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What I Did in the Pandemic: Thoughts

The page spread from 2020 is the post. That’s a sketch of a chef on one of the many cooking competition shows I watch. It’s simply fun to watch people create things.

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In Context: Beyond Likeness

I make a lot of notes about the blog posts I want to write. A couple days ago I drew this cat. One of my notes was sitting there on my desk.  Together they seem to say succinctly what I wanted to say about “why draw?” and the search for likeness in portraits. I’ll stop […]

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Direct Brush Sketching with Another Rigger/Liner Brush

Last month I did another rigger/liner brush test—sketching Rick Niece again. While I missed the likeness I had a ton of fun with the line and shapes I could make with the Silver Ruby Satin Scriptliner 2. This was, and looks like it will continue to be, my favorite, or one of my favorites going […]

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Breathing Room on the Page (or Page Spread)

One of the most important compositional tools you have in a visual journal or sketchbook is the breathing space on the page (or page spread).  The negative space around an image helps define the image through silhouette, and shape recognition. The space will help you correct angles and proportions when you go off—or— if you […]

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Let Yourself Push Your Sketch Marks Now and Then

OK, we can’t get the whites of the paper back when we are working in pen and ink (unless we resort to the X-acto blade, or ProWhite gouache), but it’s still a useful endeavor to keep pushing with the lines. I find that working with a dried out pen pushes me to be a little […]

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Embrace the Wonkiness

Too many of my students fuss and fuss over a wonky line, or worse, stop a sketch altogether because a likeness is lost. But I think there is great fun in diving in with a bold pen and feeling about for the features, one wonky line after the other. Finishing something leads to something else […]

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Giving Yourself Feedback

Recently on the blog I wrote about how it’s important to ask yourself questions in your journal. It’s also important to give yourself feedback in your journal. I find it useful when I’m making portrait studies to write short notes to myself about the angles that need correction, proportions, colors used and so on. I […]

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In Context—Books I’ve Been Reading

I’ve been downsizing my library, so I have been spending my free-time in the past year rereading books before I give them away. Here’s a character’s take on crime-novel reading. I have my own theories on the popularity of mysteries and crime fiction. And of course on my own readership of those genres. But hey, […]

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In Context—Another Peek at Pandemic Life

Pandemic life can’t help but pop up in your journal if you’re working from home. I’ve been sorting my images, all in little folders ready for blog posts. I have had some, like this one from 2020 set to go—but I don’t remember what the topic was to be.  Last week (2021) I  cooked a […]

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In Context—It’s All Grist for the Mind Mill

Ever since childhood I’ve been the type of journal keeper who has visual elements in amongst written elements. It doesn’t matter if it’s something that I hear on the street, or in this case on the TV. It doesn’t matter if it is something that I’m reading. Everything is fair game, and I get down […]

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