View Full Version : Michelle's New Flexi-Sketch Book

07-02-2010, 02:45 PM
Yesterday I received my new green 9 x 12 Flexi-Sketch book. And thanks to Robert and Tania, I started doing the "Start a Sketchbook Habit" project by Roz Morrow. I'll spare you the first day's boxes with scribbles, and post today, Day 2's pages. The object was to find swatches from a magazine that had a design you liked and glue them into the sketchbook and then continue drawing where they left off. (All I could find were clothing catalogs LOL). I think in hindsight I was supposed to connect the two that I put on the same page into one drawing, but I forgot that, and it really seems like everyone did their own thing with it. I looked at two of the pieces and I immediately saw a bird and a striped animal, so I made them into a turkey and a zebra. The others weren't so obvious, but I decided to try to make them into animals also. Perhaps the giraffe twin on the right should have had negative spots.

Vivien Maloney
07-02-2010, 03:25 PM
Michelle - These are great and very inventive. I've seen mention of the "Sketch a Day" from various people and I'm intrigued. Where did you find the link to this as I'd like to have a look at it?
Looking forward to seeing more from you in this sketchbook.

07-02-2010, 05:24 PM
Hi Michelle!

What a great job "finding" and drawing animals from your fabric samples. I especially like the turtle and the zebra. Very nice job incorporating the design into your animals.


07-02-2010, 06:15 PM
Thanks, Vivien and Jean. This exercise was different from anything I usually do, and it was fun.

Here's the link to the 21-day sketchbook habit site:

07-02-2010, 06:53 PM
Mickey, these are fun! It's cool what you did with that exercise.

07-02-2010, 07:23 PM
Thanks, Robert. I had a lot of fun with it. I need to get a better magazine selection though for one or two of the later exercises. There isn't all that much you can do with shirts and pants.

07-02-2010, 08:03 PM
You could have a go with old art supply catalogs. That's what I used. I don't have many magazines around, least of all that I'd be willing to cut up.

07-02-2010, 08:41 PM
Michelle very creative. I really love the giraffes and the zebra. Great thinking with the turkey and turtle. Isn't a new sketchbook fun :)

07-02-2010, 09:24 PM
Very clever to find animals in the cut out pieces.

Joan T
07-03-2010, 10:48 AM
Mickey - I love the animals with the magazine pieces. I'm glad you're getting so inspired to sketch so much.

Vivien Maloney
07-03-2010, 03:41 PM
Thanks for the link Michelle. I've had a quick look at it and added it to my favourite's bar and will go back and look at it in more depth later. It looks a really great idea!

07-03-2010, 10:05 PM
this is a really interesting assignment :)

07-04-2010, 10:25 AM
These are cool! Love the giraffes and zebra! Enjoy the Flexi Sketch!


07-04-2010, 06:07 PM
great stuff !!!

07-04-2010, 08:22 PM
Thank you, Jacqui, Dr. Debby, Joan, Vivien, EP, Reggie, and Kevin.

07-04-2010, 09:31 PM
Michelle these are so neat - I love that idea! For some reason I love the turkey and the turtle the most but I like them all, I wonder if you could keep playing with this idea and push it a little further....... extend the colours into your line drawing etc. You have got me thinking..... LOL!

07-05-2010, 08:23 AM
Michelle, so glad you doing this sketchbook habit thing as well - it's so exciting to see what other people do with the exercises.

your animals look great!!! I love giraffes, so they are my favourite, but they are all brilliant and you used the patterns so well. the little turtle doing a handstand is so cute...

07-05-2010, 09:56 AM
Oh, what a great idea with the cut outs from magazines! That's cool, and nice sketches. :D

07-05-2010, 11:08 AM
I do like that little zoo! :)

07-05-2010, 11:36 PM
Thank you, Jackie, Tania, Aiylah, and Vivien.

Yes, Jackie, I thought of extending it in color, but I seem to be into line work these days.

Tania, I love both giraffes and zebras.

07-06-2010, 12:28 AM
I've been pretty busy entertaining my 11 year old grandson who is staying with me all week. I ended up doing day 3 around midnight on Sunday, forgot to do day 4 altogether, and did it and day 5 both tonight, also around midnight, the only chance I got.


For this last one I was supposed to sketch something that I could see while sitting here with my sketchbook. Aside from a jumble of papers and my computer, this stuffed cat was the only thing around. I've sketched it before for the scavenger hunt. It's all white, and very soft and fluffy, and I find it hard to draw. It's prettier than it looks. It used to belong to my favorite aunt, and now it sits in my house for the grandkids to play with.

07-06-2010, 12:55 AM
Wow. You did the both-hands drawing much better than I managed it, that's awesome. I like your sketch of the toy cat, it's got a sweet expression. If you sketch it several times, you may get more accurate with it. The line exercises are great, you got some good designs there.

07-06-2010, 02:59 AM
Michelle - you draw so well with the "Dual Hand Drawing" day - you'll see mine, i'm completely USELESS at it!!!

That stuffed cat is gorgeous!! Your 'Line' page is great too - cool to see what patterns & designs you come up with!!

Vivien Maloney
07-06-2010, 03:21 PM
Like your line page and the little stuffed cat's so cute.

07-06-2010, 11:15 PM
Your lines page is great. The two hands sketching is really good. I didn't realize that's what you'd done until I read further. The stuffed cat is cute.

07-08-2010, 08:30 AM
Well, so much for the 21 day sketchbook habit. I've already missed two days in a row. I've been so busy with my grandson's visit - we have been walking and swimming and playing basketball, and working on his art and coin collecting merit badges. He had to do the same subject in 4 different media, and he's obsessed with Marines, so I found a few photos of Marines online and he picked one to draw/paint. We've done one in pen and ink, and one in watercolor. Today he is going to try it in pastel. Every time there is a slight lull in the day, he askes what we are going to do now. LOL
Next week I think I'm getting his two younger brothers, and I'm sure I will get little if anything done. I don't know how people with young kids ever get time to do art. I will continue to work on the "sketchbook habit" but obviously not every day until the grandkid visits are over.

Joan T
07-08-2010, 10:46 AM
Mickey - I didn't realize that Ethan needed to be entertained so much...he could probably talk and fill up the time. lol Your sketch of Chochi's cat came out OK, but I don't think it's possible to get the real fluffiness of that particuar cat. Have fun with the kids. Does it specify that the sketching days have to be continuous???

07-08-2010, 01:35 PM
Good luck on the Sketchbook Habit with the young kids around. I don't know if people with young children get time to do anything else, kids will want attention every single moment they can get it. Cool that he's into drawing Marines, that'd be a good sketching exercise in itself.

What I do is that on really bad or busy days I try for a timed three or five minute sketch of something from life, preferably something easy and familiar like doing my cat. That at least keeps up the daily art habit when other things are going on.

07-08-2010, 04:04 PM
That's what I did the first few nights, I did about three minutes or five minutes after he had gone to sleep. But the last two nights we watched a video and I'm the one who fell asleep. LOL I did get in a few scavenger hunt sketches while he ran around getting me the items to sketch.

Joan, you are so right about the talking! LOL

07-08-2010, 05:46 PM
looks like you had some fun creating these quirky kritters...

07-13-2010, 09:00 PM
I'm still way behind in the 21 day sketchbook habit. My 11 year old granson Ethan left on Saturday, and now I have his two younger brothers who are 8 and 6. They are really keeping me busy. Only one of them is into drawing and painting, and the other one was bored this afternoon since it was raining. But I did manage to get a few partial pages finished in between activities while they watched videos. Here they are:

Day 6 - the "How do I feel" sketches again. I was only able to find something recognizeable in two of them, although I could probably make an abstract out of a couple more of them.

Day7 - synectics


These are designs that could be cut out of mat board and made into stamps. I think I'd like to do that and stamp them on another page.

Day10(made a mistake and wrote day 8)-sketch and overlay 4 items - I guess there is more to this one but that's as far as I got.

07-13-2010, 09:01 PM
Oh, the 4 items are scissors, roll of tape, beanie baby lobster, and tongs.

07-13-2010, 09:44 PM
Chasing boys around is exhausting, especially if they are the active type. You are doing marvelous to get your sketching in. Good job on the river rocks.

Vivien Maloney
07-14-2010, 08:27 AM
I agree with Debby - "chasing boys around IS exhausting" but you've done well to get any sketching done at all. I like your river rocks, good shading and form to them.

07-14-2010, 09:54 PM
There was some sketching done today, but it wasn't by me. My grandson, Joey, age 8, had some stuff to do to earn an "art belt loop" for Cub Scouts. He had to describe how certain elements of design were used in art. I had him and his brother start sketchbook journals. Here's what we did.

1. Line
I found several examples of line online and they each picked two that they liked, and then drew their own example.
These are facing pages in Joey's journal. I have to get through to them that they don't need to be perfect, and they don't need to cross out sketches that aren't "perfect". Joe's bison was fine the first time.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Jul-2010/20035-JustinsJournalLine1.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Jul-2010/20035-JustinsJournalLine2.jpg
Facing pages in Justin's journal. Justin is younger and was pretty confident about his drawings.

We also did pages on SHAPE and DOTS. Here is Joey's version of Dots (Pointillism) - The Cub Scouts evidently have a few different "elements of design". LOL

The next ones we will work on tomorrow are PATTERNS, CIRCLES, AND PERSPECTIVE
Then he has to do a color wheel and paint something in primary and secondary colors.
We have until Saturday to work on these journals before they go home. I don't think their parents have the time do this type of thing with them.

07-15-2010, 01:39 AM
Michelle, what a lovely activity for the boys to have just with you! You could maybe keep one sketchbook at your place and send them home with one of their own to show you whenever you see them. Lots of great work here!

07-15-2010, 09:25 AM
Michelle - great pages for your sketchbook habit - i like your pebbles & designs for stamps - i didn't know that is what that exercise was for... thanks :)
Your "how do i feel day" sketches are great.... maybe you can go back to them when you want and try finish them.... or not :) LOL!!

Great exercises for the boys - shame, isn't that the case, we all want our drawings to look perfect... that takes practice and lots of it... i wish i had someone doing this for me when i was younger :)

07-15-2010, 07:32 PM
Great that you are helping the boys with learning about art. As Tania said, I wish someone had taken the time to encourage me when I was younger.

07-15-2010, 10:39 PM
Thanks, Jackie, Tania and Debby.

My aunt took me to art museums when I was a kid and bought me art books, and my dad started me out with oil paints and pastels even though he didn't create art himself. I had a lot of encouragement, a place to paint and experiment, and lots of paint and paper.

07-16-2010, 06:53 AM
Hi Michelle, I finally refound this thread and you - the one that got me to the 21 day sketch habit website, and to join in here. So THANK YOU for providing the link. I love, love love your collage animals. They amaze me, those abstract pattern cutouts really provide an interesting visual motif to make the eye delight even more in the patterning of animals. Wonderful.
I can see the confidence in your style, probably born out of your encouraging home, lucky woman, and lucky grandchildren - that scouts art badge has really got to the fundamentals, wow those kids are learning stuff I'm only just beginning on. Your looking at line 'lesson' is great, I think I'll do it myself with my little 6 yr old grandson. I have full time care of him, and in the holidays I'll be doing art work with him. Its such a shame when children start to lose confidence and stop enjoying markmaking, we so need to keep that joy of playing with materials and letting it happen stay with them and with us. Good for you for doing that.

When I started the sketchbook habit thing at first I thought oh no I can't start now, summer holidays means I'll not keep it together, but then I decided that this would be the BEST time, deal with the difficult days and learn I can do it whatever life is throwing at me. Like you if I just can't get it together, its no big deal, just carry on anyway. Thats the way to create the habit.

07-16-2010, 08:14 AM
Thanks, Xina. I'm glad you like the collages. They were a stretch for me, although I do watercolor collages of flowers and landscapes occasionally with rice paper.

I finally got a few minutes last night to catch up on my own sketchbook.

This is a cropped and colored version of the abstract with 4 items. In hindsight, I would have done the two "lobster claws" first so that I wouldn't have had to make one red. By the time I got to that one, red was the only color I could use to not have two reds side by side. Done with the kids markers in primary colors.

Negative shapes - I deviated a little and overlapped my rocks since I like them better that way. Done with dry watercolor pencils. Warm colors - yellow, orange, red and burnt umber. Cool colors - light green, light blue, dark green, ultramarine blue, and purple.

07-16-2010, 09:43 AM
What a cool gramma! Love the drawings your grandsons did !!! :)

07-16-2010, 09:43 AM
A few minutes?? Looks like a lot of hard work been going on here. The abstract is wonderful in shape and composition. Those are good markers, I thought it was a watercolour. I think it would be a beautiful abstract if you changed the colours from the 3 primaries, but i can see using the 3 primaries helps in sorting out the design, I think its good that the claws are differently coloured, makes the whole thing more interesting and subtle.

The negative shapes are lovely, doing it your way has given a nice sense of depth, and the choice of colours for each have worked perfectly.

Do you think doing this sketch habit book is helping you in your art?


07-16-2010, 11:38 AM
I'm not sure that the exercises themselves have been helping my art, but the fact that I'm doing them I think will help me to keep my hands in, making sure that I do *something* every day. I used to paint every day, and somewhere along the line I've lost that. I think keeping sketchbook journals will force me to be more active, increase my interest, and that alone will help my art in the long run.

Today while the boys were watching a video I glued three pages together with matte medium. I think I should have only done two at a time and put something heavy on them until they dried, because now they have bubbles in them. Anyone else working on the 21-day sketchbook habit doing the gluing pages together thing? Any of the altered book people have any advice for avoiding the bubbles? In any case, then I put two coats of gesso on top and am waiting for that to dry before doing my many media - no plan exercise. I may actually gesso the back of the three page sandwich too, so that I can do this exercise twice. It looks interesting. The most interesting one so far.
I have some ideas in mind that I've always meant to try and never got around to. I don't know how/if they will work, but that's the purpose of the sketchbook, right?

07-16-2010, 02:31 PM
Michelle, these are great. Your river rocks are beautiful. So are your warm and cool colors ones. I didn't do mine exactly like hers either.

Your abstract is spectacular! I went back to look at mine and it didn't work like that at all -- my contour drawings were so detailed that the middle's a mass of tiny shapes that would just be speckled while bits stick out recognizably everywhere. I should have picked things that were simpler shapes. I love how you colored it. I never colored mine.

I missed days doing the 21 day sketchbook habit too. So far I haven't seen anyone do all 21 days consecutively without Real Life interfering, so don't feel too bad about it!

Vivien Maloney
07-16-2010, 03:53 PM
Love the abstract and the rocks! Your 8year old grandson's drawings are really interesting to me as my 9year old grand-daughter loves to sketch with me too. And you're right parents usually don't have the time but Grandparents, ah now that's different! As Grandparents we love it!

07-16-2010, 04:08 PM
Robert, I have a lot of tiny shapes in mine too. Painting the parts an odd color keeps them from being too recognizeable. That's why I would have preferred that one lobster claw to be blue or yellow instead of red. But I had painted the pieces around it first, and red was the only color that worked when I got to it.

I had cropped the original drawing in several different places and printed out 2 of them. I painted one, and the 6 year old asked if he could color the other one.

Vivien, I do love doing art stuff with the kids, however, I just spent last week helping my 11 year old grandson to paint a subject in four different media for his Boy Scout merit badge, and now I've spent a week doing several different art activities for the 8 year old for Cub Scouts, and letting the 6 year old do the same things - actually the 6 year old did a better job than his brother. It will be nice next week to be able to concentrate on my own art. Unless I get another kid to bring home. LOL

By the way, we just finished doing color wheels to show how to mix the primaries and make secondaries, and we used their little Crayola watercolor set. It actually made cleaner, purer secondaries than my own paints do.

07-16-2010, 08:39 PM
I like your negative space exercise. Very interesting. I didn't recognize your drawing after you colored it as the same thing at all. Cool.

07-18-2010, 04:39 PM
Today was a sketchbook experiment gone bad and how I attempted to recover from it.

For the last couple of days, in between entertaining my two grandsons, I prepared my sketchbook for Day 12 of the Sketchbook Habit. I glued 3 pages together. That's when I encountered my first problem - the pages bubbled. In hindsight, I should have glued just two, flattened them with a brayer (don't have one but I could have used a rolling pin) and put weights on top until dry. I tried to deflate the bubbles with a pin, but that didn't work. I proceeded to the next step and covered the 3 page sandwich with white acrylic gesso. The bubbling only got worse.

In the next stop I painted turquoise acrylic ink over the whole page and swirled a damp brush in it to create a little interesting design on the page.

I waited 24 hours for all this to dry because I wanted to try doing an image transfer. I had never done one before, but there are several websites that have instructions. Following the instructions, I printed out an image of my Mother's Day flowers. I coated it with Acrylic Gel Medium, and turned it face down on my coated sketchbook page. I flattened it as best I could and let it dry. Then I tried to remove the paper. According to what I read, when I removed the paper, the image would be left behind, with a thin layer of paper stuck to it which I would then remove by wetting and rubbing. Instead, it tore my coated sketchbook page back to white paper. It was a mess!

Okay, do I tear the whole page out of my book or try to fix this? I decided I had nothing to lose, soo I collaged a piece of colored tissue paper over the large tear. Then I made a stamp from one of my designs from Week 9 and stamped the page with some of the leftover white gesso.

Last, I took a white marker and wrote some encouraging statements about experimenting. I think I might find some statements on the subject by other artists and collage them on also.

So, here's my attempted rescue.

07-18-2010, 05:36 PM
Experiments are just that, experiments. You don't know, so you try it and see. The page is a lovely blue and white. Very restful colors to me. And the statements are very encouraging. Take the lessons learned and go on. Not everything we try in life or in art happens just the way we plan. Nice recovery on the page. As I said, it looks lovely.

07-18-2010, 05:55 PM

Final version of Sketchbook Habit Day 12 - 3 Media/No Plan

Read my previous post to see how I accomplished this. LOL

07-18-2010, 05:59 PM
Good quotes to add.

07-18-2010, 09:08 PM
Catching up a bit here - This is "Day 13 - Be a Kid Again" combined with the WDE.


Photo by Yorky, provided by WDE host Signchick
Done in good ole' Crayola Crayons - about 7 x 7

07-18-2010, 11:44 PM
Catching up a bit here - This is "Day 13 - Be a Kid Again" combined with the WDE.


Photo by Yorky, provided by WDE host Signchick
Done in good ole' Crayola Crayons - about 7 x 7

Awww! They are looking at your box of crayons and considering coming over for them :) Imagine what a sheep would draw with crayons? :)

07-19-2010, 12:29 AM
Good recovery Michelle, I like what you have done even though it was not what you set out to do! The sheep are great - doesn't look like crayolas at all - had a chuckle at EP's comment......

07-19-2010, 05:00 PM
Amazing what can be done with the simple children's crayon. Cool sheep.

07-19-2010, 09:05 PM
Day 14 - Tea Stains
I didn't find any little images in my tea stained page (maybe decaf tea doesn't work as well - LOL) but the whole page reminded me of an old crumbling wall. So that's what I went with. This is a door/wall from Mission Espada in San Antonio, which I visited about 11 years ago, when my daughter's husband was stationed there.

12x9 in Flexi-sketch book with Micron sepia pen and tea stains

07-19-2010, 10:21 PM
I think the tea stains made an awesome wall coloration. The colors are especially appropriate for the architecture you are depicting. I like it.

07-20-2010, 12:02 AM
Nice work here, Michelle! I love the sheep! :)

07-20-2010, 03:03 AM
Michelle, what great pages - ALL OF THEM!!

You all media day turned out to be fantastic - sometimes you gotta go back to come way forward and that's what happened there!! well done with that.

Your sheep are so cute!!! like Jackie said, they don't look like crayola - awesome stuff.

Your tea stain day turned out great.... to be honest, i keep starring at my tea stains looking for shapes or whatever and find more in your tea stains than in mine - LOL!! birds, horses & all!! Maybe i should hold mine up and think out the box a bit!! But again, that wall looks amazing!! i love it!!

07-20-2010, 09:19 AM
Thankyou, Debby, John and Tania.

Here is Day 15 - Absorb Information. I bought a copy of "The Simple Secret to Better Paintings" by Greg Albert a while ago, and just skimmed through the pictures. So for this project, I read and took notes on the first two chapters. As you can see, the left side was done on the back of my "tea stain" page. I normally would have skipped that side, but I wanted a two page spread and didn't want to skip two pages.


07-20-2010, 10:10 AM
Mickey, wow! I like your tea stain page. It does look like wall texture, and what you superimposed is elegant. Beautiful page. Great crayon drawing of the sheep. I think you did something about like I did, child project done with adult skill. I did pen drawing of an extinct animal because that's what I did a lot as a kid, only not as well. Your botched transfer project turned into something really cool. I like that page with the quotes, the colors are beautiful and you did use a lot of different mediums. I like the theme of it too.

All of these are fantastic. Beautiful results. Cool pages on your new art book. I wound up doing mine on Shark Week documentaries jotting bits about sharks and drawing sharks and shark teeth. That's a fun one.

07-20-2010, 01:15 PM
Great notes page. An awesome way to remember information.

07-20-2010, 04:19 PM
The work you're doing here is just so great Michelle, I love where you got to with the all=media and quotes. I posted to your tea stain question but you got there on your own. Its lovely. The simple drawing really sets off the beauty of the tea staining..

I looked at your website and found your stunning flower paintings. Forget Greg Alberts book, you should have a Michelle's Secrets to Stunning Flower Paintings Book. Now I'm very curious to know why you're doing Suzettes sketchbook habit exercises, and what you are getting from them. Are you enjoying whats happening.

07-20-2010, 05:54 PM
Ah, my flowers! Thanks, Xina. Yes, I LOVE to paint flowers in watercolor, and from doing so many of them, I got to be pretty good at them. I feel in my element when I paint flowers. Sometimes it's almost a meditation. But I also like to paint en plein air - and that's where my drawing weakness raises it's ugly head. I need practice in drawing and sketching, perspective, and composing. But I tend to avoid the work of practicing drawing, and just leap into a painting. That's why I'm here with the sketchbook journals - trying to learn more about drawing and composition. I want to be able to do as good a job on landscapes and seascapes in my travel journals as I do on my flower paintings.

07-22-2010, 07:51 PM
Good job Michelle, you are doing well at seeing this through! I like your tea stain, years ago I tried it with tea and coffee on watercolour paper to do some calligraphy. I then burnt the edges (setting the smoke alarms off lol!) and it made the whole thing look really old like something belonging to a pirate! I also made labels for a project and after staining with tea I "tore" all the edges to look frayed - quite effective.

Do you find if you make your own notes from a book it somehow reinforces it in your mind? Looks like this sketchbook will become a valuable resource in the future ;)

Vivien Maloney
07-22-2010, 11:33 PM
Love your tea-stains wall. I looked at your blog and your watercolor flowers are beautiful! I know what you mean about wanting to learn more, I think by always looking and wanting to learn more we make good progress with our art. I remember someone saying, if you lose interest in learning, that's when you begin to become old, and I believe that. I'm really enjoying your Journal.

07-24-2010, 12:25 AM
Thanks, Jackie. (I love the smoke alarm story). About making notes - actually I rarely do that. I usually just highlight things that I think are important.

I'm glad you like my flowers, Viv, and you are right about learning. I like learning new things, new media, new techniques.

07-26-2010, 10:56 AM
This is Day 16 - Draw a building.

Wow! I've procrastinated about this one for several days. You know the saying "I can't draw a straight line"? Well, I can't. And although I understand the concept of perspective, I can't seem to put it into action. I had a photo of an old wooden church that I wanted to draw, but the photo was taken at an odd angle, and I just couldn't get the perspective right. So I looked for a straight-on view, found this barn, and was even tentative with that. I didn't ink it because I wasn't really happy with my sketch. Maybe I need to make a new sketchbook just for buildings and start with easy ones.

Now I know why I paint flowers! No straight lines!!!

In any case, Day 16 is done for now.

07-26-2010, 12:03 PM
why not do some buildings from life? just remember that if it's above your eye level it slopes away to a vanishing point and if it's below them it slopes up to it and then rely on observation - you'll find it isn't so scary if you take the maths out of it :)

07-26-2010, 03:00 PM
Thanks, Vivien. I've done many buildings from life - and they are all leaning the wrong way, with crooked, wobbly lines, etc. Like I said, I understand the concept of perspective, just have trouble executing it. I've sketched this barn several times from life also. I am several days behind on this "sketchbook habit" thing, and finally managed to get out a few photos last night to get this exercise done.

My immediate neighborhood is not a great place to sketch buildings - boring houses with too much shrubbery, no place to sit to sketch, neighbors who tend to call police if a car sits out in front of their house too long. I do most of my plein air sketching when I'm travelling. When I'm home I resort to photos.

07-26-2010, 05:23 PM
Mickey, that building looks great. Buildings are rough. It takes careful observation and sometimes a ruler to get all the straight lines at the right angles to give good perspective. I understand it but I still run into problems. I think your sketch is good enough to ink and paint if you want to turn it into a pen and watercolor scene. That'd be beautiful.

I know what you mean about boring houses. Most of the places I've lived, they don't look all that interesting, just suburban standard. I like older buildings with some complexity to them but I have to get to them, which isn't that common. Or use photos, which helps anyway with getting the perspective.

07-26-2010, 05:46 PM
Your sketch of the barn looks just fine. It's a sketch, remember? It looks like a great old barn on a farm. You could take it further if you wanted to, or leave it since you don't like it.

07-27-2010, 06:03 AM
neighbors who tend to call police if a car sits out in front of their house too long. I do most of my plein air sketching when I'm travelling. When I'm home I resort to photos.

:lol: oh dear! It's great that you do work plein air despite the difficulties!

I find when holding a sketchbook I have to be really careful with verticals or they slant because I'm obviously holiding the book a bit askew! I've had to learn to check they are parallel with pages edges so buildings don't look drunk! I'm not good at straight lines.

07-27-2010, 09:51 AM
Michelle, I also have a difficult time drawing straight lines. I still use a t-square, triangles, templates and all sorts of rulers when I draw and paint buildings. It helps a lot! If I do not use guides, my buildings come out wonky :lol:

Good sketch :thumbsup:

07-27-2010, 10:04 AM
Michelle - this is great! I see nothing wrong with it at all and I actually like buildings that look a little wonky! I'm not sure if you've ever visited England or the UK? Well you'd have a field day with some of the buildings there.... lots of old, wonky little cottages! Such character! I do like old barns for the same reason, they're never straight, time has "warped" them! So I certainly wouldn't worry about straight lines and if you really had to have a straight line there I see no problem at all in using tools such as a ruler! I agree, I think this would look lovely with ink and wash! :)

07-27-2010, 12:44 PM

Day 17 - Collage a Face - (Self Portrait)

I spent entirely too much time on this today. I used "Just My Size", "Lands End", and "AARP" magazines.

07-27-2010, 01:40 PM
I love it :) You were able to achieve great skin tones there and the hair is great...very imaginative! :clap:

07-27-2010, 02:42 PM
:) it worked well

Vivien Maloney
07-27-2010, 03:22 PM
Very interesting collage Michelle. It would be quite difficult to do and I can see why you would have had to spend lots of time on it. Great skin tones.

07-27-2010, 03:37 PM
Good work on the collage Michelle, you've created a strong image. The collaging on the face makes it really interesting to look at. I'm not looking forward to doing this one - a face in collage -yikes. What about creating a background for her? Can you see any possibilities? You wouldn't need to do it all in one session, but just keep adding when you can.. Do you think you gained anything from doing this?

I was thinking perhaps you could do some te staining on the building, and then pick out some lines you like from the phot in pen.. Everyone is encouraging you to use pen I notice - or how about collaging it? That would turn it into something different.

07-27-2010, 04:44 PM
Um....Collage the background too??? I don't think so. LOL

Actually, when I do watercolor collages or stained paper collages, I always collage the background, but this magazine cutout stuff is just too tedious. And my kitchen table looks like it's been in a tornado. But I'm glad you all liked the collage. It came out much better than I expected it to.

Here is Day 18 - Negative Shapes

This was fun to do, although I got lost a few times, and I had to invent a few negative shapes to break up areas that were too large.

07-27-2010, 05:34 PM
Your collage face is fascinating. The negative space is gorgeous. Great stuff.

07-27-2010, 10:32 PM
Wow Michelle - the collage is just great and your negative shapes is fantastic - bet that excercise really made you look hard at your subject! It is a really good technique especially with watercolours ;)

07-28-2010, 09:15 AM
Thanks Debbie and Jackie.

And here is Day 19 - Attributes

07-28-2010, 09:51 AM
Michelle, it's so awesome that you're doing this sketch habit right to the end. i love your collage face, that's awesome!! and your attributes page - very clever!! :)
The negative spaces is so nice, those fine lines in between must have been difficult, but it looks great!

07-28-2010, 01:02 PM
Very interesting attributes page. Clever visual.

Vivien Maloney
07-28-2010, 03:15 PM
The negative shape page is great and I like your attributes page also, the words outlining the form of the face is a very clever idea.

07-28-2010, 06:54 PM
Great sketchbook! I actually have the same one as yours - but it's 9"x6" - I still yet haven't used the rest of it, but I have the first two pages already filled in with cartoon drawings.. I think this one will be for cartoon ideas, only. No real life, etc.

07-28-2010, 09:58 PM
hats off to you Michelle for sticking with it - you are almost at the end now...? Do you think it has improved your dedication to daily sketching habits?

07-29-2010, 09:02 AM
Thank you, Debby, Viv, Rachel and Jackie.

Do I think working with this project has improved my dedication to daily sketching habits? Well, that remains to be seen. I tend to get enthusiastic and obsessed with a project, but my dedication fizzles out when I don't have some sort of direction. I have a couple of ideas for what to do next.

The bad part is that I've become so focused on these sketchbook journals that it's hard to me to make the time to work on actual paintings, and I've even been neglecting the scavenger hunts.

Right now, I'm working on the Elements and Principles of Design. I don't like using my meager magazine collection for this, so I'm combing the internet for my examples - and finding more than one for each, so this "page" will be more than just one page. LOL

07-29-2010, 11:23 AM
Here are the first two (facing) pages for "Day 20" the Elements of Design:


This covers line, shape and value.

07-29-2010, 01:10 PM
These are great. Yours are so beautiful, laid out with printed examples. I just sketched mine, but found lots of examples online and on my bookshelf. Design is everywhere.

When it ends, start something very personal. For me it was continuing the sketches of my cat and going back to Scavenger Hunt and WDE images, various WC events.

We're going to be offline for 48 hours though so maybe it'd be good to start something intense to show off when the site comes back up. The main this is that when you do the last one, immediately pick something cool to do on the next day, no matter what it is. Just something that moves you. Then stick to it even if it's hard.

If you set your own challenge, here's a good one. Choose a single photo reference or object, then try doing it in as many different ways and mediums as you can lay your hands on. Pick something you really love. There was a woman in the Pastel Journal last year who chose a landscape reference and painted it 100 times in pastels 6" square - it was very cool and the variety of those massed images was gorgeous.

Start something like that and two things happen - your skills of observation get really honed and you get in the habit again.

07-29-2010, 03:05 PM
......and the rest of the Elements of Design:

(The "Tiffany Tulips" painting and the leaf collage are by yours truly)

(The "Pemaquid Point" seascape is mine also)

I found SO many images that would work for these elements, and in many cases an image would have worked for two of more different elements. The leaf collage is actually one of a series that I did a while back of a Ti plant. I did paintings focusing on line, shape, and texture. The collage was the texture one. Some day I plan on doing the same painting using all the elements.

The Principles of Design were also supposed to be a part of this "Day 20", but I will save them for another time, and finish the project with the next exercise - Day 21.

07-29-2010, 06:40 PM
Beautiful examples of artistic elements. And you personal art is gorgeous.

07-29-2010, 07:41 PM
Interesting pages Michelle, and valuable to look back on for reference, I need visual jolts to remind me. When stuck in a rut, some of these important aspects escape me lol! Your own artworks look wonderful - the tulips and leaf collage vibrant and full of colour, and Pemaquid Point is full of light.... great stuff ;)

Vivien Maloney
07-31-2010, 03:26 PM
Michelle, because of the up-grade I can't see your latest pictures. Could you maybe post them again? There's lots of people having the same problem but it looks like the site is going at full strength now - very fast as well!

07-31-2010, 03:49 PM
Michelle, the images broke. I found that I could use the attachments feature and see what I posted during this server upgrade. I'd like to see these.

Looking forward to your Day 21 exercise!

07-31-2010, 06:31 PM
I've used the attachment feature for the last few pages I posted. My face collage (self portrait of sorts), attributes page, and elements of design pages.

07-31-2010, 06:33 PM
They didn't all fit on one post. Here are the elements of design.

Vivien Maloney
08-01-2010, 01:36 AM
Ok, Michelle, I can see them now. I guess they still haven't finished the up-grade, as lots of pictures are not coming through. I hope it gets better than this! I think I'll wait until tomorrow before trying to post my sketches. Thanks for posting. You've done heaps of work and it's all great. I love your elements of design - well done!

08-01-2010, 11:52 AM
Michelle, I like your Attributes page. That's so clever defining a profile with the words - I would never have thought of that (obviously didn't). This is why I love seeing other people doing the same project. Your collage face is great. The glasses must have been so difficult. Text for gray hair is so effective too!

Your design pages are striking, all great examples. I love that color wheel of pencils. I've seen it many times and never tire of it, that's a fantastic image. Are those your paintings that you printed out? They're beautiful, so gorgeous and each of them with a stunning composition. If not, you have a great eye.

08-01-2010, 03:23 PM
The painting with the red and yellow tulips, the Pemaquid Point seascape, and the leaf collage are mine. The others were ones I found online that illustrated the subject well.

I hadn't seen that pencil color wheel before, but I liked much better than the traditional wheel.

08-02-2010, 08:35 AM
one of my most treasured memories is visiting the cave paintings in the Dordogne and seeing the originals at a couple of places and the brilliant Lascaux II - recreated because of the damage people's breath was doing to the paintings in the original Lascaux - your little image took me back there :)

08-02-2010, 11:50 AM
Two of my favorites, Mickey. I love your Pemaquid Point painting, that's incredible. I liked the Lascaux image too, have seen them in prints and videos and magazines all my life and wished I could go.