Roz’s 2018 Minnesota State Fair Journal

December 24, 2018

Today’s gallery contains all the pages of my 2018 Minnesota State Fair Journal. This year I was able to attend on three days. There are sections indicating the start of each new day, and stating which day was the sketch out (I could only attend one of the sketch out days).

I worked on 300 lb. Fabriano Artistico Hot Press Watercolor paper that I cut down into 8 x 11 inch cards. That was a good size, and the paper is very lovely to work on.

I think other things about the Fair can be determined by reading the notes on the pages. You’ll find, for instance, that my friend Terri is a lucky charm when it comes to hens laying eggs. You’ll find comments by kids to me, and so on.

In these images you’ll also see the color palette that I took (Schmincke Pan Watercolors) and the test papers that I tried. Pens that I used were typically noted on the pages and if there is no note on a page it simply means I continued to work with the same pen from the previous card, or last mention of a pen.

When I was at SketchKon in November I was on a panel about themes. I was asked about my theme work around the Minnesota State Fair. I invited all 500 or so attendees to come to the 2019 MN State Fair Sketch Out. (It will be in August and I’ll post here as soon as I know the date but it will likely be the first Saturday after the opening day, if you want to plan ahead—at any rate I already know I’m going on that day.)

I hope everyone listening to the panel shows up. I hope everyone reading this shows up. I know we’ll all have a great time sketching at the Fair!

Using the Gallery

In the gallery below you can

  1. Click through it as you see it appearing on this page using the arrows below the image,
  2. OR you can click on the first image and the gallery will blow up into a different format. Note, if you click on the first image you have to click a second time on the black background to have the full gallery appear below the main image as a thumbnail list.

I recommend option 2.

When the gallery blows up you’ll see the largest image version of each slide. Additionally at the bottom left you will see an arrow you can hit to play the gallery as a slide show (I’d skip that); an “i” which if you click will give you captions (I recommend this) and a speech bubble. (The last is for leaving comments.)

There will also be a row of thumbnail images at the bottom that you can navigate with. If you click on the first image, you’ll need to click on the black background that appears, before you get the whole gallery list to appear below. Explore.

NOTE: update 12.26.18—Dick just told me that when he clicks on the image and gets the enlarged image and then clicks on the side arrow he goes to a like to my 2014 MN State Fair flip through. I have no idea why that happens. There’s a glitch somewhere as there isn’t even a link to that post, though it’s mentioned below in the comments section. 

You will need to follow either step one and see the small images, or follow step 2 COMPLETELY (see above) to get through the full gallery for 2018. Sorry this is confusing, but if you do all the steps in item two it works. 

Some of my Minnesota State Fair Sketches have made it onto or will be added to my Instagram account but they are cropped because of the square format there. That offers a different look at what I was doing on any given day.

A Note About My Paints for this Event

I took a squarish Schmincke metal palette box that I had adapted to fit 4 rows of seven half pans. One of my students came up with this method of adaptation and I like it much better than my earlier adaptation approaches—though it does involve some use of tools. 

One thing you’ll notice about my palette (I include both a color chart and a view of the physical palette in the gallery below) is that I seem to have two orange pans. These are vastly different. Saturn Red and Transparent Orange. They might look similar when they are in the pan, but on paper they are different. I mention this because you might not want to try another orange. Saturn Red, however is great for a one-hit coat on most caucasian skin, and useful for the glowing undertones on darker skin tones, so a very useful addition, without the insistent vividness of the transparent orange. (The latter works great with Phthalo Turquoise if you have some turkeys to paint!) 

If you want to see me make a case for Saturn Red here’s a direct link to Day 24 of my 2018 International Fake Journal page in the project gallery. That’s Saturn orange with a little bit of Burnt Sienna and Yellow Ochre in some areas. For this direct brush sketch I started with the yellow ochre to lay in the basic form, built up the orange, and then added some burnt sienna in the darker areas. I love Saturn Red!

At the time I was using the palette selection I took to the Fair I was still working out which browns I wanted to keep. It has been a busy fall and I’m not really closer to deciding. All have a their usage points when mixed with various blues while sketching animals. 

But speaking of blue, Schmincke’s Cobalt Azure (PB35) is a wonderful color that granulates when it settles—alone or mixed with other colors it’s just a delight to work with.  It has knocked Daniel Smith’s Cobalt Teal off almost all my palettes because it is more blue than greenish. I love it so much.

Journal Title Page

Image 1 of 49

    • Sharon Roy
    • December 24, 2018

    Thanks for shring your sketchbook from the fair. It was fascinating to see your processes, the materials used—-and of course your sketches. I especially liked your documentation of your conversation with the little girl who “colors” and your stance that the sketch/paintung is “done” when YOU say it is.

    1. Reply

      So glad you enjoyed the Fair Journal. I try when interacting with kids when I’m out drawing to be a good role model, so it was important to me to encourage her to work outside the lines. I know some parents think I’m subversive.

    • Christine A Fitzgerald
    • December 24, 2018

    OK, looking at this journal relieves my anxiety on a bunch of fronts. First, you have lots of simple warm up pages. Whew! Next you really do vignettes of most of the animals. I realize that I was expecting to draw whole animals consistently and got waay ambitious. You are still exploring various body parts and doing little portraits. And lastly, you are still wrestling with your palette set up. Ok I feel so much better. I have been going to the Houston Livestock Show in February every year for a bunch of years now, mostly inspired by your State Fair trips. I think I can relax and enjoy the next one a lot more.

    1. Reply

      I’m glad the journal relieved your anxiety.

      Remember you get to set your level of expectation. I go with the expectation that I will get as many sketches as I can in the 9 hours each day that I’m there. So it’s a marathon of constant sketching. And also go with the expectation that I’m going to try different things, different angles, different pens, or whatever. Every time I go to the Fair or some sort of event I take stock of my goals before I go—decide what paper to use based on what those goals are, and take it from there.

      Some years I’ve taken loose cards and tried to do mostly finished 9 x 12 inch paintings, but even when I do that I still have warm up pages.

      For me the warm up pages are the most fun.

      Making a “pretty” book isn’t something that has interested me ever. For me I want to experiment and have fun, and I encourage other people to do that as well, because it’s simply more productive. As you finish one page you can move right on to the next.

      For other people the goal might be to do a very finished painting and then enjoy Fair activities and not paint the rest of the day. I don’t have patience with that.

      If your expectation is that you draw whole animals consistently ask yourself why you’re setting that as your expectation.

      I remember one year I set an expectation that I focus on the area of the bird where the beak and the feathers of the face join together. Something so crucial, but also small on the face. So if I were doing lots of full body drawings the time I could spend drawing the feature that I want to focus on would be very minimal.

      Some people let their internal critic tell them that if the don’t do full finished paintings they have failed, but that’s not what journaling is about for me. It’s time to work and understand something. And that makes it very enjoyable.

      Take a moment before you go to a fair next to read my round up of State Fair articles that talk about setting yourself up for success. The links are here

      And there is this year when I did a book and large cards, and also I don’t remember if this post was on the round up list at all but it’s about having a plan but staying flexible

      Remember always—you get to draw what interests you! If the whole animal and a scene interests you, draw it. But if your goals are set on something else, go for that. It’s true whether you are going to the Fair or just sketching around town. Have fun.

      And don’t forget to note down what you over hear. Sometimes that’s more fun than what you draw!

      postscript: here’s a video flip through of another journal from 4 trips to the Fair. It might relieve your anxiety even more

    • Siver Black
    • December 25, 2018

    Great stuff! I especially like the pig on page 4, how he is materializing down into the page and your entire process is visible. And the pigeon with the punch of green in his collar is wonderful.

    1. Reply

      Thanks so much! I really glad you like that pig too. I can’t wait until next year! Thanks for stopping by.

    • TedB
    • December 26, 2018

    Roz, these are all really great and a total pleasure to browse through. It is so refreshing and uplifting to see your beautiful sketches of real birds, animals, and people on your blog again.

    1. Reply

      Thanks Ted. Seeing it reminds me how much fun I have going out to the Fair. Lately all my in public sketches have been people in waiting rooms. I’m hoping to get to the zoo this weekend.

    • Sheryl pond
    • December 27, 2018

    Roz, your rooster winked at me and your sheep made me laugh! Your animals have lots of character and your compositions are pleasing. I wish I could have gone. I carry a small backpack but have learned the fanny pack more practical in a crowd as you have to put backpack down to get stuff. It would be great to have a Sherpa!
    Wonderful class at Sketchkon and you are such a good teacher. Thank you

    1. Reply

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the sketcher Sheryl. Come to the MN State Fair Sketch Out in 2019! It’s always fun. All you need to bring is a pamphlet book (or two) (I’ve got a free glass for making pamphlet books on my classes page and it’s open anytime you want to join); a palette, a Niji water brush, and a pen.

      Not much to carry at all! Read some of the posts I list on this round up post

      I have posts on how to pack light and so on for the Fair.

      Fanny packs are the best. There is no pulling on the shoulders when you are trying to draw. I don’t know what I’d do without mine! Sherpas (or minions which is what I’m always hoping for) would be wonderful. I’m so glad that you enjoyed the class at Sketchkon and I hope you have been sketching up a storm every since!

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