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Limited Choices Lead to Successful Projects

  After my post last week about doing creative projects many people wrote in to tell me that they were inspired to start a project. One accomplished artist wrote in to ask advice: Just looking for advice. After listening to the podcast on projects I’ve decided to take up the challenge. Over the years I’ve […]

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 […]

I  find that even a quick sketch of dogs will bring me out of a funk and get me back to focusing on actions I can take to turn things around. Dogs are about living in the present moment. If we can't live with them (and currently I don't have dogs) we can still remember and learn from them as we draw them. (These are two lovely dogs on Sktchy.)

Project Friday: How To Deal with Crappy Days in Your Visual Journal

Here’s a question I’m asked frequently: How do you deal with crappy days in your journal? Not long ago a student explained to me that when she kept a written journal she would often write about the stress and frustration in that journal, but then never look back at it.  She felt that her visual […]

Pen and watercolor sketch, with acrylic marker background, done over a note Dick left me, which I'd previously stuck in my journal.

At Least I Wasn’t Abducted By Aliens: Keeping Your Sense of Humor and Productivity

Note: This blog post was originally set to run during the second week of January but technical issues with the blog delayed it. This version was edited for publication today. Anyone who bothered to stop by or call me from October through January this year knew things were tough. I was beyond grumpy because of […]

Letting Things Go, Even in the Pursuit of Goals: The Little Journal That Got Away

Note: This post was originally scheduled to run at the end of December 2017. Due to technical issues with the blog I’m just getting to it now. If you read my blog you’ll know that I keep track of the number of pages that I create each year. I do this because it is a […]

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 […]

This quick brush pen sketch with an acrylic marker background allowed me to assess a new type of illustration board in under 5 minutes. (6 x 9 inches)

Two Reasons to Work in a Series

Background Information You Should Know Yes, I have a collection of plastic dinosaurs. They are scale replicas. Yes they are technically toys but did I mention they are scale replicas. If you’ve taken any drawing class from me you’ll have heard me talk about these subjects—still life subjects who are great stand ins for live […]

Quick sketches of some Bosc Pears with a Pentel dye-based brush pen. A Niji water brush was used to draw out the shading from the water-soluble ink lines. (All in the largest portrait Hahnemühle Nostalgie Sketchbook—the paper is a dream to work on with the PPBP and its cousins.)

What Do You Have on Hand?

It has been hectic here lately. I notice I’ve been getting grumpy. It’s not because I’m busy. I love being busy. It’s because I miss the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen (and the Pentel Colorbrush Pen cousins). All my projects involve other media right now. They leave little time in the day for my tired eyes to […]

9 x 12 inch Kilimanjaro Watercolor paper journal page. Brush pen and watercolor. The turkey was a yard visitor, the quotation was from a movie I was watching that night. Do they mean anything together? No, but I wanted to get the quotation down as I watched the movie. I knew I wanted to laugh and think about it some more. And I have.

Journaling Superstition #20: Your Text and Your Image Need to “Make Sense” Together

Students tell me all the time, “I can’t write in my journal, I don’t have anything profound to say.” Or they worry, “I don’t want to write on my pages because my handwriting is so bad.” Or they fret that, “What I’m thinking about right now and want to write about doesn’t have anything to […]

Pentel Brush Pen sketch on pre-painted Folio paper, with Schmincke Horadam Gouache. Handmade journal, approx. 8 inches square, turned on side so gutter runs horizontally.

Maintaining Momentum and Fun in Our Daily Practice

If we want to create a daily practice, whether it’s exercise, diet, thought, or art related, we need to make sure that we contain elements of fun in that practice. It’s those elements of fun which keep us coming back to the practice. And ultimately it’s the fun that we bring into our work that […]

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