Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Weekly sketches

While I still need piles and tons of work on my faces - they are getting slightly better.

At my son's basketball game.  I got all the kids on the benches, but didn't draw in the ones running around and playing.  Which makes this a really strange picture.  But I did enjoy using my new travel watercolor box.

At the same game - my younger son watching.  This painting makes him look crazy crazy.

Freezing cold day at the park[

Other people's children at the children's museum.  I don't feel so self-conscious drawing children's faces.  I don't worry about them getting weird about being stared at.  They are used to having random adults watching them for unknown reasons :)

A lizard who lives at the children's museum.  Watercolor box!

The picnic area at the children's museum.  I went back over the watercolor with some pen lines.  

Jonas with a cookie at D'Bronx Pizza.

Jonas at the coffee shop.  I don't know why I keep making his eyes enormous.  I'm blaming this crappy sketch book that I keep in my purse for when I don't have my nicer sketch book.  I will be so happy when this thing is full.  I'm going to buy a moleskin or something, because this paper is just terrible.  counter-intuitively though - I probably draw in it *more* often because I'm so eager to use it up and get a new one.

Sunday, January 26, 2014


Perhaps it's my color palate in my paintings or the fact that I populate my landscapes with all these animals, but fairly often I get the question, "have you thought about illustrating children's books?"

And, yes, I have thought about it, and in the past, I've always decided that it's way too competitive and I don't know how to get into it and previously I've always doubted if I had the working temperament for it - working consistently and meeting deadlines and such.  But over the last few years I've gotten my sh!t together enough that that last doubt isn't really an issue anymore.  So recently when people have asked me the illustrator question, I've kind of thought - well, why not?  It would be amazing and fun and wonderful - and also incredibly challenging - what's not to love?

So, of course, I got a book.  :)  I'm almost through Illustrating Children's Picture Books.  It's been very informative and I have a much better idea about what this whole things about now - which is helpful. :)

Long story short - the book had a quick walk-through about how to draw pen and ink cross-hatch illustrations - which is something I don't usually do - so I tried my hand at it - and I'm pretty happy with it.  The crocodile and bird are from a made-up story that I've told my own children.  I might keep going and do a whole book with them - but probably not in this style :)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Merry Christmas to me!

So every year I buy myself a Christmas present.  Usually something fairly small that I've really been wanting for a long time but nobody knows I've really been wanting so nobody buys it for me.  I'm really excited about this years self-present: A pocket water-color set!  Complete with fold-up mixing tray and water-brush!

I have yet to actually take it outside anywhere.  Despite the "pocket" name it's still pretty largish so I'm trying to sort out the logistics of how I might carry it around with me everywhere I go - but once I do!  Color!  Very excited :)

View outside my studio window on a cold snowy day (sans architecture - I chickened out on painting my neighbors house, which is right behind that bush on the upper left. baby steps watercolor.  baby steps)

My new Koi 24-Piece Field Sketch Set with Brush!  24 colors is totally totally overkill.  I really only need, like, six.  But the economics of the thing drove me to color madness and now I have 24!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Drawing Lab 44: Birds

This lab was super fun.  Draw birds from photo references using vine charcoal.  I have mad drawing-from-photo-reference skills from years of practice in junior high school and high school.  What's up with that?  Why didn't any of those teachers take me outside and teach me how to draw a real thing?  Why do I still have to struggle with this as an adult?  But I digress.  I can copy with the best of them.
I was supposed to keep it sketchy and light - so I probably overdid the details a tad - but - copying!

anyway - charcoal.  I love charcoal.  I love the big bold lines, I love the lights and darks, I love the smudges (just a bit - not too much or it gets muddy!) I love the texture, I love the mess on my fingers… But… then I have a charcoal drawing.   And while I love the mess on my fingers while I'm drawing - when I'm done drawing, I'm ready to be done with it.  I hate putting charcoal in my sketchbook and getting my fingers, clothes, every other drawing messy every time I flip through the book.  And storing a charcoal drawing is no better - it just gets all over everything it's near.  So I never use charcoal.  I never use pastel and I love pastel in the same way.  It's a sad sad state of affairs.

So for this lab I dug around and found an ancient, ancient (seriously ancient) newsprint pad that already had charcoal drawings in it from high school (high school!  I still have art supplies from high school!  More than I care to admit really) To do these drawings.  Such fun.  And working large is so delicious.  I never get to draw large like that anymore.  I should do this more often.  ya.

And someday, when I'm a real-live art teacher.  I will make my students go outside to draw with charcoal.  

Friday, January 10, 2014

Catching up from the Holidays - Architecture

So I drew a lot more people than I did architecture over the month of December - but I'm feeling pretty happy with how the architecture category is progressing in general.

Submarine Play thing from Wonderscope

Golf ball rolling area from Wonderscope.  Not sure if this quite counts as Architecture - But there are no people or landscapes - so it'll do.

Border Star Montessori.  My son takes violin lessons here once a week - it was a cold cold day and my fingers were frozen and my 3 year old was ready to head inside - so i had to rush things a bit - but I'm still happyish with this - it's a beautiful building and a good challenge in the Architecture category.

view from my back deck.  Neighbor's shed and beyond is a garage with an apartment on top.  Not a thrilling view - but Architecture!  Straight lines!  I got ran out of time and didn't finish the deck rails in the foreground.  oops.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Catching up from the Holidays - People

So I did a lot of sketching - but didn't blog it for the whole month of December - because December.

So I'll be catching up over the next few days - and to keep it easy, I'll stick them all into categories.  Today: People

This was supposed to be my son - though it looks nothing like him. :)  I tried a different approach where I drew the face shape first - then added guide lines and filled in features.  Except my pencil was dull as hell - so the features are all way too big for the face shape I drew.  Maybe I should stick with drawing eyes first and filling everything else in around it.  Or maybe I should carry a sharp pencil.

Restaurant at the Nelson-Atkins art museum 

Kids at Wonderscope Childrens' Museum

Random people hanging around at a Robotics Event

I'm kinda happy with some of these people - like I think I captured a bit more than basic shape in a few of them.  There's some indication of emotion or personality there - a bit.  Progress!

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Drawing Lab 43: Plein Air

 I've been messing around with Plein Air sketching for months now - so I nearly decided to just call this lab good and move on - but the instructions did contain subtle differences to what I normally do, so I decided to give it a go.  The goal was to try to just focus on quick captures of lights and darks, and avoid focusing on the details too much.  tricky.  Contrasting those lights and darks always gives me trouble in a drawing - so this was a good practice.

I'm not entirely thrilled with them - The super quick on at the bottom probably follows the instructions the best.  This is something to keep working on for sure.