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Scavenging for Graphics: Ballpark Graphics

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Profile: David Steinlicht—Crop Art Time

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Illustrating Birds—A Video, and More

My friend Karen feeds my love of birds with new information all the time. This time she may have outdone herself. She sent me a link to the NestWatch program at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. If you go to this link (and you should do so right now) you will find information on the […]

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The Best Compliment You Can Give a Bookbinder—and Yourself

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Above: plein air watercolor and gouache landscape ©2008 Diane Wesman, created in a 4 x 3 inch (approx.) journal made with Strathmore Aquarius II 80 lb. watercolor paper. Sketch made with a black Uniball pen.

As a bookbinder one of the saddest things to see is a series of blank books on someone's shelf. The books' mass represents acquisitiveness, lost opportunities, stalled creativity, postponed engagement in the world and a hundred other sad things. It's frustrating to see. It's one of the reasons I started teaching journaling. I was very sneaky about it—I would have everyone make a book using paper I knew was perfect for the process I was teaching. Then, perfectly timed, when the books were completed we would USE THEM. No one went home without working in their book.

Another Quick Note on Stan Fellows

My friend Terry Garrett wrote to me today to talk about the book I mentioned yesterday—The Cuckoo's Haiku. Well he actually had gone to Stan Fellows' blog! I'm sure many other readers here did so also, but if you didn't, well I'm sorry I didn't put a link to his blog site (just one to […]

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Mining Sketchbooks for Inspiration (Again)

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Above: This is a cropped portion from a page spread I did during the recent SketchCrawl. The bottom right hand corner is the penguin sketch I'm interested in. It was the last penguin sketch of the day and the most successful, and I was sad that I'd run out of space on the spread, but the sketch was to have life in another way too. This sketch was made with a Staedtler Pigment Liner and Schmincke gouache, in a journal I made with Nideggen paper. Read about it below. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

Regular visitors to the blog will remember that for SketchCrawl on the 11th I went with a group of sketchers to the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. (If you would like to see all my pages from this SketchCrawl they are posted at Twin Cities Sketchers.) I focused on the animals, which is typical for me. The above image is a sketch I made while at the zoo. There was one very sick looking penguin and he was standing still, so I sketched him.

090411BPuffPen Left: the entire page spread can be viewed by clicking on this image. The journal is approximately 6.5 x 9 inches. The top half of the page spread was used for puffin sketches. I then moved on to look at the pengiuns and those sketches are on the bottom portion of the spread beneath the dashed line.

When I am out sketching at the zoo I'm not worried about trying to get a finished painting of an animal or bird, I'm just trying to notice things about whatever it is that I'm sketching. I believe that everything I notice will be useful to me later when I try to make paintings of any of the animals or birds. I didn't have any plans to do a painting of a penguin anytime soon, but that very day these sketches were useful to me when it came time to do the next entry for my International Fake Journal Month journal.

Maira Kalman’s Inauguration Images

I didn't get home in time to finish my next "episode" in eraser carving. But what met me when I got on line was a message from my friend Karen who is a prolific reader and finder of stuff, telling me of the illustrations by Maira Kalman related to the recent presidential inauguration.

Many people will know her work from illustrations in magazines and books. Others might know her from her book Principles of Uncertainty, which is presented as a visual journal.

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How to Make an Eraser Carving—Part 1: Selecting an Image

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Right: Dottie, carved January 1, 2009 from an August 1, 2000 drawing. Staedtler MasterCarve, 4 x 6 inches. Printed on Folio paper (the old Folio paper, from before 2000). Click on the image to view an enlargment.

Every New Year’s Day I make an eraser carving. For the past several years I’ve made a carving from one of my life-drawings of my Alaskan Malamute bitch Dottie. A daily drawing project, Daily Dots, left me with additional resource material even though Dottie died in 2006. The image at the right is this year's New Year's Day Carving.

When I first posted about this practice on December 31, 2008 I received a number of queries about what tools and materials I used to make my carvings. Today I’m starting a five-part series about eraser carving (many of the same techniques apply to linoleum block prints). This series will appear over the next two weeks or so.

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Artists Mining Their Sketchbooks for Inspiration

JanBeaneyLeft: Book 16 in the stitch and embroidery series of Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn. (image ©Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn) Click on the image to see an enlargement.  

I love looking at the sketchbooks and journals of other artists. I enjoy seeing how their art materials choices make differences in their art. I always learn something from their use of the page, page spread, or negative space. I am curious to see how some artists go totally visual and others lay on the words. Pattern, color, texture (of collage) all draws me in. I have a sense that I am watching the artist work his way to a conclusion in a very personal dialog. I am intrigued by process.

Attraction to this material causes me to seek out sketchbook facsimilies and other published records. I was thrilled to find the fabric artists Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn.

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The Drawing Club in Los Angeles: Costumed Models

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Left: Cruela DeVille ©2008 Justine Limpus Parish. This is a recent drawing from a Drawing Club session, made by fashion illustrator and author of Drawing the Fashion Body, Ms. Parish. Click the image to see an enlargement.

I think figure drawing is an important component of drawing practice, but in L.A. “The Drawing Club” provides an arguably more essential drawing situation: clothed life models. (I mean, really, it has been a long time since I was asked to draw a naked person in a work-related situation, but clothed figures, that’s something different.)

Anyone interested in figurative drawing should take a look at this site. After each themed drawing session (where the model might be dressed as a pirate, Santa, or a fictional or cartoon character like Cruela DeVille) the artwork from attending artists is posted on the blog. (To see past sessions scroll down on the blog page until you get to the bottom of the right-hand column where the Archives are listed).

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