21 Day Exercise: Third time around, still charming?


Well. I'm not going to fool myself into thinking that the 21 day sketch exercise will make it a real daily habit for me. Especially not on my third time around. But I do enjoy the jump start it gives to my projects, my sketching skills, and the blog. I believe this blog is now 6 years old, and I haven't had much passion for it in ages. I went in circles thinking of the 'pushes' I felt best about, and the 21 day exercise was one of them. So here we go again! Join me, if you will. Or just pop in to see what crops up.

This page was dedicated to character sketches for a picture book manuscript. I have a ways to go, so there might be another page of these girls tomorrow.

Happy doodling!

Open Studio: Jugs


A little gouache painting from an Open Studio night last week. I haven't attended this group for over 18 months (My son's age, coincidence?), remember these cherries? It's a really friendly and informal setting - all levels of artists seem to attend.

It was great to work out of my comfort zone. Literally, since I had to transport my supplies and paint at a cafe table - and creatively, since I never work from life.

I started with a more realistic, loose, sketch.


Then moved on to a quick thumbnail of a tighter, more stylized version of the jugs. I never got to adding '1 2 3', plus it seemed out of place once I painted everything else.

I also enjoyed talking with other artists and seeing so many different approaches.

NESCBWI Conference: Frank Dormer (Think Before you Draw)

I'll keep this brief, because we should all just be drawing.


The above is an illustration by Frank Dormer. His workshop at this year's NESCBWI conference put the work back in workshop. Entitled, 'Think before you draw', he posed a very simple phrase and objects and asked us to draw for just a few minutes. Then we shared. Simple, right? Nope. Oh, it was fun to stretch my brain and think of a way to show something with really tight parameters. What will everyone else draw? What is unexpected? How can scale and environment tell the story? How can I do this without drawing a face on my egg? Yes, you had to be there. And if ever you see a workshop available to you with Frank at the helm, do sign up! He was warm and observant and planted little seeds in all of us in how to look at things differently.

Want to hear more about the conference? I blogged about it here the other day. I'll blog about it here tomorrow too.

Germs, Part Deux


I had a little time to play today, and in keeping with my personal theme of the week, I continued with germs (sort of). I pulled together a bunch of items I wanted to experiment with on a new piece for a gallery show coming up. Kraft paper (acid-free, scrapbooking), Modge Podge, Pitt Pens, Micron Pigmas, gouache, colored pencil, patterned paper, etc.

I quickly learned that Modge Podge creates a lovely looking, but useless to layer ontop of surface. I'd love to find a way to incorporate it at some point but think it needs to move to the back of the bus for now.


I learned that I just love the Pitt Pen for handling itself well layered under or over gouache. I have a fine point sepia. I might need to look at the whole range to see what's available. Don't you love an excuse to buy art supplies, it's been AGES for me! I adore drawing little frames, and once I put this together I had a major A-HA moment and out popped 4 new ideas. Woo-hoo!

I really enjoy this kraft paper as a substrate. It's got just a bit more tooth than my hot-press, that lovely fleck and soft hue. Gouache does pretty well on top, and teamed up with colored pencils and Pitt Pen, and the ability to just glue down hot press - it's the winning combo for my project - stay tuned!

20 days later...


Wow, I'm terribly remiss in blogging. It's been 20 days since my last post. Tsk tsk! Here are some recent sketches. Nothing worthwhile. Just playing with a brush pen, etc. I liked the little onion-head girl so I played with her some more...


I have all these lofty goals floating around in my head, but if I can tether myself to the earth, perhaps I could just work on blogging twice a week? About whatever it is I'm up to, which changes daily really. I looked back at old blog posts yesterday and realize how much stronger my blog used to be when I was sharing a variety of things - events, shows, books, decorating, other illustrators, etc. I'm going to try to return to that. I'm guilty of beating myself up for not sketching/painting more, or failing at little goals (3 week challenge, hello?) so instead of dwelling in failure I'm just going to move forward. Isn't that what Mondays are for?

Oh, and my friend and critique group member Jen has started a great challenge that sounds about my speed these days - check it out.