View Full Version : Vivs Sketchbook in a month Challenge

Vivien Maloney
09-30-2010, 11:03 PM
Robert thanks so much for this great idea. It's already 4.00pm on Friday 01 November, here in New Zealand so I thought I'd start.

Although I've got Sketchbooks (all unfinished) everywhere, I couldn't resist this Challenge.
I recently bought several Sketchbooks while I was away for a few days holiday, so have been very keen to start some of them.
I've gone for a smaller size - A5, as I thought I may be able to get it finished in a month! There again who knows.

I've included a photo of my Sketchbook

It's a type of never used before, so it will be interesting to see how it handles watercolor washes etc.

This is my first page. It's a "Crown Imperial" Fritallaria, sketched from life.
I used watercolor, and a little pen-work. Took about an hour.
The page seemed to accept the watercolor, very well, without any buckling. So I think it's going to be quite a nice sketchbook to use.


Looking forward to your comments and to seeing everybody's new Sketchbook work.

C & Cs welcome

09-30-2010, 11:19 PM
Excellent start. Your pen work is beautiful.

09-30-2010, 11:20 PM
This looks like a nice start to the challenge Viv! I think you're a month ahead though ;)

09-30-2010, 11:43 PM
Beautiful flower, Viv. . . lovely start to your book. What brand of WC do you use? just curious. Look forward to following your book!

09-30-2010, 11:45 PM
Viv, this is a beautiful start! Love the exotic plant, it looks completely natural. Cool sketchbook, glad that it takes a light wash so well. Going to go put yours in the Index now!

09-30-2010, 11:52 PM
Nice flower for your start, Viv!

10-01-2010, 02:22 AM
FABULOUS START, it is amazing flower, LOVE the subtle shading and pen work. FANTASTIC looking journal too!!!!!!

10-01-2010, 05:47 AM
an exotic start - and fast!

10-01-2010, 08:29 AM
A5 sketchbooks are great. You got that flower sitting nicely on the first page with a good flow there. Good start Viv.

Joan T
10-01-2010, 12:45 PM
Glad you are happy with the new sketchbook. Good start with this lovely flower!!

Vivien Maloney
10-01-2010, 01:23 PM
Opppps!!!!! Didn't realise I'd put November instead of Ocotober!! Too keen to begin my new Sketchbook I guess.

Thanks for all your comments and many thanks to Robert for setting this up - it's a wonderful idea.

Rainy - I use Maimeri and Winsor & Newtown. Mostly tube watercolors but I have a small tin of Maimeri (with 15 watercolor pans in it) for quick sketches. I also have a tiny pocket pallette Winsor & Newton (which has a tiny brush in it) but I don't use it much as it is the weaker Cotman colors. I prefer the tube paints for larger paintings, but the Maimeri pans are ideal for sketching.

10-01-2010, 02:15 PM
Oooooh! This is gorgeous :) :) :)

10-01-2010, 03:01 PM
Gorgeous, Vivien! I'll be watching to see how you get on!

10-01-2010, 07:50 PM
I also have a tiny pocket pallette Winsor & Newton (which has a tiny brush in it) but I don't use it much as it is the weaker Cotman colors.

The Cotman colours are still fantastic, actually I find in sketchbooks they are more transparent and more brilliant in colour. And as I use them in the sketchbook, lightfastness isn't an issue, ALTHOUGH, the cotmans are lightfast.

Gentle Hugs:grouphug:

10-01-2010, 08:06 PM
beautiful flower

10-01-2010, 08:11 PM
What a lovely image to start with Viv! I'm watching......!

10-01-2010, 09:33 PM
Beautiful start and lovely flower!

10-01-2010, 09:49 PM
Lovely start!:thumbsup:

10-02-2010, 03:31 AM
woo hoo! feels good doesn't it!

Vivien Maloney
10-02-2010, 02:59 PM
Sketched these yesterday for the Scavenger Hunt.
I'm already finding the small A5 size a bit restrictive. I usually use A4, as I can get more on a page, however I'll persevere and see how I get on.
I've also decided to use both sides of the paper as the sketchbook only has 25 pages. I've also discovered that it doesn't take wet'n'wet washes very well - buckles like mad.



These 2 pages of sky studies are x Watermedia Forum



I wasn't happy with these as the paper was so buckled I didn't want to add any more paint to it. But this sketchbook is for exerimenting with, so I guess I've certainly done that!

C & Cs welcome

10-02-2010, 03:10 PM
I think the clouds are pretty awesome

10-02-2010, 03:25 PM
Vivien, your clouds are beautiful. I like the plants too. Great Scavenger Hunt sketches. Cool that you're going to use both sides of the pages!

10-02-2010, 04:47 PM
love that flax leaf...there is just a simple beauty to it

and your cloud studies are simply gorgeous! ...I've noticed that when I use too much water in my sketchbooks and the paper buckles, they will soon smooth down after being closed for awhile or with added pressure...and like you said, your book is where you experiment..things do not have to be perfect :)

10-02-2010, 06:51 PM
I would totally love to experiment with the pad you're using. Textures are interesting to work with. I love your sketches so far!

10-02-2010, 10:35 PM
Sorry the paper buckled on you. But, the skies are gorgeous. The plants are simply lovely. And your hunt sketches are great.

10-02-2010, 10:36 PM
AMAZING sketches and paintings!!!!! The leaves are just BEAUTIFUL, but those cloud studies are AMAZING, very difficult to capture when the paper won't let you do what you want - but you have captured them PERFECTLY!!!!!!

Gentle Hugs, Stacey

10-03-2010, 01:18 AM
lots of sketches for one day, awesome... those clouds look great, the blending and texture is very well done.

WC Lee
10-03-2010, 04:24 AM
nice sky studies :) the paper has some interesting texture

10-03-2010, 06:40 AM
Hey Viv, your sketches are great. I used the iron on one of my sketchbooks!! I put a sheet or two of plain white paper either side of the page I wanted and used the iron on it - worked a treat! ( no steam and make sure you put some sort of protective sheets between the work and the iron :) )

10-03-2010, 07:52 AM
I know you've said you're not happy with them but I quite like the sky studies. :) And I may be the only person on earth who kind of likes the buckley effect that you can get with water on paper sometimes. It adds to the sensory appeal when turning pages in a funny way! LOL

10-03-2010, 11:53 AM
Great start on the project! Very cool looking plant ~

10-03-2010, 01:29 PM
nice skies :)

you can haze coloured pencil over when watercolours dry if the paper won't take any more liquid - it works really well for intensifying or overlaying colour

I've used a steam iron on paintings too! (reverse side)

Vivien Maloney
10-03-2010, 02:16 PM
Got more sketching done over the weekend. I thought I'd better get as much into my sketchbook as I could to give it a good start! (just in case I lag behind later in the month). I've used 8 pages so far.


WDE - Red Geraniums
This used the whole A5 page and was watercolor, Inktense pencils and pitt pen.

I'm still not keen on the buckling (with water) but thanks Vivien B, and Jackie for your suggestions that I try ironing it, to smooth it out. I had wondered about that but, as yet, haven't tried it, but I will.

C & Cs welcome

10-03-2010, 02:23 PM
What a beautiful page Vivien! I love how the red pops on the geraniums. I have totally been following the same train of thought in trying to get more done while I can just in case!:lol:

10-03-2010, 08:10 PM
Stunning geraniums. Lovely skies. Those remind me of the KIUAN exercises from Sept..... yes? :)

10-03-2010, 09:55 PM
Lovely geraniums.

10-03-2010, 10:04 PM
wow, wonderful work on the geraniums in the bowl Viv. . . those are beautiful

10-03-2010, 10:30 PM
love the peaceful feeling this portrays :) ...beautiful colors!

10-04-2010, 12:02 AM
Great flowers, Viv! The perspective on it is great - the plants definitely feel like we are right by them and the window definitely in the background. I'll add my kudos on the skies as well.

10-04-2010, 12:17 AM
Your geraniums are super. Have you tried putting a heavy book and a weight on top of that to straighten out the pages? Sometimes works for me.

10-04-2010, 01:46 AM
Those red Geraniums look great, awesome job!

10-04-2010, 02:13 AM
I love geraniums! You've done a great job with them Viv and you seem to have the inktense under control really well, beautiful colour :)

10-04-2010, 03:01 AM
luminous :)

10-04-2010, 11:43 AM
I have to find that scavenger hunt! I really like the geraniums they are beautiful

Joan T
10-04-2010, 01:32 PM
Great sky studies, but you know that geranium just rocks!!!!!!!!!!

10-04-2010, 09:02 PM
Wonderful flowers I wish I could do flowers

I'm jelous!

Vivien Maloney
10-04-2010, 09:20 PM
The next 3 pages are all from Scavenger Hunt 194

7. Creamy - Yoghurt
8. Rusty - rusty bolt
9. Rough - nail file
10. Tape - builders tape
All in pitt pen


11. Shaggy - My Miniature Horse "Star Dreamer", who is looking extremely shaggy at the moment as he's losing his winter coat. Pencil


12. Still-life with fruit - Neocolors II


C & Cs welcome

10-04-2010, 09:28 PM
Marvelous hunt sketches.

10-05-2010, 01:04 AM
Great work on the horse, and wonderful color in the fruit bowl - just beautiful!

10-05-2010, 01:09 AM
Great sketches! This challenge has chewed up my scavenger hunt time (as well as some other stuff) so congrats on keeping up with that. The still life with the fruit is spectacular. Are the Neocolors Caran d'ache (spelling?) products?

10-05-2010, 01:27 AM
that fruit is so vibrant! beautiful colors and modeling. . . Star Dreamer is beautiful even shaggy :) wow, you are moving right along with your book :clap:

10-05-2010, 01:52 AM
love your sketch of Star Dreamer! they way you have capture the mane is wonderful...and I'm jealous..I've always wanted a horse :)

the fruit bowl is simply gorgeous! ...I'm really falling in love with mine, again...I've had them for many years, but just recently found them and started using them some more. I think I'm going to keep mine as a staple in the on-the-go sketch kit.

10-05-2010, 09:39 AM
The red on those geraniums is stunning, it pops right off the page and makes you smile. :)

10-05-2010, 06:36 PM
and good use of line

10-05-2010, 06:44 PM
the colour is absolutely zinging - after looking at the line work and pencil - then WOW!

All great stuff Viv, you've been busy :)

10-05-2010, 10:38 PM
very nice!

10-06-2010, 01:00 AM
There's something really really cool about how you do coloured still life fruit bowls :) :) :)

10-06-2010, 10:20 AM
Great colors on the fruit bowl, they're so strong!

Vivien Maloney
10-06-2010, 01:28 PM
Thanks everyone for the wonderful comments. I'm on to page 11 now, and I've surprised myself how quickly I'm filling this sketchbook.

This one was done for the Pen & Ink Oct challenge
Watercolor, Pitt Pen and an old cartridge pen for stippling


C & Cs welcome

10-06-2010, 02:14 PM
oh wow, Viv...this is beautiful! love the colors, the treatment of the background, and the stippling :clap:

10-06-2010, 06:16 PM
wow Viv! love the way you handled the background, and the red of the flower is just lovely ;)

10-06-2010, 06:47 PM
another gorgeous flower with nice bright colors and a good and contrasting background to pop it out

10-06-2010, 09:20 PM
Beautiful flower. The background is stunning.

10-06-2010, 10:29 PM
All just super Viv, love your horse and the fruit turned out vibrant and tasty looking.

10-06-2010, 11:24 PM
Wow, beautiful flower Viv. Great job on the shading of the petals and everything:thumbsup:

10-07-2010, 01:36 AM
This is really spectacular, Viv!

10-07-2010, 04:15 PM
You've got the flower shape really well and it isn't an easy one to draw/paint :)

10-07-2010, 06:06 PM
oh WOW. . . that is gorgeous. I love the pen stippling. Never would have thought to do that. I really love it, Viv. Nice work.

WC Lee
10-08-2010, 03:22 AM
that last one is just beautiful :) you are on a roll, the sketchbook will be finished way before the end of the month at the pace you are going.

10-09-2010, 08:44 AM
Beautiful red flower Viv! I love the background - makes that flower pop~

10-09-2010, 12:02 PM
Gasp!! Love that flower!!!!!

Vivien Maloney
10-10-2010, 05:11 AM
Two more pages completed

The Rhododren flower was for the Scavenger Hunt
Watercolor and Inktense pencils

The little Westie was done for this weekend's WDE - pencil


I've been trying to use different mediums for the pages, to give my sketchbook more interest.

C & Cs welcome

10-10-2010, 05:33 PM
you've caught the slumped posture of the little dog :) and the leaves are beautifully glossy

10-10-2010, 05:46 PM
Beautiful flower drawing.

The little dog is so adorable.

10-10-2010, 06:37 PM
two more fab sketches Viv - the westie is very cute but I love the way you handled the rhododendron - very nice!

10-10-2010, 10:11 PM
Both the flower and the pooch are great, though I've gotta go with the doggie as my favorite, being a major dog person! :)

10-11-2010, 02:14 AM
that Westie is amazing! love it!! :D

and the flower is beautiful!

Vivien Maloney
10-11-2010, 01:24 PM
Thanks everyone!
I just realised that it's almost half-way through the month so if I intend to fill my sketchbook in a month, I need to hurry up!
I have got a bit fed-up with the smaller A5 page and find it too restrictive, so have been working on larger paper, but that doesn't fill this sketcbook does it!

10-11-2010, 03:33 PM
Great little WDE doggie :) :) :)

10-12-2010, 02:54 AM
That's how I feel about A5 and smaller too - cramping - even A4 is a bit smaller than I'd like and I often spill across both pages

10-12-2010, 02:32 PM
The flowers are wonderful and the color so intense! cute puppy too!

10-12-2010, 10:35 PM
love,love,love the dog. you really captured his personality

10-12-2010, 11:26 PM
the sketches look great, good job penciling Westie!

Vivien Maloney
10-13-2010, 01:34 PM
Another 2 pages, both done for the Scavenger Hunt
Soft - a soft ball. It was a challenge to make the ball look soft and fluffy (as it was made of very soft wool) but I think I've achieved it (I think!)
Hard - a hard blue plastic pill bottle

These were both done with Inktense pencils

This was Challenge #2 - Hand holding something
Pitt pen


C & Cs welcome

10-13-2010, 04:52 PM
Great hunt sketches.

10-15-2010, 02:51 AM
Hi Viv,

EVERY sketch and painting is FANTASTIC, but that bowl of fruit is STUNNING!!!!!!!!!!!

Gentle Hugs, Stacey

10-15-2010, 04:24 AM
the ball really does look soft and fluffy - well done

Vivien Maloney
10-17-2010, 02:03 PM
I'm getting behind with posting my sketches, so here's some more pages;

This was posted in October's Pen & Ink Challenge


The next is from the Scavenger Hunt and is my Newfoundland/Labrador, "Blossom" - a gentle giant, and most loved.


C & Cs welcome

10-17-2010, 02:34 PM
Very nice to see Blossom again - lovingly done! The apples in pen and ink are very strong as well.

10-17-2010, 04:15 PM
Viv, the apples are gorgeous, makes me hungry.

Blossom is beautiful, the charcoal works so well here. How do you stop it smudging in your book? Do you use a fixtitive spray on your finished page?

10-17-2010, 06:33 PM
Wonderful apples. Beautiful pen work.

Blossom is fabulous.

10-18-2010, 08:41 AM
2 really nice pages :)

Joan T
10-18-2010, 12:50 PM
Wonderful sketches!! I love the flowers but the pen & ink of the fruit is outstanding!!!

10-18-2010, 08:27 PM
good job with the willow charcoal, Blossom looks great... the apples are awesome...

Vivien Maloney
10-20-2010, 01:31 AM
More from Scavenger Hunt 196



Ornament - Horse & foal ornament


C & Cs welcome

10-20-2010, 06:56 AM
Just getting around to looking at this now. Terrific sketches! Love the florals, but my very favorite is the apples on the blue cloth. Wow!

10-20-2010, 12:35 PM
Wonderful bookcase. I love the bumpy texture of your paper :)

Vivien Maloney
10-20-2010, 05:16 PM
Scavenger Hunt - Outside my door - Pastel


WDE - Oct 22

Very wet watercolor "thrown'" at the paper. When it dried it didn't look
like flowers so I added the pen lines to define it more

Not many pages left to go - yahoo!!!

C & Cs welcome

10-20-2010, 06:35 PM
Yayyy for coming so close to finishing!

Blossom's fantastic. You always sketch that dog with such life and accuracy, so much personality. She's lovable even though she's a dog, that's how well you draw her. I'd pet her for it if I were there in person (provided she didn't chase Ari of course). Is she cat-trained?

Beautiful rendition of the apples on silk for the pen and ink challenge. I love that reference and your stipple shading is so striking on it. The slowest, but sometimes the most elegant type of pen shading.

I love the Scavenger Hunt drawings, so accurate and so interesting. Like the horse-foal ornament, it's lovely. Gorgeous watercolor hibiscus with pen lines to define it, that's a loose, free, wild sort of painting with such great vivid color. Cool pastel of what's outside your door too.

10-20-2010, 08:28 PM
well done Viv, the flowers are stunning!

10-20-2010, 10:30 PM
Such interest and variety. The flower drawing over watercolor is so lively.

10-20-2010, 10:45 PM
watercolor flowers look awesome!

10-20-2010, 11:04 PM
WOW, Viv. . . I just really love those soft flowers. The colors are great and the penmanship is perfect. The horse/foal drawing has lovely lines.

10-20-2010, 11:53 PM
Gorgeous watercolor flower, Viv! And good other sketches as well. :)

Vivien Maloney
10-27-2010, 11:18 PM
The next two were for the Floral Forum -October Challenge- Australian flowers.

Neocolors II - unwashed (as I wanted to see the texture of the paper)
It looked better before I put in the background!


Watercolor and some Pitt pen work.

C & Cs welcome

Vivien Maloney
10-27-2010, 11:44 PM
WDE - Happy, happy, joy, joy.
Neocolors II


"Lake Te Anau"
We were in the Lakes District and watched a storm building up, and coming in, over the mountains and lake. It was awesome! I'm sorry I couldn't capture the immense grandeur of the moment, better than I have.
Watercolor and pencil


Yahoo - last page!!!!
A scented Rhododendron
Watercolor and Inktense pencils


I've finished my sketchbook! I can't believe it, as it's the first time I've actually finished one.

I discovered that I didn't like being restricted to such a small size-A5. I'd picked that size because I thought I'd be more likely to finish it in a month.
But I much prefer to work with different mediums on different size papers.
However it was an interesting and learning experience.

Thank you, so much Robert for the chance to participate in this challenge.
C & Cs welcome

10-27-2010, 11:52 PM
Awesome finish! Congrats.

10-28-2010, 12:40 AM
oh, wow. . . you finished early! CONGRATS, VIV and well done. You have some stunning sketches in there. I love those last flowers you just posted and that Happy drawing just makes me smile ear to ear.

10-28-2010, 01:51 AM
I like the watercolour with the Pitt pens (waratah? I always mix flower names up!).

What a marvellous achievment Viv - well done on completing your sketchbook! :)

10-28-2010, 03:24 PM
well done! and a nice finish :)

I've got one page to go - but my book was a deliberately slim one even though it was a bit bigger at A4. I knew I wouldn't have time for a thicker book.

Did you feel you learned a lot from the constant practice?

Vivien Maloney
10-28-2010, 06:18 PM
Thanks everyone for your congrats!

Jackie - Yes, the flower in the Floral Forum Challenge was a Waratah. I've never seen one in the flesh (so to speak) but I hope it was close to the photo that Meggs posted.

VivienB - Yes, I deliberately picked a smaller Sketchbook for the Challenge as I knew I didn't have a hope of filling a larger one in a month. But the smaller A5 size did irritate me as I prefer A4 or larger and felt very restricted with it. I usually use a loose-leaf folder for filing my work as I like to use a variety of sizes and paper (pastel paper, water color paper, etc).

I'm active in about 4 Forums plus the Scavenger Hunt, so I do lots of sketching every day. A day without sketching, or some sort of artwork, and I get very edgy!

10-28-2010, 06:50 PM
Lake Te Anau is magnificent! Cute puppets from the WDE and the rhododendron flower's beautiful.

I can see how it's sensible using the A5 sketchbook, but maybe next time you could get an A4 or A3 with fewer pages. Mine's about A3 with slightly different proportions but with only 50 pages it wasn't too bad.

10-29-2010, 03:07 AM
I love to watch storms roll in, your watercolor and pencil capture that mood...wonderful colors on the Rhododendron...:thumbsup:

10-29-2010, 03:42 AM
Love Lake Te Anau, beautiful page - what an acheivement filling your sketchbook AND in the month, way to go!!

10-29-2010, 12:00 PM
Congratulations! Way to go!!! Yaaay!!!

Great view of the lake with the lovely name :)

10-31-2010, 02:48 AM
Great finish to your sketchbook challenge, Viv! I like all the flowers a lot, and the landscape looks great as well. Good job!