Monday, April 30, 2012

April 2012 prize winners!

The winners of the April 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 5/9/12 in order to claim their prize.  

The winner of the prize package giveaway from Gelli Arts! is:

the lucky winner will receive an 8"x10" Gelli Art plate!

The winner of the prize package giveaway from Blue Twig Studio! is:

the lucky winner will receive a 24 pencil-tin of Derwent Inktense Pencils

  The winner of the prize package giveaway from My Creative Classroom is:

One Free seat to any of their online classes! The prices of the classes range from $20-$60.
My Creative Classroom is an online arts and crafts learning center. Our interactive and in-depth courses are instructor led and filled with wonderful projects and techniques to help you get the most out of your supplies. This Spring MCC will be offering over 100 courses. From the Cricut to Primas, to mixed media and rubber stamping, to scrapbooking, sewing and more; we have something for everyone

The 3 lucky winners who will receive a piece of mail art from one of the sketchbook challenge artists are:

Winners must email Sue at with their full name, flickr name and mailing address by 5/9/12 in order to claim their prize.  Prizes not claimed by 5/9/12 are forfeited.

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

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Workshops, Classes & More, Oh My!

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.

Lyric Kinard
May 4, 2012 (six weeks on-line) Freeform Screen Printing 
Hop on over to and sign up for an affordable and informative class, playing with improvisational and thermofax screen printing from the comfort of your own home.

Aug 15-18, 2012 Surface Design Sampler Platter
Four fabulous days playing with fabric, paint, foil, photo transfer, beading, stamping, screen printing - and a little design too! Join Lyric at ProChemical and Dye in Fall River, MA for the most delicious sampler platter you've ever tried! More info here.

Susan Brubaker Knapp

June 28-29-30 Vermont Quilt Festival, Colchester, Vermont
Thread Sketching (June 30) – Create a beautiful dragonfly while learning the basics of thread sketching (using thread to add color, texture, line and movement).
Start With a Photo (June 29) – Learn my method of creating an art quilt from a photo, using fusible applique and thread sketching, by making an art quilt of a round red barn. 
Machine Quilting 101 (June 28) – Face your fears and embrace the fun and freedom of free-motion machine quilting. I'll cover all the basics beginners need to know. More info here.

Jane Davies
 "Unlocking The Secrets Of Color" online,  beginning June 6.
Color is one of the most immediate and emotionally affecting elements in visual art, packed with symbolic and cultural associations, personal meaning, and expressive potential.  In this workshop we will explore color through hands on exercises, learning how to mix them, and how they interact and relate to one another, and how they work in composition. Read the full description here. 

"Exploring the Self-Portrait" online, starting June 6.  
Have you ever thought about creating self-portraits but recoiled in fear of the idea?  We will explore the self-portrait through contour drawing, painting, and collage, and generally use it as an anchor for discovering the expressive potential of our materials and imaginations.

Near Ashville, North Carolina, at Random Arts
June 29: Monoprinting with Paper and Collage

June 30: Sketching & Watercolor: Journal Style

July 1: Watercolor Sketchbook: Designs from Life

July 2: Wet Felting

Carol Sloan

June 3, 2012 "Whimsical Mark Making"  Blue Twig Studio Colorado Springs, CO

June 4, 2012 "Painted Pages" Blue Twig Studio, Colorado Springs CO

June 7-11, 2012 Art Camp For Women "Bookmaking with Carol Sloan"

Pam Carriker
Jan. 16- July 16, 2012 Shades of Grey, An Angel's Anthology, and Pursuing Portraits
Online classes are open now with all of the class content, videos, text, stepped out pictures, is posted so you can work at your own pace, with private flicker sharing groups and class discussions, you stay in class the whole time or come back to revisit the class anytime you want during the 6 month session. More info here.

May 30-June 3rd CREATE Irvine, CA
I'll be teaching four fun classes, A Chip off the Old Block-turning sketches into lino cut blocks, Sketching Without Pencils-Exploring my line of Derivan Liquid Pencil Sketching Ink, Take 6 Techniques for Journaling-6 techniques for adding focal images to your journal pages, Facing the (Thermo)fax-creating mixed-media paintings that start with a thermofax screen print.

June 2012 An Artful Gathering, the online Art Retreat
 'Still Pursuing Portraits' an in depth look at drawing front, side and 3/4 view profiles using a simple face mapping system that makes the rules of drawing faces easy to remember and execute. From drawing in our journals we will then create mixed media paintings from some of the sketches. More info here.

Kelli Nina Perkins

2012 STITCHED Online Video Workshops. Over 20 projects with full video tutorials. Work all year, take as many as you'd like for one fee. More info here                 October 2012 ART CAMP FOR WOMEN in beautiful Colorado. Join me, Carla Sonheim and other artists at an all inclusive art vacation retreat. We'll study self portraits and take in fresh mountain air with other creative spirits. Gourmet food and wine every day. More info here.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Open for Interpretation

Hi Everyone, Pam Carriker here and I thought I'd share some things I've been playing with that are outside my comfort zone. I think it's important to test yourself and be open to trying new things as an artist. Even if it's just as an exercise.
Normally I love to sketch faces.

And to stretch myself I'll switch up the media I'm working with. These are from my charcoal sketchpad. Charcoal was not a favorite when I did the sketch above, several months ago. 
But as I made myself revisit it periodically, I became more open to it and find myself loving it now. 
I have found it wonderful for doing a quick sketch and I am far more comfortable with it now.
 Harder still for me, is to be open to a new subject. I tend to draw faces, faces, faces, but I need to draw other things as well. The absolute hardest thing for me personally is to draw or paint abstracts. It is totally out of my comfort zone. I remember in high school art class how much I struggled with what should have been easy! They key is to be open to interpretation. It doesn't have to look exactly like the thing you're drawing from!

 So I began to play with a little cubism feel to some simple still life inspiration.
 I'm still not sure if I like them, but it did feel good to open up the door and head in a different direction for this exercise!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Open Iron Work

Susan Sorrell-I was in Charleston SC this week and have been waiting to do my post after I got home. I have a love for iron gates and architectural findings. I don't care if they are rusted or brand new. I guess it is the lines the blacksmith can make by bending iron and creating these lovely pieces of art for a home.

When April's theme was announced, all I could keep thinking about was the "openings" of these gates and the negative/positive spaces. 

Most of the homes are ornate and have beautiful gardens and you can peek through the openings to see all the elaborate architecture. You are looking at homes that were built in the 1700's and still stand today. 

I decided for my sketching experience was to find an interesting alley or home and draw what I saw through the opening. Here is one of my sketches....

I think these people where using their alley way to store stuff. :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Open book, open mind

Susan Brubaker Knapp here with two more sketches on the theme “open.” I have always found it very valuable to brainstorm. Here are a few more phrases that came to mind when I started thinking about this month’s theme:
  • open door
  • open window
  • open space
  • open house
  • open season
  • open mind
  • open book
  • open-ended
  • open mic(rophone)
  • open water
  • open bar
  • open sesame
  • open-toed (shoes)
  • open access
  • open hands
  • open heart
  • open heart surgery
Today, I decided to put two of these ideas – open mind, and open book – together. The sketch at the top of this post is the result. I am wondering if I need to add more of the squiggly tentacle things, or if I should have left them out altogether. The sketch may sit and brew for a while while I ponder this.

But again, I am loving the process of sketching type. 

I also started thinking about things that open, or devices that help us to open things, like zippers. This sketch is of my blue hooded jacket:

I love how sketching helps me slow down and look at the intricate details that are in front of my nose every day, and usually escape my notice.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Open Your Sketchbook: overcoming obstacles

(Lyric here) It's difficult to find time to open my sketchbook and draw - that's nothing new so I really have no excuse. There are two things that help me overcome obstacles to drawing in my sketchbook.

1 - Have a sketchbook with me at all times. 
 This tiny little 3x4 book fits in my preferred little hanging pocket of a purse.

This is my every day working toolkit - sketchbook and pens/pencils.
The slipcover (tutorial here) leaves pockets inside the cover that allow me to carry my 3x5 index cards as well as postcards of my artwork. I give out postcards rather than business cards - they tend to end up on a wall or refrigerator rather than stuffed away in a wallet. 

When I want to really immerse myself in what I'm seeing I take time to not only sketch, but to paint. Sometimes I'll pull out a larger watercolor sketchbook, but often just carry along a couple of postcard sized pieces of watercolor paper.

2 - Stop thinking it has to be GOOD!
Start thinking of it as PLAY rather than WORK.

Open the book while waiting for an appointment. Just play around with a pen, or with shape, or with filling in the dark spaces.

Play with leaving space open, with different textures and patterns and lines.

Play with positive and negative space. Play with how much or how little you need to draw in order to define an image. 


What are some of the obstacles that keep you from your sketchbook?
Are they self imposed?
What can you do to overcome them!?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Open Communication

Jamie Fingal checking in on this month's theme "Open."  After brainstorming on several ideas, I decided that I wanted to create a piece of artwork about 'Open Communication."  Communication is power.  And then to take it step further, I thought it would be fun to have all of the lettering 'open.'  I drew a grid in pencil, so that I could line up the text, as well as, the objects.  That is why you are seeing this in black and white.

Here is the entire drawing.  I used a Sharpie fine point for the black and painted it with watercolors.  It speaks to me.  Hope and Love to carry me through life.

A detail of the top and mid sections.  I really had fun with the lettering.  Peace like a river.

Who you are, and what you communicate. I love the quote 'speak the truth, even if your voice cracks.'

Kind words in open communication.  Have a delightful day!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

opening a new sketchbook

Sue B here...  I decided to approach this months theme by opening up a new sketchbook and prepping all the pages for some doodles and sketches to be added later.  I started by using my bind it all to make a new spiral bound sketchbook using some pieces of watercolor paper that were left over from other book making projects.  I trimmed them all to be the same height and then bound them into a book:

Then I filled a jar with water and broke out my favorite watercolors and brushes and just started splashing color onto the pages.

I didn't even wait for the pages to dry before moving onto the next one.  I like to do this because to me, nothing is more daunting than a plain white piece of paper.

Getting some color onto the pages first gives me a background to build up from later and I never have that plain white page staring back at me when I open the book.  This is also a great way to get your creative juices flowing when you're in a creative dry spell. 

Once I was done, I opened a bottle of Iridescent medium that I bought ages ago but never got around to using and went back and added a swipe here and there to some random pages just to add a little shimmer.  I have to say this is a pretty cool product and now that the bottle is open I don't expect it to stay full for very long.  It adds a nice hint of glimmer to the page.  You can mix it into your paint or brush it on afterwards which is what I did.

Now I have a new prepped sketchbook filled with colorful pages that will inspire me each time I open it to a new page to sketch, doodle or collage over.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Eyes Have It

I stumbled upon this great quote and immediately wrote it in one of my journals. I have always collected aphorisms. My very first "journals" in college were simply collections of wisdom, thoughts and quotes which inspired me.

"All we can do is describe what we see." 
And this is what we do as artists. We share our unique vision with the world. In that way, we open our eyes to the world and record those visions. The eyes definitely have it. 

Going through my sketchbooks, eyes play a large role. There are eyes on onions, trees full of eyes, leafy eyes, hands with a central eyeball and more. They are captivating. An opening to the soul? Perhaps. 

All we can do is describe what we see. So open your peepers and share your vision with the world. Kelli

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Open Space

Jane Davies here.  I've been a bit stymied by this theme, though it is very thought-provoking.  Open, openings, open space.  This year I've been working on Working Large, which you can see here and here.  I've also been admiring work that is spare, with a lot of breathing room and Open space.  As someone who tends to layer and layer and layer, leaving a lot of open space is a challenge.

So I thought I would start on sketchbook paper, 9"x11" loose sheets, and just make some open space:

After making the open space, I tried adding elements without crowding the space.  The first is simply one collage element on the background.  The second is some scribbling with white and gray oil pastel, and an Ink Doodle.

Then I moved on to my large pieces and did these two "starts" on 22"x30" paper.

    I don't know where any of this is going; I'm kind of out there on a limb.  This need to work large and to leave open space is leading me in new directions, and I have no idea where I will find myself.