highly Prized: TIME

Lyric here. I've thought about the theme all month. It only took a few minutes to know what I consider to be very valuable.


The first bit glued into my sketchbook? My usual schedule. It looks like that through next June. Five kids and a part time career will do that to you. Time is flying by and I often feel I'm missing it. My oldest daughter just applied for college. I'm feeling a little ... something. Excited? Yes. Apprehensive? Just a tiny bit - she's prepared. Bushwhacked? When did she grow up!?!

I've thought of images I wanted to incorporate. I've thought of amazing and wonderful outcomes.

I've also avoided actually doing anything until the last possible moment. It's a fear thing. Yup - me. The lady who preaches non-stop that "it's all about DOING the work and we can't let fear get in the way." Here I am in front of everybody - thinking everybody is expecting some fantastic outcome and feeling inadequate.

So. TIME for me to take my own words to heart and just DO it. Forget about expectations. 

1- The calendar gets glued in. Painted over with a bit of gesso. Oops. Now I remember that ink-jet prints smear when wet. Ah well, so be it. Find a couple of my favorite pics.

2- Let the gesso layer dry then paint a little bit of a color wash over that. I'm using Prochemical's Profab Textile Paints - because I have a LOT of them on hand. They're an acrylic and work fine.

3- Play around with photoshop and a few of the images that speak to my feelings. Print them out, cut them out, glue them in. I used a PVA glue this time. I think I might like gel medium better. We'll see.

4- Add a little more of a blue wash over the hands to blend it into the background.

5- More acrylic in a transparent blue and an opaque white - swirls in with a brush - like time swirling all around me and away.

6- Hunt through my stack of screen for the perfect image. Ah - there it is. This time I used it like a stencil, first with the white opaque paint, then a navy transparent. It was a pain having the wire binding loops right in the way. I'm seriously thinking of working with loose sheets then binding them as shown in Jane Davie's  tutorial. When I find some time.

I am addicted to thermofax screen printing. I have a machine and run a service, making ready made or custom screens. It allows me to feed my insatiable hunger for making new images in my own work. This particular screen came from a photo sent by Alexandria (one of my on-line students from of one of her antique pocketwatches.  
This is what my work surface looks like when I've got projects going on. Stuff left from the last class I taught. Samples shoved out of the way. Kids forms for school events to be filled out. The usual. No - I'm not an artist who thinks clutter is great - it drives me nuts. I work best when I can clean everything up and start fresh with room to work and breath. No TIME for cleaning up right now.

8- Last step - I started in with pencil, moved up to a Sukura Pigma Pen and then decided a sharpie would glide over the bumpy acrylics on the page. 

My baby has wings. She's ready to fly.
(make sure you click the image and view it large!)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

highly prized continued

It's hard to believe that January is just about over!  Before I show you another page from my sketchbook I want to take a moment to thank all of you for your support and participation in the sketchbook challenge.  We're having a great time seeing all your sketches on the flickr group!

Here's another page from my challenge sketchbook for highly prized.

I have an extensive personal library made up of books in a variety of arts and crafts subjects and I love them all.   I did this quick sketch of one of my bookcases and used some colored pencils to give it some color.  I've had these colored pencils since I bought them several years ago in Houston at the quilt festival but never used them.  They're nice but I think I prefer my watercolor paints!

And speaking of watercolor paints...

Inspired by Jane's collaged color pages I decided to do something similar.  I started a new sketchbook and this one will be just for exploring collage something I've wanted to do for a while now.

And a peek at the first page in progress...

I'll add some sketching or some handwritten text to the left side of the page at some point.  

Now want to take a moment to tell you about Virginia Spiegel's ONE fundraiser because among the things I highly prize is the art worlds ability to not only rally around and support a great cause but the way in which we come together to lift one another up when one of us needs it.  The saying goes that there is strength in numbers but there is power in ONE:

Virginia Spiegel has organized an amazing event to raise money for the American Cancer Society and not only is it an opportunity to purchase a piece of amazing artwork by some of the most gifted artists I know (including sketchbook challenge artists Laura Cater-Woods, Jamie Fingal, Leslie Tucker Jenison & Lyric Kinard)  it’s also an opportunity to win some great prizes including a gift certificate good for anything from my etsy shop!
All you have to do to be eligible to win one of the 5 great prize packages is to help us spread the word about the event.  Tweet it, blog it, facebook it, post about it in your yahoo groups, talk about it in your newsletter, or add it to your email signature!  Each time you do a promo  email Virginia at – Virginia(at) - and your name goes into the draw.   And to make it even easier Virginia has the promos already written for you so all you have to do is copy and paste!
Here are links to everything you need to know about this event and how to be eligible for prizes:
For general information about the fundraiser, previews of and details about purchasing artwork click here.
For information on how to help promo the event and be eligible for prizes click here.

Layering Papers and writing into wet media

"Highly Prized:  Family, Home, & Friends"

Leslie here.  I love the combination of techniques and layers with water-based media.  The background page was created by brushing water onto the paper, then a watered-down wash of acrylic ink.  After the ink was applied I tipped the page to allow the fluid to spread, then I used the handle of my brush to write into the wet media.  The ink (watercolor will do this too) migrates to the writing, thereby creating a pale, ghost-like script.  I allowed this to dry slightly, but the paper still felt damp to the touch.  I applied a second wash, this time with a slightly darker ink but still using a very diluted wash.  I used the base of a plastic pen to push the wet media around.  Interestingly, this seemed to displace the ink rather than attract it!  Go figure.  Third, after allowing the first two processes to dry I pulled some white acrylic ink into a curved dental syringe and wrote more script over the top and from a different perspective.  This was, admittedly, pretty messy and it took a while to dry.  There was enough beading up of the script that I didn't dare use a blow dryer or heat gun for fear of moving the media on the page.  Good thing I was working on some screen printing to distract me!  Finally, I worked back into the writing with a darker blue fine-tip marker.  I did this because I knew I would have a darker blue image in the foreground and I thought a bit of darker script would marry the two pieces.
The paper in the foreground is the same type of 200 lb hot press watercolor paper.  I used the first thing I grabbed, and in retrospect I wish I had varied the texture of the papers.  Oh well.  I've been working on some new thermofax screens and like to test them on both cloth and paper.  This is actually 2 separate screens.  The nest was printed first and allowed to dry.  The bird image was screened with white and blue paint simultaneously.  After drying the prints I did more washes and writing into wet at the top of this paper, but with much more dilute pigment.  Finally, I used the syringe and dripped white acrylic ink from the top of the paper.  The papers are glued together.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Painting with...ooops! A tutorial.

Melly here.

Thus continues the journey where I paint, talk and you follow along. I do hope you learn from this. I speak softly in this video, so you might need to turn your computer's volume up. I apologize for this.

Imagine I am holding my finger to my nose while I read this post to you. I must look quite silly, I wouldn't know, I am not looking at me, you are. I am doing this because?

For the last 6 to 8 months I have thought I was using gouache, when I am really using watercolor.  I swear to you, my local Dick Blick used to sell both the M. Graham gouache and the M. Graham watercolor. Now they only sell the watercolor because gouache is, sadly, an underdog. Even still, I swear to you, they put the watercolor in the display labeled gouache. I bought an entire palette, and have been using them ever since.

All confusion aside. I love M. Graham watercolor,  I mean lurve it! M. Graham paints are pigment rich, buttery and scrumptious. Just sayin'.

I am happy to say, I have just bought a full palette of gouache, which I learned from reading Roz Stendahl's blog, rewets beautifully. Most gouache does not and it is for this reason that it is sold in tubes and not pans or half pans.

My Design Process by Jamie Fingal

A sneak peek into my yearly journal of work.  All of my brainstorming is on the left, sources of inspiration, drawings for ideas - especially in working with a theme, for The Alliance for American Quilt contest.  My inspiration was a photograph of my friend Leslie Jenison and myself at Festival in Long Beach with pool floats on our heads (we like to have fun wherever we travel). 
The theme is "Alliances:  People, Patterns, Passion" and the quilt is 16" square. I actually thought about doing a photo transfer of us with the pool floats on our heads, but changed to creating my own work of art with commercial cottons and Batiks (patterns) with she and I as the main subject (people) and our desire to stay in touch via "coffee breaks" via e-mail (passion). You can click on the photograph to make it larger.  Dedicated to women friends, which are Highly Prized! A full size picture of the art quilt and detail shots are on my Twisted Sister blog.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Jane LaFazio: tiny sketchbook

Jane LaFazio here. Here's one of my tiny sketchbooks, (a little accordian fold book of watercolorcolor paper, about 4x6" prepainted with a wash of wtercolor for the background). I carry it in my purse, and draw with a watersoluble pen. Then I 'paint' it with my Niji Waterbrush. Very musem-friendly materials and I'm so quick, they don't catch me with water in a museum!  My visits to art museums are a highly prized activity.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Color Collage Pages

Hi, Jane Davies here. I finally identified an issue I'm having with my sketchbook. I am reluctant to draw in it because I don't want to "waste" the nice printmaking paper I used to make the book. Plus, I am just beginning to explore drawing more, so I really don't want to wreck my fine pages. The other day I wanted to practice drawing, so I just picked up a stack of cheap drawing paper and began. No problem. Put the sketchbook aside. (That was the first clue). On the other hand, I prefer to paint on flat paper, not in a book. WHAT WAS I THINKING?!

So today I decided I would make that leap into painting in my book. Even though it is not a flat sheet of paper, it's a book. And guess what: I felt much more free doing these color studies in the book than I usually do on paper. I didn't feel that they needed to be finished compositions as I do when working on paper. They are paint/collage sketches. I am quite relieved to have found a way I can use my sketchbook. Maybe someday my drawings will find their way in there, but for now I'm going to do what feels the most freeing. The "Highly Prized" theme?? COLOR. It really is one of my most prized tools.

This is my process: I take a few pieces from one of my color stashes (I cut bits of magazine and other found material and categorize them into color stashes) and a few of my Scribble Painted papers, all in one predominant color. I glue a few of them down to the page using PVA or Elmer's, then take several versions of the same color of acrylic paint - for example, quinacradone red, cadmium red, and napthol red - and start painting. Then I add some accents of other colors, stamping or brushing, tweak it a bit, maybe collage some more, just see what happens. These are not finished pieces, but I get a lot of creative practice and play in the process. To keep the pages from sticking together when the book is closed, coat them with acrylic varnish or diluted PVA.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

This Is How I Use My Sketchbook

Hi, everyone, Judi, here! I hope you're all enjoying the Challenge and posting all your photos to our Flickr page!

While this isn't directly related to the theme, "highly prized", I'm using my sketchbooks quite heavily these days, working through my ideas for where I want to take my stacked journaling design idea.

The page above was created with Fineline markers and stacked journaling- the word green, to be exact, which is what created the loopy bits to the outsides of the leaves and the great texture in both the leaves and the stem. So far I haven't found any design that I haven't been able to enhance with some form of stacked journaling.
Here, stacked journaling was screened onto a previously painted sketchbook page using a Thermofax screen and black textile paint. 

Stacked journaling was used here to create shapes on fabric which was then mounted into my sketchbook with fluid matte medium and "coffee stained" with fluid acrylic paint.

Creating contrast against a brightly painted background....

More screening of stacked journaling, adding depth to a previously sketched, screened, and painted page...

Stacked journaling on top of the existing text and Notan-like design of an old, yellowed telephone book page, cut and mounted into my sketchbook....

As you can see, I use my sketchbooks to do more than sketch. They are the incubator of ideas which will grow and develop organically, as I work each page in my own particular way.

Please don't be afraid to test yourselves, to put pencil to paper and make marks that are uniquely your own. It may seem hard at first, and scary, but I promise you that those first exploratory marks, when viewed over time, can not only improve your design and sketching skills, they can also become very dear to your heart.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Highly Prized Sketches

Hello everybody! Jill K. Berry here. I have been so busy this month that I have not been sketching every single day, but I have done a couple of pencil drawings of some highly prized folks in my life. The first one is my mom, sitting in her living room watching the Rose Parade. She looked at it and said "who is that old lady?" which I predicted. She looks still very young to me.

The second one is my son, Sam. I drew him using his school picture. This was nice, because I had to really look at his face while he was not moving all over heck and gone, and I had time to see all the shapes and colors of him. It is one of the best things about working like this, is really learning to see things in a deep way. He is beautiful, I knew that, but now I know his face much better and it will be easier to draw him next time. I will keep refining this one, but this is how it looks now.

As soon as my book is finished (Personal Geographies: Explorations in Mixed-Media Map Making due Feb 16th, out in the world Nov 2011) I will have time to share more techniques here, and the first one will be line weight. Until then, keep drawing, and thanks for all the energy and enthusiasm!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Visual Journaling Tutorial part 1

This is the first of two video i created a few years ago on Visual Journaling (or art journaling). I hope you enjoy it!

Love, Violette

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Along for the Ride

Hello Sketchbookers, Diana here with a little bit about my process and my first drawings.
The way I work in a sketchbook is by letting my pen(cil) ride with my eyes. Freely finding its way.

Keeping the line moving. Loosely. That is the way I find the gesture in a pose so it feels alive. My little wooden articulated figure is very good to have. Art supply stores always carry them too.

You must find your own way. Are you a restless soul, like me? Are you more precise? This is when you begin to find out. There is a broad array of processes  presented to you here. I hope that you'll try them all out. See how they fit. What feels "right"?

In the coming months these first drawings will be refined, redrawn and remembered. And so, yes, I do these first drawings joyfully: these are the beginning steps in this voyage.

Here is a preliminary value sketch for a painting(s) in process right now.
I'm a big proponent of the mistake, the "bad" drawing, the sloppy, the intuitive. ("Oh, the hill should be smaller . Look more carefully at the bridge. How can I say it with less?"). I don't do one painting or drawing. I do three, or perhaps seven. The eraser is used to push and smear the pencil marks when my fingers are too smeary to do the job anymore. As soon as I pick up an eraser to rectify an error, that drawing begins to go wrong. My errors remind me (I am forgetful) of what I did that didn't work. It is double the information. And what's that here on the back of my last stitched collage? I love these lines. 

Be prolific.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Date with my Gremlin

By Violette

I use the term “Gremlin” to describe my inner critic who at times can be rather merciless. Check out this audio clip about the monster in our heads – in my case it’s sitting on my head. Taming the gremlin by breathing and being in the moment among other helpful tools (you’ll find in the book Taming your Gremlin) can help. All the folks who visit this blog possess the gift of creativity so you have one more tool to Tame the Gremlin that zaps your energy or waylays your creative dreams. You can use any form of art to express the energy of the nasty creature that mutters negative things inside your head. You can sculpt it, make a doll, do a drawing, create an abstract mixed media piece or do a fantastic assemblage. Read more here

Friday, January 21, 2011

Special Guest Sketchbook Profile: Tracie Lyn Huskamp

Tracie Lyn Huskamp is the author of Nature Inspired: Mixed-Media Techniques for Gathering, Sketching, Painting, Journaling, and Assemblage.  Her beautiful new fabric line "Nature Inspired" by Windham Fabrics is due to arrive at stores in January 2011. 

Why do you keep a sketchbook and how often do you work in it?
A sketchbook, for me, feels much like a diary.  Keeping a diary was something I tried over and over to do as a child with little success, mostly because I felt my words were uninteresting.  But sketchbooking/art journaling has been an incredible activity as it combines both images and words into a visual tapestry, recording the days of my life by capturing both significant and daily events. I work in my sketchbooks somewhat sporadically, but would love to carve out more time for this activity.

Do you work in just one at a time or do you have several going at once and 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 have two distinct styles of sketching.  Most often I am compelled to paint my visions using acrylic paints and muslin canvas.  These pieces may be loose, framed, or bound.  If bound, I might adhere them to pieces of 300 lb watercolor paper before adding them to a handmade journal or meticulously cut subjects out to adhere to vintage ledger pages.

However, sometimes I love working more loose and abstract, by using Prismacolor NuPastels on brown packing paper.  I purchase spiral bound brown packing paper journals from a local printing company. My Pastel art pages are less defined and more about using color to convey my thoughts, feelings.

I almost always sketch at home.  Occasionally, I do try and art journal on the road, carrying with me a compact journal kit consisting of a small watercolor journal ( I prefer 3 1/2" x 5 1/2" size Trave.e.logue by Global Art Materials) or a small Moleskine journal, mechanical pencil, black Sharpie pen, paintbrush and either travel size watercolors or a few Lyra Aquacolor crayons.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to keep a sketchbook but doesn't know how to begin?
Take a workshop.  I think this is one of the best ways to begin the introduction process of sketching and keeping a journal. You have the benefit of working with an instructor who has experience, you can ask questions, bounce ideas off the teacher or other students, and a class setting gives you the chance to explore the process and make mistakes.

Anything else you'd like to add?
The beginning of a sketch page comes from the spark of an experience. I then weave this inspiration into both artistic images and poetry/prose.  Often times, I have my camera in hand or close by, ready to snap a photo of a particular scene that moves me.  This photo serves as only a small start in the development cycle. After capturing the setting, I try, almost immediately, to jot down words to articulate my feelings.  I don't censor my writing or try to form my words into coherent sentences or phrases at this point.  Instead, I use them as reference when I am in my studio, as I create and bring the page to life.

Visit Tracie's website here to see more of her work

Find out more about the Sketchbook Challenge here

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Highly Prized: The Ability to Create Art

Leslie here.

I've been thinking a great deal about the January theme and have decided to create several pages, each with a different subject matter related to our theme.  This page has to do with how much I prize the  ability to create art.  
I spent a lot of time obsessing about the format for my sketchbook pages for this project and decided that I will use a combination of page-types, which will please me when finished, all loose so I can add what I want, and the pages will be dated and stored in a canvas-covered square box that I am in the process of embellishing.  I will bind the pages at the end of the project.  I am working with 9-inch square pages.  I love little square books!
This page was created with watercolor paper which was first printed with procionMX dye using a deconstructed screen printing technique.  After the initial print was dry I worked back into the print with more thickened dye extruded through a syringe.  Once the page had time for the dye to react I rinsed it thoroughly to remove the soda ash mordant.  After the second drying, I used Staedtler triplus fineliner pens for writing.  I'm not sure if I'm finished with this page, but I'm happy with it "as is".

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Drawing Faces

Carol Sloan here (again).
I typically don't  like to show anyone my face sketches while I am working on them.
Well, I usually am so quick to point out the mistakes, the things that I need to tweak
and everything else that I feel I have done wrong that it's just easier to wait until I finish them.

But, since we're all sharing good and not so good work here,
I thought I'd show you what I'm up to this week.

I told you in a previous post that I  draw faces in pencil.
I add layer after layer of  shading with different sizes of pencils.

I will tell you right now that the eyes in this drawing are not "right".
They need a lot of work.
As do a few other things...
But - it's a work in progress.
When I draw faces, they take time...
a lot of time.
And I have to practice.
A lot of practice.

This is one of my most highly prized treasures - my husband.
I scanned in a photo of him,
printed it out in back & white after tweaking the contrast a little bit
to make the shadows easier to see.

I'll try to remember to post my progress on this drawing as I go.

A very good reference for drawing is this website
There are free videos which are awesome and so very helpful!
This fellow (Darrel Tank) can really draw such realistic drawings!
Check it out.

I'll take this opportunity to mention that I am teaching
a drawing class "Whimsical Mark Making"
this summer in Colorado Springs
at a great little art retreat called
If you're looking for mixed media type art classes
or looking for a tribe to hang out with
or would just like to take some fun, no pressure drawing classes,
check me out there.
I'm also teaching a two day mixed media book making class there.

Check my blog for other class listings.

I would love to have you join me!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Growing Pains

Hi all, Jane Davies here. I wanted to use the Sketchbook Challenge to explore drawing, improve my skills, and introduce subject matter into my otherwise abstract collage paintings. I've had a lot of fun playing with Carla Sonheim's book, Drawing Lab, and with suggestions and tutorials by many others. Thinking about the many things I highly prize, food comes up very high on the list. Not just any food, but the fact that here in rural Vermont I have easy access to local fresh food most of the year. I LOVE the wild foods I can harvest myself - ramps (wild leeks) wild cress, apples, and berries - as well as the vegetables, meat, fresh raw milk, eggs, and chickens produced by local farmers. I highly highly value the way that food connects me to community and to place in a way that grocery store purchases just can't. OK, off my soap box here.

So, I'm trying to draw some vegetables. And then paint with watercolors. Both big challenges, so I start with the easy stuff: radishes, peppers, soy beans, eggplants. Some of the things I used to paint on pottery over and over and over and over again. But then the watercolors are not doing what I want them to do.... I fill in with Diana Trout's doodle game (love that!) and try to fill in shapes... but then I get those self-doubt demons showing up out of nowhere and I feel an Art Tantrum coming on. Ever have one of those? Just give up and cover everything over and go back to something familiar? Acrylic paint and physical contact - rubbing, scraping, wiping - are my go-to tools when I need a comfort zone.

These pages look much more like ME than they did when I was just trying to draw and do watercolor. I know it's important to get out of the comfort zone and challenge myself, but maybe I need to take two steps forward, one back.

Monday, January 17, 2011

practice, practice, practice

Sue B here and I thought I'd share another one of my highly prized sketches with you.  I live in New England and one of my favorite times of year is fall.  This past year we had a very colorful fall and I took tons of photos so that I would have a record of the glorious colors that surrounded my home.  I've been using these photos as subjects for my watercolor practice...

You might notice the cut edge around the leaf painting.   That's because when I'm working with the watercolors I prefer to work on single cut sheets of watercolor paper rather than directly into my book.  Once the painting has dried I just paste it into my spiral bound book.  This makes it easier to work on the painting because I can turn and work on the paper on any angle without having to deal with working over the binding.  I am really enjoying exploring working with watercolors and I am having the most success when I concentrate on working on a single image rather than a scene.  Once my skills improve and I have a better understanding of how the paints behave I'll work up to more complex scenes. In the meantime it's practice, practice, practice!

And speaking of practice... when I'm not sure what I want to draw I pull out Carla's book Drawing Lab. This book is an absolute treasure!  The exercises are fun and just challenging enough without being overwhelming.  

The one on the left is single line drawings and the one on the right is from the Dr Seuss inspired exercise.  I'm definitely going back to revisit that one.  These are quick 5 minute sketches done with a micron pen and I have a cheap notebook with thin paper that I use for these because these are really not about the images that I'm drawing it's about the practice, practice, practice...  

And if I haven't convinced you yet how important it is to practice at drawing (or anything for that matter) take a look at this sketchbook page on display at the Museum of Fine Arts that I took a photo of  (yes you are allowed to take non flash photos at the museum, I asked first) yesterday...

It's a practice page from the sketchbook of Martin Johnson Heade.  He was a prolific American painter known for his salt marsh, landscapes, seascapes, portraits of tropical birds and still lifes.  You can read more about him here.  I came across this display of his sketchbooks and found the simplicity of the drawings in his sketchbooks very encouraging.   It's a testament to the statement that the best way to get good at something is to practice, practice practice!

Lastly, if you missed the live broadcast of the interview I did with Artistically Speaking Radio yesterday you can listen to the recording here.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

What I hold dear.

Melly here.

Thinking about the words Highly Prized, I ask myself? What do I value? What are the prized aspects of my life. I started several pages, when I realized it is simple.  My husband, my cat, the time to make art, play with paint, draw.

Arrow is my best feline friend. He is 17 years old. In the last few years I have watched the shape of his body whittle down, to become concentrated.  I will not be able to hold, stroke or commune with Arrow forever and that makes every moment even more dear. There is not a day when Arrow and I do not cuddle, make lap and enjoy one another. He has begun to really speak to me. He loves Greenies, a hard crunchy treat, I know his Greenie meout. He lets me know when he is hungry. He lets me know he loves me and I love him back.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Pen, Paper and Ligers

My husband and I drove to Nashville TN this past weekend for the NCAA Umpire Clinic.
He is a college baseball umpire.
I had several hours of riding time to entertain myself (as well as my sweetie!).
I have thought about the "Sketchbook Challenge" quite a bit the last couple of weeks.
Thinking of this month's theme by Jill Berry.
Even though my family is my most highly prized treasure,
I was trying to think of other things that were highly prized.
One of the things we humans tend to prize is animals.
Both domestic and wild.
My thoughts ran to the big cats.
Those big, beautiful cats.
I love to watch them on television.
Read about them.
Look at pictures of them.
So, one of the things that I am drawing in my sketchbook is a Big Cat.
And, in true Callie (my nickname) fashion-
It's probably not going to be a traditional looking lion or tiger but, well, maybe a liger.
Below is the basic drawing that I started with.

Now, notice that it's a very simple little sketch or drawing.
No details, just plain. This is exactly how I begin all my drawings.
Very simple with clean lines.
I begin adding details, dots and lines that appear rather random.
I often use dots as a method to shade. My son (who is an awesome artist) uses a lot of cross hatching. He says that it covers more space and is much quicker than my beloved little dot.
I'm sure he is right, but I sure do love the dot, dot, dot...
Look below to see half of my drawing all detailed.
All tricked out.


Just for comparison sake, here is the entire page of the sketchbook. I've left space at the top of the page to do more drawing or to write...
maybe I'll finish the entire drawing...
maybe not.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Doodle Game

Hi Sketchbookers, Diana Trout here with a drawing game and some thoughts about my sketchbook practices.

As I started to make these first marks in my brand spankin' new Rag & Bone Journal, there was a bit of intimidation. And then a bit of cussin' and then a huge sigh of relief and acceptance. I am rusty! Here is a video demonstrating a drawing game that I use in classes and taken from my book, Journal Spilling.

I made a decision in the early days of this Challenge to do all of the drawings for it in my journal. Warts and all, expect to see my drawings and sketches here. I hope to give you some information along the way as to why a particular sketch didn't work out and also why a sketch did work.

It matters not to me whether my sketchbook is beautiful. Although I completely understand why a person would want it to be beautiful and I have books like that. But not this book. I want to be able to see my growth over this next bunch of months.

Here is the completed drawing from this exercise. I think it's a bit overworked. But I was having fun playing and didn't stop. I love some of these shapes, though, and will use this drawing as a resource.
I hope that you will use this video as an exercise.The idea of not crossing the lines is meant to be a exercise in guiding your drawn lines around each other and developing your hand/eye skills. Ahem: the "rules" are not to be adhered to strictly. Please! The are meant to be a starting point. I'm not much of a rules-type person.

Have fun!
Best, Diana