Sunday, July 20, 2014

No Safety Net

This week's lesson with the Sketch Book Skool is continual line contour drawing taught by Brenda Swenson. The drawing is of three objects in ink, no pencil first!, and, as the name suggests, drawn as a continual line without lifting the pen. To make it even more interesting, this was done in water soluble ink, which causes unexpected runs and edges, followed with watercolor. It was such an unexpectedly fun way to work that I hope to continue to work this way lots more. I've never really been a sketchbook person, although just glancing up here at my studio bookcase I see at least 20 of them, so maybe I am! But just sketching for fun or as a journal has never been that interesting to me before. Kinda feels like a new toy!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Summer Fun With the Sketchbook Skool

Painting has had to take more and more of a back seat the last few months as my elderly parents require more care and attention.  I never want to put their needs second, or even my need for them second. They are so precious! Still, I do need to do something creative. I found the perfect solution by signing up with Sketchbook Skool (, taught online by six teachers over a period of six weeks. Danny Gregory, author, sketchbook wizard, and all-around amazing human being, is teaching the first week. He is not just informative, he is hilarious. It has been such an enjoyable experience so far, and with the lineup of teachers in the wings, I have no doubt it will continue to be so. It is not too late to sign up for this course, so if you are feeling stuck or just want to have some fun, I can't recommend it too highly.

There are videos, discussions and feedback from"klassmates," written materials, a gallery of student work, a dedicated Facebook page and a forum. There were two homework assignments this week. The first was to look at a piece of toast, of all things, really look at it and draw it in ink, color optional. I have to admit I've never really looked at a piece of toast. It was like drawing the craters of the moon. Really fascinating and fun. Here was my toast (Dave's Killer Bread, Good Seed variety, the best), although actually it was the heel of the loaf because I was low on bread. Every student had a different take on the assignment and it was loads of fun to see what everyone came up with.

The second, and last, assignment of the week was to do a one minute drawing of an object in paint or ink using the largest paintbrush you could handle (mine was a #14 watercolor brush). The second part was to refine the drawing with a large ink pen, and then refine it further with a finer pen.  I chose a water spritzer as my object and painted it with Chinese watercolor, then drew over it with Chinese ink and a dip pen, doing the last details with a Sharpie ultrafine pen. Like so:

This class was exactly what I needed, when I needed it. It took away the stress and just plain hard work watercolor painting can be. Don't worry, be happy!