Thursday, December 31, 2015

Hot Tip for Scanning Your Art: Lock the Cat Out

Every so often I sit down and scan my scribblings from my sketchbook.

Scans give me better images for my blog.  But they also provide me with a back-up for my art just in case disaster strikes at the house.

Filled with the Christmas spirit of charity and giving, my cat Tim decided to help out while I scanned the other day.

Filled with the Christmas spirit of charity and giving, I allowed my cat Tim to keep helping out while I scanned the other day.

The results were hilarious.

In the middle of deleting them all, I stopped.  Really, what more authentic memento, not only of my art, but of the art-keeping process, could I have than at least one wonderful photo of this new form of collaborative feline-human art?

I give you "Tim, with Robot."

Tim does not have seven feet, just fyi.  He moved as the scanner did, and it just kept capturing him...

Happy holidays and New Year to everyone.  May your scribbling be joyous in 2016.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Creating A Coloring Book from Scribbles

For fun, I created a very simply coloring book for some of my family members from several of my recent scribbles.

For the last several weeks or so, I've scribbled a lot of quick pen and ink pieces as I've studied paintings and drawings by Van Gogh.  I'm trying to learn by "copying" him.  Though I'm not really copying, since I'm using a completely different medium. And I'm scribbling quickly, practicing line and shape.

I did these quick scribbles in a tiny book, about 4x6.  And I rather liked them!

So I decided, for fun, to print them off and put together a quick coloring book.

It wasn't hard!  I used Picasa (aka Google Photos), which is how I organize and back-up all of my scans of my art.  I picked a half dozen scribbles to include and printed them on 8 x 5.5 pieces of paper (so, basically, two per 8.5 x 11 sheet of standard copy paper, in my home printer).  This actually made the line art bigger than the original drawings.  They looked pretty good!

Then, because I really was just doing this for fun and wasn't in for making a big fuss, I cut some cardstock for front and back covers and stapled the few pages together.

It only too a few minutes to put together a fun, unique gift.  And, as I told one of the recipients when she opened it, "This isn't too precious to play with!  I can print you more!"  I want folks to color away, play, take risks, and if they don't like what they do, I'm happy to print another copy.  It doesn't take that long!

Here are the images--my scribbles after Van Gogh-- which I included in the little coloring book.

Seeing how well this came out--and experiencing how fun it was to make such a simple coloring book--has inspired me to purposefully do more pen and ink scribbles in the coming year with just this purpose in mind!

What art has inspired you to make new and different art of your own this past year?

What art have you created this past year that might inspire others to make art of their own?

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Happy Christmas Season

A little Christmas holiday spirit came my way by virtue of a sticker of a vintage image that a friend had lying around on her table while she did her Christmas cards.

An old timey Santa playing a guitar!  That was something I'd never seen before.

So I drew it.

My little scribble looks very little like that rich painted image.  But I captured what I loved about the image (Santa playing a guitar!!), and made it my own.

No matter what holidays you celebrate, now and throughout the year, consider checking out some vintage holiday images and using them to inspire your own scribbling practice!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

FIght the "Too Busy" Syndrome: Draw a Holiday Building

The season of many holidays has come, and with it the busyness that threatens to stop me from creating my scribbles.

Not drawing makes me cranky, which is never good.  But this is especially not good at the holidays, with so many get togethers with family and friends!

So the other day, I decided to draw something familiar, something that I saw every day (or nearly every day), something that--in one way or another--related to the Christmas holiday to me.

I decided to draw the chapel on the local college campus.  It's a gray building, and is not decorated at all on the outside.  And it's been a warm, gray, rainy, dismal winter season so far.  Not very festive, really.  But elegant in a way.  And touched by a wonderful, rich evergreen.

That evergreen is the "holiday" part for me.  Even though the building is unadorned, the natural world added some color and hope and life to the picture.  Always hope for new life...

I didn't have time to stand in the rain to draw it, I confess.  So I used a photo for reference.

And I didn't have time to do a detail of the architectural intricacies of the building.  So I limited myself to ten minutes total.  So at least I could get something done in my sketchbook!

I scribbled quickly with a waterproof Tombow monoball (which I love, but which they evidently don't make anymore, bummer!).  Then I added some color with my Koi watercolor pens, the grayscale set, plus a spot of green.

I am using Tomoe River paper in a sketchbook which I bound by hand.  I love this paper because nothing bleeds through it despite its remarkable thinness, but you can see how images show through from the other side.

I decided to leave the foreground empty and white, which I suppose gives the illusion of snow, which we definitely do not have here in the midwest this winter... I really just wanted that tree to be the one spot of color.

What buildings do you walk or drive past almost every single day?  Does one of them mean something special to you during this holiday season?

What would it take for you to find a few minutes to draw one of them?

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Check Out "A Christmas Karol" from Sketchbook Skool

It's no secret that I love the whole vibe and tribe over at Sketchbook Skool.  I've taken every klass from the start, and can't wait for the next one starting January 15, 2016.

Because it was so  clever, I thought I'd share with you their recent Christmas video.

"I come to bring you a warning about what will happen if you don't draw..."

Happy holidays!!  Maybe I'll see you in Skool!  You can find out more at

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Scribbling People

This week I want to share with you all a lovely article about scribbling people which I recently found on

In "The Art of Scribbling," author Greg Albert says something I've long believed true for creative writing and more recently for visual art:

It’s out of control, childish, messy, sloppy or wasteful. But it’s also fun. And, as a drawing instructor, I can tell you that scribbling is one of the best ways to improve your drawing skills.
In his article, Albert talks about scribbling as a method of gesture drawing people, animals, and even inanimate objects.  It doesn't matter what the outcome looks like.  He reminds us that experience is the goal!

I loved this article and I bet you will too.  Check it out here.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Creating Stickers from Old Drawings

I dug out my old (and I think now defunct) Polaroid PoGo printer the other day, to see if it still worked!  It does.  So, of course, the first thing I did was print out tiny sticker prints of some of my own scribbles.

I should probably pause a minute to explain that the PoGo prints tiny 2x3 inch prints on "Zink" paper--which only comes with peel-off sticker backing.  It is super cool stuff.  And even though the PoGo is no longer made,  a new version exists:  the Polaroid Zip.  It uses the same Zink paper.  You can find it on amazon.

Anyhow, I loved how the tiny sticker versions of my sketchbook scribbles looked!  In fact I loved them so much that I stuck them in my new sketchbook and made new scribbles of them.

First, a sticker version of my car.

I think that the printed image is so sharp that you can barely tell it isn't a drawing.  But in the above photo the car is a printout sticker, the brown outline is an acrylic marker, and the black is from a Tombow rollerball pen.  You can see some show through from the drawing on the opposite side of the page.  This is done on Tomoe River paper in my handmade journal.

In this next scribble, the sticker is of a sketch I did of a sea turtle.  I stuck it on the page, then framed it and colored the rest of the page in acrylic marker and watercolor paints.

In the above photo you can see the size in relation to a pen.  Also, I took it at an angle so that the sticker reflected some light and you could see it better.

I know I could achieve the same effect by printing out these scribbles at a reduced size on regular printer paper, but part of the cool effect of printing on this paper is the shiny surface.   It adds an interesting twist to the collage.  Plus, it's a sticker!  That just makes it magic (and glue-free).

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Christmas Sketchbook Fun

I took a little break from practicing life drawing this week in order to scribble some images of snow.

Of course, it isn't snowing here.  It should be (at least in my book), but it's going to be a warm bummer of a winter, they say.  So the best I can do is draw it.

These images aren't showing the crispness of the colors...

In addition to just being fun, these scribbles are also experiments on the Tomoe River paper I used to make my latest daily sketchbook.  You can find it online where find papers for fountain pens are sold.  Also, this is the same paper as is used in the famous Hobonichi Techo Planners (which people just love!!  Google it to see the amazing things people do using these planners as sketchbooks).

People love this paper because evidently almost nothing bleeds through it.  Really.  So, I've been testing it.  The paper is onion-skin thin, and does have some see through (you can see this in the second photo above) but so far I have done amazing things to it and have had no bleed through.

These examples above include the use of acrylic markers, watercolors, fountain pens with permanent ink.  No bleed through.  Amazing!!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Life Drawing Practice with An Old Family Photo

Inspired by my current life drawing class, I've been practicing with small scribbles in my sketchbook.

But it's a little hard to find models who will  hold still--at least outside of class.

So I've been working on capturing proportion from photographs.   And the other day I used a vintage photo--from about 1968--of my family members.

Here's one I did of my grandfather.

I love it for two reasons.  First, I completed it in about two minutes and it feels like a complete and whole portrait.  I'm pleased to have been able to reach that effect so quickly.

Second, it looks just like my grandfather.  I'm thrilled that I've captured some of his most distinct gestures and postures here.

Can't wait to try more.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

From Life Drawing to Comics

I've been taking a life drawing class and so, scribbling a lot of quick sketches of people.  The class has me thinking about proportion and how bodies are put together in new ways.

And it also has me returning to my first drawing love:  comics.  I've always wanted to draw comics.  But, before joining Sketchbook Skool two years ago, I didn't have the confidence in my drawing potential to seriously think about it.

But SBS has increased my confidence and ability.  And this life drawing class has me experimenting, and thinking about what I might choose to draw in the future.

I don't know what will happen in the future.

But in the meantime, this wonderful character showed up today.  Pure imagination. I don't know who he is.  I've drawn him several times, so he seems to be really "there" in my head...

I look forward to seeing what other characters might show up!