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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: sketchbook, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 1,085
1. Day 27 - Crustaceans

studying crustaceans in my sketchbook

studying crustaceans in my sketchbook
Day 27
Topic - crustaceans

The past few days I've tried to go beyond my original challenge and show more finished illustrations instead of just studies. With all the visual research I've done the last month I'm starting to get quite a few fun ideas. I thought it would be more interesting to see the results of my research rather than the research itself. I was hoping to show another finished piece today but I underestimated how hard it is to come up with something finished every day. Anyway I hope you find something of value in seeing my studies.

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2. SkADaMo 2014 Day 21

catfishes

A pretty obvious one, but hey…

Wondering what SkADaMo is, check this out.


6 Comments on SkADaMo 2014 Day 21, last added: 11/26/2014
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3. New Sketchbook

A few evenings back, while my drawing buddies were sketching neat pictures of Audrey Hepburn, I was breaking in my new journal with "Portrait of a Man."


Harpo Marx - pencil


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4. SkADaMo 2014 Day 20

jeerkat

What is SkADaMo? Check this out.


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5. Learning in Public

pens

Something I think is wonderful about social media is the way so many creative people share their efforts and progress in various arts. I don’t just mean professional artists sharing their finished work, though of course that too is a great delight—this abundance of gorgeous, polished photography and painting and stories and poems and quilts and handwovens and other creations we find displayed all over the internet. Just Google artist sketchbook blog and you could be absorbed for weeks upon weeks.

But even more so, I appreciate the working-it-out pieces, the I’m-undertaking-something-new-and-here’s-how-it’s-going-so-far posts. Years ago, a bunch of us were doing this with quilting—posting pictures of our blocks, sometimes the first ones we’d ever made, crooked seams and all. You see it often with knitting and sewing and all kinds of handcrafts. Look what I made! I know it isn’t perfect, but… Sometimes shy, sometimes fearless, always inspiring, this sharing of incremental progress.

Even people who are accomplished in one aspect of an art sometimes do what I’ve come to think of as “learning in public” when they undertake another aspect of it—a kind of unabashedness I thoroughly respect, since it means admitting to gaps in skills or knowledge, but speaks to a desire to always be learning, always be stretching one’s abilities. I think about the very wise advice of that great sage, Ms. Frizzle: “Take chances! Make mistakes!” Our mistakes are what spark growth.

Certainly you may challenge yourself in private, and do plenty of chance-taking and mistake-making without an audience. Most people do, I think. Or they do it in the context of a relatively intimate setting: a knitting club, an improv class, a private piano lesson. I understand that, I respect that desire for privacy. But it makes me all the more grateful to see someone willing to fumble along in public, so to speak, encouraging the rest of us by posting rookie work online. Then, too, you create an archive of progress, not just for yourself but for future students of the art.

Lisa Congdon, a very accomplished artist, decided to improve her lettering skills by posting a handlettered image on her blog every day for a year. Every day of 2012, she shared her work. About a hundred days into the project, she wrote:

Hand lettering everyday is a lot more challenging than I thought it would be. Some days it feels really fun. Some days it feels like a chore (and I have to redo something 5 times to get it as right as I can). I do like the discipline of the process. When I did my first daily project in 2010, I felt the same way. The daily encouragement from people who read my blog and follow me on twitter also helps tremendously!

Artist Jennifer Orkin Lewis (I’ve posted about her before) does a daily 30-minute painting in her sketchbook and posts each page on Instagram. They are a feast for the eyes, let me tell you. In an interview with Lisa Congdon, Jennifer said, “I decided to post them all on Instagram to hold myself accountable to painting everyday.” I think there’s a lot to be said for using a blog or other public medium to help yourself stick to a goal—spurred on both by the sense of accountability Jennifer describes, and the encouragement and support Lisa speaks of.

***

I wrote the above more than a week ago and left it sitting in drafts because—despite everything I said up there—I personally feel really shy about sharing my rookie drawing and painting efforts. (Confession: the one time I went to a karaoke party, I was dying to get up and sing—and would have died before I’d have volunteered.)

This morning Tammy Garcia posted the following at Daisy Yellow:

When I started drawing I didn’t know that I would or could get better. I thought that people were either born with innate drawing talent or they were not. Perhaps they skipped the queue. But the truth for me has been that my coordination and control have improved over the years. If you are having trouble getting the pen to do what you want it to do. Maybe you just need to draw more lines.

When I started drawing in about 2008, I was an accountant – a financial analyst – with no particular drawing skill set. I started drawing doodly lines simply to pass the time while my kids were doing stuff. I drew in moleskine journals. On airplanes, at swimming lessons, while the kids splashed in the tub, at Starbucks and book stores.

The boxes looked like wonky kites. Parallel lines intersected instead. Circles looked like cracked eggs.

But looking back, I can see that every time I challenged myself to try something new {what about a mandala without any curved lines? what about ivy leaves that cover each page? what about a mandala where the lines focus on negative space? what about a new alphabet?} I made a step forward. In understanding, in pen control, in art. With trial & error & practice, I now know how hard to press, how to move my arm, my hand, to get a reasonable facsimile of a straight line. I can draw curves. I still can’t draw great faces, but I believe that one day I will.

(Read the rest—there’s a lot more including a list of ways to improve your line work.)

Tammy teaches online art classes and sends out regular art-journaling prompts that inspire masses of people. What a delight to see her discussing her (relatively recent) learning curve. I was nodding excitedly as I read along, because I’ve been drawing lines almost obsessively ever since taking Lisa Congdon’s Creativebug course in early October—pages and pages of scallops or triangles or short parallel lines in interlocking patterns. It’s meditative and relaxing, a good busying-of-the-hands for me when I want to think for a bit. But mostly I’ve been doing it simply for the pure pleasure of feeling the line. Of making my pen do what I want it to do. Of figuring out, bit by bit, how to do it better.

varsity

Now Rilla and I are watching all these Koosje Koene drawing videos and I’m trying to push a little farther. This month my sketchbook is full of staplers and tape dispensers and colored pencils—whatever’s lying around on my desk when I sit down to draw. I’m working on watercolor, too. SO MUCH TO LEARN. Scott gets cross with me when I start pointing out all the flaws in my work—he thinks I’m way too hard on myself, being a novice and all—but I remind him that as professional writers, our entire day is laced with editing and revising—the constant practice of seeking out places in our writing that could be made better, stronger, zingier, lovelier, fresher, truer, something-er. I don’t feel pained about cataloguing the ways a drawing isn’t there yet. I enjoy it, actually. Especially since reading that Ira Glass quote and recognizing that it’s my “killer taste” that allows me to see the weaknesses in my own work.

mwileytomatoes

Because at the same time that I’m self-critiquing, I’m also feeling a tremendous sense of pleasure in having a Finished Thing I Made. This was a bit of a revelation I had the other day after I painted these tomatoes from my garden. It’s my first real attempt at a proper watercolor. And even as I was scrutinizing its shortcomings, I felt giddy: there it is. This thing I made. In one sitting! I’ve been working on my current novel for four years. Even books I’ve written quickly took months—and then another year or more to reach publication day.

I can grow a tomato in my sketchbook in an hour. To me it feels like magic.

I don’t think I’m brave enough to commit to posting a daily drawing—much as I would like the accountability and encouragement! But maybe I’ll try to keep learning in public once in a while. Something I want my kids to know is that you have to be not-great at something on your way to getting better at it.

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6. The Urban Sketcher by Marc Taro Holmes



My postman rang the doorbell this afternoon, dragging me all the way down 2 flights of stairs from my attic studio. Nevertheless, I love it when that happens, as it means a parcel. Sure enough, he handed over a big brown package for me to sign for. The paperwork said it was from the USA, which gave me a clue.

I opened it with glee and I was right - it was the new Urban Sketching book by my friend Marc Taro Holmes:


Marc promised to send me a copy to review a while ago, but his publishers have taken their time sending it out and I had almost forgotten it was coming, which made it all the more exciting to finally be unwrapping it.

Unfortunately,I am too busy right now to get stuck into it: I must force myself to get on with some work instead, but I thought I would show you, to whet your appetite.

A quick flick through was enough to tell me that it would be good. Marc is such a highly skilled sketcher, I'd expect nothing less. I always knew him as a brilliant watercolourist but, when I spent time with him in Brazil this summer, I saw him in action with a pen for the first time. How irritating to discover that he is a brilliant speed-draughtsman too :-D


Anyway, this book covers both, which is great. I will look at it properly and let you know what I make of it as soon as I can!

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7. SkADaMo 2014 Day 19

Gobbull

Ok, I know, I know… I’m reaching now. So, here ya go, a feeble attempt to keep with the holiday theme.

What is SkADaMo? Check it out here.


8 Comments on SkADaMo 2014 Day 19, last added: 11/26/2014
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8. 'Grow'vember day 23 - T Rex

tyrannosaurus rex anatomy studies


Day 23
topic - Tyrannosaurus rex

To feather or not to feather? I heard in a radio show that more has been learned about dinosaurs -since- the film Jurassic Park than in all the time before the film! The bottom image shows my preliminary studies, mostly from the above mentioned film, and from Walking with Dinosaurs the puppet show. The uppermost image was a test to see what I'd learned from the reference material.

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9. 'Grow'vember day 22 - stegosaurus

drawings of stegosaurus dinosaur

Day 22
Topic - stegosaurus

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10. SkADaMo 2014 Day 18

stink 2


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11. 'Grow'vember day 21 - pigs

Day 21
Topic - pigs

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12. Getting Singed in Sitges


I never got around to telling you about my fun and games I had while I was staying in Sitges, for my Barcelona school tour. I was really lucky, as my stay just happened to coincide with a big festival - one of the main annual events for Sitges, the Sante Tecla



I've been to a few festival parades in my time, but I've never encountered anything quite like the Sitges one before so, though I've been back ages now, I still want to tell you about it and show you what I drew. 


I packed my sketch-bits and walked the 20 minutes into the old town on that particular evening, to check it out. As I arrived, odd things were beginning to appear in the streets, like the lovely blue dragon above. People seemed to be heading in one general direction, so I followed the giant below, trying to draw it on the move, as we made our way through the streets. Very tricky, trying not to trip up!


I got the chance to add colour when we got to the starting-point of the parade as there was a bit of a wait, while everybody got into position. Loads of local people saw me drawing and came up to chat. Then suddenly we were off!


The parade was hugely long, with all sorts of different elements, including different troupes of dancers in colourful, traditional costumes, drumming groups from various towns...



...acrobatic characters, musicians, people in huge papier-mache heads, religious elements, cute little children with hoops covered in paper ribbons, and much, much more. They wound very slowly through the old streets, stopping every so often for 2 or 3 minutes so the dancers could do a turn. I captured what I could, mostly at the stopping points. 


Most people lined the streets, but I figured it would be easier to draw if I walked along with the parade, weaving in and out. I spotted another dragon, so thought I'd sketch him (below). I was totally unprepared for what would happen next.

I didn't realise that fire was a big theme of the festival. There were a couple of dozen demons in the parade, brandishing big sticks with fireworks attached at the ends. A head demon went round lighting them all and the street was suddenly filled with fizzing and banging


The firework sticks whizzed round like catherine-wheels and watchers, including me, had to run out of the way as we were showered with the sparks. Then the head demon lit more fireworks inside the dragon's mouth and tail. What had gone before was nothing...


All hell broke loose, pretty literally. The fire-sticks spun and whizzed and exploded. The dragon truly breathed fire! Everyone around was shot with the sparks. Running and screaming was all part of the fun it seemed.


When the fireworks died away, I thought that was it and went back in close to carry on drawing, but no - the chief demon went round again - they had enough fireworks to reload again and again. The narrow streets filled with smoke! Here is the blue dragon I spotted in the street before it all began:




To escape the smoke and get a calmer drawing opportunity, I ran further forwards in the parade and found these guys: the Moixiganga Men. They would march normally will their long candles then, as soon as the parade did its little pause, they would climb up and do this balancing act, holding the pose as they walked on for a couple of minutes. The only way to draw it was to walk in front of them backwards, with my sketchbook held up, frantically scribbling, once again hoping not to trip.




I built it up over 3 or 4 goes and, once they saw me, one of their number walked behind me to make sure I was not going to fall. I did the painting while walking along too, which really fascinated them. I drew what it looked like behind as well. In the sketch above, you can just make out the head of the man that's stretch out in the rear view below - between the top man's legs


At one point, I thought things had finished, as the parade suddenly broke up and all participants all got a drink from whichever bar was at hand, but it turned out the parade had just stopped for a beer break! Ten minutes later, things reformed and we were off again! Here I am with the some of the Moixiganga Men, my sketch half-finished still:



I had another shot of strange and interesting sketching at the weekend, as there was another odd but spectacular custom, but I'll tell you about that next time, as I have rambled on way too long as it is.

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13. SkADaMo 2014 Day 17

quackoon use

Not unlike a platypus, but ya know…


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14. 'Grow'vember day 20 - yet more castles

Pencil drawings of castles
Day 20
Topic - yet more castles

Less sloppy by the day I think. A lot more focus on getting the tone working too today. I'm happy enough with these to move on to the next topic.

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15. 'Grow'vember day 19 - more castles

Sketchbook drawings of castles
Day 19
Topic - more castles

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16. 'Grow'vember day 18 - Castles

sketchbook castle drawings
Day 18
Topic - castles

A big subject castles, I might sneak them into tomorrow's topic as well. :)

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17. SkADaMo Day 15 (late)

chameleon

… they come and go, they come and gooooooo!

What is SkADaMo? Check it out here.


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18. SkADaMo Day 15 (late)

chameleon

… they come and go, they come and gooooooo!

What is SkADaMo? Check it out here.


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19. Usk Yorkshire: Celebrating our 50th Sketch-Walk!



Yes, it's hard to believe, but Urban Sketchers Yorkshire has managed 50 sketching days since I started up the group in September 2010. We were called SketchCrawl  North in those days though, before we became officially affiliated to Urban Sketchers.


Our 50th outing was a pub-crawl sketching day in Buxton, last Sunday. We've been to Buxton a few times, and we did a pub-crawl in February, but Buxton's so lovely - there's still plenty to draw.

Here we all are, posing outside Buxton Opera House, looking a bit chilly:


I can't take credit for the organisation of the day. Every now and then, other members host the SketchCrawls and Paul Gent, an artist who lives in Buxton, put together a schedule. He created this lovely map especially for the event: 


Apparently, he chose venues according to the quality of the beer, as much as anything! 

We met up at The Old Sun at midday. I spent so long saying my hellos and giving out our new Urban Sketchers badges, that I only managed this quicky of Miriam and Matt in action, before it was time to move on:


Our 2nd stop was not a pub, but the Pavilion Cafe. We have drawn there before: it is great for drawing arial views down over the customers drinking tea below. It was also a good spot for some lunch, which meant I did more eating than drawing, but still managed this quick watercolour sketch:


Venue no 3 was The Old Hall Hotel, where most people sketched inside, but the sun had come out and it was pretty warm as long as you stayed out of the shade, so I nipped into the street instead and stood under a lamp post, rather awkwardly balancing things in the air as I painting the sketch at the top. I so love drawing Buxton Opera House.

At The Old Clubhouse, I drew the bar and barman:


At 4pm, about half the group had to leave, but the rest of us set off again, this time to The Buckingham. We chose the front bar, which had a nice big window. I drew the view, although it was already getting dark, so it was a race against time. I just got it done, as it got truly too black to see:


Weirdly, when we arrived, the room was empty, but within 5 minutes it was heaving! We pressed on to the last venue of the day: a quirky cafe/bar called 53 Degrees North. I drew the candlestick at the top and then just had time to do this sketch of Andrea, Matt and Eileen:


We did our usual sharing session, inspiring as ever, and then finally headed for home at 7pm after a really lovely, very sociable day out. We will celebrate our 50th again at our Chrismas party next month. Can't wait! 

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20. Sketch: Shooting for the Stars

Here's an aspirational doodle.



We all need to aim for the stars, these are ambitious times!

I've not had chance to blog much lately, due to distractions like being made this month's SCBWI BI Featured Illustrator, with it's associated Web Gallery, the SCBWI Winchester Conference and of course deadlines, deadlines DEADLINES!

There's a lot happening, and never enough time at my drawing board.... I'll be back shortly, when I can find somewhere to land!

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21. SkADaMo 2014 Day 13

Macows

… or maybe Moocaws.
What do you think?

If you’re wondering what SkADaMo is, check this out.


7 Comments on SkADaMo 2014 Day 13, last added: 11/14/2014
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22. 'Grow'vember day 14 - more anatomy study

drawings of torso anatomy and structure
drawings of leg anatomy and structure

Day 14
Topic - torso structure and leg musculature

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23. SkADaMo Day 14 (late)

Shrimpmunk

Someone’s gotta eat all those sea chestnuts.

If you’d like to know what SkADaMo is, check it out here.


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24. come together

Last weekend I had one of those perfectly creative weekends. The kind of weekend that I wish all weekends were like (does that sentence even make sense? Do those words even make a sentence?).
SATURDAY
As you may or may not know,  I co-run Dr Sketchy Sheffield. You probably do, I certainly bang on about it enough. But, then why wouldn't I when we are THIS fabulous? This is what we created in the Backroom of a pub in Sheffield last Saturday.
When I say 'we' I'm talking about everyone who is involved in making these events happen, from myself and Lara, who run the shows, to the guys who play the music, take the photos, run the bar, the sketchers, and, of course, our amazing models. Just look how brilliant they are.
These girls are a Burlesque Dance Troupe who call themselves The Yorkshire Puddings. They've modelled for us before and they never fail to blow our socks off.

It has to be said, that I probably do less drawing than if I were just a sketcher, but there's something just as magical about creating the events as there is creating the drawings. Here's a couple of mine below, though, they don't always go to plan...

Big shout out to our Eric Murphy for these fantastic photos. You can see the whole set of them HERE.
 I LOVE Dr Sketchy and look forward to another year of cooking up themes and making this sort of magic happen.
 
SUNDAY
On Sunday I got to do a lot more drawing. It was Urban Sketchers Yorkshire's 50th event, and myself and fellow sketcher, Paul Gent, loosely organised a sketchcrawl/pubcrawl/pubscrawl in Buxton. Paul made the map, above.
 We started at 12 noon and went on into the evening. Just a lovely day, sketching my fellow sketchers.
Mel
Matt
Miriam
And, yes, we had to have a photo, to celebrate our 50th and, yes, I seem to be hiding.
 So, all in all, a perfectly sketchy, creative weekend. It's hard for me to imagine that it is only the last, say, three years that I've been drawing out and about and with people. I spent so long at home, drawing alone, I couldn't be happier that this whole new world opened up to me when I stepped outside of my house to draw. You get good things from being people, and you learn so much too. Thanks to everyone I spent the weekend with. It was a pleasure.
Phew, I'm exhausted now. That was the longest blog post ever!
If you're interested in finding out more and, perhaps, joining us at either Dr Sketchy Sheffield or Urban Sketchers Yorkshire then get in touch with me and I'll fill you in on the details. Or, you can follow the links to our Facebook Groups and have a little look around, get to know us and maybe I'll sketch you soon!
Click on links below;

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25. 'Grow'vember day 16 - imaginary flora

sketchbook drawings of strange imaginary trees and plants
Day 16
Topic - imaginary flora

I had in mind strange fanciful trees for today's topic, but without including any clues to scale I guess they could just as easily be small plants.

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