Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Seeing Your Thoughts in Your Surroundings

Earlier this month at the comics low residency workshop I took at SAW (the Sequential Artists Workshop in Gainesville, FL), one of the things I worked on was getting more visual metaphor into my memoir sketches.

Warning:  I'm working on a memoir that includes my finding a deceased person in the woods while walking my dogs one day. 

Anyhow, this sketch is one which resulted, and which I liked very much.  I think it will inspire some future work!

Loads of thought exists on the notion that we see in our environments that which we expect to see there.  How we, to an extent, create our own realities in this way.  If we are intent on all the evil that exists in our world for example, it can become all we can see.  We miss the good that also exists.

I know I'm guilty of this.  I"m not sure it's a good thing in real life.

But in art, I think using this to depict a character, that character's thoughts, that character's relationship with her reality, can really open up some interesting possibilities!  It's a little like finding shapes and objects in the clouds--only we also get to draw the clouds.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Sketchnotes as Speaker Notes

I've given loads of talks in my thirty years in higher education.  But only recently have I started to use sketchnotes as my speaker notes!  Doing so has changed not only how I prepare for my talks, but has given me a lot more freedom during my talks as well.

Here is an example of a sketchnote I used as part of a workshop I led earlier this week to a lively group of K-12 educators on using visual/verbal techniques (like sketchnotes and comics) in the classroom.

As a tool for notetaking, sketchnotes asks you to focus on the big picture.  This technique asks you to listen actively, to evaluate what you are hearing or reading as you encounter it.  After all, you can't sketchnote everything you hear!

So, when you sketchnote, you need to ask:  What seems most important to you?  How do the important pieces of information relate to each other?  What are the patterns in the information you hear?

This method helps learners really grasp the information more completely and clearly!  It is much more effective than a student simply struggling to write down everything they can from a speaker's talk or from a textbook chapter.

I'm discovering that creating sketchnotes to prepare to give a talk has all of the same benefits!  It helped me to sift through all of the information I had, identify what is most important, think about how it all fits together and relates to each other, and see if I could construct any patterns.

In creating sketchnotes for a talk, I find myself asking how I can speak in a way that would help my listeners make better, more clear sketchnotes of my talk!

And while I might have additional notes with me for quotations or dates or other specifics, I keep a one-page sketchnoted outline in front of me as I speak, to remind me of the big picture, and to help my learners see it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Low Residency Workshop at SAW

Last week I had the great good fortune to participate in a Low Residency Workshop at SAW--the Sequential Artists Workshop, in Gainesville, Florida.

Here, I sat around the table for a week with comics makers from Florida, Michigan, New York, New Orleans, Kuwait, Australia, North Carolina!  Everyone came with ideas.  Some came with projects in process.  We all brought the goodnesses of our creative spirits and wisdoms to share.

Here's a shot of me sharing the collage comic I'd just finished.  It involves Batman (which you might have guessed).

There is nothing more fun, I'm discovering, than a comics workshop.  Look at all the art on the table!!!  All the art supplies!  Look at all the comic books in the library behind us.

Interested in working in comics, but not sure how or where to start?  Check out SAW's online classes and resources.  Some are free.  Some are pay what you can.  Or consider the next in person weeklong workshop in March or May 2019. 

I'll post some shots of the work I created there when I get things scanned in properly.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Learning from Hatke

Now and then I sit and copy ideas from a graphic novel I admire.

And I really admire the work of Ben Hatke.  I recently read Mighty Jack and the Goblin King.    In the course of that story I noticed some images that could inspire some of my own drawings on the memoir I'm working on.

So I copied them, modifying them to look like me (and not so much like the character Jack). 

Continuing my work of copying and modifying... I used a car drawing from the book and transformed it to my station wagon.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Crossed Legs are Hard

My nephew typing on his laptop while reclining on the couch.  Crossed legs are hard!!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Sketching from TV

Sketching while watching Ellery Queen on TV with my nephew.

TV is a fun source for sketching because it moves so fast.  It helps me practice visual memory.  Very different than drawing from life, and I know that working with 3D subjects has been terrific for my improvement... but this is fun now and then.

I used a water soluble sign pen and some spit on my finger!

On this next page, I got out the water brush to activate the ink.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Nikolaas Napping

Here's my Dutch Shepherd, Nikolaas, napping.

Done with a water soluble pen, on multimedia paper, wet with a water brush.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Sketching in Church: The 150th Anniversary of Grace Episcopal Church

I really like to sketch in church.

I have permission from the priest, fyi, so no worries there.  And I always show my work to any parishoners who ask, so people know I'm not goofing off.  They know that, in fact, I'm probably paying better attention than many others.  My mind can't wander.  I'm capturing the service.

These pages capture my attendance on a Sunday which opened the year-long celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Episcopal Church in Holland, Michigan.    Instead of using a "sketchnote" form, I used more of a "comics" form, with panels and speech bubbles and the like.

All of these were done live, during the events. 

I captured some of my favorite moments from the liturgy.

I captured some details from the reading of the gospel and the sermon.

And after the sermon concluded, some of the special announcements.  And communion.  All are actually really welcome here.

And today, after the service, we all went outside for the dedication and unveiling of a new historical marker commemorating the church in the State of Michigan.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

South Africa Sketchbook Part Fifteen

This is my final entry featuring pages from my sketchbook from my trip to South Africa with the Hope College Chapel Choir in May of 2018.  It was a great gift to me to be able to travel with a choir to this amazing country.

I'm sharing these pages to show yet another sort of thing I did in this sketchbook.  During the very long (30+hours) trip home, I captured details of the trip (making a super short connection in DC) along with things I remembered from the trip.  I drew  from memory.

By now I had gotten pretty good at the dimensions of a rhino's head, because I'd drawn and redrawn it many times. 

And while I'd never drawn our breakfasts during breakfasts because we were always in a rush, I had certainly admired the available food every morning for two weeks!  So I captured what I remembered being the most fun to experience.

You can see that I never got around to watercoloring these.   You know how it goes:  you return from a long vacation and suddenly there are a million things to do.

Someday I hope to do some paintings and other art using these sketches and my many photographs as inspiration.