Sketchbook Revival: Day 9 Session 2


This was a wonderfully taught session by Barbara Baumann ( entitled “Drawing Dynamic Dancers with Ink and Watercolor”

Dynamic was the word of the day, and Barbara’s technique is all about dynamic and fast pencil marks, pen marks and playful color.

I didn’t nail a single part of the tutorial. Flamed out in glorious fashion.

“Nan, whhhhyyyyy would you share this with us???”

Because the true nature of the world and our experience on it involves a lot of failure. I’m not willing to share all my failures…I’m a bit sensitive about some of them. This one, though, is too bad not to be shared. It’s a clunker…a real dog…WOOF!

This tutorial has shown me an area I can work on to see if there is improvement. Barring an improvement in my technique, I will have gained a deeper understanding, appreciation, and respect for what artists like Barbara Baumann achieve.

Sketchbook Revival: Day 9 Session 1

This is a great loosening up exercise for anyone facing a blank page wondering what to draw.

Esté MacLeod’s “123…Let’s Draw Cats” starts with the numbers 1-9 on a piece of paper…with 3 and 8 written sideways.

Space them out cuz each number gets incorporated into a cat drawing. How? That’s up to you.

Please pardon my stitches…apparently, I’ve filled half my sketchbook already! That happened fast!

Sketchbook Revival – Day 3 Session 1

My drawing hand was soaked in molasses this morning. I was molasses in January sloooooowwww drawing this morning and Joy Ting is a firecracker fast artist.

Turtle meet hare and try to keep up. Yeah, the pause button was my friend in this session.

In other news, we are all familiar with the 101 uses for duct tape. Well, my friends, Joy introduced us to two new uses for Legos: template for outlining squares/rectangles of sooo many sizes, and paint brush rest/holder.

“When I step on a Lego walking through the living room, it becomes mine.” —Joy Ting (

We started out doing small exercises inside frames…really quickly…under a minute. Well, I paused and gave myself a bit more time. My hand just wouldn’t move, and she’d gone on to her second frame when I had just one leaf in the top frame. I wasn’t getting lost in the detail, I was just not yet fully in attendance.

No legos here, so my frames were created using the base of my watercolor jar to create very imperfect circles.

She provided a reference photo that had a HUGE arrangement of flowers of all types. Good stuff. for the smaller sketches she focused on pieces of the whole photo. Mixing and matching as she pleased.

Her technique is very loose and layered, building in color and some detail but not getting hung up on creating a purely representational drawing. Lots of different art supplies were deployed on the page.

My main drawing was done with a colored pencil (following her lead). Then I moved on to watercolors, then some watercolor pencils to add depth and richness. I diverged from her instruction at this point to use a white chalk pencil to add in some highlights because it all looked muddy to me. To give it a little definition, I added small pen marks here and there.

My Critique: The center needed a single robust bloom. I shouldn’t have tried to add a green background. Love the little red buds and the orange berries. Love the unbalanced leaf arrangement, and it would have worked so much better with that solid center bloom.

In a happy coincidence, a close friend is celebrating her birthday today, so I added a bit of text and sent it to her. Kismet.

Looking at it again, I think I would have started with a watercolor wash (very light) on the page before I started sketching the flowers. Maybe leave a few white holes for the major bloom locations. Hmmm…

Sketchbook Revival – Day 1 Session 1

The 1st session was with Courtney Cerruti. The title—Sketchbook Play: Exercises to Ignite your Creative Practice. We started with watercolor blending fun. I had some fun colors to start with in my palette, and with a little tweaking they filled the page nicely.
The second part of the process was working with a dip pen to doodle and draw in the shapes. I found myself outlining quite a bit. I used two different inks—the blue acrylic ink and a walnut ink.
I don’t work with a round brush very often. In my hand and on the page it feels very out of my control—perfect for this exercise though.
I really like the feeling of the dip pen scraping spikes of motion out of the blobs of ink on the page. To make these thick drops, I flipped the pen nib over and wiped the pen on the page.

The photo above showed me something I’d never seen before—the acrylic ink shows the scrapes in white from the drop area, not so with the walnut ink. That nugget of information is filed away in the gray matter.
The hat was intentional. When I pulled back from the page, I discovered the “woman” on the left. Looks like they were having an intimate conversation.
NAN. That’s my name, don’t wear it out.

I got all caught up in creating these little drawings and didn’t do the two other exercises Courtney walked through in the video—making a color wheel to continue playing with color, and blind contour drawing an object from different angles.

Color wheels and blind contour drawing are not new, but there’s something freeing about creating them in a group as part of a tutorial—we’re being given permission to be frivolous with our materials and creativity. That’s kind of the point of having a sketchbook…playing with everything, and making mistakes because mistakes aren’t really mistakes.

I might have to go back to do those, but I have another session to do. There are so many great nuggets of info in these Sketchbook Revival programs!

A Weekend

On the brink of another weekend, I’m writing about last weekend.

It was a not-so-busy, busy weekend. I moved from one thing to the next. There was nothing truly notable.

But I did pull some packaging scraps together to make something I’m looking forward to using for the upcoming Sketchbook Revival (dates yet to be announced).

Not my cover art. Art from the top of the “Hug” box from Penzey’s spices. Thanks to their graphic designer(s) for providing some pizzazz!
Cover materials courtesy of Penzey’s packing. Red envelope courtesy of Mom’s Valentine’s Day card. Interior courtesy of Grove Collaborative’s packaging.
Packing tape used to secure craft paper along the spine.
26 sheets
Potential. Opportunity. Tabula rasa.

In the Nan-o-verse

There’s been quite a lot goin on in the Nan-o-verse, and you may hear about it someday or you may not. Who knows?

While things have been happening, I’ve still been playing in my altered book.

Inspired by Valentine’s Day. I’m surrounded by loving and caring people, and am infinitely appreciative of that fact.

Neurographic drawing…cuz everybody’s doing it.