View Full Version : Rob's November 2013 Sketches

11-07-2013, 03:37 AM
New journal! 7" square Stillman & Birn Delta journal - just started today. I was out this morning going to my clinic appointment, sketched the trees near my building and then assorted foliage and scenery on the way and at the clinic. The distant hill was through the clinic window.

Trees and scenery from life and memory
7" square
Koh-I-Noor Progresso woodless colored pencils
Stillman & Birn Delta journal heavy watercolor paper.

The plant with the huge leaves done from life, compare to memory sketch on previous page. Same medium, journal, back of same page.

11-07-2013, 07:22 AM
Love them!!

11-07-2013, 10:48 AM
Purr, thank you! I've been improving lately in my sketches and the start of a new journal almost startled me. I dared to open up with the first page instead of starting in the middle to avoid jitters, that was the fun part. This is the first square one I've used and so far I love the way it lays out compared to the usual rectangle.

11-07-2013, 02:29 PM
Wonderful sketches. Congrats on jumping right in without first page jitters.

11-07-2013, 03:24 PM
Thanks! Another one on one of the last few pages in the old journal...

"I'm too precious for my fur"
7" x 10"
Oil pastel on Stillman & Birn Beta journal
photo reference by Lady_Carol

Just a quick sketch because the November oil pastels challenge was too cute. Couldn't resist the kitten.

11-08-2013, 11:37 AM
Really liking these Rob! Especially the large leaves. The new sketchbook looks well suited for colored pencils. I haven't experimented much with colored pencils but your great sketches are inspiring me to buy some and give it a go.

11-08-2013, 03:48 PM
Adorable kitten. With such a reference you couldn't go wrong.

11-08-2013, 03:52 PM
A great start :)

I often do square paintings, it's an interesting format.

11-08-2013, 07:13 PM
First page jitters? Wow Robert I would never have thought you had those! Really, you talked me through mine so well when I was new to the game. My current thought is if the first drawing is crap, well then I got that out of the way and can just go on and forget about it. Are you still pleased with life in SF?

11-11-2013, 03:08 AM
Purr thank you! Margo, yes, I used to get first page jitters. One of my ways to deal with them was to start off with a color chart for whatever my newest pencils, pastels or paints were. Some kind of color charting would at least break the meniscus and establish it as a working sketchbook.

I am very, very pleased with life in SF. I am happier here than I even thought I would be. I'm home. I had no idea that would feel the way it does - even if I was that homesick for SF for thirty years and knew it.

Good point about going on to forget about it. It's just that like most people I had the dream of doing a sketchbook or journal that would look that good from the first page - all accurate and interesting and beautiful. Like the ones you see in movies. Adventurers and explorers would have them - map of the place, maybe, or scene that was a sketch so accurate it'd dissolve into the first panoramic scene of the place. (Because the commercial artist did it from a still pulled from that little film clip, actually, of course it lined up perfect. It was measured from the photo!)

But if you see things like that in the movies, props made up by commercial illustrators for the movie, it gives a terribly distorted idea of Real Sketchbooks. That and seeing excerpts of sketchbooks by Famous Artists, the Da Vinci pages and so on.

Sketchbooks from seasoned professionals are like an eclectic collection of photo references. They're exactly that, sketch references working out this or that for a painting. Several versions of the figure in the background of this painting and a nice drawing of foot bones and some animal in a tree plus some bit of hardware or invention, real or imagined. They're all accurate to what they are more or less, because the artist who did them already knew accurate rendering. The things like overlaps and sketches stuck in upside down or sideways to use the last bit of space, those were economy measures because sketchbooks cost more back then. Even famous artists used every inch of every page on them, both sides.

Not the kinds of great galloping white spaces I had in early sketchbook page layouts where the first drawing I put on the page was central and left way too much border - but not enough space to put in anything else. The famous artists had more practice with composition than I did while I was learning too.

I think it's a sort of natural process getting better at drawing, a subjective point of "I like how my sketchbooks look" that comes sooner or later to different people. Beginner ones tend to look like it and you can see progress, which is why they're heartening and a bad first page is actually a good thing. There's proof of how fast you learned when the first page is visibly that much worse than the last.

I've spent decades shedding all the ramifications of the stupid myths about the arts we all get taught in school. That not being able to draw well before you learn how to draw well is something to be embarrassed by and leaves people thinking that you have No Talent and not to look farther.

I laugh at some pages that I used to think were my best because they were laid out badly or overdetailed and stiff, versus what I'm doing now. Or the color was clumsy and monochrome.

It's liberating to pass a lot of personal milestones. Now if I'm carrying a travel journal or art journal, I don't mind letting people see all the pages. I'm well past the point that I've got worried about experiments that didn't work or color-test pages without other content. They're just what they are. Other people liked my sketchbooks long before I did.

Oddly, doing the Sketchbook Project a couple of years helped me get over it too, since there were so few pages and I wanted all of them showoff ones but kept defaulting to funny cartoons done with brush pens. Those turned out to be a hit.

11-11-2013, 01:12 PM
It's great to hear how happy you are to be home :)

I totally agree on sketchbooks. The neat ones tend to be by illustrators and architects, who like things neat and planned. Fine artists are more involved with the work itself and what they are trying to catch. I never expect my sketchbooks to be neat!

Joan T
11-13-2013, 10:01 PM
Robert, I am so happy that being back in SF feels like home!!!

Sketchbooks shouldn't be neat since life isn't neat. They should be filled with all sorts of subjects and experiments and fun.

I'm always glad to see your sketches.

11-18-2013, 03:50 PM
Great work! How are you finding the square format?

11-19-2013, 01:32 AM
Great start on the new journal!! Lovely bright colors!

12-04-2013, 10:14 PM
Purr thank you all! I'm loving the square format. For some reason page layouts are coming easier to me on it, no matter how much experience I have with the rectangular ones. It's very pleasing. It's just the right size for the sorts of sketches I like doing and easiest to tuck in something to the space remaining when a page is almost full.

I expect to be doing a bit more in December, maybe some holiday themed stuff in it now that Nanowrimo's over. I'm going to enjoy this year's holidays.

12-04-2013, 11:02 PM
Robert, I enjoyed your musings on sketchbooking and the progress one makes over time. Your encouragement is always welcome! :wave: I have a 5" square Hand-Book- Journal that is handy for certain outings because the square shape seems to fit easier in certain totes I use, yet is still spacious enough for sketching comfortably.

12-09-2013, 11:59 AM
Nice sketching.

12-10-2013, 09:59 AM
Robert, I'm so glad I ventured over to the journal thread to see if you are there and yay! You are! So glad to "see" you again and know that you are doing well.