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In part three of 10 objects from the archive of objects found in my dad's house, I'd like to offer this.
School project: Toothless Old Man. Pen & Ink. 80cm x 60cm, 1976
After the tentative steps of the Henry Hudson picture I worked on two other school projects before setting to work on this large piece, which proved to be the most experimental and successful of my school drawings in pure pen and ink. It was drawn from a randomly selected photo reference using a multi coloured pen and ink line technique - on the face and hat I used three separate pen nibs to switch colours and gradually build up the drawing in different coloured cross-hatching, the waistcoat was filled in by dabbing ink with sponge. It was a labour-intensive technique for such a large sized drawing, but proved a great success. Sadly many of the coloured inks have faded over time.
The image was the centre piece of my school's 1976 art show during the summer festival, and made it to the pages of the local newspaper - my first press appearance! Even my junior school headmistress came to see it. By this time I was absolutely determined to be an illustrator and had my sights set on art college.
After the show this picture adorned the walls of my parent's house for a few years before being consigned to the loft. The identity of the man in the photo I never knew!
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Number 2 in the discoveries made at my dad's house from long hidden archives of my work. In my wildest dreams I never thought I'd ever see this picture again, but there it was, in my dad's loft, warts and all, the very first drawing I ever attempted in pen and ink, from 1975, aged 16.
School project: The Last Voyage of Henry Hudson, copy of an engraving in The Graphic, after the painting by John Collier. Pen & Ink with watercolour on paper. 73cm x 51cm. 1975.
Prior to this drawing I'd worked steadily but quietly at school on assigned projects. It was acknowledged that I was "good at art", but this was post modernist, late hippy mid 1970's, most of the art classes were light on drawing skills, heavy on texture and tactility, I found little to inspire me. Batik tshirts? Organic bio-plant patterns? Yeuk! No, I wanted to draw! Draw people! Things!
Away from school however I'd long since discovered the joy of the BIC biro, and filled old unused school exercise books with drawings, copied or inspired by WW2 Commando comics. After my dad bought me a couple of Adrian Hill guides to drawing and sketching I'd taken a sketchbook with me everywhere I went, and on every holiday over the previous year filled it with directly observed sketches from life in biro. This was all entirely independant from school. Finally a confrontation with a school bully ended up with the contents of my school bag scattered across the classroom floor, and my sketchbooks were discovered by my form tutor (and art teacher) Al Sayers.
Everything changed from then on. My wonderful art teacher Jackie Asbury (where is she now?) introduced me to a dip pen and a bottle of indian ink for the first time, and told me to draw something challenging. A 19th engraving of Collier's The Last Voyage of Henry Hudson seemed to fit the bill. I knew absolutely nothing about Henry Hudson or John Collier, or for that matter pen and ink drawing, but I set to and produced this clumsy, tentative piece, little knowing that pen and ink was to become my chief medium for the next 40 years.
Well, this is what I wanted it to look like....
The source engraving, The Last Voyage of Henry Hudson, after the painting by John Collier
It's embarassing - those terribly badly drawn hands... it bears little resemblance to the source image, how could I hope to reproduce an engraving with a dip-pen? I had a lot to learn, but it was a start, and I never looked back.
For the first in the Museum of My Archive in 10 Objects (apologies to Neil MacGregor and the British Museum) I bring you a sketch of our house, drawn just before my 17th birthday from our back garden during the sweltering summer of 1976.
23 Butler's Lane from the Back Garden Rotring pen and Winsor & Newton ink on paper, June 1976.
We lived in Butlers Lane, Sutton Coldfield from 1970 until the end of 1977, this was the house where I grew from child to teenager.
It was a corner house and significantly bigger than any of our previous (and subsequent!) homes. My parents bought it for a bargain, it hadn't been altered since it was built in the 1920's and was in desperate need of complete modernisation, much of which my dad did himself. I still have clear memories of when we moved in - there were slate fossils of ammonites and other pre-historic sea life left in the kitchen from the previous owner, also a big, black cast iron built in range, and in one of the bedroom cupboards an old clockwork railway set. All were disposed of very quickly in the urgency to fix up the house, much to my regret!
The reason this is the first in my History is because this house is where it all started, this is where I really embraced a love of history and of art, where I began drawing in earnest. I've more fond memories of this house than any other.
One of the best things about it was the long extended back garden, which had two large trees and several smaller ones (not visible in this drawing), a rock garden and an allotment at the bottom, which my grandfather cultivated when he later moved in with us. I shared a bedroom with my brother (on the whole amicably), on my side of the room my dad built a study alcove which we were supposed to use for homework, but which I actually used mainly to paint Napoleonic soldiers. Airfix model aeroplanes hung from the ceiling in an eternal dogfight. On my brother's side of the room was a large cardboard cut-out of Marc Bolan, Roger Dean posters and a fur trimmed record player. We gone on okey. My sister always had her own room, bedecked with posters of Black Sabbath and David Bowie. The house was easy walking distance to school and local shops at Mere Green, a bike ride from Sutton Park, and just a couple of minutes walk from Butlers Lane train station, which gave us access to Sutton Coldfield and Birmingham. In the summer I'd cycle the opposite direction along country lanes out towards Lichfield.
From this distance in time it seems a pretty well perfect place to have grown up. I loved this house.
This wasn't the first time I'd drawn it, nor would it be the last, but this particular image seems to me to sum up a perfect summer at one of the happiest and most carefree times of my life.
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Sunday at the Albuquerque Rail Yards Market. Kuretake Watercolor, Sakura Micron Pen
How has your summer been? For me it went a little too fast. Thankfully here in Albuquerque it's still sunny and warm, but there is definitely a tinge of autumn in the air. Which means it's time to buckle down with a "back-to-school" attitude and get back to my main WIP, Ghazal.I also want to get back into a dedicatedsketching schedule that fits in with all my other projects.
Two things that are currently helping me get there are my writer's group summer art journal project and my outings with Urban Sketchers. Starting with my writer's group, because we've been meeting at the Albuquerque Museum we've been able to stay inspired by all the amazing art exhibited throughout the halls and galleries. Several weeks ago we had the idea to set out individually to find a painting or installation that could be the basis of some of our art journal pages. For me it was coming across an entire room devoted to the travel sketches of New Mexico-based architect, Antoine Predock. The extensive collection ended with an intricate proposal for a southern branch of the Palace Museum in Taiwan (unfortunately never realized), but I was so taken with the loose and easy style that led up to this final, intricate fantasy that I had to go visit the exhibition three more times over the next month. Predock's example and implied advice to scribble, go for color blocks and bold lines, and to follow what you feel about a place and its landmarks, rather than what you're "supposed to see" was exactly what I've been trying to achieve on my own for the last couple of years. I kept all of that in mind last Sunday when I went with Urban Sketchers to the Albuquerque Rail Yards Market for two hours of morning sketching:
Albuquerque Rail Yards--abandoned but not forgotten! Kuretake Watercolor and Sakura Micron Pen
The more I go out with the group the better I'm becoming at relaxing and losing my self-consciousness. I care more about the experience than the results, and consequently I'm drawing more than I ever have before. I love it!
Kuretake Watercolor, Fine-line Sharpie, Akashiya Sai Watercolor Brush Pens
I then wondered how this approach could work with writing and I found it fit perfectly. For instance:
Go BOLD. Don't hold back; don't edit, mince your words, or fear critique and censure. Let go and let the words flow.
Similar to a "gesture drawing," capturing the essence of a subject rather than the details, try gesture writing. First thoughts, first attempts, first drafts contain a lot of energy--energy that can transform your voice and writing into something only you could write.
Write hundreds and hundreds of pages. I was impressed at how many sketches Predock had made, many of them simply a few lines in the center of the page, but each was so strong and effective. His examples reminded me to not skimp on materials, ideas, or any step that will express where I completely want to go.
Good ideas for some good writing time!Enjoy the season.
Tip of the Day: Thinking of editing your work? Whatever you do, please don't kill the sketch. Whether you're sketching towards creating a more polished painting, or freewriting dozens of vignettes and character studies for your novel, screenplay, or short story collection, don't go crazy with the polishing. Yes, weed out awkward phrases, lines, and repetitions, but stay true to what made you fall in love with your ideas in the first place. Stay loose.
What’s that called? That image up there… yes, I know this is a blog for artists but humor me.
It’s the periodic table, right? Right. To be even more precise it’s the Periodic Table of the Elements.
What are elements? Elements are things that help you build other things. The elements on the periodic table build pretty much everything. We can’t break them down smaller, and when you put them together, they make new things. For example, when the elements of hydrogen and oxygen combine they make water.
Ok, I’m done talking about science, but there is a point. Just like elements make the world around us, We also use elements to make pictures. They are the Elements of design.
The Elements of Design Are:
Line, Shape, Value, Texture, and Color.
Take a moment to think about any art you’ve ever seen. If you can think of a piece that doesn’t use one or more of these elements, I would think you were crazy. Because as far as I know, it’s not possible to make art without the Elements of Design.
Let’s talk about them now.
Leonardo Da Vinci used line to create this sketch.
I’m pretty sure you know what a line is. We use them all the time. Lots of times we use lines to make shapes. Lines can be hesitant, beautiful, bold, straight, curved, sketchy, and much more. Read more about line by clicking here.
As I said, lines can make shapes, but you can make them in other ways. Take a paint brush and blob it on your paper. You’ve just made a shape. Lots of times we think the shapes with names, triangle, circle, square, oval, etc. But there are also shapes that don’t have names. These shapes are part of the elements of design too.
The way you choose to design your shapes can have a huge impact on how your art looks. Let’s face it; some shapes are just more interesting than others.
Value is how light or dark something is. Think of a black and white movie or a grayscale image. The reason you can still tell what is going on is because of the values. Values tell us a lot of stuff, where the light is coming from, where forms change direction, if it’s a sunny or overcast day, and lots of other things.
When I see paintings that aren’t working, it’s usually because there is a problem with the values. I’ve written some other articles about value. Read this one, or this one.
Monet used Heavy Brush Strokes created paintings with Real Texture.
Texture is how something feels, rough, smooth, furry, slimy, etc. and texture can be real, or implied.
Real texture is really there. Like the texture of the paper, or the ridges and bumps created from brush strokes.
Implied texture is texture you only show in your picture. For example, if you paint a tree trunk, and it looks rough but actually isn’t if you touch it, that is implied texture.
By now you I hope you see how the Elements of Design make up the pictures, sculptures, and other art we see. If you want to work more with them, I’ve created a downloadable worksheet so you can get to know them a little better. You know, make friends and stuff. I hope you enjoy it.
but managed to leave it on the train. Amazingly, I was provided by the excellent people at Foyles with a replacement roll and some paint, and it all worked out just fine. THANK YOU, EXCELLENT PEOPLE!!!! Especially Matt who last minute brought new paint and paper and Andi who organised it all brilliaintly and let me glue a massive book together in the middle of the shop. And also especially everyone who drew this. Add a Comment
"Mussel Shells" Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils on Canson Pastel Paper
The drawing challenge from my color pencil group this month was to draw seashells. As you can see, I tackled four of them including the inside surfaces. Despite my initial resistance (too hard, too repetitive, not my thing, etc., etc.), I learned a lot from this exercise, much of which can be also be applied to my writing life, starting with practice, practice, practice. Thanks to my reluctance to start, I procrastinated like a pro. I answered email, cleaned my house, wrote more poetry; anything to avoid drawing. Finally the day came when I either had to get to work or go to my group empty-handed, aka "being a quitter." Not my favorite option. So with deep misgivings I started in with just one. Hmm. Not so bad. So I tried another. And another. And before I knew it I had drawn all four. Hey, I did it! Which made me realize:
Repetition is valuable. One of the main things holding me back was fear of boredom: how could I draw four similar shells without losing my mind? The truth, however, was very different: first, the shells were NOT similar, and second, by repeating the process several times my technique improved as I got to the last shell. Practice, practice, practice! Whether you want to improve your drawing, write exciting action scenes or learn the intricacies of arranging a pantoum, it takes more than one attempt to get it right.
Don't hide away in your "I can't do it" shell. Rather than setting yourself up for failure by aiming for the most incredible work in the whole of human history, start a dreaded project by drawing or writing in your most basic style: just get some shapes or words down on paper. Once that's done, tweak a little here, add a little there--before you know it your right-brain will be engaged and intrigued with all the possibilities. At this point, I dare you to stop.
Shells make great writing and art journal prompts. The first time I wrote about a seashell in my art journal was an entry about playing with my grandmother's collection of shells from the Gulf of Mexico when I was a little girl. I loved holding those shells to my ear and "listening to the sea." You might have a similar memory, or you might want to write about your first trip to the beach, or your own collection of seaside finds. On the fiction side, including a seashell in a short story, poem, or novel could trigger all sorts of themes, associations, and plot twists--especially if the shell is rare and valuable!
Artwork isn't always about drawing. How about brushing some ink or paint onto a shell and using it as a stamp in your art journal or mixed-media piece? Or pressing a shell into earthen or polymer clay? Drilling a hole into the top of a shell to add to a jewelry piece? Or simply painting and/or collaging the shell itself for a whole new look?
Using shells for meditation and mindfulness. No matter how small or seemingly insignificant, there's something profound about a seashell. Whether it's the patterning, the colors, or just the fact it once housed and protected some small and distant creature, shells make a good start to pondering life's mysteries. Add them to household altars, your writing room or studio, your garden or any other kind of creative sanctuary you like to visit. Personally I like to keep them all over the house in various nooks and crannies.
Shells have always fascinated me, but that's no reason to take them literally and hide out inside one of my own. The drawing challenge for July is to draw green leaves. I'm so fired-up by the prospect I'm going to start and base an entire art journal on the subject. No hesitation, no holding back, just going for it. Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme! Tip of the Day: One of the things I love about drawing is how it relaxes and pulls me into what I could almost call a different dimension. Memories; new ideas for writing; the book I'm currently reading: my mind seems to just float along with the tide. While I was working on my seashell piece I was reminded of one of my favorite books that I hadn't thought of for a long time: Anne Morrow Lindbergh's Gift from the Sea. If you've never read it, or haven't read it for a long time, I can't think of a better text to check out for summer inspiration. Enjoy!Add a Comment
Author and illustrator Joyce Wan is back on Ready Set Draw! This time around she teaches you how to draw a delicious treat from her board book, You Are My Cupcake! No matter your skill level you will be able to draw a super cute cupcake. Go wild with your markers, colored pencils, or crayons by adding sprinkles and your favorite toppings.
When you’re finished drawing these cupcakes perhaps you’ll be inspired to make a batch of your own. Watch Joyce’s episode of StoryMakers, with Kathleen DeCosmo, to learn how to make cupcakes and easy toppers!
If your child or student isn’t ready to draw their own cupcake, they can decorate this printable:
Click the image above to download the full-sized printable.
Did you, a child, or student draw cupcakes using this video? Share your images with us via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter! Use the hashtag #ReadySetDraw on Instagram and Twitter too. We can’t wait to see what you’ve drawn!
A scrumptious board book, filled with sweet terms of endearment. This bite-sized board book is an ode to all the names we call our children: cutie pie, sweet pea, peanut, pumpkin. With a candy-colored palette and irresistible art with glitter and embossing.
ABOUT JOYCE WAN
Joyce is inspired by Japanese pop culture, Scandinavian design, modern architecture, and the little things that put a smile on her face. In Joyce’s perfect world “everything would be cute, round, and chubby,” which is evident in her illustrations. Joyce is the author of several bestselling board and picture books including You Are My Cupcake and The Whale in My Swimming Pool, a Spring 2015 Junior Library Guild Selection.
Although Joyce’s parents had the equivalent of a middle school education, and her mother wasn’t able to speak English, her mother took Joyce and her siblings to the library every week. Picture books were integral to Joyce’s love of reading as she and her siblings made up stories to go along with the illustrations. Joyce counts the determination of her parents as a driving force behind her perseverance and success. “When I first started Wanart, I was working at a 9am-6pm job at an architectural firm. I spent many late night hours on my own business with only a few hours of sleep in between the two “jobs”. I did this for two years before I quit my full time job to pursue my own business full-time.”
Joyce graduated from Barnard College, Columbia University in New York City with a liberal arts degree in Architecture. Joyce teaches greeting card design and art licensing at the School of Visual Arts. The self-proclaimed night owl prefers drawing and writing in the early morning hours “when everyone’s asleep and the world is quiet.” Joyce lives in Ridgewood, New Jersey with her husband. The architect turned author and self-trained illustrator hopes to inspire people to “embrace the spirit of childhood and follow their dreams.”
The end of April marks the end of the teaching period at the University of Manchester, so each of the academics I have been shadowing for my residencyhas been doing final lectures in their modules, preparing their students for end of year exams. As this also means that my chance to sit in on lectures has therefore come to an end, I wanted to make sure I sketched what was left.
So, both last Tuesday and Wednesday, I sketched a 2-hour session, filling up another book. I have had so much practise now at speed-painting people, I have got more and more confident at just diving in. Most of the work I am doing at the moment involves 'drawing' with paint, only using line-tools after some watercolour is down, to pull things into focus and define details where necessary.
My added confidence proved very handy on Wednesday as, to add an extra frisson of pressure to the lecture, I also had a professional film-maker there, recording me in action. Earlier this year, we put in a bid to the university, asking for some money to make a film about the project, both to show at the July exhibition and at various subsequent academic presentations. We just found out a couple of weeks ago that we got all the money (hurrah!), but of course, we now have a very short time to get all the necessary filming done, not to mention all the time it will take to edit things together.
Anyway, we have now made a start. And luckily nothing went embarrassingly wrong with the sketches from the session!
As well as footage of me in action, we are going to be filming interviews with lots of the other academics who have been involved, getting the sociological perspective on the value and interest of the work. We began though, with a quick interview with me after the Wednesday morning lecture had finished, talking about how I choose what to include in the sketches, how I decide where to place things on the page, the degree to which I incorporate the verbal content of the lecture etc. Here's how the sketchbook looks as one continuous piece:
Today’s guest blogger is Emily Townsend, an Elementary School Counselor at Lowrie Primary School in Wilsonville, Oregon.
Last year I worked daily with a fourth grade student whose father passed away right before Christmas break. He grieved mostly internally, and became increasingly distant, disengaged, and behind in school.
After feeling like I had tried almost all the tools in my toolbox, I remember setting a velvet poster in front of him – one of the Melissa & Doug Sea Life Reveal posters I purchased from First Book.
I think I was hoping for a calm moment when we could both color and just spend some no-pressure time together being mindful. Although this student had never mentioned any affinity or affection for art, as soon as he picked up the markers to begin filling in the poster he started talking about his father and his feelings for the first time ever at school.
He and I made paper airplanes, learned how to draw jungle animals using the Kids Art Series: How to Draw book I ordered from First Book, and made intricate tangles of doodles while looking at the Draw What! Doodling Book I received in the same order. And he talked. And eventually started feeling better.
Emily Isabella is an illustrator from Hudson Valley, her work varies from book illustrations, packaging designs to textile designs. Her work reflects on the delights of the everyday, in a very beautiful way. Her clients have included Anthropologie, Frankie Magazine and Birch Fabric to name a few.
To see more from this illustrator visit her website
Those kind folks at Derwent have been in touch again and sent me another parcel: a pressie of art materials play with. It came almost on my birthday too! I got all sorts of bits and bobs, some familiar, some new things to try...
They sent me another set of my all-time favourite tool: the Inktense watercolour pencils.
This 12 set is really all you need. I once went to their shop in the Lake District and bought lots of other colours to add to my kit, but have taken most of them out again, because these colours are so well chosen. Inktense pencils are absolutely perfect for sketching on the go. I just love the way you can combine dynamic drawing with painterly mark-making and fill the page with vibrant colour, while carrying almost no kit - just a handful of pencils and a waterbrush.
Derwent also sent me some pastels and pastel pencils, knowing how I create my picture book artwork.
The pastel pencils were the perfect thing: really lovely quality of course, richer and softer than a lot of brands, but also very timely, providing me with some new and useful colours which I have already pressed into service, working on Class One Farmyard Fun. You need the pastel pencils for all the fiddly detail which is impossible to achieve otherwise: like all those itsy bitsy outfits the children wear, and tiny animals in the background.
The Derwent pastel bars are just slightly harder than I like for my illustrations, but that will make them ideal for outdoor sketching, as soft pastels are a bit of a messy nightmare when you are out and about, so I shall save them to use for landscapes, when the weather is a bit warmer.
For the last 2 years running, John and I have enjoyed a week's caravan holiday in the Lake District, where I have spent my time sitting on top of hills, or down by the water, sketching every day, while John goes off walking. Once my busy period is over, I'm sure we'll be off to do it again, and I shall take my new Derwent pastels with me. Can't wait.
Most exciting of all, Derwent sent me something I haven't tried before: a set of water-soluble, tinted, graphite pencils:
I tried them out on a recent sketchcrawl. It was one if my residency days, taking my volunteer group of academic newbie-sketchers out of the safety of the university, to draw in the big wide world for the first time. We didn't go far, just down the road to the Manchester Museum, the same place I took my Urban Sketchers last week.
I thought I would document the occasion by drawing them sketching, rather than focusing on the exhibits, and I used my new pencils to sketch Vanessa and Andy.
The Graphitint are similar to my Inktense pencils, because of being soluble, so I used the same technique - vigorous mark-making followed by quick, understated gestures with a waterbrush - but the Graphitint pencils were different to use in three important ways. Firstly, the lead is softer than either Inktense or any regular watercolour pencils I have tried before, giving a thicker line which you can see really picked up the grainy surface of the watercolour paper, creating a slightly looser, more textured result:
Secondly, whereas the Inktense are extremely vibrant and explode into colour when you add the water, the Graphitint are far more understated: certainly the set I was given were slightly muted shades, which work well together to create a softer overall effect, whereas the Inktense tend to be more contrasting and zingy. Lastly, the Graphitint colour doesn't change when wet, it just dissolves. Though less exciting than the Inktense, this makes them more predictable and so slightly easier to manage. It is less easy to 'overdo it' - with the Inktense pencils, if you apply too much pencil work before the water, you can quickly get into a mess. It just depends what you are after.
I think these are going to be great for life drawing, although I have not had time to go in ages. Perhaps this will give me the push I need to make some time.
In the meantime, thank you Derwent, for my gorgeous pressies. Much appreciated.
Author and illustrator Kelly Light shows Storymakers host Rocco Staino how to draw the fierce and fantastic cat from Louise Loves Art.
Ready! Set! Draw! is the drawing tutorial show for anyone who aspires to draw like their favorite kid lit illustrators. In each episode a bestselling and/or award-winning artist draws a character from their book. Budding artists will enjoy creating their very own versions of familiar and new characters.
Did you, a child, or student draw their own cat using this video? Please share your images with us via Facebook or Twitter!
Louise Loves Art – Meet Louise. Louise loves art more than anything. It’s her imagination on the outside. She is determined to create a masterpiece—her pièce de résistance! Louise also loves Art, her little brother. This is their story. Louise Loves Art is a celebration of the brilliant artist who resides in all of us.
ABOUT KELLY LIGHT
Author and illustrator Kelly Light grew up on the New Jersey shore surrounded by giant pink dinosaurs, cotton candy colors, and Skee-Ball sounds. She was schooled on Saturday-morning cartoons and Sunday funny pages. She picked up a pencil, started drawing, and never stopped. Kelly has illustrated Elvis and the Underdogs and Elvis and the Underdogs: Secrets, Secret Service, and Room Service by Jenny Lee, and The Quirks series by Erin Soderberg.
Kelly is an International Ambassador of Creativity for The Chuck Jones Center for Creativity! The Center is a non-profit founded by Chuck Jones, the animator, artist and director of so many of the cartoons that we think of when we just think the word “cartoon”. In his lifetime, Chuck enjoyed talking to and encouraging younger artists. The center continues in this spirit to ignite creative thinking through free art classes for kids, creativity workshops, presentations and talks for kids and adults meant to inspire and enlighten. The center also has outreach programs to local schools who have lost their art funding and visits senior citizen centers to provide drawing and creativity exercises for greater mental and emotional health.
Happy Valentine's Day! I know it was yesterday, but a holiday about Love should last so much longer than one day....how about every day? No? Well, we can start with a week. ;)
Valentine's Day is all about the love we share and feel towards those most important to us. Love is very important to me, to share with others....especially those that I don't know, because everyone needs it. A truth that is always good to share.
Today I want to share something with you, an original drawing...the first original drawing of my Mermaid Portrait series for my upcoming coloring book.
Here's what you need to do to be entered into the Giveaway:
So, spring is pretty much here (in the UK, it has been trying to be here all winter) and while the birds and bees are starting to get creative, it seems a good time for the rest of us to do the same. No... I don't mean THAT (although I don't want to be a party-pooper if you're in the mood), I mean arty stuff!
With that in mind, and in honor of National Craft Month, a little group of Craftsy instructors, who are also Urban Sketchers, are banding together to share an arty opportunity with you... If you register for any of the 13 classes below, between Feb 29th and March 13th (using the special links here), you will not only receive a HUGE discount, but be entered into a prize draw, where you could win the chance to donate $1000 - $2000 to the 'craft' charity of your choice (Urban Sketchers is one possibility, if you don't have anything in mind. Did you know they were a charity?)
So, what makes a Craftsy class so special?
Well, Craftsy offers high quality, online courses which you can watch whenever you want, as many times as you want, and from any device.
You can ask questions of your instructor, post comments and pictures you create, plus you can see the work posted by other participants in the class from all around the world.
Each class consists of 6-7 short lessons, with homework exercises, and runs for about 1.5 - 2 hours. We are all experienced teachers and, between us, we Urban Sketchers correspondents offer 13 sketching classes - hurrah!
Several people have asked if I am planning to do a Craftsy class on 'sketching people', to go with my book. For the moment I'm not, partly because I have so much on right now. Also, I think the next class I do probably ought to be a follow-up to my existing, illustration workshop. But also, there are already two really good workshops on sketching people. One is by my good friend (and excellent sketcher) Suhita Shirodkar:
The second is by Marc Holmes, who really needs no introduction if you follow Urban Sketchers:
I can't recommend these classes enough. They are very professionally put together and delivered by experts in the field. Each one takes you through the subject carefully, with lots of demonstrations, which are all beautifully filmed, so you can see what you need to, unlike your average YouTube videos.
My class is a wee bit different to all the others, as mine is the only one on sketching for book illustration, whereas the other classes are all about drawing and painting as an urban sketcher.
This promotion is only offered via the actual instructors, so you need to use these special discount links for it to kick in. If you do, you help us instructors as well because, if we attract new people to Craftsy and they register during National Craft Week, we instructors get entered into a prize draw too. Everyone's a winner!
Good art can be a little dark and disturbing. In the case of a new exhibition at the Whitney Library Gallery, it can also be classified as creepy, spooky, kooky, mysterious and more than a little fun. The show features dark drawings and haunting images, much of them from a new children's book, "The Stumps of Flattop Hill," by Las Vegas-based author Kenneth Kit Lamug.
It was Urban Sketchers Yorkshire's sketchcrawl day on Sunday. We went across the hills to Manchester, to join up with some of their local group and visit the natural history museum on Oxford Road which, by coincidence, is next door to the building where I am based for my residency.
I probably wasn't really well enough to go, as I am still not well now after my Book Week experience. My head was still full of gunk on Sunday and I still very little voice, but I thought I would risk it, as so many people were due to turn up for it, some of whom I'd not seen for ages. I figured that, at least I would be indoors and sitting down, so how much harm could I come to?
The museum has got quite a varied collection, but is not so massive that you can't get a handle on it, so perfect for drawing purposes. As you can see, I concentrated mainly on the animals and skeletons, though there was a lot of anthropological stuff too, as well as rooms of rocks and crystals.
I had a lovely time and was very pleased I went, although it was a mistake on the voice front, because of course everyone was chatting away to me and I ended up unable to keep quiet for very long at a time (never one of my strong points at the best of times, ask John). Which means that, though I was getting better, I am back to where I was again now. No voice at all. Duh.
After our sandwich break, I went up to the top of the building and did a sketch of the view from one of the windows, out over the old university buildings, just for a change. By now it was getting quite busy in the museum and kids were everywhere. I thought it would be peaceful up there, but somewhere an overexcited screamer was bouncing off the walls and making my ears ring... Then the sun decided to come out and was directly shining in my eyes, so I gave it up and found a dark corner with some cute penguin skeletons:
As usual, there was some amazing work done by everyone and the sharing session at the end was fascinating. By the time we took this photo, we were down to about half the original group, so you can see that the turn-out was great too. Once again, we had at least two complete newcomers, which was lovely:
On the train home, I did a quick drawing of the woman opposite. She woke up half way through and luckily, was really pleased to be drawn. She took my photo, holding up the sketch. A nice encounter.
Sorry for the slightly less crisp and zingy pics this time round - I've no time to scan anything properly at the moment, as I have to crack on with Class One Farmyard Fun, so these are just phone snaps.