Currently Browsing: Portraits

A pen sketch using a Faber Castell Pitt Calligraphy pen (black ink) on Lettra Ecru. That's an all cotton paper that can be purchased from Neenah, and some local print shops and suppliers. 9 x 11 inches. The pen was running out of ink. I love when that happens.

Moods and Momentum in Your Daily Drawing Practice

The sketch in today’s post is the first sketch I did on the day following my November 19, 2017 fall (torn tendons and ligaments, and small fracture in left foot). I think you can tell from the sketch exactly how high my frustration level is as I sit up with a pen, my foot in […]


Another Look at the Handbook Watercolor Journal

Things change over time. It’s a fact when you use art materials. Papers may be made for 400 years at a mill, but over your lifetime any paper you change will have subtle if not significant changes. The same is true for paints, and brushes. Some ingredients for paints might become scarce or no longer […]

A page spread from my Hahnemühle Watercolor journal that I tested. I'll be posting a review soon!

In Context: Notes, and Lists, and Sketches All Together

For today’s in context post I wanted to show you how when I need to make a note and work out which new pigments I want to buy and I’ve left my list at home, I simply sit down and work it out in the journal I’m using—even if it contains watercolor paper. Above you […]

A 4 x 7 inch watercolor painting on leftover book board that has been prepared with gesso.

Having Fun With Book Board Scraps

  In December I wrote, “Five Things To Do When You’ve Got Paper That’s Just Too Bad To Work With.”   In that post I wrote about gessoing over paper that you don’t enjoy working on so that you can still use the paper, but not feel limited by the paper in its manufactured state. […]


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. […]

My sketch of Dick when I was in the emergency. I can see by the line that it is less fluid than normal, stopping almost artificially and turning at various points in a way I don't usually do. Additional there are restatements that I've obviously zoned out in—making more and more marks in one area instead of balancing marks across the surface. And there are several places where I can see and remember I made marks even though I was telling myself, "Don't." I just couldn't hear myself through the pain.

Why Drawing Practice Matters and What Your Line Can Tell You

Readers of my blog know that I love observing my process. I can’t help myself. Even during emergencies. I think you can learn a lot about yourself and find ways to always sketch. On November 19 I fell in a friend’s foyer. I was rushing across the foyer to my fanny pack to change my […]

The large, about 9 x 11 inch Japanese Lined Journal that I love to sketch in with the Pentel Brush Pen and Acrylic Markers. Carl Too is standing around watching the paper dry.

What’s on the Table?—The Curl of the Paper

I just love working in my favorite Japanese Lined Journals from APICA. The paper loves the Pentel Brush Pen. Sometimes I work in gouache on this paper, but sometimes I leave the sketch as is and turn the page. Other times I put in an acrylic marker background. I used an orange 15mm wide Montana […]

Direct brush watercolor sketch on a 4 x 6 inch scrap of book board that was gessoed before sketching.

Five Things To Do When You’ve Got Paper That’s Just Too Bad To Work With

My recent series on Zeta paper in the Stillman & Birn sketchbooks generated a lot of mail about paper. I know a lot of people get part way into a journal, find they aren’t enjoying the paper and feel constrained about wasting the paper by simply jumping to a new journal. I think to stay […]

Staedtler Pigment Liner on a 3M Post-it Note™, collaged with painted paper, and expanded. A Piecemeal portrait.

In Context: A Piecemeal Portrait of a Dog

Sometimes when I don’t like the paper in a journal I’m working in (here a Zeta Smooth, heavyweight journal from Stillman & Birn) I will sketch on Post-it Notes™ Sometimes I save those bits of paper and make a piecemeal portrait. (See the category list for additional piecemeal portraits.) See my four part review on […]

Mixed media sketch on Zeta—Pentel Dye-based brush pen, water brush, watercolor, acrylic marker background and collage. On most smooth papers I've used the dye-based ink of this particular Pentel brush pen lifts off well and creates interesting effects. That wasn't the case on this paper. Lifting this water-soluble ink on this paper was problematic and even gentle attempts led to pilling of the surface.

Part Four: Working in the Smooth Zeta Soft-bound Journal from Stillman & Birn

Today is part four of a multi-part series on the Stillman & Birn (S&B) smooth surface Zeta journals. You can read part one here. This post deals with some mix-media approaches and some pros and cons I discovered about this paper. You can read part two here. In this post I write a bit  more […]

Close Cookmode