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1. Back to My 'Urban Sketching People' Book


Now the mural artwork is done (phew) and I have got my concertina sketchbooks sorted, I have cleared my schedule to concentrate purely on my 'sketching people' book. 

If you have been following the project, you will remember that I have a handful of spreads which are more or less finished - the ones we did as samples, to get the US edition signed up, including this painting before you draw spread:


Then, at the start of the year, I sent off a good chunk of the text, along with all the images that will go with it (just photos of my sketchbook pages for now). My publisher has been working on it while I have been doing other things. About two thirds of what I submitted has now been set into very rough spreads and sent back with some suggestions for changes. I had an long phone call with my editor, where we went through everything in fine detail and I scribbled notes all over the spreads:


It's not too bad at all actually. All the text is intact without changes, it's pretty much all suggestions for either squeezing in more images or adding step-by-step breakdowns here and there. 

The publisher also sent out a call for other sketchers to submit work for possible inclusion and I have sheets and sheets of gorgeous guest work to choose from. That's going to make things easier. So far, I have been trying to collect potential guest images by trawling Flickr and saving things into Pinterest.


I have mostly addressed the changes now. I just have some captions and annotations to write, to go with the added images, but I'm waiting until my suggestions have been given the green light before I do that. 

For now, I have moved on and begun writing a new section of the book. This one looks in detail at how to draw specific parts of the body. We did sketching the eyes as one of the sample spreads. I took a couple of days to get my head back into things, after such a lengthy pause, but I am motoring nicely now and have already written 'feet', 'hair' and 'ears'. Still got mouths, hands and noses to do. Better get on...

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2. Spring Headdresses

A page in my sketchbook I'm proud of. There are many times I wished all the pages in my sketchbook were this full. I'm praying this is the light of something new. :)


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3. last, but certainly not least...

icelyn~orignal drawing
graphite on bristol
©the enchanted easel 2015
sweet, little Icelyn. 

this is the third (and final) drawing in my series of three whimsical winter girls. i know, i know....it's almost spring (ugh!) but custom work always comes first and i've had a few of those *jobs*the last couple of weeks (no complaints-love custom work) so little Icleyn here had to take a back seat. but....

she's DONE (yay me!) and FOR SALE here along with her two lovely companions...little miss Crystal and my personal favorite, little miss Glacia (love the happy little twisted pout on her...).

although i shall bid my love, mr. winter, adieu in a few days, it will eternally be winter in my heart...(hey look, someone has to show some love for that season...and well, i have MAJ love for it!)

{up next on the easel (and between other drawings)...custom nursery art...featuring an owl and some sweet little birds.}

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4. abstract n colour

abstract n colour by dibujandoarte
abstract n colour, a photo by dibujandoarte on Flickr.
tinta y lápices de color

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5. “…wake to the wonder of this grass”

christmascactus0315

Ours is in bloom this very day, as it happens

“Our Christmas cactus has predictably bloomed each December for three decades and some years when it has been colder for longer, as is the case this year, it often blooms more than once a year. Our Christmas cactus is alive and growing 365 days of the year, most of which it is rarely seen by me but only looked at.”

That’s Owen Swain in his post “Blooming Cactus / blooming an illustrated life / and, what I learned in Sketchbook Skool.”

In his drawing of the cactus, he includes a quote which sent me immediately dashing for my commonplace book (which is to say, this blog).

“While drawing grasses I learn nothing ‘about’ grass, but wake to the wonder of this grass and its growing, to the wonder that there is grass at all.”

—Frederick Franck

That. Yes. Exactly. Or at least, I suppose I would say I learn something about grass when I’m drawing it, I learn something about everything I look at closely. But that kind of learning is implied in the quote. I get what he means by ‘about.’ And yes, the waking to the wonder of a thing by observing it quietly, moving your pen along its paths, or by writing a poem about it (“This grasshopper, I mean—/ the one who has flung herself out of the grass,/ the one who is eating sugar out of my hand, who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—/ who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes…”)*; even, I daresay, by blogging about it—the combined act of observing, pondering, and then expressing, in word or line—these endeavors shift your relationship with the humble object; they awaken you to the wonder the thing actually is.

The very first revelation that struck me about drawing, way back in college during a too-brief foray into sketching, was the passage in the Betty Edwards book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain in which one of Betty’s students mentioned that after she began trying to draw faces, “every face I looked at seemed beautiful to me.” I have written before about the enormous impact that statement had on me, not just in relation to drawing but to an overall view of life.

The drawing lessons taught her to really look at people, and when she did, she saw beauty everywhere.

I know I’m going all over the place here, but in my mind these things are all connected: this way of really looking, really seeing, noticing what is interesting and important and even beautiful about things many people whisk by without noticing. And what I can do for my children is refuse to fill up their lives with things they must patiently endure until a better moment comes. I can savor the moments as they happen, and give them the time and space to find what’s interesting and beautiful in every face the world shows them.

As I was writing that last sentence, Beanie appeared in front of me with a big smile and a present: a bracelet made of safety pins linked together, each pin shining with green and blue beads. “It’s for you, Mommy,” she breathed, so proud and excited. “Jane showed me how.” How patiently (the good kind of patience) she must have worked to slide all those beads in place.

I never noticed before what a work of art a safety pin is!

I’ve written so many times on this blog about how my approach to education is to keep the focus on the process, not the product. The lesson is renewed for me every time I take pencil in hand and try to capture the lines of a thing on my page. In the end, it doesn’t matter at all how my drawing ‘turns out.’ The magic is in the doing.

*From “The Summer Day” by Mary Oliver

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6. Jet skis on pencil lines...

Drawing, drawing, drawing... all day long! But when I get out my magic pens it's like putting jet skis on my pencil line... carving big sloshy inky curves and spraying splatters over the deliciously textured watercolor paper. What can I say - it's fun!

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7. Big thanks to my friend Laurel for getting me out to some life...

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8. How to chose and use your art materials wisely

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If you’re anything like the thousands of creatives out there, you’ll no doubt have something called “GotToHaveEveryArtSupply-itis”and its incurable. We get so excited and enthusiastic when the glorious sound of the art supply shop opens like an unknown force pulling us in against our will (not really), to when there’s a sale online we just have to get them all.Although with this vast growing collection of art supplies, in which we think deep down will bestow upon us great creative talent, comes being practical and responsible to.

 Each art material has its advantages and disadvantages, however its actually how you use them that will help you to produce great work.So here’s a few tips to really help  you choose your creative weapons of choice wisely and wield them like a true creative warrior!

1.  Combine materials that compliment each other – Just because you have an artbox filled with yummy supplies, doesn’t mean you have to throw everything into the mix to make the perfect receipe. Experimenting is key to know what works for you and your style to build your creative process. Look closely at the textures, contrasts and effects each material gives you and which would compliment each other nicely to create the perfect creative dish.  For example watercolours and coloured pencil work great together to create colour washes with beautiful tone work.

2. He’s got it so I need to have it to - No doubt you’ve done this to where your inspirational creative idol uses a specific art supply and  you feel the urge to possess it to achieve greatness. Although this isn’t to say its not the quality of product that gives them great results, bear in mind they’ve been honing their skills and processes with it for countless hours through “practice“. Not every art supply works the same with every creatives style and process, but experiment with different materials to see if introducing it to your creative making steps will benefit the pieces you create.

3. Invest within your budget- Last but not least investing and budgeting, understandably art supplies often aren’t cheap as they come in so many different brands, qualities and quantities at different prices. There’s also artist and student grade materials, however the key is be wise and stick to your budget. Test materials out and if you feel they have a permanent place in how you make your art then this gives you the option to invest in them further.

Good luck creatives and have fun wielding those art supplies!

Featured image by Amy Van Luijk  you can find out more about her work here.

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9. Shark and Lobster - a diary sketch book of character development work

One of my first books was Shark and Lobster's Amazing Undersea Adventure - a tale of Shark, who is afraid of Tigers, and his best friend Lobster.
It was very hard to write - I had already written one draft years before when I was still in school, and now I had to learn how to rewrite and edit and make a picture book story of it.
One thing I did then, which I've kept up since, is make a diary for my characters to see what they got up to and who they actually were.
I did find out a lot about Shark and Lobster this way, almost none of it made it into the book, but that's not the point of character development work.

I thought it would be nice to stick it on my blog so that you can see how I work (or how I worked when I was starting out in 2001 - I've gone lest wistful over the years, but my approach is still very similar).
Here you go!





















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10. “The Story of the Fisherman” Sketches and Video

During the course of working on "The Story of the Fisherman" I've generated many many sketches, here are just a few. I hope you enjoy them.



via Studio Bowes Art Blog at http://ift.tt/1DeDbsU

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11. Shamrock Pixies

New Art!
Created for Creative Design Outlet and Crafts and Me digital stamps. Coming soon!




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12. SketchCrawl in Nottingham


Sorry it's been a week since I last looked in. I am working hard every day on my mural. I did get to escape the computer on Saturday though - everything stops for SketchCrawl day!

This month, Urban Sketchers Yorkshire met up with our counterparts in Nottingham, for a drawing day at Nottingham Castle. There were a few sketchers from the Manchester and Birmingham groups too, so it was really lovely to meet lots of new people.



The train from Sheffield arrived half an hour before the one from Manchester, so I did this quickie of the station front, while we waited. By the time I got underway, I only had 20 minutes, so I was really pleased with the results. I think, because of the silly amount of time, I had such low expectations that I was really relaxed. No time to think either, so I was working on instinct, by-passing my brain (often a good thing with my brain).


Fired up with this success, I decided to brave the cold at the castle and draw outside. Several people did the same as the views across Nottingham were spectacular. I avoided the really long views and drew the interesting aerial view down over the surrounding streets, continuing in my concertina sketchbook with the tinted paper, flowing on from the drawing I did on Castleford.

Nottingham Castle isn't a real castle - the real one was blown up hundreds of years ago. The new one is a museum and art gallery, so I headed inside and had a quick whizz round to warm up my fingers and toes. Then it was time for some lunch and chin-wagging with my new chums.


After lunch I was sufficiently thawed to try again outside. It was cold, but there was very little wind, so it was possible to stand it for about an hour. I did this view of the front entrance.


Once more chilled to the bone, it was wonderful to walk through the automatic doors and feel the wall of heat kick in! The gallery was a really lovely space, so I sat in there for my last sketch of the day, working with my Koh-i-Noor rainbow pencil and some white pastel:


This was a continuation in the concertina sketchbook and flowed on from the earlier drawing:


It also filled the very last section of the book - a rather satisfying end to the day - so it's now complete: 


You can't really see the drawings properly here but, if you are interested, you can enlarge it sufficiently for a good look on my Flickr page.

This lovely book was made for me as a present by one of my group (thanks again Lucie!), but I have also made concertina books for myself. They are very easy. If you want to have a go, this post shows you how.

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13. Sunday afternoon sketching....

working on a little custom drawing for a very special girlfriend from school...she's going through some tough times and needs a little "pick me up".

sweetness to the rescue! :)

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14. IA Talks to Tara Jacoby About Her Illustrations for Gawker

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[Very Blessed New Mom Wishes She Had Been Warned More About Blessings – Article]

You may have noticed something happening over at Gawker media.

Things have been way visually cooler over there for the past year, thanks to the efforts of Illustrator Tara Jacoby and Art Director/Illustrator Jim Cooke. Last April (2014), Cooke – on behalf of Gawker Media – put out a call for a “staff illustrator”.

We’re looking for a graphic design and illustration junkie with an editorial focus. You can read a post, conceptualize an interesting visual solution, and execute an image that will make that post better…within an hour or two. You are clever and have a keen sense of humor, and your portfolio reflects this.

Tara Jacoby turned out to be the perfect choice for the job. Her work brings just the right balance of humor, wit, and humanity to Gawker’s incredibly wide range of topics and compelling headlines. Here at Illustration Age we always strive to celebrate the people, publications and organizations that embrace the use of illustration, and next week we’ll be sharing our conversation with AD Jim Cooke about Gawker’s motivations for doing just that.

But first, we think it makes sense to start with the images themselves, so we’ve collaborated with Tara to highlight some of our favorite illustrations of hers and also take the opportunity to pick her brain about her experience working with Gawker over the past year. Enjoy!

lfiwl9seowdwk7qwseaf[How to Get Your Sex Tape Off the Internet – Article]

portrait1.jpgILLUSTRATION AGE: What inspired you to answer Gawker’s call for an in-house illustrator?

TARA JACOBY: I had been working as the graphic designer at the Society of Illustrators and freelancing. I’d looked to change gears and focus on illustration and considered going freelance full-time. To be honest, I had no idea Gawker was hiring. A friend had sent me the link twice before I even read it. When I actually did read it, it felt like the stars had aligned. I had to have it. This job was tailor-made for me. So, I applied immediately.

Sometimes the job feels too good to be true. I cannot believe that I’m excited to go to work everyday. You know when people say “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”… well, they were right!

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[Here Is What It’s Like to Do a ‘Soup Cleanse’ – Article]

Fun (after the) fact: Jim had me come into the office for a trial day after my interview. I completely blew it. He sat me at the “smelly Deadspin table” and I sat there silently freaking out and frantically sketching ideas, reading and re-reading the assignments as my career hung in the balance. I basically had an eight hour anxiety attack. I still can’t believe that he hired me after that.

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[Why You’re So Horny During Your Period – Article]

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[Twenty Days of Harassment and Racism as an American Apparel Employee – Article]

IA: What’s it like to work under rapid-fire deadlines on such a regular basis?

TJ: Well, had you asked me that in June, my head might have exploded from all of the pressure. At first, I was completely stressed out. I tend to overthink… let me see… well, everything. The first couple of weeks I was waking up at 4:30 every morning just to mentally prepare myself for the day ahead. I basically drove myself insane. I think I hid my neurosis pretty well? I’m not sure. All I knew was, Jim hadn’t canned me yet, so everything was copacetic.

Now, I actually think it’s refreshing to work under rapid-fire. You don’t have time to overthink anything. And being a perfectionist, I feel like this really helped me loosen up both technically and creatively.

Overall, I love it. Typically, each one of us does 3-5 illustrations in a day, depending on how busy we are. That doesn’t include the other more design-oriented images we make. The three of us are constantly working. By the end of the week we can’t even remember all of the things we’ve done. Over a course of 7 months, I’ve done roughly 500 or so illustrations. I’ve never been so productive in my entire life.

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[You Prefer to Date Fat Guys So You Don’t Feel So Bad About Yourself – Article]

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[When You’re a Black Woman, You’re Never Good Enough to Be a Victim – Article]

IA: How much creative freedom do you feel like you have on these illustrations?

TJ: The organization as a whole is encouraged to be bold and honest. Nick Denton once said, “We are beholden to no one.”  That holds true for the art department as well. We can draw whatever we want with no apologies. That’s the beauty of working for a truly independent media company. They are always challenging you to push the limits and speak your mind. I’ll admit, sometimes we do get a little carried away, but that’s not a terrible thing.

If I think that something might be going too far (or not far enough), I’ll ask Jim and he’ll point me back in the right direction. When Disney Dudes’ Dicks came out I was very concerned about offending the Disney loving masses, but Jim gave me some sage advice: “If you’re not offending someone, you’re not doing it right.”

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[How to Keep Photos of Your Naked Body Off the Internet – Article]

wgig8eidorh8qtvuemyh[Disney Dudes’ Dicks: What Your Favorite Princes Look Like Naked – Article]

IA: To end on a light note, many of your illustrations deal with sexual themes. What does your mother think about that?

TJ: My mom rules. My whole family does. I could draw pretty much anything and they’d support me. They always have. After the first couple of weeks, they all just accepted that if they ask about my job, they better be ready for some NSFW art. I’m lucky to have a family with a few loose screws and a great sense of humor.

Thanks to Tara Jacoby and Gawker Media for their contributions to this article. Stay tuned for our conversation with Gawker Art Director Jim Cooke!

More places to find Tara Jacoby:


Filed under: Interviews

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15. Birth of a Morning Glory - Sketch

Slowing getting the hang of these videos. :)


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16. The Wonder of Butterflies

"Maiden"

Do you ever find yourself sitting and watching a butterfly, and then realize minutes have passed, finding yourself wondering why they are just so magical?

I do... all. the. time.

I'm drawn to art with butterflies (especially collage), I'm drawn to the colors, the way the wings flutter, their gentleness, their life stages and how we make that into a metaphor for life, all of it! I love them so much I even have a butterfly, a painted lady, tattooed on my right shoulder in memory of my grandmother...who also loved the butterfly.

But I am still drawn to the question of....why?

"Danielle"

According to the light research I did from the Butterfly Conservation site, and other pages around the web, butterflies have two purposes in nature, aside from being beautiful.

They pollenate, and they are food.

Yep, they are at the bottom of the food chain. They're food for birds, mammals, and reptiles. Like, food for everyone. One of the most wondrous and beautiful visions on the planet get eaten more than anything else.

I'm not trying to depress you with this news. When you sit and think about it, here's what is concluded:

They are a source for life. They feed everyone protein, vitamins, and nourishment.
They pollenate flowers so that their seeds will spread and the earth can continue to give back.
They bring beauty and peace to us in our gardens.
They share color and pattern throughout a mostly green, brown, and blue environment.

And, they give us hope through their life stages of metamorphosis. A demonstration that we are all beautiful from the inside out, and if we are truly ourselves we will shine brightly.

They are a symbol of rebirth, to start anew because they do! They live two lives, one as a caterpillar, the other as a butterfly.

"Birth of Twilight"

You find so many butterflies in my work because of these thoughts. They will always make me wonder, but I think the simplest answer, they are BEAUTIFUL, is why God put them here. Yes, they have a purpose, to nourish, but that is part of the beauty.

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17. Save a Life: Furry Cartoons That Care

In case you haven’t obsessively been checking my Instagram feed (hehe) I wanted to share with you the animation I made for a WONDERFUL cause…help save some doggies’ lives and support @ShihtzuSwag ‘s fundraiser with @WagAware benefitting @ICareDogRescure ! Please do head on over to www.WagAware.com, 50% of every purchase goes directly to helping rescue our furry friends. :)

—-More Info From My IG Caption:

The closest thing to my heart has four legs. Please, Friends, help save doggie lives and support @icaredogrescue , the incredible @shihtzuswag created a fundraiser by teaming up with @wagaware to make a real difference!! Between February 2-16th WagAware will donate 50% of ALL SALES to @icaredogrescue !!! Such an amazing act and the #WagAware charm will be a friendly reminder of all the furry friends you’re saving, so please head over to www.WagAware.com and buy yours today! If you buy three you’ll automatically get another FREE!! Whoohoo…charms for everyone!! Thank you and help spread the word. :) #BuyaCharmSaveaDog

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18. 46th World Wide SketchCrawl Day


This Saturday was wonderful. Good company, good food, good drawing...


I wasn't going to bother with World Wide SketchCrawl Day this time around, since Usk Yorkshire only recently had our January outing, at Stockport's Hat Museum. But I have been feeling a little bereft to be frank, because I have been spending all my working day at the computer just lately, either writing my book, working on the mural, or preparing lectures and events. Which means that I am not drawing. Hardly at all!


So, I advertised that I would be spending the day drawing in local, quirky coffee shops, if anyone fancied joining me for a spot of sketching to mark the day and guess what? Loads of my sketch-buddies came to keep me company. Perfect.


The inside of a cafe is not always the most inspiring subject matter: I would sooner be out in the street drawing buildings, or up in the hills painting landscapes but, with snow on the ground, it was a wee bit chilly out there. Okay, I know some of my Urban Sketchers cousins are sufficiently hardy that they sketch in temperatures so cold they have problems with their watercolour freezing (yes, really), but I kind of want to keep my fingers and toes. Call me a softy. 


In a coffee shop, you do get the added benefit of cake. Really nice cake actually. And a SUPERB goat's cheese tart for lunch at The Rude Shipyard (name from a quote in Cloud Atlas by the way - we looked it up). I actually got to sketch the street from there too, as there were good views from the windows:


After lunch we walked 100 yards to Strip the Willow, a great arts and crafts collective (where my aforementioned venture into the nice cake featured):


Then it was on to our final stop: the Electric Candlelight Cafe, with odd things on the walls:


There were cuckoo clocks too, but I couldn't fit them in. 

We had a really sociable, laid-back time and were enjoying ourselves so much that we didn't venture home until 5.30. Because I was the one who planned the day, I made sure we finished up just a short walk from my house too - clever or what?

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19. Color Me Crazy

Today I embarked on combining techniques, process, and drawing developed throughout last year. I started a personal piece, but now it's time to apply it to the real world, a custom request. I did my research and concept sketch, now ready to paint.

I had to start with my color palette. As much as I love color, my head spins very fast and gets dizzy when trying to figure out the best combination of colors. I know what WORKS, but until I see it visually, I'm a jumble of thoughts.

This is where Design Seeds color palettes come into play. They're amazing! At first I didn't really care for them because most show subtle or value changes. This time I went to pinterest and found many palettes with variety. I'm stoked!



I based my choices on the photo being used for the color swatches. If the photo works...which is usually nature...then I know the color works. I also like how you have more colors to choose from BECAUSE of the photo. They don't swatch every color. Having those extra choices are great for backgrounds.

Once I print out the palette I go to my home made glazing color chart and view finder. I search for the colors within the palette and jot down the colors I need to re-create it. This takes a lot of the guess work out so I save time in the long run.


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There are two charts I'd like to point out. One is a mixed color chart. Here each square has been individually mixed and applied. Very grueling, especially if you have 20 colors in a palette like I do! I started this one years ago when I first stumbled upon this method by Suzie Short. I never finished it. :( Unfortunately my palette has changed so I can't use most of it.


The second one is a glazed color chart. Here you paint one set of color strips vertically, let them dry, and paint a second one horizontally, "glazing" one color on top of the other. I prefer this method and I grabbed it from this video by Kelly Eddington. Although it's for laying color on top of one another, not mixing, I can work from there and mix on my palette. I usually test the color out on a scrap piece of paper and alter it just a tad if I need to. Very rarely.


The other brand new approach to painting is the skin. I did a very traditional technique, wet onto wet. It's usually quite difficult since I paint so small, but thought I'd give it a go instead of my usual wet onto dry. To my surprise, it worked very well, and gives me a great base to start with. Yay! I used my usual gold, rose, and phthalo blue too. :)



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The Daily Sketch



I have discovered I'm not too chic about keeping up with a daily commitment. It's the effort that counts right? Numbering the Daily Sketches has already been off several times, so instead, I'm simplifying it more and NOT numbering them. They are dated, and that's enough for me. Just assume they'll be in each post. ;)

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20. Sunday Morning Motivation: Numbers

Be inspired by many, aim to inspire at least one.
ballerina with balloon

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21. The Daily Sketch

Yesterday I started a new semester at The Des Moines Art Center, teaching teens fantasy art. I've taught there for over a decade now ( O_O ) and I tried something I've never done before! It was super fun too, at least it got more interaction and conversation from the teens than usual.

I made three categories: symbol/animal/fantasy figure

There were ten in each category, folded up and placed in three cups. The kids divided a large sheet of drawing paper into eight sections and then drew whatever I pulled from the cups. Finally they picked one they liked and elaborated for the final.

I didn't draw with them during the eight, but I did sit and draw with them during the final. My personal favorite was

leaf + rabbit + elf



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Although I didn't get to draw this weekend, here are a few highlights from around our home.


Little bird added to our bathroom, next to his new buddy the Goldfinch.


New amazing rug found on craigslist for the living room. In LOVE!

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22. this week I be mostly using


 A little while back, probably through one of my poorer periods (one of my even more poorer periods), I decided that I would not buy any more pens until I'd used some of the many thousands that I already have. Well, okay, so yes, I have bought more - but just the black, brown and blue fine liners I use a lot of - but for the most part I have kept to that self imposed challenge.
The best thing about it is that it's making me use things I wouldn't normally choose to use. You know, the stuff that isn't the black, brown and blue fine liners. I've used lots more colour felt pens, markers and other stuff I can't think of right now. Things, when  bought, I thought I'd use all the time. They'd push me in new directions, etc. Then they sat in pencil cases and pots and on shelves and I never touched again.
Many moons ago, way before I'd taken up drawing, I got these fountain pens. I went to the Artist & Illustrators fair in London and was talked into spending a huge amount of money on these Pilot Parallel pens and a load of coloured inks. I thought I'd use them for calligraphy. Then I put them in a pencil case and didn't even look at them for a decade.
Now, I've always been a big fountain pen fan. Somewhere in this house I have a box full of old-school fountain pens, inks and nibs. I have always loved playing around with my handwriting and there's nothing better than a fountain pen for that. So rediscovering these modern fountain pens and the variety of lines they make has been a joy.
 And, what's more, it has pushed me. Next time you have a craving for a new pen why not have a dig around in your drawers (!!!) and see what you can find. I really love the results and the marks I've been making with these. Next stop is those scratchy old fountain pens that are lurking around just waiting for me to dig them out.
 So, hands up, who's gone and ordered the Pilot Parallel pen now? That wasn't the point of this post, remember?!
 
And, by the way, these little Toulouse Lautrec inspired drawings are up for sale dirt cheap. Yes, I'm going through one of my even more poorer periods again. get them HERE.


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23. Sitting on the Stairs in Castleford Library



I took the train to Castleford yesterday, to work in the library for the day, running the drawing workshops I was telling you about, with local, Y4 school children. They did me proud and I'll show you some examples next time, once I've sorted through them all.

In my lunch break, I sat in the glass stairwell and sketched the view from the window, using my favourite Sailor Pen and some watercolour. I'm not much into drawing cars, but I liked the long view right across the car park, across the shopping street, towards a river and distant hills: 


I was using an A5, grey-paper, concertina sketchbook which a fellow member of Urban Sketchers Yorkshire, Lucie Golton, made for me as a present, because I loved my tinted-paper Strathmore so much and she noticed how I've recently been getting into the extendable space of the concertina format. How lovely is that? Concertinas are great for longer views like this, when there's loads to fit in, especially if you don't like drawing small.

Ignore the candlestick by the way: that was part of some sketching I did during a recent SketchCrawl day in Buxton.

I did everything but the white, pastel highlights on the spot, but ran out of time before I could get them added (white chalk really lifts things when you are sketching onto a tinted ground). I added the pastel on the train and so got into a lovely conversation with a young man and his mum who were sitting across the aisle. They had been talking about his baby daughter previously so, with an apology for ear-wigging, I signed him a copy of Baby Goes Baaaaa!, passing on the present vibe:


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24. The Gift of an Open Mind

Freedom is an interesting thing. We know it’s concept and we get the gist of it all, but many of us are busy functioning amidst our daily routines and we think of freedoms only on their grandest of scale. We are grateful for the rights we have living in a free Country, but we don’t think about the smaller freedoms. The freedoms that our routines, namely being stuck to them, may be stripping away from us.
think free art illustration
[From my Instagram]
Routine. Trust me, I’m like you and love a good routine. Routines are good, they keep us focused and working towards goals; consistency is the foundation of every major accomplishment. We NEED certain routines, yet routines are a tricky double edged sword.

Routines keep you focused. Routines can also hold your prisoner. The issues that dictate which is which are: the routine, the basis for it, and how much flexibility you allow yourself within it.

I can parallel this to running because it’s an easy example; training should become a routine. You need to KNOW you’re going to do it, don’t think of it like a ‘maybe’, you know your goals and you know you need to be consistent to reach them. You need that routine to keep you focused because running and training is hard. Frankly it’s painful and there will be times when you need to know you’re going to just have to put your head down and grind through. BUT, there are times when grinding will only leave you a broken, dull stone, so there needs to be a degree of flexibility. There are times when rather than pushing you need to step back.

Freedom outside your routine is also a state of mind. Being so busy usually means you’re perpetually distracted, or so focused on the task at hand you’re not opening yourself up to anything else. PAUSE. A mere pause, and opening yourself up to the possibility of…well, the possible.

You can’t see an opportunity if your eyes aren’t even open. What’s funnier still is that when you’re busily distracted you’re not even aware of the potential that you’re missing something!

That’s not some kind of riddle there, and it’s meaning is only best exemplified through actual experience. If you’ve had a moment where you cognitively shifted your focus, veered slightly outside your routine, and you had a MOMENT, experienced something unexpected that just, made you smile. That momentous experience of freedom is what I’m describing.

You chose to be free and in that moment you opened yourself up to have that smile….however small the experience was that brought it to your face.

You see, to get that smile, that satisfaction, doesn’t require you to veer wildly off course to the point where you recklessly abandon all goals or tasks at hand. No, it can be as simple as putting the other shoe on first…the tiniest change of routine just to show yourself that you CAN do it out of order. Who knows, you may like it. Just knowing you CAN often causes a much larger shift in perspective. You wonder what else you CAN do.

So be free. Think with an open and free mind. I challenge you to do tiny things outside of your routine and see if, by Jove, you like it.

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25. warm winter wishes (drawing #2)....

glacia~graphite on bristol
©the enchanted easel 2015
love, glacia
xxx

ORIGNAL DRAWING FOR SALE IN MY SHOP!

also, glacia has little friend by the name of crystal who is also FOR SALE here.

2 sweet little winter girl drawings down...1 more to go. :)

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