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In Context: Looking at the Arteza Watercolor Book Part 6

      This isn’t strictly an “In Context” post. I don’t have things written on these pages and I’m going to show more than one spread. But I’m keeping it in context because these are all from the Arteza Watercolor Book and all these posts together constitute my review of that commercially bound sketchbook. […]

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Pentel Pocket Brush Pen—New Ink Colors

Finally, at last, we’ve all wanted it for so long and now we get it—the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen can now be purchased with gray or sepia ink as well as black ink! These are Pentel’s hard-bodied pens, the fountain-pen type pen with a synthetic brush tip. (Some readers seem to be confused about which […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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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

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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Minnesota State Fair Journal Update

Left: This year at the Fair, at least on a few days, there were some birds. A big change from last year when bird flu hit and birds were banned from the Fair. The sad news is that the pigeon fancy took a huge hit. We were down from hundreds of entries to less than […]

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