View Full Version : My I Can Learn to Draw (ICLTD) Book

06-17-2010, 01:10 PM
Hi Everyone!

I am blown away - I was on a trip for 2 weeks and got back to find this forum has EXPLODED with wonderful new journals and postings. :clap: :clap:

I'm so glad it has taken off the way it has and I want to thank those of you who are being so consistenly active. I LOVE this place and am glad to say I now have a couple of new threads to start. I have seen all the great work but due to my "grandkid sitting" duties, have not been able to comment since I returned 2 weeks ago. Once I get these postings done, I promise to get some commenting done!

First, a bit of current info: My 2 week vacation took me through Seattle, Vancouver, Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Whittier, Denali National Park, Mt. McKinley, and Anchorage. To those of you lucky enough to live in those areas - WOW, what beautiful, fantastic scenery / cities / sights to see!!! I came back with 1100 photos, which I am culling though and will probably get down to around 900. :lol: I'll be painting my Alaska trip for years!

I had hoped to do a lot of sketching along the way, but that really did not happen for a few different reasons. One of the reasons is that I am still pretty uncomfortable with plein air sketching. In general, my plein air sketching is not very good AND I am not comfortable yet with people looking over my shoulder when I sketch. I am determined to work on both of those things and this book, as well as the other thread I plan to start (the Celebration Play Journal) are all about drawing and sketching.

I am NOT one of those people who could always draw; who doodles incessently; who has "natural" talent for drawing. I was well into middle-age when I started to discover/uncover my creativity. It started with an oil painting class and the urge to create bubbled along under the surface through raising my daughter, caregiving for an ageing parent, busy, traveling work life, etc., etc.. etc. When I started watercolor painting a few years before I retired, I felt I had found my niche! I couldn't (and still can't) get enough. The teacher I worked with encouraged us to transfer photos if we were not comfortable with drawing them and this was a good solution for me, as I wanted to concentrate on mastering the watercolor medium and not too concerned about drawing.

Through these years, I had done some sketching, but never worked at getting good at it. When I discovered WetCanvas a few years ago, I started doing the WDE's and that has been an AMAZING help in learning to draw. I now feel comfortable free-hand drawing most things from photo references and I try more and more to draw rather than transfer. The next frontier is plein air

So - on to the "I Can Learn to Draw" journal!!! :thumbsup:

I don't know what brand this journal is, but it is about 7" x 10" spiral bound, black hard cover with ~ 75 lb sketching paper. The paper can take a VERY light wash, but mostly I use pencil, pen, and Inktense Pencils.

I started it in 1998, but only did a few pages through January, 2009 when I started using it for WDE's, using pen and pen and Inktense. From January 2009 until August, 2009, I did most of the WDE's and most of them are in this book. In August, my daughter had twin boys and my life has been in "Grammy" mode ever since.

As I often do, I had left the first page blank as a way to help me get started in the new book, so I have gone back to make an opening page. Yesterday, I dedicated this book as the ICLTD Book. Here is the first page:


Page 1
Micron Pen, Inktense Pencils, Gold Gel Pen

Skipping ahead to current work, the next pages are Alaska-inspired. I came back with a renewed appreciation of the Native Americans' work - specifically the totem poles and symbolic images.
I have 3 pages of playing with totems and symbols, all done in Micron pen and Inktense Pencils. They are free-hand drawings from my own photos and also photos in travel literature. Many of the images are my interpretation, rather than an exact copy of the reference image.


Page 81
Micron Pen, Inktense Pencils


Page 82
Micron Pen, Inktense Pencils


Page 84
Micron Pen, Inktense Pencils

While on our trip, we saw a LOT of wildlife, but I don't actually have a lot of good wildlife photos to show for it. So once again, these are Alaska "inspired" and are drawn free-hand from photos in books and various bits of travel literature. We did see Moose, Eagles, and Whales in abundance!!!


Page 83
Micron Pen, Inktense Pencils

This book has about 50 pages remaining. I'll continue using it for sketching from photos and will also begin doing some plein air work in it. In my next few posts, I will go back and pull out some representative work from the existing pages so you can see the good, the bad and the downright ugly!!!

C&C's always welcome and appreciated.


06-17-2010, 02:04 PM
Jean, these are great! I love your title and it's certainly proved true in all of your current posted work. These are gorgeous, every one of them.

Awesome that you got out a sketchbook started long ago and revived it -- that's so cool. I've done that too, it's never too late to go back to one!

I know what you mean about not getting photos on a trip. But I think that seeing things in life affects how you do them later on from photos. The memory's there, and the photo just jogs it. The way you did the totem and totem pole drawings is great and I love the wildlife. Well done!

06-17-2010, 02:09 PM
Hi Jean,

Glad you enjoyed your trip through my neck of the woods! It is a beautiful area - we've lived in the Seattle area now since 1979, with a 5 year working stint for me in Portland, OR, and wouldn't live anywhere else. You did pick a very wet and cool spring, however. We have had a grand total of ONE DAY where the high temp reached 75 degrees at Seattle's official weather site. But that's what keeps the area green...

Great job on the NW Indian art as well as the critters! Your drawing is just fine, and will get better. I came to art late in life as well, and was petrified to have anyone look over my shoulder as well. A couple things solved that - taking three drawing classes at college (two of which were figure drawing from nude models); and, having two situations come up where I was off in a corner sketching performers on stage at a concert where my band had played, and having someone who knew the performers ask if they could buy the sketch(!). I gave them the sketches and was in shock that anyone would want them except me.

The coastal native tribal art is amazing - my wife in particular loves it. One of the guys in my advanced figure drawing class at college that just completed is part Makah Indian and a Makah tribal member (we have a large number of individual tribes in the area). In addition to more traditional 2-D drawing and painting (he does some great expressionistic work), he carves and sells NW Indian cedar masks, and is represented in at least one gallery at present.

I'm looking forward to more of your Pacific NW work in this journal! :wave:

Vivien Maloney
06-17-2010, 02:21 PM
This brings back great memories for me. My husband and I did a trip through Alaska a few years ago and loved it. An awesome amazing place! I agree about the sketching in public, I don't like it as well. Most people who watch you are great but you spend more time talking to them than sketching and they also expect to see a masterpiece the minute you put pencil to paper!
Look forward to seeing more sketches from you.

06-17-2010, 04:04 PM
Jean - this is great stuff!! I've never been to Alaska, (was meant to for our honeymoon but didn't work out that way... long story! We did have a great honeymoon in the Carribbean instead!). i can imagine it being so beautiful that i'd not know WHERE to begin in trying to draw some of it!!
I think its great you've re-started your journal. I started one about 10 years ago now, just to draw native wildflowers. I wish I could continue it because I did like some of the sketches I did in it. However, it was just a plain, very thin papered journal, and I wouldn't want to use it now for some of my CP work and certainly nothing with water. I wrote on both sides of the page so the writing shows through the flowers from the back side... I can't even scan them without it showing up! Oh well, lesson learned. My new one will be much better hopefully!
Keep up the great work - look forward to seeing what else you add to this over time :-)

06-17-2010, 04:27 PM
That sounds like such a great trip! Your totems and animal sketches are very good - and will be a great reminder of your trip. I hope you get many more opportunities to sketch on your travels, and that you will share them here.

Carole A
06-17-2010, 09:49 PM
Jean - Well you certainly did learn to draw. I especially love the totems in the first page. I have a brother who's lived on an island off the coast of Alaska for a few years and I've yet to visit him there.

Too bad you weren't able to stop off in the Portland area. While it's been very wet this spring, there has been no shortage of beautiful gardens, scenery and flowers. Today's Home and Garden section of the Oregonian had an article about Portland's Japanese Gardens and the photographers who have special memberships which allow them to use tripods in the garden and have exclusive rights to their photos. Their examples in the paper were most extraordinary.

Thanks for posting your interpretations of Native American art.

Carole A

06-17-2010, 10:14 PM
I think a lot of us found art later in life. :) Love your first page. The totem poles are just great. Your sketches of the wildlife you saw are wonderful.

06-17-2010, 10:16 PM
Great job, Jean. Glad you enjoyed your trip. Best wishes for your "I can (too!) learn to draw" project :)

06-18-2010, 10:28 AM
These are great! :clap: You can draw quite well so keep it up! We'll look forward to your sketch postings and paintings of your trip!


06-18-2010, 08:38 PM
Robert: Thanks for your comments. Truthfully, I can probably unearth several more notebooks and sketchpads that got lost in the shuffle along the way. In my "mature" age, :) I'm not so picky about everything being perfect and I don't mind restarting something that got waylaid a long time ago. At some point, I will make a project of finding all the bits and pieces and scraps from my early years trying to draw and paint and somehow bring them together.

John: Thanks for commenting. I did love the Seattle area, but unfortunately we were there for a very short time. Got to see / do the Space Needle and Pike's Place Market and that was about it. I have some great photos from Pike's Place that I hope to paint sometime. I did especially enjoy the green and how lush everything was.

Vivien: Thanks for commenting. Yes, I am always so self-conscious trying to work in front of ANYONE except my painting "buds." I actually did a plein air today, which I will post later. I drove around for an hour trying to find a place that had both something to sketch and a non-threatening location to sit and sketch. Eventually I had to just force myself to do it and beyond a bit of initial interest, nobody even commented at all. Ha! Go figure!

Rachel: Sorry to hear about the failed Alaska honeymoon! Ah, well, I'll bet the Carribean was an adequate substitute? :lol:

I had done an Alaska cruise before, but this time, we also did a land tour into Denali and I have fallen in love with Alaska. I especially enjoyed the many people we met who were so nice. Most only come in the summer, but talking to the ones who winter-over was amazing!

Michelle: Thanks! If nothing else, I have a gazillion photos I want to do something with from past travels, so I should never run out of material. :)

Carole: Thanks for your comments. I'd love to travel to Oregon and probably will do so someday on a longer road trip. I love San Diego, but having come from the midwest, I do miss the beautiful greenery and spring colors. As it happens, one of the highlights of the trip was the Van Duesen Garden in Vancouver. It was an unplanned, unexpected excursion that was so delightful, we spent the entire afternoon there. Can't wait to paint some of my flower / tree / pond photos!

Debby: Thanks for your comments. The nice thing about discovering your creativity "later in life" is that it gives you a renewed source of enjoyment / enthusiasm. Now that I am retired and able to devote a lot more time to my art, I am delighted every day by how far I have come.

EP: Thanks for your support. You know that you were one of the people who inspired me in the WDE. Most of the WDE entries in this book are pen and ink, EP-style, multiple boxes on the page, drawings. Thanks for your inspiration!!!

Reggie: Thanks! I'm sure there are lots more pictures from my trip and from my life to come.

(Did I mention that I LOVE this forum????)

06-19-2010, 06:04 PM
I love the totems! Awesome work there. Inktense are cool too, reminds me to try them out sometime soon hehe.

06-19-2010, 10:32 PM
Jean, that would be so cool. I'd love to see it. That's why I've got my Scribble Sketch Books thread, in case I find other sketchbooks and revive them.

06-20-2010, 01:43 AM
Thanks Raymond. I'm actually toying with the idea of developing personal totems for my friends and family and doing a series, possibly as birthday presents. I want to try doing some in watercolor and see how they look.

Today I scanned in a few of the previous pages from this journal. I'm currently working on page 85, so you can see I have already done a lot of work in this book. Much of it is previous WDE's which have already been posted, but over the next couple of weeks, I will post a sampling of the previous work.

My first actual entry was done sometime in early 1998. It was done in a surgery center waiting room while I was waiting for a relative to come out of surgery. It never got finished as I got interrupted, but I actually like the look of it in its unfinished state. It was done very lightly in pencil, so I had to darken it considerably on the computer so it will show up:


The next was done from a photo I took at Carnac in France. The stones are thought to have been placed by the druids and the girl playing the flute seemed to be a new age sort who came to experience the atmosphere there. This was done in March of 1998, also very lightly done in pencil and darkened on the computer:


So those were the good and the not quite so good, but in the spirit of. . . I am posting the next one done to document a much needed, relaxing vacation at the beach in Sept., 2000. This is what working from my memory / imagination looks like:


Nothing more was done in this book until January, 2009. I had filled another sketchbook with WDE entries and moved to this one. I think these drawings were from Desiree's 1/22/09 WDE. The interesting thing I discovered was that once I started drawing in pen, I was much less hesitant and often much more accurate. That was quite a surprise to me, and now I am working on trying to bring that confidence back into pencil drawings. Here is page 23: (note, the bowl of cherries and a stack of jelly jars and a detail from the porch railing are sideways on the page.)


The next page was done at two different times. I am trying to remember to date and identify all of my current work as I do it, but at the time these were done, I was not always consistent. The top sketch was done in pen from somebody's WDE. Sometime later, I was doing some ATC cards and did practice sketches in pencil on the bottom of the page for two of them. You may be able to see the grid lines I drew and I was working very carefully on these. The one on the left was a reference from the RIL. The one on the right was my daughter at about 3 years old.


Finally, the sketch below is a plein air that I did yesterday, with a bit of adjustments at home this afternoon. This is still a WIP. I want to at least finish the boogie boards, but I would also like to put color on this one at some point, either in the sketchbook or by transfering it to watercolor paper.

As I have mentioned, I am very self-conscious about doing plein air work and I realize the only way to get comfortable is to just jump in and do it. I had 2 1/2 hours yesterday and I was determined to find a place to work and just go for it. I ended up driving around for over and hour looking for the right location where I would not feel too "exposed." sketching away. :lol:

Eventually, I settled on a casual seafood restaurant at the beach. It was mid-morning and they were just opening. I told the waitress I was looking for a place to sit in the shade and sketch and would like a diet coke. I asked if she would mind if I sat on their terrace for quite a while and she said "sure!" So, I went in and only the waitress and one other person even asked what I was doing. By the time I left, it was nearly lunchtime, so there were quite a few people there. The moral of the story is: It wasn't so bad. BUT, I have a long way to go to get comfortable doing plein air.

This is actually the ceiling of the patio, with a cart filled with surf and boogie boards that I put in from an entirely different location. I imagine the background to be ocean and sky (in reality it was street traffic) and I'm not too unhappy with the composition.


06-20-2010, 05:35 AM
Jean this is really great. It is so interesting looking back on your work and seeing how things have progressed and how you feel about them. I love the totem poles and animals. The sketches from your Sept vacation are simple and relaxing, very nice too. Your pen sketches are awesome. I too have the same experience when I use pen. Freaky really. Love the jars and cherries. Good on you for trying plein air. And a great result. I look forward to seeing more of your work both past and present.

06-20-2010, 07:02 AM
Those are some terrific sketches. I can relate about having to darken pencil sketches so they show up on the computer. I have to do that too, which is why I am trying to use pen in my latest sketchbook. I liked your "how I spent my vacation" page. Reading in bed and hanging out at the beach would be on my list too. The sketch of the woman in the garden is my favorite though. :-)

06-20-2010, 02:03 PM
Congrats on sketching plein air. I know it's scary. I've done so, but still lack the confidence to do so. You can see your style developing through the years of sketching. Great, great sketches.

07-13-2010, 12:28 AM
Jacqui, Michelle and Debby - Thanks for your comments.

I decided to finish the plein air sketch of the restaurant at the beach. It's taken several days of working just as time permits, but I finished the sketch in pencil and then colored it with my Inktense pencils. The background and the floor are all from my imagination, the ceiling and the surfboards are my interpretation - not slavishly adhering to reality!


I do like working with the Inktense pencils, but boy, once they have been activated, you're stuck with the result - no wiggle room. :lol: Shadowing and shading are hard to control. But, I do love the intense colors and I always have fun playing with them in my sketchbook.

I also started a leaf that I picked up at the park a couple of weeks ago. It was so bright and colorful, but unfortunately, I only got about 1/4 of it done the first few days and then when I got back to it, the leaf had dried out. So this was sketched plein air and finished in "the studio."


Once again, the leaf was sketched lightly in pencil and colored with Inktense pencils.

Finally, I have a set of Pitt Artist Pens and have never really tried them out beyond just a few marks. I found a photo in the RIL from Jocelynsart and sketched it and then added color with the Pitt pens. I REALLY like them. While they are still wet, you can blend colors together to sort of "mix" colors. I will definitely be using these more in the future.


I was learning as I went along on this one, so I like some parts, like the bananas and the fruit at the bottom of the basket and I don't like some of it, like the tangelo?? at the upper left and the shading on the two green apples. Once again, I had fun though and will keep working on the technique.

Thanks for looking!


07-13-2010, 12:47 AM
I realllly like the totems Jean! The whole thread is full of great stuff and the last one of the fruit basket is wonderful - bright and spontaneous looking. I like how you are trying out many styles, media and subjects in this journal :)

Vivien Maloney
07-13-2010, 02:50 PM
These are great Jean! I like the progression in your sketching from your early sketches until now. I do like the "How you spent your holidays" page - I can relate to that! I also like your confident pen sketches. I'm just begun using pen and I'm a bit hesitant with it as yet. But I do use Inktense pencils a lot on the Scavenger Hunt and find them quick and very useful with such good strong color. Look forward to seeing more sketches.

07-13-2010, 03:36 PM
Nice finish to the surfboard - interior drawing. Your leaf is vibrant. The fruit is so cheerful. Keep going.

07-15-2010, 09:58 AM
Your entire sketchbook is great and such beautiful colours. i like the your fruit basket & the restaurant at the beach and your other ones on page 1 of this thread like that lady in the garden and the cherries in a bowl - all very good! :)

07-15-2010, 11:54 AM
Jean, these are stunning. The restaurant scene was great to begin with, but I love what you did with the Inktense. It's very powerful and I can feel the warm breeze just looking at it. Love the detailed leaf and the Pitt pens sketch from an RIL photo -- that is fantastic.

I love using Pitt pens for quick color studies. I don't worry about trying to get a texture like a final painting, what I use them for is to get the image worked out and my colors more or less worked out. You're exploring them as a final medium and that's exciting.

The waiting room sketch is the best pencil drawing. Elegant, detailed, accurate and three dimensional, it's so full of ornate decorations that it conveys the atmosphere of its times. That's wonderful! So is the pen page with the bowl of cherries on its side -- every drawing on that page is so confident and accurate, I'm delighted.

Maybe there's something about using pens that makes you relax and not worry as much. Your pencil drawings seem to vary a bit depending on subject but your pen versions are strong and clean with truer lines. Keep sketching, you'll catch up to yourself in no time -- already did if that waiting room drawing is an example.

07-15-2010, 05:37 PM
Hi Jean, I've had a chance to have a good read of your ICLTD sketch thread. These drawings are GOOD and I'm inspired by your way of working. I especially like those Alaskan totems and the way you've turned photos into real individually interpreted strong sketches.
Plus the beach restaurant is such a good drawing, how you managed to get all that space from up into the roof to the ground on a small page. is beyond me, I would never in a million years be able to do that. I would have been stymied at the first post, but you've got it all so well, perfectly composed. I'd say composition is a really strong point in your work. Not a bad strength to have! Is it natural or have you worked at finding a way to do it?
The ink and inktense seem to suit you well. I've had my eye on the inktense in the catalogues but have been wondering if they would be too bright and garish, but the colours look just fine in your book. How are you finding them compared to using watercolour?

07-15-2010, 05:43 PM
Hi Jean, I've had a chance to have a good read of your ICLTD sketch thread. These drawings are GOOD and I'm inspired by your way of working. I especially like those Alaskan totems and the way you've turned photos into real individually interpreted strong sketches.
Plus the beach restaurant is such a good drawing, how you managed to get all that space from up into the roof to the ground on a small page. is beyond me, I would never in a million years be able to do that. I would have been stymied at the first post, but you've got it all so well, perfectly composed. I'd say composition is a really strong point in your work. Not a bad strength to have! Is it natural or have you worked at finding a way to do it?
The ink and inktense seem to suit you well. I've had my eye on the inktense in the catalogues but have been wondering if they would be too bright and garish, but the colours look just fine in your book. How are you finding them compared to using watercolour?

07-16-2010, 10:36 PM
Hi Jackie! I've always been very eclectic in my approach to just about everything. That's why you see so many styles and subjects and media that I am playing with. Maybe I just have a short attention span. :lol: :lol:

Thanks Vivien, Debby and Tania! The most important thing for me at this point in my life is to have fun and make myself happy. Art and color certainly make me happy! :)

Xina: Thanks for your kind comments. I expect to be getting back to my Alaska pictures pretty soon. Got sidetracked by the 21 Day Sketching Habit thing, but I may have more totem poles yet to do! I am actually surprised and how well the Beach Restaurant turned out because that ceiling was one mass of complex angles and edges and crazy perspective. The fact that I even tackled it amazes me. BUT, I want to get better at plein air sketching, so I have to just practice, practice, practice.

Regarding your question about my handling of composition, I DO seem to have a pretty good sense of balance in a composition and I think it is largely natural. However, over the years, I've done a lot of photography and playing with art, so I've naturally been learning and applying and shoring that area up all along the way. It's one of the few artistic skills that DID seem to come naturally to me. But there are still lots of things that I can learn!

Robert: Thanks for your comments and for your insight. I definitely enjoyed using the Pitt pens and I like the results I got. Watercolor is and probably always will be my favorite medium, but I'm trying to broaden my artistic horizons. The pens are definitely cool!

You are partially correct about the difference between my pencil and pen drawings. When I started using pen (without penciling first) I was shocked at how much better I was able to do. Part of the reason, as you say, is that I relax more (I guess 'cause I can't fix it anyway, have to live with every mark - that means I have to just go for it???) But probably a bigger difference is that most of the pencil drawings that are in this book are plein air vs. the pen drawings that are mostly WDE images drawn from photos. I'm still struggling to translate real 3-dimensional life onto 2 dimensional paper and I am much more tentative for that reason.

The waiting room drawing is an exception, but I think it is pretty good because it took me sooooooooooooooooooo long to do it. One of my goals is to be able to do plein air sketching in pen or pencil and be able to do it more quickly, so that it is useful on my travels.

Hang on - Reader warning . . . I feel myself getting philosophical and this may take a while. :)

One of the things I love about carrying on this dialog (our should I say multilog) with my virtual artist friends is that it makes me think more deeply about what I am doing and why and where I want to go with my art.

I have the luxury of already having had a successful career and while being successful financially by selling my art would be wonderful (who couldn't use a few extra bucks?) I'm so grateful that I can approach this from the standpoint of just experiencing the pure joy of creating and progressing - two things that have always revved my engines. It almost makes me weep to realize how good it feels to be able to honestly say, I am no longer trying to make every picture wonderful and perfect and finished. I can look back and see that, although it is imperfect, my art is lightyears improved over just a few years ago and it fills my home and it fills my heart and it makes me happy.

I'm being led down this wonderful journey via a path that has many twists and turns and roundabouts. I started out just wanting to paint beautiful watercolor pictures and was not concerned about the drawing so much. I was quite happy to transfer reference photos, both mine and those of others and to keep learning all the tricks and techniques of using watercolor. Ah, what fun that has been. But more recently, I have found myself yearning to be able to sketch - not so much for the purpose of making a finished sketch, but more for the point of making my watercolor paintings more authentically my own. I'm now regularly making myself happy drawing / sketching my photo references and then painting them more or less in realistic colors and style.

MOST recently, I have felt the need to become better at sketching from life - also for the purpose of being able to draw my own paintings. AND I want to be able to more creatively approach the subject of my painting - looser, perhaps not so realistic, part way to abstract, not sure, but I want to be able to look at a reference scene, sketch, or photo and see something in my mind done more imaginatively and creatively.

Along the way, I am having a ball exploring a lot of different mediums, subjects, and techniques. I've become convinced that improvement truly comes from practice, practice, practice and that's what I'm wanting to do. Unfortunately, my time is still quite limited, so I split my "free" art-creation time between semi-serious practicing and just plain relaxing and having fun.

I've also been delighted to find that for me, art has become a social activity. I started a couple of years ago, "teaching" a few of my friends a watercolor class once a week. I felt like that was legit, because I was at least a little bit ahead of them in learning and because I don't charge them anything. :lol: :lol: :lol:

I set up a home studio and they come over every Saturday and we talk and paint and sometimes even eat (yum!). Now as my grandson gets older, I am finding that he is interested in "playing" with Grammy and her art supplies, so it is another way for me to bond with him. And now, I have found such a wonderful, supportive group of friends here on W/C. When I retired, I knew I would not have any trouble filling my time, but I had no idea what joy lay ahead of me when I decided I wanted to "do art."

Whew!!! End of today's ramble. . . thanks for listening.


07-17-2010, 01:28 AM
That is so cool! Art has always been intensely social for me. Every time in my life that I've gotten immersed in it has been when I had a big group of friends who also got into art. There's always a few that I can help because I solved problems they're having and always others who are so far beyond me that they can solve my problems from past experience. It's incredibly relaxing.

Though I have lived on my art in the past, right now I mostly paint for reducing stress and that reduces my fibromyalgia symptoms a lot. The social support of art groups is a lot of what I enjoy about it.

Life drawing is a lot of fun. One thing that helped me with it more than anything else was deciding to do two minute gesture drawings. It started with a life study group I went to a few times in Kansas.

One model decided to warm up with a few one and two minute gestures. She went through a wide variety of poses and I went nuts trying to get the gist of them down. I managed it. Then when she did a fifteen minute pose, I felt like I had forever to get her drawn in detail. I was surprised to finish before she was done posing!

Once I found out I could do that, I started doing timed two, three and five minute drawings of other subjects from life. It helped so much. I stopped worrying about whether they turned out well because a two minute gesture sketch is just a note to tell me what to draw in detail later.

My sketchbooks are full of gesture drawings of my cat, because he will only pose for five minutes at most. Sometimes only one. Even if he's sleeping, he rolls over, moves his head, stretches and turns the other way without waking up. I had no idea sleeping cats moved around that much till I started timing his poses!

07-17-2010, 01:31 AM

I can certainly empathize with your philopsophical ideas about art. I probably have more time than you, (usually) but don't make nearly as good of use of it as I should. Like you said, it's all about practice, and practice takes time. I look back at the time I've wasted on things of no real value and shake my head. How much better at art would I be if I'd made better use of my time? However, I remember that this is not a race. While, like you I'd like to be able to bring in some income with my art some day, that is not my main objective. What's important now is I put in enough practice time to continually improve, if I do that the rest will take care of itself over time. Like most things, you only get out of it what you put into it.


07-17-2010, 05:55 AM
Just a quick response to the 'philosophical'. I'm finding thats why I'm enjoying this forum so much, because its about the whole of us as artists, the process we're going through. Its not just about one piece of art, or the latest piece of art, but how our art fits into our life, or how our life fits into our art, how we go about just trying to make the stuff at the raw end, the beginnings, not the finishes. Its totally fascinating to have this place to see others in the same process and how brilliant to be able to share this and gain from each others experiences, and yes this definitely does make the thinking and learning deeper and stronger.
And what was that you said about practice?...well this forum just has to be the place to encourage THAT. LOVE IT:clap: Xina

Vivien Maloney
07-17-2010, 02:57 PM
I've read your philosophy on Art with interest, and totally agree with it. The only way to improve our drawing (and all art) is to practise. If you are interested in more sketching the Scavenger Hunt is the place to practise that. A list is printed every 9 days, you find the items on the list and sketch them - all from life. It's lots of fun and creative trying to think of what to sketch for the various items listed. You don't have to complete the whole list, just do which ones you want to. A new list is due out today or tomorrow.

07-17-2010, 05:13 PM
You have quite a way with words as well as art. I'm one of those people who do art only because I like to. My passion and where I make a living is making candy. But, my life would not be complete without some other creative outlets as well. So finding others who are exploring art because they are exploring art is just awesome.

01-08-2011, 02:50 AM
Happy New Year everyone! It's time to play catch-up. I have done several pages in my ICLTD book that have not gotten posted here yet. So, here is a major catch-up post. I hope that in 2011 I have time to paint and draw AND post AND breathe! :lol:


Obviously, this was a Halloween picture done for a WDE in October. It is micron pen and Inktense pencil.


WDE sketch done in pencil.


These were done when I was HOPING to do the November Sketch-a-day challenge. Since I only did 3 sketches, I never actually started the thread.

The top one was done with a new set of Graphitint pencils and the bottom was done with Derwent Watercolor Pencils.


The sketch above is a little toy that I sketched while in a waiting room. It is done with ink and Inktense Pencils


Gingerbread scene done in Ink and Inktense pencils from 2 different reference photos.


Sketch at the park where my Grandson likes to play.


Ink sketches from 12/31/10 WDE - References from Just Chaos


Pencil Sketch from 12-31-10 WDE - references from Just Chaos.

C&C's welcome and appreciated.

01-08-2011, 06:51 PM
I really like your WDE ink sketches, the pencil work ain't shabby either.


01-08-2011, 09:07 PM
Great group of sketches, Jean! Nice to see you back again. My favorite is the gingerbread page.

01-09-2011, 06:03 PM
Glad to see you back and that you've been sketching. These are great. The ones with ink and inktense are marvelous.

01-09-2011, 07:16 PM
Glad you're back to posting these again! Your Halloween sketches were delightful, but I love that onions and lemon one the best of your newer ones. Fantastic rendering on those onions. The toys are all well drawn and colorful, very cool too. Good perspective on some of those.

Keep going! Life drawing helps a lot and so does the practice of doing WDE photos! It's good to alternate life drawing and photos, photos give more detail and don't move but life drawing teaches observation and helps you simplify.

01-09-2011, 07:52 PM
Wonderful stuff Jean, and I agree with Robert - it is great to see you posting work again!

01-10-2011, 04:56 AM
Great to see your book, hope you get more time to draw.

01-10-2011, 12:07 PM
Fabulous totem sketches Jean. I think your drawing is coming along quite nicely. You will get so used to being out and about with your sketchbook very quickly, and then you will wonder what it was that frightened you in the first place. Really!

01-28-2011, 09:17 PM
Thanks everyone for the really nice comments and encouragement. I am trying to get a lot of sketching in, but as usual, I have so many interests going at one time that I never get as much of anything done as I would like. But, it's all fun and it's life and so that's the way it is!

Here is a fairly recent group of sketches.

One day my dd was having a procedure done and I did all the grandkid taxi driving for the day, which left me near the beach with a bit of wonderful time to sketch. This page was about 20 minutes:


Later in the day, I went to a different beach and spent about 35 minutes on this one, near the Carlsbad Power Plant.


Unfortunately, at that point I had to call and wait for the Auto Club to come sell me a new battery, since my car didn't start. Not a bad place to be waiting for car service though!!!

Recently, Ed (Artlike) started showing us the lovely Zentangles he is doing and they struck my fancy. So I too have been scouring the web and trying my hand at a few:


Here is a sampler page, learning some of the patterns I liked. It is on an 8 1/2" x 11" sheet of paper, so I will fold it and glue it into my sketchbook so I can keep them together:



Finally, here is a sketch I did for KreativeK's WDE this week - cross-posted from AMAE:


Whew! That's a lot of catch-up to post at one sitting. Now I need to get back to my Mixed Media journal for a bit! :lol: :lol: :lol:


01-29-2011, 12:15 AM
Nice group of sketches, Jean! The last zentangle is amazing.

01-29-2011, 09:08 AM
Hi Jackie!
ve to just practice, practice, practice.

MOST recently, I have felt the need to become better at sketching from life - also for the purpose of being able to draw my own paintings. AND I want to be able to more creatively approach the subject of my painting - looser, perhaps not so realistic, part way to abstract, not sure, but I want to be able to look at a reference scene, sketch, or photo and see something in my mind done more imaginatively and creatively.

Along the way, I am having a ball exploring a lot of different mediums, subjects, and techniques. I've become convinced that improvement truly comes from practice, practice, practice and that's what I'm wanting to do. Unfortunately, my time is still quite limited, so I split my "free" art-creation time between semi-serious practicing and just plain relaxing and having fun.


and working from life and exploring is the way to go :) you'll learn so much. Lovely book

01-29-2011, 11:44 AM
Ooh, you have found zentangles, too! I have been doing them for about three weeks now almost daily as they are such fun! What pen are you using for them? Yours are very cool! Love the drawing of the powerplant!

Hey, maybe since you are I are so close, we should try to do the next sketchcrawl together?

01-29-2011, 04:38 PM
Great group of sketches. Looks like zentangles are infiltrating the forum. :lol: These are great. I like your page of patterns for reference.

02-01-2011, 07:54 PM
Nice catch up, looks good from here.

02-12-2011, 06:16 PM
Thanks for your comments everyone! Yes, I keep plugging away. My biggest challenge is to keep myself motivated to use the small bits of time that present themselves. I've been working on this page in bits and starts for a couple of weeks now. It is a combination of dolls posted by Charlie's Mum (1/7) and KreativeK (1/21) in the WDE. I loved the dollies and thought they should be together. (This is cross posted from AMAE, by the way)


Dancin' with the Dollies!
WDE 1/7/11 and WDE 1/21/11
Derwent Graphitints in Sketchbook - ~ 70lb paper
Cross-posted in Art Journal forum

C&C's welcome and appreciated, as always!

02-12-2011, 08:17 PM
beautiful dolls!

02-12-2011, 08:32 PM
Cute dollies. Good use of little bits of time adding up. I need to learn to do that.

02-13-2011, 03:32 AM
Nice dolls - they look great altogether.

Not a subject I've ever attempted, teddy bears used to be my thing.;)

03-30-2011, 02:46 PM
Back again after being MIA for a few weeks. Here are some recent pages I have done in the ICLTD Book. It's getting close to the end of the journal and at this point, I love it so much, I just love to sit and flip through the pages and remember doing each one. Sketchbook journaling of itself is so gratifying, but having this wonderful forum to share it in is just icing on the cake. :)

This is South Carlsbad State Beach, a nice beach with some parking right near the water so I can park and sketch when I only have a small amount of time. This was done with micron pen and Derwent w/c pencils. The drawing was done en plein aire, but the color was added later at home and is from my imagination.


This one if from Crispur's recent WDE (3/4/11, I believe). I'll need to come back and fill in something else on the page later. This one is also done with Derwent w/c pencils.


The rest are all from my own current WDE (still some time left if you want to come over to AMAE and join in!) :wink2:

This is from a photo taken at the San Diego Zoo Wild Animal Park. These are toy boats in the pond that the kids can "drive" for a quarter with a big steering wheel.

This is from a photo of part of the big Disneyland futuristic structure in Tomorrowland. I don't think this has changed since I first visited the park in the late 50's. This is done with Micron pen, Faber-Castelle Pitt Pen (black) and Derwent Inktense pencils. I accidentally doodled the flower onto the corner while I was on the phone last night - so I had to color it in, too. :)

This is from a photo of a lovely show of Golden Chain Trees at the Van Duessen Garden in Vancouver. I used my large set of Faber Castell Pitt Pens for this one.


As always, C&C's welcome.


Joan T
03-30-2011, 02:57 PM
Jean - I can't believe you started this thread with the journal so long ago and I JUST FOUND IT. I'm glad your new post brought it back to the top. I've enjoyed seeing all your sketches..from the totems to the recent plein airs. It seems like you've become much more confident sketching in public. Great job on this!!!

03-30-2011, 09:43 PM
These are marvelous sketches. Yes you can draw, you do so very well.

03-31-2011, 05:03 PM
there's a real sense of fun and happiness running throught these :)

03-31-2011, 05:49 PM
how fun. . . I love the beach scene!

03-31-2011, 10:57 PM
Nice to see you back on this journal, Jean! Good sketches since I last commented. I like the beach scene - especially the fisherman, because he is catching a fish, just like I always do when I'm fishing. :wink2: