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In Context: Not the Time To Explain a Vignette

As an artist, you know whether it’s the right time to introduce the concept of “vignettes” or not. Pick your battles.

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Looking Back at InkTober 2018

I frequently work for days and weeks at a time in ink only. I have an early, childhood love of dip pens and inky fingers. I love working with the brush pen directly, and taking chances with bold brush lines.  This year I was also getting ready to go to a sketching conference and wanted […]

Detail of the eye area. Dry strokes of paint stumbled over the top of dry lower layers take texture from the paper and create a fun broken-color effect that helps mimic the texture on a chicken's face.

Everyone Needs a Side Project

A few weeks ago my friend Danny Gregory called me up to discuss my thoughts about projects. Most readers know my Daily Dots—daily drawings of my Alaskan Malamute bitch Dottie made the last 4 and a half years of her  life. But friends and students know that I’m always engaged in whatever the latest project […]

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Simple Approaches for Backgrounds—A Five-Part Series: Part 1

I was organizing my images for blog posts and noticed that I had a lot of common themes, some not as obvious.  What do the images in today’s post and those referenced (linked) all have in common? Well all but one have backgrounds painted AFTER the sketch is made (and typically even after the sketch […]

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2018 Drawing Practice—Drawing Live Subjects in Public

 All my life, one of the most exciting, energizing, and simply fun experiences I’ve enjoyed has been while I’m sketching live animals. It doesn’t matter if I’m at home with a dog visitor (we don’t have live in models any more) or out and about in the field checking out wild turkeys or walking around […]

Pentel Brush Pen and gouache sketch on a pre-painting background. (Hand•Book Watercolor Journal.)

Textures 2018 Class Registration Closes February 3: Why Use Textures?

I am offering my “Textures: Backgrounds for Visual Journaling and Mixed Media” online again this year. The 2018 class begins on February 3. There are 6 weeks of lessons in which students work through the process of creating backgrounds for their artwork. I share my favorite materials and approaches and provide detailed information on on […]

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Sometimes Technology Is Fun: The Last Half of 2017 on Sktchy

  Above: A short video slide show of the ortraits I made during the second half of 2017 while working with the Sktchy App. If it doesn’t show up here, you can view it on YouTube at this link. 2017 was a horrible year for me and technology. I had a scanner that didn’t work. […]

Working on a toned background.

In Context—Just Draw

In the “In-Context Series” I promised I wouldn’t write a whole lot of text. Just let the page spread stand for itself, but sometimes I feel the need to say a little more, and include a detail image. This type of spread is what you often see in my journals: a prepainted page with a […]

A full spread sketch in the largest Hahnemühle Nostalgie sketchbook. I used a Bienfang Magenta watercolor brush pend to start and did the comb and wattles and area around the eye. A little different approach for me because I usually start with the eye. Then I decided to paint some of the features, add color to the background, and also add some stenciling detail to the background.

When Do You Stop? When Is A Drawing Finished

I think the number one question I get from students is: “When do I know my drawing is finished?” Most people aren’t going to like the answer. You’ll know after you’ve taken a ton of sketches past the point of no return. Here’s the thing, you’re asking a question that involves choices both stylistic choices […]

In Context—I’ll Sketch On Any Bit of Paper

I suppose you could call it a doodle, but I think of it as a sketch. It isn’t in my journal, it’s in my day planner, which sits beside me on the computer table. One of my students alerted me to a new Peregrine nest cam and I turned it on. I grabbed what was […]

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