Sketchbook Revival: Day 5 Session 1

Shari Blaukopf (

“From Bill to Tail Feathers: How to Sketch a Bird”

I had to add a little pen work at the end. She reminded us that this was just a sketch, and it is.

Mixing my own black because I don’t have a black pan means that I have a 30 tone bird. My “black” was also very watery…not great for detail.

I think I have some solo pans of grays around here somewhere. May have to have another go at this piece.

Sketchbook Revival: Day 4 Session 2

This session with Suhita Shirodkar ( was an exercise in looking that ended up with a drawing.

If you’ve ever picked up a copy of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edward’s, you will appreciate the similarity with Suhita’s method of drawing.

You have to stop naming things so your brain doesn’t get in the way of looking at your line.

Suhita pointed out that this is something our brain has to do to help us interface with the world…to read, understand common symbols, and communicate.

When drawing, however, this natural function of the brain can override what we are looking at and superimpose our conception of a thing over our perception of that thing.

The reference photo Suhita selected was very complex with odd angles and an intermingling of the two subjects. She focused us on just one line at a time, and the relationship of the next line to the line we’d just drawn. Perfect way to work through the “problem” of a complex subject.

Perfect way to work through a lot of life’s complex problems…start with a part and keep moving forward.

Sketchbook Revival: Day 4 Session 1

I achieved the desired degree of messiness while participating in Cayley Grey’s workshop ( Her topic was “Messy Recipes: The Overthinker’s Guide to Making Art” and it was intended to make us playful and spontaneously creative.

Not loving it. The lower page is the part she led us through. Her steps ended and I had random bits of paper falling off the page, and no cohesion of the composition…a real mess. So I added a little pen work and repeated the phrase, “I’m just curious” all over the place.

The top page was an arrangement that I’d begun in the intro to Caylee’s workshop. I liked the base but then Cayley started us off with finger painting with acrylics. She was working on a very small woman’s chapbook spread with a nice piece of art already on one page. Her 5 steps filled the spread quite well and she had a well balanced piece at the end.

I covered the thing in packing tape just to keep it on the page.

Collage is fun, and not overthinking something is important. I appreciate the play, but I’ll flip past this page quickly in the future.

Here are the bits I like:

Take that strip of paper out and the rough blue circle and white shape with pen outline have a nice relationship.
The squiggly “S” tail. Curioussssssssly satisfying.

Sketchbook Revival- Day 3 Session 2

This piece from yesterday’s session with Tamara LaPorte ( received a few extra touches this evening.

I’m tardy to the party because I attended a birthday celebration yesterday evening, and took a Daycation to Chicago to visit the Art Institute today.

The color palette was supposed to be limited to two colors. She had a very vibrant pink she was pairing with orange. I created an orange and thought red. The first brush stroke with red taught me my choice was bad…my girl looked like she had a head wound…adjustments were needed. Ha!

There is some very fun catch- up happening this evening. I’ll be needing the weekend to get fully back on track.

Last year, Tamara guided us through drawing owls…similar technique. Fun.

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 2 Session 2

Lucia Leyfield led us through a series of exercises to loosen up our drawing.

The first drawing was 30 seconds by memory.

The second, one minute observational.

The third, one minute 30 seconds by memory. It is not pictured here, but there was notable improvement from 1 to 3.

Then the fourth was two minutes observational (above).

There was a fifth another minute and 30 seconds by memory.

We finished up with some watercolor washes, and my painting was very loose too.

This series of drawings has made me feel less dear about this sketchbook. Yeah, not loving it any more.

Still looking forward to tomorrow’s sessions.