Thursday, March 7, 2019

Sketching a Bobblehead Batman

I have a Bobblehead Batman on my desk, right near my computer screen.  I really can't do anything on my computer without looking at him.

He reminds me to be fierce, undaunted, and work for justice, no matter what "the authorities" think. 

He looks better than this!  My proportions got a little off.

Still it was fun for me to work on the shadow shapes, something I don't think about often enough, and which really do help make a sketch come alive!

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Sketching a Carving of St. Francis

One thing that Jill Badonsky draws inspiration from, she told us at Sketchkon, is sculpture. 

I love a carving we have of St. Francis.   Here I took some liberties to bring him to life.

What carvings or sculptures do you have in your home or workplace or town that you might use as inspirations for drawings?

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Sketchkon Sketches #16 The Los Angeles Zoo Part Six


They were asleep in full view and no one was around.

These were my last sketches of a fantastic sketchcrawl!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Sketchkon Sketches #15 The Los Angeles Zoo Part Five


I struggled drawing these.  I tended to make them look too human.

The Roz Stendahl, our guide for our sketchcrawl, advised to study the shadow shapes, especially on the face.  That would help us see the real animal in front of us, and not fill in with human features.

This helped!  You can see the progress, I think.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

SketchKon Sketches #14 The Los Angeles Zoo Part Four

The African Wild Dog.

I had the great pleasure of seeing a pack of these on a safari in South Africa in May of 2018.  The guides there told us such a sighting was quite rare.

There coloration reminds me of my own Dutch Shepherds.  Stripes and blotches designed to help them disappear in the shadows...

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Affinity Publisher: A Quality Alternative to Adobe InDesign?

Many of you have heard of and used Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer, programs which are pretty widely reviewed to be every bit as good and in some cases better than their counterparts, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.  Because of the price differences and because Affinity's products include full-featured iPad versions, many people have switched.

Affinity products each cost about $50 for the computer version and $20 for the iPad version. One-time purchase.  Updates free. 

But there has been no alternative to InDesign... which has kept many people who wanted options stuck in the Adobe creative cloud.

BUT Affinity released their FREE Beta version of Affinity Publisher a few months ago, and I just found out about it.  HOORAY!!   I hope to download it soon and start to poke around.  I've been panicking about the cost of an Adobe subscription... so this option excites me!

All the reviews I've read so far praise this Beta as a robust competitor, though clearly in early stages of design.  It does some things InDesign doesn't do that people like, and it lacks some features people miss.

If you need more in the creative cloud than Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, and of course if you've worked in them forever and are perfectly happy, paying that subscription price could be for you.  But if you are a newb or looking for an alternative, then buying these programs is surely more cost effective.  Even if you purchase all three for both computer and iPad, the total cost (without coupon or sales) is $210 (assuming that Affinity Publisher is priced like Affinity's other programs)...and since Adobe is $53 a month, well, you can see you even out in about four months.

Anyhow, I won't stick in a bunch of links, as you can Google for yourselves and check out reviews or demos or tutorials or whatever as you like.  Tons of things exist on youtube.  I am fond of the tutorials/reviews done by Brad Colbow.  And Affinity itself has lots of vids.

Mostly I just wanted to share!

I'd be really curious to see what others think if you check this out.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Real Life on Valentine's Day

A little sketch I did around Valentine's Day last year.  The hilarious card, the water bottle, the coffee pods, the sticky notes, the family photo, the dog brush, the cleaning solution for puppy accidents...

real life.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Sketchkon Sketches #12 The Los Angeles Zoo Part Two

I spent a lot of time observing the double-wattled cassaway.

This is a bird I have never seen before.  Roz pointed it out as something she had seen as a child, but not since.

It was so strangely put together--a real treat to try to draw!!  Also, frustrating!  Because my brain didn't know what to make of it!

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Sketchkon Sketches #11 The Los Angeles Zoo Part 1

When Sketchkon officially ended on Sunday at about noon, a bunch of us took a trip to the Los Angeles zoo to sketch.  Roz Stendahl served as our fearless leader.  She's a master at sketching live animals in places like zoos and local fairs.  Check out her blog for loads of great information on all things about keeping a sketchbook!

I had just purchased a uniquely shaped sketchbook at the Kon and I decided to take it along to the zoo.  I thought it's format would force me to think differently about what I was seeing and how I would place it on the page.  And it did!

Sometimes my sketchbook pages get messy.  You can't always stay neat when standing at a fence, in the sun, being jostled by crowds

Sometimes it was just so crowded I would sketch a shape and move on. 

Other times, I'd find myself with lots of elbow room and time to toss down some colors.

None of this sketchbook work is, for me, about creating beautiful pictures.  I want to observe, learn, and record the animals.

“Instructions for living a life. 
Pay attention. 
Be astonished. 
Tell about it.” 
― Mary Oliver

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Sketchkon Sketches #10 Day of the Dead Work with Models

On the Day of the Dead, we had a whole evening of celebration, including time to work with the live models from Dr. Sketchy in L. A.

I have no practice, beyond one six-week class several years ago, drawing live models.  So, no surprise, I'm not very good at at!   I wonder how much better I would become if I could only find a class in my neck of the woods...

Thursday, January 31, 2019

SketchKon Sketches #9 Learning Life Drawing

Veronica Lawlor did a terrific session basically designed to teach us new ways to approach life drawing.  You can see from the sketches I made during the workshop that it included things like blind contours, non-dominant hand sketches, one-line drawings, and so on.

She emphasized that getting rid of "normal" habits of seeing and drawing would open up our drawing skills.

After some warm-up lessons, we sketched poses.  The models from Dr. Sketchy's were great!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

SketchKon Sketches #8 Jill Badonsky Workshops

Jill Badonsky, an artist and author whom I've admired for many years now (I love her book entitled The Awe-manac) did several workshops at SketchKon 2018.  Sketchnotes of one of the sessions and some of the sketches I drew from her instruction are below.

Next up, a one-line drawing of five different kinds of flowers in a base.  I think, in fact, we drew this with our eyes closed...  I added colors and the box around it later.

Then she had us draw all sorts of things with our eyes closed, from memory, from our imaginations.  This is just one page of dogs, technology, purses, and birds on a wire. 

The big-eyed puppy at the bottom was drawn upside down without looking at the paper.

Fun fun stuff.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

SketchKon Sketches #7 Some More Sketchnotes

Some more sketchnotes from SketchKon 2018!  Really a great conference.  And there's one in the works for 2019!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

RIP Mary Oliver

"Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it."

~ Mary Oliver

One of my most favorite poets, spiritual inspirations, reminders of how to life well.

So much to read by and about her, to learn from.  I recommend it all.

But in particular, these are great places to start.

An essay from Brain Pickings about the commitment to creativity.

An episode of On Being about  listening to the world.

And, of course, her poetry...

Thursday, January 17, 2019

SketchKon Sketches #6 Some Sketchnotes

While at SketchKon 2018, I sketchnoted every session I attended.

Here are a few.

Sketchnoting is a great way to help yourself pay attention, stay focused, and capture elements of a presentation or workshop that have the most meaning for you!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Sketchkon Sketches #5--Lawlor and Reim Workshop #3

Continuing with sketches from the Urban Sketching Boot Camp workshop I did at Sketchkon last November...

We sat in a garden and produced multiple sketches, focusing entirely on mark-making and texture.

This was fascinating and hard work for me.  I am not someone who enjoys making tons of tiny marks.  I know loads of people find it meditative and relaxing, but I always catch myself wanting to get on with the next thing.  There just seems always to be so much more to capture.

One of the last things we did in this workshop was go to the entry of the hotel and draw people.  We were assigned to do five people, full body, in motion, in fifteen minutes.  Thanks to all the practice I've had in Roz Stendahl's classes and in drawing at soccer games, I was able to sketch many more.  Plus, they move so fast.... I don't know how anyone could spend three minutes drawing someone in motion!

What a great day!  We were all exhausted and exhilarated at the end. 

If I ever had a chance to do a workshop with either of these teachers again, I would!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Sketchkon Sketches #4 -- Lawlor and Reim Workshop Part 2

Continuing with sketches from my full day Urban Sketching Boot Camp workshop with Veronica Lawlor and Melanie Reim...

After drawing 20 thumbnails in 20 minutes, we chose three of those thumbnails to explore further.  In each thumbnail we had to identify three specific objects.  Then we had to do a variation on each thumbnail moving each object through foreground, middleground, and background.  

I sort of screwed it up in the first example, but in the last one you can see I finally got the hang of it, with the person, the tree and the wall occupying different picture planes. 

This was, for me, a mind-bending exercise.  I LOVED IT.

A bit later we walked to a church and our assignment was to draw it in several ways, thinking about depicting emotional content.  How does this building--and all it signifies for you in your life--make you feel?

That was fun and really tapped into my storytelling impulses.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Sketchkon Sketches #3-- Lawlor and Reim Workshop Part 1

As part of Sketchkon, I signed up for a full day workshop with two of my sketching heroes, Veronica Lawlor and Melanie Reim.  We drew for hours in this Urban Sketching Boot Camp.

We started by learning about and practicing quick thumbnails.  We had to sketch twenty in twenty minutes.

What a great exercise for exploring ideas and space.  Twenty in twenty minutes meant you had to keep looking always for the next idea.  I'd be in the middle of drawing one and thinking about what would be next!  And you couldn't stop to criticize.  And you couldn't even attempt to draw more than just basic basic shapes because you didn't have time.  

Bonus:  what a great exercise to help you BE IN A MOMENT and in a space.  You pay such close attention to where you are when doing this.  It imprints the whole scene deeply into memory.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

SketchKon Sketches #2

Travel from Detroit to Los Angeles.  

I confess I did not sketch on the plane.  I watched movies instead.  And napped.  Big days coming up!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Celebrating Goodness from 2017

On this happy New Year's Day, I want to start a series of posts sharing my sketches from one of the many great goodnesses of 2017:  SketchKon!!

SketchKon was a sketching "konvention" held by the folks who run Sketchbook Skool.  I've posted many times about what an amazing impact that program has had on my life!

I got to attend the workshops in Pasadena, California last November and I learned and experienced more than these will show.  

Packing art supplies was, of course, the hardest part!