23 January 2014


right: a little PS trickery / left: the original sketch
burnt sienna acrylic washes, white pastel pencil, black prismacolor pencil.

A new year begins, and with a lot of other people, I have opted in to the "new year's resolution" business.  one of them, that is pertinent to this blog, is to draw 2 pages in my small sketchbook every day.  That isn't a lot, but it is meant to force me to draw.  I started out well, but changes at work and home have made it difficult and sometimes down right impossible.  But I am making progress, and I guess that is what is most important.

Drawing in your sketchbook shouldn't be a difficult task.  It is supposed to be fun; a way to open your mind and let go.  But for me it simply isn't.  It is difficult for me, and I never really understood why I dreaded it.  
A great friend of mine, Matthew Walker, wrote a wonderful blog post about "complexity".  as I read it I realized why I didn't like drawing in my sketchbook as much.  It was sort of a revelation.  here is what I wrote in response to his post (as I held my squirming child, so please forgive the post as it doesn't sound super coherent).

"... I feel like I can relate to this in a lot of ways, but recently I have started having a hard time even doing sketches in my sketchbook. something that should be so simple and non-threatening becomes a huge chore and something that I dread. something that I have to prepare myself for. 
The empty white page needs to be filled with something magical....aaaand then I just can't begin, and find something else to do, effectively flipping the bird to my New Year's resolution. 
I find that if I just keep it simple, and not make it so "complex" a process, I find it more successful and gratifying. and sometimes it ends up being complex, but that is because the process that started out simple was able to grow into itself."


the above sketch is an example of what I mean.  it doesn't seem super simple compared to the other sketches I have posted.  but the difference is, that I approached it simply.  I didn't have any motivation to create something great - only a motivation to explore media and technique.  it turned into something more "complex" because I chose to keep going and try new things.  but it was simple at it's inception.


I have found that many of my most "successful" images are images where I don't use line as much as I carve an image out with values and textures.  I would really like to be a better draftsman.  but it is super frustrating, because I'm not happy with my abilities.  I feel I can be more loose with an approach such as the one above and still feel like I have created something neat.  It just takes more time, and so I don't do as many.

After next week my schedule will slow down a little (I'm hoping).  and then I shall once again recommit myself to my sketch-bookery.

sketchbook post

I wanted to submit some sketches before I write a post for the first of the year.  I have been drawing more, and I have also had a couple of commissions.  one is a rather big deal, for me.

I've always struggled with mouths.  
the one on the right is an ink wash sketch.  I think that I could have pushed the values more.

because flannel shirts and axes...

this bottom one was fun.  It was one of those sketches that you don't really have a preconceived idea. You just start going, and go kind of slow/absent minded-like.  was therapeutic.

of course inspired by The Iron Giant, although subconsciously.  another ink wash sketch.  pretty fast.
My sketchbook tolerates wet media only to a point.

was watching a series called Vikings on amazon prime.  thought it would be fun to try drawing zeus as a cloud.  In my mind it would look pretty sweet as a painting.  on the right a super fast anatomically incorrect viking in ballpoint pen and watercolor-pencils.