Friday, December 06, 2013

Next Challenge: People

So I don't really feel that I've completely conquered trees yet - and I definitely need to also continue the battle with architecture, but nevertheless I'm moving forward towards my next big hurdle - People.  Despite years of art school training and endless sessions of drawing naked models - I still find whipping out a sketch of a human being that doesn't suck to be - damn hard.

Practice - that's what it's all about, right?  right.

So therefore I give you: (what I certainly hope will prove to be) - "Before" Drawings

at McCoys Pub.  My husband teased me and called this "drunk sketching"  I was not drunk.  I was trying to draw fast.  Maybe one of my problems with drawing people is that I'm always nervous that they'll catch me staring at them, and then I might have to interact with them or something.

 I attended a long and boring PTA meeting and drew the speakers.  I've been looking at a lot of other sketcher's work lately, and decided that one of the things they have that I don't have is color - so when I got home I added some watercolor.  I dunno.  It still kinda sucks.  Maybe it needs some colored pencil :P
 She really didn't look pissed off like this - none of them did.  They are sweet nice people and they look grumpy and mean in my sketches.  oops.

 This is my husband, though it really doesn't look much like my husband at all.  But this actually was a "drunk sketch" so I'll use that as a handy excuse :)
 bowling with the kids.

 I decided to try the "do it over and over until you get it right" approach.  This is a random girl from a toy catalog.  I don't really like any of these.  But I hate the watercolor one the least.  Maybe because it has colored pencil.

I can only go up from here.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Watercolor Sketch

I've been continuing to play with watercolor.  Despite painting 20 bazillion weathered barns and hillside landscapes in middle school, I still feel like a doof when I try to do anything with watercolor.

But here is my latest effort - it ended up being something of a fox nativity.  :)  I like it for the most part- even though I feel like I'm cheating because I had to pull out the watercolor pencils at the end to get the foxes to look right.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Drawing Lab 42: Abstracted Minutia

I was supposed to collect a variety of natural found objects arrange them in a pleasing composition and create an abstract drawing in charcoal pencil based on them.

I got part one and two right at least.

I didn't really end up abstracting them much.  But I really like drawing little things that I find on the ground - so it's hard to make myself just make smudgy shapes when I really just want to sink into the details on that stick.

Still - I tried to keep it smudgy and simple as I could :)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Daily Sketches

I'm getting so many done that I'm not even posting the super-crappy ones.  quantity = success :)

 Waiting for Ethiopian food.  yum.  Jesse is getting more tolerant of my sketching on date night :)
 Forshortening is a b*tch
 Library Story Time - I often avoid drawing people - but I love drawing the backs of people - they don't know I'm drawing them, so I don't feel self conscious.  And I don't have to do those tricky faces.

 My bag - with a minimal color approach.  I might get the hang of this water color thing someday :)
I didn't feel like drawing this day - but I had the time so I made a small box on the page to fill.  Over the fence at my son's school.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Nature Walkabout Lab

I was kicking myself for putting this lab off until the weather turned :)  but I lucked out and today was lovely - it turned out to be more of a playground walkabout instead of a nature walkabout - I couldn't convince Jonas to leave the playground to go on a hike with me - until it was time to go home for lunch and then he threw a giant fit because he wanted to go on a hike.  yes.  We are at that age.

But I found lots of nice naturey things near the playground to draw.

This lab appealed to the alternate-reality-scientific illustrator in me.  I love tiny little details.  I am done with fine tip sharpie pens though.  Bleeds too much.  As soon as I have some spare cash I'm going to the art store and buying a REAL PEN.  It will be exciting.

These are also the last 2 pages in my sketch book.  I started it in May and now it's November and it's all filled up.  I don't think I've ever filled a sketch book in less than a year before.  Of course it helps that it's thick paper - so it's only 40 sheets, but I've also just filled a larger sized book that I keep in the studio for working out painting compositions and random drawings.

Monday, November 11, 2013


I've been getting much better at sketching every day - I find myself sketching multiple times a day even.  I suppose the recent inspiration comes from the sketchbook books I've checked out from the library.  The Art of Urban Sketching and An Illustrated Life.  Both make me feel simultaneously intimidated and inspired.  :)

I've also finally set myself up with a "grown-up" set of watercolor paints.  So I'm working on that.  I'm still very frustrated with my efforts there. Someday I'll get the hang of it.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Travel Sketching

For the last 3-4 trips I've taken I've brought along a sketch book knowing that the travel sketching Lab was waiting there for me in the book and I was going to have to do it sometime.  And each time I've been too busy with trip stuff to ever pull the pencil out and actually sketch anything.   Well, we just got back from a 2 week road trip to NY and back - and I finally got a few sketches done.  I think it actually happened this time as opposed to other trips because I've built a habit of sketching already at home.  I didn't get a whole lot of exotic locals or anything - but these are drawings of places far away from me - however mundane they are :)

 quick sketches from the passenger seat driving through NY and PA in the fall - so gorgeous.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Lab 40 - Bugs

Somewhere in an alternative dimension - I am a scientific illustrator.  That is a good dimension.  :)

I didn't follow the instructions very well with this lab.  I was supposed to use the pictures for inspiration to create stylized bugs.  But instead I drew those bugs just like in the photo.  I tried to get a bit stylized with the line weights like they suggested.  And I invented the colors more or less.  But ya.  My alternate dimension self could probably figure out exactly which bugs I was looking at in my references.  So I skipped the cutsie make-up names.

But I also really enjoyed drawing the bugs.  :)

Sketch Catch-Up

I've been looking at other people's sketching blogs.  I have a long way to go.  But I've also found my next book that I'll be going through.  More on that when I get it from the library.

 For now, a couple of weeks worth of sketches.  I'm not getting in every day - but I continue to try to.
 Crazy dried seed pod thing from Antioch Park

The truck and tree across the street from Anton's Tap Room while I waited for Jesse to use the restroom on date night

 I went to listen to my friend Russell play jazz, and I drew the bass player playing with him.
 The trees at soccer practice
 The grasshopper that clung valiantly to our windshield for many miles on the drive to Omaha

 Geese and trees from Antioch Park
These branches were amazing.  All twisted and wonderful against the sky.  I wish I could have finished this, but Jonas was done with this sketching nonsense.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Flower Tutorial

Back to Drawing Lab!  I completed the flower tutorial - which I'd been procrastinating on.  And as usual on the ones I put off - I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.  I've never done watercolor washes over-top of a whole lot of pencil lines.  I was taught to do as few light lines as possible and build depth with the layers of paint - but I really like the look of watercolor over the shading and scribbling.  I still went with the kids set of Prang Watercolors for this (it's so much quicker to grab that than squeeze out little drops of my liquid watercolors and build a palate and worry about squeezing out too much and wasting.  Clearly I need to invest in some professional dry watercolors)  But I did avoid the washable watercolors this time.  And I skipped the Crayola colored pencils in favor of my nice Prismacolors.  So much better.  I don't know why I waste my time with the kids stuff.  (it's just what's always in front of me, because I'm often doing this with the kids ;)
I skipped the steps that involved paint pens, as I have zero desire to own paint pens, and I went light on the acrylic "highlights" at the end.  Wasn't feeling the "take it to a crazy place"that the last few steps seemed to want me to go.  So ya.  I'm happy with this.  It's a pretty flower.  :)

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Another trip to the nature center

This week I drew more trees and Jonas and I went to the nature center.

My skills with birds still leaves much to be desired.  Especially since I really enjoy painting birds.  I drew the owl  in pencil then added Crayola washable watercolors at home while making art with my 2 year old.  I am beginning to realize that working with washable watercolors, well, sucks.  I need to make myself a small palate of real watercolors to work with while I'm with the kiddos. Trying to build layers with a medium that washes away when it gets even slightly wet is very frustrating.
After we drew animals indoors we went outside and I sat on a rock and tried to capture the various textures of bark on these trees.  But by this time J had had enough of my boring drawing business and was ready to run around, not sit still.  You can see the lines of frustration as I tried to convince him to just give me a few more minutes.  Rushing and frustration did not help this drawing at all.
Today at the playground he was more patient with me.  I decided to challenge my fear of leaves and actually go for a leafy tree instead of the half dead ones I usually favor.  My pencils were all dull and I've lost my pocket-knife so I went with a fine-tipped sharpie pen and it worked out ok.  I'm not much of a cross-hatcher usually, so it was fun to play with a different technique.

Monday, August 19, 2013

New Name

I've changed the name of this blog again.  I was watching 20 feet from Stardom and one of the singers mentioned "taking it to the woodshed" and I realized that's what I'm going for here.  Somewhere quiet and out of the way to practice this stuff, over and over again, until I have it down pat, so I can pull it out and use it whenever I need to.  So now the blog is Woodshed Art :)

And along those lines I've set a new goal to draw daily.  I've set this kind of goal before, but to make it stick I'm going to start with setting a timer for 10 minutes every day.  As Flylady says, I can do *anything* for 10 minutes.  (that's my mantra at the gym, might as well use it for art practice too.)  And starting with today I did a 10 minute drawing of these budding branches that I dragged home in the spring.  I keep them in a vase on the top of a shelf because I love the way they twist all over the place.  I only got one of the branches done in the 10 minutes, but I made myself stop when the timer went off.

And here are a few unfinished trees - I kept getting dragged away from my drawings by needy children :)  Now that school has started I hope to get to finish a few more drawings!

I knew when I was drawing the second one that I didn't have much time, and remembering my other unfinished tree, I attempted to sketch as quickly as possible.  Definitely a skill that I need more practice with :)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sidewalk Crack Drawings

Finally got this lab done from the Drawing Lab book!  I was pleased when I realized that we weren't going to be drawing on top of the photos of cracks, but just using the crack photos as a springboard for our own drawing.  Then I ended up being very true to the photos. :)  I found this lovely wizard, but every time I tried to draw something that wasn't in the cracks it just seemed wrong.  This is a crack wizard and nothing else.  I still didn't capture him as well as the photo did.  But it was a fun drawing.  Then in another crack I found the goose who seems to be kissing another goose - but it's ephemeral - a reflection?  a ghost?  I tried to make the one goose look very solid and the other fade away.