Currently Browsing: Birds

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 […]

My friend Terri Wentzka took this photo of me as I sketched a turkey at the Fair, using my portable "table." The entire table is attached to a monopod. The brush holder is in the top right corner of the table.

Making a Simple Brush Holder for Your Travel Brushes

This year at the Fair I wanted to use real brushes with water, not water brushes, when painting.  Since I stand when I sketch it meant I had to have a way to put all my supplies and journal on one work surface. Dick and I made up a prototype “travel table” using plastic corrugated […]

This is the first sketch on the gray paper I did this day. I started with red pencil, but abandoned it because I didn't like the red on the paper. I went instead to the Pentel Brush pen.

Summer Chicken Sketch Out with Metro Sketchers

Earlier this summer a local Minneapolis couple who keep chickens invited Metro Sketchers over to their home—they have 6 chickens! Sketchers filled the yard on fold out and lawn chairs while the chickens weaved in and about nibbling on cracked corn sprinkled on the grass. One chicken decided that my wash water (which didn’t have […]

Chicken sketch in pen and watercolor on a 9 x 12 inch watercolor board, made in the Poulty Barn in 2016.

The Great Minnesota State Fair Sketch Together Is Almost Here!

The name has changed slightly but don’t be confused, the best sketch out of the year still offers the same great fun—two sketch out days to choose from (attend them both if you can); four fun meetings to attend and meet other sketchers, and a whole world of live subjects to sketch and interesting buildings […]

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In Context: Warm-Ups Matter

The rest of this month and through the first weeks of August I’ll be working with bookbinding students so I’ve got some short “summer reading” posts coming up. Later I’ll have some product reviews, tips posts, and of course some Minnesota State Fair Prep! SaveSaveSaveSave SaveSave SaveSave

My gouache start was obviously going nowhere, there was too much drag. I moved on to color pencil.

Review of Strathmore’s Vision Watercolor Paper

One thing you have to remember when testing paper is that less expensive papers aren’t going to do all the things that you want them to do. It’s a matter of trade offs. Is it essential that your favorite pen work on a paper, or that you can add watercolor washes, or use color pencil? […]

Day 1: Rituals

Wrapping Up My 2017 International Fake Journal

Today I’ve got a gallery of images created in April for 2017 International Fake Journal Month. (Don’t know what IFJM is? Or what fake journal is? Click on the link.) This year’s journal was a loose sheet journal. All the sketch pages were 6-3/16 x 9.25 inches. In keeping with my goal of using what I […]

Mixed media sketch (8.5 x 11 approx. on Nostalgie) using brush pen and green Uni Posca marker, followed by acrylic paint markers, watercolor, and color pencil. There's a little bit of pink gel pen in some areas, but it wasn't showing up so I went in search of other tools; oh, and a bit of red-china marker.

How Do We Pick The Subjects For Our Art?

  My childhood was spent in many places, amidst many cultures. Something I always found, wherever I was—birds. It didn’t matter if we were in Switzerland and it was pigeons on the city window sill, in a Fijian village where chickens were scratching for survival, or an animal sanctuary where Emus had perfected the ninja […]

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