September 2021 Sketchbook

More lost days, then a little Bob Ross inspiration. Since I’m really keen to learn how to paint landscapes, I decided to try Bob Ross in watercolor. I learned a lot about how different oil paints are from watercolor! Ha!

Then a second attempt. Yep, I need a whole different set of techniques than Bob used!

These four were also my first “sequence of pages’ designed as a set for my Sketchbook design class.

I had a variety of subjects I knew I wanted in this sequence, including large landscapes, clothing sketches, and open line drawings. Originally I was going to group the clothes on one page, and the line drawings on another, since they were the same, but after this lesson I realized that it would flow so much better as a sequence of spreads if I broke the subjects up. So I therefore definitely needed a second large, contained landscape to complete the sequence.

I love it now! These pages seem to now tell a story in a much better way than they would have had I gone with my first method!

Additionally, I used the same date stamp and weather temperature as a unifying marker through the pages. I probably could have done more with headings or text, maybe even a color block with the clothes, though I do like the airy open white space I have. It is a nice contrast to the fully painted landscape pages.

I certainly learned a whole lot doing this! Now I just need to practice a lot more so it gets faster! Though all told, I think all four spreads took me about three or four hours in total, so really that’s not too bad at all.

Wrapping up September with a landscape of Piestewa Peak that I’m very, very pleased with. I even love the outrageous amount of white space!

Lockdown Blues

How long has it been since I scanned and posted? Since I sketched? I don’t even know. Far too long! In fact, I’m even going to cheat and post date an entry or two! So here is the rest of August, in my sketchbook, such as it was.

The landscape is a view from the television show Alone, and is of Chilko lake in Canada. The aquarium sketch is from a photograph. I was aiming for having lots of white space, which I certainly achieved. I’m thinking the page needed a little bit more variety, though. I’m thinking of these things, since I am taking Liz Steel’s Sketching Now Sketchbook Design course.

And thusly passed August, in my sketchbook.

Sketch Kit and Color Blocks

Things are moving a bit slow around here this past week. I’m back to a tighter lockdown situation as COVID-19 cases are on the rise and I’m in an “extreme high risk” area. I have lots of unfinished pages but a few finished ones.

Some random sketches and collage, little bits and pieces from my days. My current sketchbook is the Stillman and Birn Alpha softcover 8×10″ so that’s what I sketched for my assignment in Sketchbook Design.

I do love the Alpha books, they are great for pen and ink, and watercolor. I’ve never had a page bleed, no matter how wet I get it. But I do begin to wonder if some of the wet in wet techniques I’m seeming to want to achieve need a paper with some cotton content? I will have to experiment in the future, but for now this is the sketchbook I have, so this is the very best sketchbook! (The best sketchbook is the one you have with you. Ha!)

Continuing on, I sketched the most basic version of my current sketch kit. I haven’t really settled on which pens, or which brushes, so when in doubt I reach for the pocket brushes, my Lamy pens, and my current watercolor palette. The bag is the amazing Walkit bag, which is fantastic, with many loops for pens. I’m currently carrying too many pens! Really. I am.

I haven’t done a food sketch in a very long time, and I just had to document this delicious pesto pasta I had!

Hmmm, could that food sketch layout be improved with a border? Class has me thinking these things!

Speaking of class, did someone say color blocks? I was documenting the mix of things I had been researching that day, and decided to jazz up what would be fairly basic line diagrams and descriptions with some color blocks. I used washi tape to make crisp edges, and aimed to make these have a parchment look by using Daniel Smith’s Goethite watercolor. Apparently I should really learn to sketch larger since I ended up with a lot of unused color blocks. I thought about sketching in them a few random things, but in the end I’m moving on. The unfilled blocks tell even more the story of the day (and the week) than filling them in! Besides, it also celebrates how great that parchment effect was, and I’m pretty pleased about that!

Sketchbook Design is back

Sketchbook Design class by Liz Steel is back and I’m so excited! I find it so much easier to actually get my sketching into a habit and routine when I know or can build on the fly better sketchbook pages!

My first two intro lessons for the week, and a little collage since I’m currently obsessed with sunflowers. I painted some live sunflowers I have in a vase, too. Its my flower of the season!

Time to get back to class and see if I can bang out the next Intro lesson! Sketching my kit for the class, I always love sketching my art supplies!

Getting My Sketch Mojo Back

Time to get my sketching mojo back, and dust off the sketchbook. (And let go of my negative self-judgment about dropping the ball.) What better way to get back to it than to dive in with something colorful! There is little more colorful than Aloha Shirts!

I bought an alphabet stamp set for my dates. I got this Vintage Type set from Hobby Lobby. I’m snuck off to visit some chipmunks at Piestewa Peak, so had to sketch the little guy.

I am experimenting with drawing nibs, so here was a bit of a test and capturing my research. I got a set, and found myself wondering what are the differences in these nibs? Note to self: practice drawing nibs, they are surprisingly difficult!

My new pants arrived, and that green was so not even close to the right shade, so obviously I had to do some experiments in color matching. Never did quite achieve the right shade, but I did manage to color match that Pumpkin stamp ink! The resulting color blocks, which I really just did one square at a time, with no plan, as I was mixing in my palette, ended being surprisingly pretty.

This page could probably use a frame around those pants to pull it together? It sure does feel so good to be sketching again!

Collage page to document my other new obsession, Junk Journals! I made this gorgeous Dragon Destiny journal, designed by Vectoria Designs. Obviously something I loved doing so much had to be included in my sketchbook, and what better way than to collage some of my favorite images?

Sketchbook Design class by Liz Steel Sketching Now is starting next week and I’m so very excited! I’m eager to get into a daily habit of sketching, and really working on ways to pull my pages together. I find I sketch more when I have an idea how to put it on the page. I’m going to leave the next few spreads unfinished in preparation for class, so I may end up posting out of order for a bit. What fun I will be having in this class!

Early Summer

May, June, and July had very little sketching.

This was an attempt to paint water and trees. Oh did it fail hard!

Collage page with wine labels.

More collage and some pen sketches. I do love the TWSBI pens!

POV Sketch, Bougainvillea, and more

April, not much sketching happened, but some…

My second clutter sketch, and my first sketch using the POV method. Inspired by Stephen Reddy and Paul Heston for this one. I did sketch over a photograph on my iPad in Procreate in order to teach myself what kind of lines and drawing is needed to achieve this. I am happy with my efforts, and I refuse to consider it cheating. It captured the essence of the times so well, I can only love it.

The bougainvillea in my backyard really is giving a most beautiful display this year! Stunning blooms. I love how this direct watercolor approach captured the fullness and richness of those pink blossoms. The whole thing inspired me to splash, and I went a little crazy, but Loved it! I got a visit from a pair of Gimbol quail so I snapped a photo and sketched them! This spread gives me such joy!

A half done page that now becomes testament to what was really going on, by virtue of white space and the voids created by where things fade.

The last bits and pieces of April. That Beltane design is by Amy Cesari. Here ends my volume 3 sketchbook.

Guano Happens!

Time Team & Montezuma’s Castle

Foundations lessons, and inspiration from Time Team!

I fell in love with those medieval maps! Need to find a way to learn how to do that! I copied this one from the screen!

I was too overwhelmed to sketch Montezuma’s Castle while on location, so sketched this from a photograph. Clearly I need more practice, as I did not get the results I was looking for from this sketch. Worse, I don’t know why or how. At least I’ve grown enough to realize now that this means I am lacking some sort of knowledge that can be learned, and practiced.

More sketching from television here. I have discovered with this sketch that my paper really does not do the wet in wet techniques I was attempting. Did not work! Do I need to change my paper? That said, I heart this sketch because I love the subject so much, and I do love learning, even when the results don’t work out, they teach me.

Foundations Begins

Once again I’m starting Liz Steel’s Sketching Now Foundations course. It’s getting embarrassing how often I begin but never start! However, I always learn something, even when my participation is a bit disappointing. Hopefully this time will be better and I’ll actually do the whole course?

I must note, I am challenged to finish because of my own distractions, because I absolutely love the class!

I get better each time when I do the exercises again! Since I took her Sketchbook Design course, I’m even better at making full pages that look pretty in terms of design, even when it is fairly random things!

As sketched recently, my palette was nearly empty, so I decided to put together a new palette for this course and work some mixing magic. This palette is based almost entirely on Jane Blundell’s book, The Ultimate Mixing Palette.

A number of these pigments are new to me, particularly the Phthalo shades. Of course this means playing with them!

That cupcake was supposed to be a light mint color. Got a bit heavy handed though, didn’t I? Greens! They are my challenge, and I love them so much!

I decided to just mix my class exercises right in with my regular every day sketching, and I find I really like it. Capturing memories is my ultimate goal.