Monday, October 27, 2014

You can do it. Yes you can. Draw that story. You're the (wo)MAN!

Just so I don't throw the entire universe out of whack, I decided (wink, wink) to skip several days of inktober - sidetracked by various stuff I won't bore you with.  Nothing new to see here.  Let's move on.  Like the KC Royals, I'm not out of it yet.  A few inking days left.

Today kids, I want to share a little motivation... another PSA from the artist.

1)  Related to the last don't-let-mean-people-get-you-down post - go watch Adebanji Alade talk about what to do with those less than supportive comments and then watch "Life as an Artist."  To say he is inspiring is an understatement.  His main message: If you want to be an artist, then draw, draw, DRAW...  Every.  Single.  Day.

2)  James Gurney's is a masterful painter with an average guy delivery.  He's the kind neighbor who talks to everyone, but this neighbor is brilliant and oh so generous with his knowledge.  Yesterday he blogged about a sketching/painting trip in Texas.  He and his wife start out in search of interesting people to sketch.  They wind up on an ordinary street and he paints what seems to be an ordinary house.  He eloquently relays the story this simple house tells him as he is painting.  

THAT, my friends, is what illustrated journaling is all about.  Relaying the stories of things, places, people in the artist's own "words."  Tell the story.  Add words if needed.  Do it again tomorrow.

Friday, October 24, 2014


We interrupt your regularly scheduled inktober post for this rambling public service announcement...

Life isn't fair.  Some people are mean.  Take away their power.  Let go & live your life!

There seems a persistent theme in life, and especially in art circles.  "I was told I'm awful, so I can't ________."  It pops up as "the monkey" in our SBS discussions.  Who do you blame?  How do you overcome it?  The discussion ebbs & flows.  I had some brilliant thoughts about this.  As brilliance goes, it was a flash & I forgot the rest.  Dang.  Here's what I remember.

1) I have the power.

I was fortunate to have supportive parents and an art teacher who cheered me on.  College professors were relatively kind.  I was blessed.  However, I was also a shy awkward geek with a few close friends.  We were sometimes antagonized and mostly ignored by the "cool" kids.  We didn't let them rule our lives.  I still liked school.  I still participated.  Sure, I often felt sorry for myself, but that's called being a teenager.  Eventually I realized the only one who could make me feel better about me... was ME.  You know - you have to love yourself before others can - stuff like that.  Does that mean it's all sunshine & daisies now?  Of course not.  That annoying inner critic is always lurking.  A good support system helps, but I'm the only one who truly has the power to soften that voice.

2) Teachers/parents/humans are NOT all horrible because one of them was crappy to you.

A recent Sketchbook Skool assignment revolved around drawing your first day of school from imagination.  Many drew a less-than-great memory of mean teachers and /or critical parents.  My kindergarten & 1st grade teachers were kind.  My 2nd and 3rd grade teachers were completely awful.  One slapped a friend right out of her chair.  4th through 12th were mostly good, some great, none awful, well, except the monotone government teacher.  I've compared notes with friends and - public or private - some teachers suck & some teachers were miraculous, with a whole variety in between.  Pat yourself on the back for surviving the inept.  Report the awful.  Thrive with the good.  Isn't that really how it is with grownup life?  We share this world with some horrid evil people and some incredibly saintly folks.  I believe the rest of us fall in between and weigh the scale more heavily towards good.  You just have to look closely and SEE the human being in the sour faced stranger at the post office.  And, of course, behind the wrinkles in the mirror.

You have the power.  Life is beautiful, if you let it be.

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.
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