Last week I left the Blogosphere hanging on tenterhooks regarding what might be happening here on the first Wednesday of each month. Unless you’re too busy wondering what in the world a tenterhook is, it’s time for the big reveal….
It’s Sketchbook Show-Off Week. But first, a little background.
The History of Sketchbook Show-Off Week
Now, SSO may never be a national holiday, but it will be a regular blog feature over the next year in the hopes it will force me to stay on track with a few of my goals for 2017. What are those goals, you may ask? Since I love lists, I’ll just give it to you in a handy dandy bulleted format:
- Sketch on a regular basis – I constantly tell myself I need to sketch more, but never make time for it.
- Learn watercolors – I will conquer these pesky things one day…but practicing would be a start.
- Try new techniques and styles – My usual realism draws attention (pun SO intended), but I’d like to be a little more free and varied in my style.
So how to go about reaching these goals? First and foremost is to actually do them and preferably to do them on a regular, if not daily, basis.
Luckily, I came across a terrific book called No Excuses Art Journaling by Gina Rossi Armfield. In the book, she lays out daily chores for your art journal as well as a few weekly and monthly tasks (I’ll get to these in a bit). Since I often give up on sketching because I can’t think of what to draw, this guided approach was just what I needed.
In addition to these little tasks, I wrote a prompt into my daily schedule for some sort of sketch-y type project. Okay, with getting ready for my upcoming art show and trying to crank out a new book, I’ve missed a few days here and there, but so far, I’ve been managing to sketch about every other day(-ish). In these sketches I try to play around with new techniques and styles as much as possible.
Again, the time factor gets in the way of learning watercolors. My plan is to really put brush to paper once the art show is up and running this spring, but for now I’m trying to use watercolor (or Derwent Inktense, which is watercolor-ish) for my art journal entries and sketches as mush as possible (some days the colored pencils are just far more convenient).
So, now that you’ve had to endure that LOOOOONG spiel about the History of Sketchbook Show-Off Week, it’s time for the main event.
Art Journaling – No Excuses Style
The point of the No Excuses method is that the daily prompts are so simple and so quick to do, you have no excuse not to do them. Each day, you have three entries: your mood/feeling and the color you associate with it, a pattern you’ve seen that day, and a little drawing of the weather. I thought the pattern would be hard to stick with, but find it really does make you to be observant and to draw what you see.
So, here’s (most of) January’s entries (as you’ll see, I get a bit grumpy soon after the Presidential Inauguration)…
The weekly chore for the art journal is to practice lettering with a quote and to draw a mini-sketch (“mini” as in no bigger than a credit card). The sketch is based on prompt words you’ve written down at the beginning of the month that reflect that particular month.
You can see the quotes on the pages above (love that Juli Child quote from Week 3) and my own addition: a weekly list of what books I’m reading/listening to and what art projects I’m working on.
Finally the monthly chore for the journal is to do a collage of images from magazines or what-nots that you’ve collected over the month. This turned out to be quite fun as it’s been AGES since I’ve done a collage.
But Wait, There’s More
As I said, I’ve also been trying to keep up with some sketching. One of the prompts I thought I could manage was to give myself a weekly letter and, in addition to drawing the letter all fancy, draw things that pop in my head that begin with that letter (yes, I missed the A-train).
To try out some new styles/techniques, I pulled out some old jars of Speedball ink I had lurking in my art cupboard. I was trying to do something different with this, but the colored splotches didn’t quite behave as expected. Still, I liked how they looked and decided to fill in the white space with black ink. They kind of remind me of pictures of the universe from Hubble.
And another little bit of playing around. This is just blobs of ink that I blew on to see what would happen. The shape ended up looking like a fish so I gave him a little fishy mouth and eyes.
And finally, my mom bought me this little scratchboard doodle pad. The pages are black and you scrape the black away as you draw. True scratchboard artists use black and white, but this pad is more for kids to play with and has glittery and rainbow paper underneath the black. Too fun!
Phew, now that I look back, I’ve been quite busy and I feel like I’ve made a good dent into my goals.
Hope everyone else has had a productive start to 2017. I’d love to hear what you’re working on (or hoping to work on) to improve yourself this year.