Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Lap Model

Full blown "me" mode.  Slacking & procrastinating.  Playing catch up.  Sketches 17-20:

First up, a brush pen.  The uptight and grumpy inner critic growled.  "What up slacker?  Brush pen?!  You've barely used the thing - can't try something new.  It will take forEVER to be any good.  QUIT!"   It's obvious the artist was on edge here.  Too tight, too rushed, too eh.  I did warn that some of these could be kind of awful, so, yeah.  Since I am a novice with the brush pen, we shall call it a warm up page.

Continuing on with the brush pen, but with looser strokes and more focused on the task this time, even though I was simultaneously watching a Bronco game.  Fortunately they were doing quite well and not a close game, otherwise there would be no cat to sketch.

More Milo, now with my favorite Zebra F301.  I obviously put off sketching until feline paralysis kicked in.  (Also known as cat-on-lap syndrome.)  It's a nice treat to get more than the usual butt, back, & ears pose.

As I finished typing this, Milo returned to "his" lap.  I am trapped.  I'd take a photo to show you, but there are too many "Look at my goofy cat on my lap" pics on my phone.  See drawings above and right.  Since I can't get up, I guess it's nap time... or I could draw... the cat... again.

He's snoring now.  Supper may be late,

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Fossil Walk

Yesterday was National Fossil Day and our university museum declared it a free day.  My college self sketched in this museum eons ago.  I've always wanted to go back.  Also, I wasn't able to fully participate in Sketchbook Skool's  museum drawing lesson last April.   The planets aligned & pages of fossils & fur are now in my sketchbook.

6:30 pm  Gather sketchbooks and pens.
6:45 pm  Walk through museum doors with anxiety and excitement.
6:50 pm  Meander... Where to start?
6:52 pm  Empty area found.  With my back to a corner & Roz' warm up mantra in my ear, commence sketch of hugemongous leg bones.
6:55 pm  Two college guys appear nearby.  I start on a whale-ish skull and am distracted - hoping they ignore me.  Mojo gained is quickly fading & I move on.

Other than the fun coincidence of seeing my daughter's college friends, I was alone for about 30 glorious minutes.  Just me and some very old and very skinny buddies.

Then the program for kids ended and a constant trickle of families flowed through the museum.  I need to work on maintaining focus in the midst of varying distraction.  One more page of bones after the mammoth and I moved on to furry specimens.

I intended to sketch people too, but the kids were in zoom mode and I stuck with fur & antlers.  Six pages added and 40 minutes till closing.  The sketching bug was giving way to the food & couch bug.  I wrapped up with a page of blind contours.  Fun stuff.  A yearly museum pass sounds like a pretty cool deal right now.

Oh, and I'm counting these three pages for #inktober 14, 15 & 16.  Halfway there!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Couch with a View

One busy weekend later - three drawings behind.  Tonight was catch up time.  #Inktober 11, 12 & 13 complete.

A relatively quick view from the couch.

Milo moments.  Sleeping cats seem motionless... until you try to sketch them.

Milo chose to end the portrait session.  The headline of the yet-to-be read paper was perfectly positioned.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Skin & Bones

I missed a day.  (#inktober)  I didn't quit.  I win.

Day 7 - I like Halloween decorations that make you smile.  Day 8 - Foreshortened fingers.

Day 10 - View from the couch on a rainy autumn evening.  Farmer (and cat & dog) snoozing while the pen scratches away.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Berries & Boots

Inktober continues!

Day 4: Schwartzbeere (delicious local wild "black" berries that have overtaken my garden) using various pens.   The current Sketchbook Skool homework is illustrating a recipe.  I've picked a German fruity coffee cake called Kuchen.

Day 5:  Okay, the little scratches above the shoes happened on day 4.  It's wheat drilling (planting) time and we're rather busy here.  I neglected to take even 5 minutes to sketch on day 5.  Instead of beating myself up, I'm cheating.  Thankfully, there's no such thing as art jail.

And then tonight, after returning from the field - my worn old hiking boots.  Old non-geometrical stuff is great for late night I-don't-know-what-to-draw panic.

#inktober... 6 down, 25 to go

Friday, October 3, 2014

Inktober Begins

Advance Inktober warning: I will be limiting time spent on photo taking & photo correcting, depending on the busyness of the day.  It is easily a time sucker for me.  I apologize in advance for not-so-great shots.  I have also decided to throw caution to the wind (blown to the next state yesterday) and try different pens and techniques.  It's likely some of these are going to be kind of awful and I'm (mostly) fine with that.

For day one, a Tombow water soluble brush pen.  Naturally, Milo moved seconds after the pen touched the page.  Maybe 20 minutes later both pets were restless & the light faded, so we headed inside with an incomplete drawing.  The splotch is from today.  It's an iffy first page, but it IS a start.

Day 2 - Added another magnet to this ongoing ballpoint pen project.  This is in my comfort zone.

Day 3 - It's supposed to frost tonight, so I picked a bunch of tomatoes.  They lay on the counter and pretty much said "We are day 3."  I stuck with simple lines and used a few of the recently purchased Staedtler fine liners.  I need more of these pens.

Three down. 28 to go.  Oh, and I almost forgot the whole hashtag thing -  #inktober.  I hope I did that right.  Stop laughing.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

August, September, Inktober

While in the time-sucking land of Facebook this afternoon, I clicked a link to the October sketching challenge Inktober.  I'm in.

The idea is to create an ink drawing every day in October and then share it online with the hashtag inktober.  I know me.  This is not so simple.  First, I'm awful at follow through.  Second, I spend ridiculous amounts of time editing a post.  Third, the next round of Sketchbook Skool starts Friday, further limiting "idle" time.

My house. My rules.

1.  Sketch in ink every day - any size - any pen. 

2.  Post the sketches every 3 days, so we should wind up with 10 updates by Halloween.

3.  No dessert until a sketch is done.  I'm serious about this.  Don't test me.

4.  If it just can't happen one day.  Don't give up.  Pick up a pen and get busy on the next day.

Join me.  At least a few of you artsy people know you can do this.  I can also hear some of you saying "Nope, I can't draw."  First, I don't believe you.  Second, okay, then just doodle.  Try some zentangles or stick figures.  Think of it as art therapy.

Here we go!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Happy Artiversary!

I have been artistically trekking for TWO WHOLE YEARS!

(September 2012 - The Beginning)

My state-of-the-journey essay filled the screen moments ago.  Progress made.  Pride.  Slacking off.  Guilt.  Surprises.  Disappointments.  The blasted inner critic.  Blah blah, blah blah blah.

It was going to be a fabulous, epiphany-inspiring masterpiece.  Then, I got bored.

Instead of that...

In a nutshell, (but not a walnut shell - my tongue will itch):
Before, with the exception of a few short months, I didn't draw for 25 years.  Silly me.  Now, with the exception of a few days/weeks here and there, I've been drawing for over two years.  Not doing as much as I imagined, but way more than five-years-ago me would've imagined.

I kind of feel uneasy when a post has too much me me me in it, but then, it's my blog and my journey.  I do want to inspire... but today...


(And, so does every one of you who continue encouraging me... sorry, had to add that.)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

When Nobody's Looking

The recent trip to California was relatively short and jam-packed.  I don't like to hold up the crew, so sketched briefly here and there.  One morning, however, I woke up very early and couldn't go back to sleep.  The sun had just cleared the horizon when I started on the view from our room.

There were a gazillion boats behind these two, but this will do.

Then, a few days ago, my husband needed help on the farm.  Mechanical difficulties after I arrived gave me unexpected time to fill.  Out came the pocket sketchbook and a freebie ballpoint pen - the only drawing supplies I had with me.  That would do.

You don't need exciting subject matter or fancy supplies to take advantage of the waiting moments - just something to draw on and something to draw with.  That's it.  That'll do.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


August went zooooOOOM!  September will be no different.  Headed to Cali for a wedding tomorrow.  Within days of arriving home, we are headed across the state to a concert.  And there's more brouhaha planned after that.

In the midst of the madness, I worked on a page from the last semester of Sketchbook Skool.  The assignment: Gather items to create a collection.  Trace around them one by one and then add as much or little detail as you like.  Use only ballpoint pen.  I chose our refrigerator magnets.  This page has grown in the quiet moments when my husband crashed in his recliner at the end of a long day.  I draw while he dozes.

I like detail and I'm slow and we have a lot of magnets.  It may take me another month.  Here's the progress so far.

Yawning Milo is not impressed.

YOU could try this with any old ballpoint.  I used my absolute favorite ballpoint pen - the Zebra F-301.  It creates nice thin lines and doesn't smear.  The tip needs occasional blob removal (see the squiggles in the left margin), but that's true with most ballpoints.  Layering with this baby creates a lovely range of pencil-like grays.  The only thing that could make this pen better might be a fatter grip.  That and dispensing chocolate as you draw.  Wouldn't that be perfect?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Stop... Go... Pennzoil

My son and I have done this routine since he was a kid.  "Stop" will be said or overheard for whatever reason.  He or I will then say "go" and the other one "Pennzoil."  I could text "stop" to him today & the shtick would continue.  If you remember past Pennzoil commercials, you'll understand.  If not, you're totally perplexed right now.  Sadly, I can't find any links/videos of this to share.  Is this relevant to the subject matter of today's post?  Kinda' sorta' maybe.  It's stuck in my head, so there it is.

Anyhoo... Every so often I have to fess up to slacking off.  I am drawing more, but in spurts.  I gain & lose momentum like a wimpy car on a mountain road.  My rolling stone gleefully flies down the hill and then settles in a nice little rut in the valley.  Start, stop, start, stop... You get the idea.  Two years of progress & it's still a struggle.  I kind of think most creatives deal with this.

What distracts me?

The dog, the cat, the husband, Facebook, chocolate, email, laundry, snail mail, housework, IMing my sister, the weather, the blogosphere, the kids, paperwork, books, chocolate, bills, blog posting, YouTube, errands, cooking, the newspaper, TV, chocolate, the internet, the sunset, the fly on my knee.. it goes on pretty much endlessly.

Of course some of this is necessary, but many times it's just the inner critic pulling my sleeve, pointing out what I could be doing that is less challenging.  The Voice nags, nags, nags - "You have more important things to do.  You're ignoring the cat/dog/husband.  Stop being selfish.  Art doesn't really matter.  Don't start - it will suck anyway.  It's more fun to BUY art supplies."  

The ONLY way to shut it up is to hit mute and sit my butt down and start.  There really isn't a shortcut.  There is no easy button - just do, do, do!  That makes you want to sing doesn't it?  Okay, now I'm humming.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Me, Myself & Selfies

Sketchbook Skool week two was selfies and, with time to do homework every day and getting to use pencils (YAY!), it was a great week.

The last week of semester 2 is nearly done.  I need to get busy, but first...

Selfie numero uno - from the mirror.  I tried, without success, to avoid the usual stern/sad/concentrating self-portrait.

Left side = friendly me.  Right side = going back to bed.

A couple days later - from photos.  I do not have deep, dark eyes - otherwise, not so bad.


Then came quick contours.  The first one is blind - no peeking at the paper allowed.   The second is one line (no lifting of the pen) in one minute.  These expressive faces are the fun meter favorite.

And lastly - cycle-riding me hanging out behind the hubby on the Harley.
(Yes, drawn from my comfy seat while zipping down the highway.)

Enough about me.  YOU should grab a pen and piece of paper. . . . Really, right now, pick up a pen & notepad - or maybe an envelope you're about to throw out.  Take them in the bathroom or bedroom, look in the mirror for a minute.  Select a spot on your face and touch your pen to the paper.  Now, without looking down, draw the lines of your face - hair, eyes, nose, lips, chin (not necessarily in that order).  Don't over think and don't dawdle - just scoot that pen around.

Now look down.  There - that's your laugh for the day.  Repeat as needed - with your face or a loved one.  Better yet, make them try it too.
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