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 (http://www.sketchbookskool.com), 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!


  1. These are both fantastic! I especially love the boldness of the water bottle! (never thought I would say that haha!)

  2. Thanks! Now I know what to give you for your upcoming birthday! :)

  3. Hello! I'm thinking of signing up for the "Beginnings" class but I cannot draw. Or maybe I can but I really don't know how at this stage. Will it be ok for me? Thanks! Love your piece of toast. Who would have thought?? :)

    1. You will have fun with the class. There are beginners to professionals. It's not so much a class to learn how to draw tho, but how to work in a sketchbook--like a journal of your life and the things that interest you. Lots of good drawing tips and interesting ideas. I haven't done the beginnings class but may go back to it because it seemed like everyone had a great time with it.