Friday, October 25, 2013

Cross-Country Clearprint Journal Project

As part of a Chartpak project called "Cross-Country Clearprint", I received a blank journal in the mail
the other day.  I am to sketch, draw and/or paint whatever I wish on one page.  I chose to fill that page with sketches of Peptalk, a horse I rode in my riding lessons for almost three years.  He has since passed over the rainbow bridge.  But I will always remember him.

I did the sketches from photos I took of him at liberty and in his stall.  Some of the photos were blurry due to low light and I did not want to use the flash.  (The flash can wash-out colors and flatten details plus create odd shadows.)  However, I was able to "un-blur" the pictures in the sketches due to my knowledge of horse anatomy and close familiarity with the subject.

The sketchbook is 6 x 8 and is called a Clearprint Vellum Book.

Images from all of the Cross-Country Clearprint project participants will be available online at

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sketching Idea: By the Square Foot

I got my first chance to put a fun sketching exercise into practice this past weekend that I suggest in my Field Sketching classes.

I spent a few hours plein air painting with the Central Florida Watercolor Society.  We were at Lake Lily Park in Maitland, Florida.

As usual I got to the park and was immediately overwhelmed with all the choices of where to set up and draw or paint.  So, I practiced what I preach!  I found one 10 x 10 square foot area and sketched everything I could see.

I did not know what some things were, but I sketched them anyway.  With some notes written on the side I can research these items to find out more about them.

You can practice this at home, too!  Find a 3 x 3 or 10 x 10 square foot area in your yard, neighborhood or even inside your own home and sketch the things you find in just that area.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Fate of Cursive Writing

A friend and I were discussing the fate of cursive (script) writing recently.  I lamented on how I had to teach my son how to sign his own name in cursive because he was never taught to do so in school.

Here is an interesting article about what one North Carolina school district is doing about this and the comments from some parents and teachers.

Learning Cursive Writing: Is it worthwhile or a waste of time?
by Jacoba Urist

How many people today can read the Declaration of Independence?  When only a few to no one can read it because it is written in cursive they will have to depend on others to translate it for them.

Personally, writing in cursive saves me a lot of time when I have to write quickly and legibly.  I enjoy having the option to print or write in a more beautiful, cursive style.  If nothing else, learning to write in cursive gives one more options.  One day cursive writers may stand out in a crowd of thousands that can only write and read printed, disconnected letters.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Sketching Is Not Just For Artists

In Laura Busche's blog post "Hand-Sketching: The Things You Didn't Know Your Doodles Could Accomplish" she explains how sketching on *paper* takes her designs to the next level.

I met with another artist Saturday morning (10/13/13) who worked as a line illustrator.  She learned most of her skills while on the job.  Today she is retired but continues to draw and paint.

We spoke about how sad it is that today there are many graphic arts students who cannot fathom why on earth they need to learn how to draw on anything other than a computer screen.

I found Laura's blog article through Dave Kelley's blog post where he is collecting resources before, during and after the upcoming DevLearn2013 event.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Field Sketching and Gesture Drawing - Birds

Draw enough to recognize the subject.

Do a gesture drawing.

Gesture drawings are done mostly in life drawing classes.  Little did I know they come in extremely handy when you are trying to draw a flitting bird or a flighty squirrel.

Try it on your own!  You can go just about anywhere and find lots of birds and squirrels.  If you can’t get outside, try watching a nature documentary.  You can practice gesture drawing all types of animals while they are on your TV screen.  If you feel like adding more details, wait for the commercials and add them then.

If you need more information about gesture drawing and how to do it see the following links:

What is Gesture Drawing?  By Helen South, Guide

Examples of Gesture Drawing curated by aed303 (class board for pre-service elementary teachers taking art) on Pinterest.

Tools for Self-Educating Artists at Figure and Gesture Drawing
This a cool website where they provide timed photos (you choose the timing) to practice a gesture drawing!  Start with the standard session and be brave!  Work down from 10 minutes to the 30 seconds time interval!

This post was modified on 9/28/2015.