View Full Version : vivienb october sketchbook in a month challenge

10-01-2010, 08:04 AM

My sketchbook is a thin A4 one with thin cheap paper so I won't be using water media unless I work on other paper and stick them in - which could happen. Anything could happen :)

This is the first one, in pencil - a skull I've drawn a few times but from a different angle. It's fiendish to draw as it's so intricate but really interesting ... well I think so !

Incidentally - I find the best way to adjust pencil drawings to match the original is often to

scan the drawing
it often looks too pale
so - duplicate the layer
use multiply as the layer option
adjust the percentage of multiplication until it matches the original
flatten the layers

I find this gives me the best results with pencil and coloured pencil, better than levels and brightness and contrast and hue and saturation etc usually and it matches the original really well

10-01-2010, 08:18 AM
FANTASTIC skull, LOVE the depth and details.

THANKYOU for the information on getting better image results from scanned images/drawings.

10-01-2010, 10:02 AM
wonderful details on the pencil drawing. . .

10-01-2010, 10:50 AM
Vivien, that skull is magnificent! I agree that it's interesting. I have a few things like that where I want to draw it repeatedly at different angles. This is gorgeous! Intricate, but you've had the practice to get it perfect!

10-01-2010, 11:01 AM
Vivien thats such a great drawing - and on thin cheap paper!! Doesn't look it AT ALL.
And its a fine example of how to use sketchbooks for really looking and getting that drawing practice in.

10-01-2010, 12:35 PM
Beutiful sketch! Very nice detail going on~

Joan T
10-01-2010, 12:36 PM
Excellent graphite sketch of the skull!!! I love the shading!

Vivien Maloney
10-01-2010, 01:58 PM
Wonderful skull drawing!
Thanks for the information on correcting photographed artwork. I always scan my single pages but can't do that with a sketchbook as my printer lets light in (with the thicker sketchbook pages). I've tried putting a black cloth over it etc but nothing works, so I have to photograph them. Then of course, I have to try to adjust them to look like the original as they always look too blue. So I'm copying your information on correcting photographed work and I'm going to try it.

10-01-2010, 02:11 PM
Thanks for the explanation :)

10-01-2010, 04:16 PM
I love that skull...it's almost grinning!
Nice start to the challenge!

10-01-2010, 05:22 PM
thank you everyone :>)

I was tempted to use the folio moleskine but realised I simply won't have time to complete it, so settled for this thin exercise book. I can always strengthen and jazz up the thin card cover at the end.

my printer lets light in around the edges with a thick book but I just press it down tightly to the glass and crop out the bits where light leaks in - near the binding at the centre is the most difficult, there is often a murky shadow there.

The duplicating layers thing works with photos too if they are a bit pale. The pale colours don't over-darken but the tones darken well. It also gets the colour of moleskine pages better.

10-01-2010, 07:44 PM
I am in awe of your bone-drawing skills :)

I have a deer tailbone and vertebrae that I tried to sketch, and it was very difficult...but you have inspired me to just keep at it..study it until I get it right :)

10-01-2010, 08:23 PM
Yay Vivien! What a wonderful quirky interesting sketch to kick off! I really like working tonally and love looking at tonal drawings, makes me look more intensely at the shapes and rendering with no colour to distract me :)

10-01-2010, 08:27 PM
That is a great skull, and I can never do mine right

(human, resin. RESIN, I swear, officer, it's resin!)

10-01-2010, 08:46 PM
Great job on the skull, Vivien! Also, I really appreciate knowing your process for image adjustment. I shoot a digital image and use Photoshop, and have been having trouble with the pencil drawings - using levels, color balance, etc., so I will definitely try the second layer/multiply option next time.

Looking forward to the rest!

10-01-2010, 08:56 PM
That is a great skull, and I can never do mine right

(human, resin. RESIN, I swear, officer, it's resin!)

Somehow I don't think they would believe you:lol: :lol: :lol:

10-01-2010, 10:17 PM
Wow, this is the start? A very good start and I am definitely looking forward to the next.

10-01-2010, 10:20 PM
The skull is soooo cool! Awesome drawing.

10-02-2010, 12:02 AM
Wow, that skull is a great start to your new journal. I've never tried anything like that, but it has so much detail, you must be a very patient person!!! Great job.

10-02-2010, 01:36 AM
That is a great skull, and I can never do mine right

(human, resin. RESIN, I swear, officer, it's resin!)


I don't know where this one came from but it's in the art room cupboard at college!

and thank you again everyone - and yes it's only practice practice practice

and believe me - I'm not patient! I just find complex shapes so much more interesting to work with than simple ones even if they are mind boggling difficult at times!

I thought I'd rather do a smaller book of more 'finished' pieces for this than a bigger book of rapid ones. Time will tell .....

10-02-2010, 03:25 AM
nice beginning

10-03-2010, 02:33 AM

My sketchbook is a thin A4 one with thin cheap paper so I won't be using water media unless I work on other paper and stick them in - which could happen. Anything could happen :)

This is the first one, in pencil - a skull I've drawn a few times but from a different angle. It's fiendish to draw as it's so intricate but really interesting ... well I think so !
This is an excellent sketch, I like your style.... I've been thinking about buying one of those skulls off ebay or browse around some local farms for one. I did find a deer skull in my back pasture a few months ago, it has a nice rack, however some animal chewed the nose area off... Great work, will be keeping tabs on your sketch book. :)

10-03-2010, 02:39 AM
love your skull sketch, the detail is excellent

WC Lee
10-03-2010, 04:55 AM
wonder skull sketch :)

10-03-2010, 05:13 AM
Great skull drawing!

Thanks for the info on scanning options for pencilwork! I usally amp up the
contrast, but it never looked like the original.

10-03-2010, 07:03 AM
Fantastic detail - I can see why it'd provide a nice, complex subject.... so many shapes, nooks, cranies, textures and light shiftings but all quite organic!

10-03-2010, 01:34 PM
Great skull drawing!

Thanks for the info on scanning options for pencilwork! I usally amp up the
contrast, but it never looked like the original.

thanks everyone :)

yes I used to try doing it that way at first - but it just gets stark and loses subtlety. This way it doesn't overdarken or overlighten the paper and pale tones

More later - I was at a kiln fused glass workshop day yesterday which was great fun. I'd never done it before. I won't see the results for 2 weeks though as they are off to the tutors kiln at home. I'm dying to see them.

Today I was working on finishing some paintings for an exhibition and I'm now exhausted

10-04-2010, 02:48 PM
The next 2 pages are scribbly scruffy ones

First very quick sketches of some of my class

in watersoluble graphite, ink and biro

and a demo of poppy seedheads done quickly for some beginners, in pencil and biro. First one in pencil, the other two in biro. They were struggling with the perspective and I was talking about the foreshortening as well as the shading.


and a play with a design for a notelet with cut out flowers around the edges - sort of like cutwork lace/broderie anglaise edging on fabric

10-04-2010, 04:05 PM
Your scruffy pages are glorious! Great sketches of your classmates. Beautiful seed pods and lace design. Those are fantastic.

10-04-2010, 04:13 PM
I'm teach - they are some of my students bless them - they are a lovely class with some real talent, easy to teach as they absorb information like sponges and question things constantly

I was a student for a day at the kiln fused glass workshop last Saturday and I'm dying to get my things back - the tutor took them home to fire in the kiln and we won't get them for 2 weeks.

10-04-2010, 05:43 PM
Splendid sketches. Wonderful that you teach.

10-04-2010, 06:03 PM
Those "scruffy" pages are cool - the studies of your students are great and I really enjoy drawing those seed pods too, and I like the effect the "cut-out" notelet has too....... ;)

10-04-2010, 09:13 PM
those "very quick sketches" are beautiful!

10-05-2010, 01:21 AM
Nice sketches - I love the lace work!

10-05-2010, 01:30 AM
Nice quick sketches of the students! My quick people sketches come out not very good at all.

10-05-2010, 01:41 AM
wow, I love those pages you call scruffy. . . they are excellent and capture wonderful essense/gestures/expresion. NICE

btw, what is biro?

WC Lee
10-05-2010, 05:33 AM
wonderful sketches :) I like looking at sketchbooks with "scruffy" pages, to me it is more interesting

10-05-2010, 09:37 AM
If yours are scruffy, may we all have lots of scruffy days! LOL

Joan T
10-05-2010, 12:30 PM
Nice sketches of your students and your demo for them!

10-05-2010, 03:24 PM
I do scruffy scribbly naturally - I'm not so good at neat and the left brained stuff! I think that side is atrophied!

Thank you all :)

Here is today's sketch - one of my favourite big chinese brushes (it makes a really nice point when wet but it looks fluffy and untidy when dry)


The first one is charcoal (willow charcoal + charcoal pencil) and the second is biro - a simple Parker biro. I like them because they don't blob and blot.

10-05-2010, 03:40 PM
both versions of the brush are beautifully drawn! looks like a really cool brush. I just looked up the brio and got a bunch of sites in UK, but see its a pen. You do WONDERFUL work with it. :clap:

10-05-2010, 03:42 PM
these are beautiful

10-05-2010, 03:46 PM
You call them ballpoint pens - we tend to call them biro's

I think the original inventor was a Mr Biro? Eastern European? I think this is right

Thank you both :)

10-05-2010, 07:10 PM
I'm liking the scruffy Vivien! I keep looking at the charcoal version - very nice and very subtle colour :)

10-05-2010, 10:57 PM
I like to see art tools drawn! well done

10-06-2010, 01:01 AM
Nice people studies. Love when you draw/render art supplies with (usually mixed-media?) art supplies :)

10-06-2010, 01:13 AM
Marvelous drawings of your brush.

10-06-2010, 04:24 AM
thanks everyone :) the brushes weren't mixed media this time but I usually tend to mix media - it expands the range of marks possible doesn't it?

I need to go and finish some paintings urgently - after an online grocery shop so can't check other books until later ......

10-06-2010, 09:57 AM

This one started off as a demo of bleeding 2 different coloured washes together for a student - they were making a muddy soup trying to slosh colour into wet colour and ending up with mud! So then I doodled into it. It's on;y about 4x5 inches on watercolour paper but I thought I might as well stick it in the book :)


and this one is a bit of a cheat as I did it some time ago at work after I'd finished the tea that was in it :) - but it was just floating about as a loose piece of paper and so I decided to stick it on the back of one of the pages (they are so thin you simply couldn't work both sides)

10-06-2010, 10:42 AM
The watercolor and ink sketch is wonderful! Love it!

10-06-2010, 02:51 PM
I absolutely LOVE the Autumn Pools!!! it is gorgeous!

10-06-2010, 02:59 PM
Brushes, cup and landscape are all very well done! However, the Autumn Pool landscape is amazing - you've created a great moody piece in a very small amount of space. It just shouts autumn! :clap:

10-06-2010, 03:33 PM
wow, that doodle/demo turned into something really pretty! Love those autumn trees/pond!

10-06-2010, 06:28 PM
good stuff Vivien, alas I was one of the students making mud when I began watercolour classes........ :evil:

10-06-2010, 06:33 PM
wow, look, an ecstatic accident!

10-06-2010, 09:43 PM
The landscape is moody and vibrant at the same time.

Cute cup.

10-06-2010, 09:50 PM
Every last sketch is super. I especially like the idea of doodling over the water color, it looks mysterious.

10-06-2010, 10:50 PM
I love the Autumn Pool!! Wow! I wish my art accidents were as happy. :D

10-06-2010, 10:51 PM
Well, not accident, but doodle- it's wonderful!

10-07-2010, 04:23 PM
good stuff Vivien, alas I was one of the students making mud when I began watercolour classes........ :evil:

oh me too!!

lots of practice and I can still make mud on occasion!

thank you everyone for the lovely comments :heart:


One of my students insisted I did a portrait of him in the last 5 minutes of class! so this is a very quick sketch

10-07-2010, 08:38 PM
Very nice, especially for a 5-minute sketch! Having seen this, I'm thinking I might go to a local drop-in portrait open studio tonight. Only $5, and each artist takes a 20-minute stint as a model. A portraitist I'm not, but it is great practice and I did take two figure drawing classes last school year.

10-07-2010, 10:08 PM
Great portrait in 5 minutes.

Vivien Maloney
10-07-2010, 11:44 PM
Love the Autumn pools sketch. Was that ink with the watercolour?

10-08-2010, 12:40 AM
Vivien, I love the sunset pool you did with the two conflicting washes, that's spectacular. It may be small but it's beautiful. Elegant job with the cup too, that's well done. I love the style on that cup, it reminds me of some elegant illustrations I've seen. Good portrait sketch of your student.

WC Lee
10-08-2010, 03:48 AM
wonderful 5 minute portrait sketch and sunset pool :)

10-08-2010, 05:39 AM
Vivien I really like your mark making when you draw. Even the quick sketches have lovely character and are descriptive (oh and I still make mud too, quite frequently - I forget that "less is better" and keep slapping it on :) )

10-08-2010, 09:24 AM
wow, nice quick portrait!

10-08-2010, 12:11 PM
Love the Autumn pools sketch. Was that ink with the watercolour?

thank you everyone :)

yes Viv it is ink but biro (ballpoint pen) I really like them to draw with. I find fountain pen or dip pen can be heavier than I want in some work and biro can be really subtle or intensely black and it flows for gestural marks nicely.

This one again started life as a demo of techniques for students - abut wet-in-wet, glazing and splattering and dragging the wooden end of the brush through paint to draw thin lines out. Oh and adding the sky last, between the leaves, branches and twigs rather than as a wash at the beginning, I worked on it a bit more - it's not a 'complete' painting but I wanted to get the fresh green dazzle of spring into it, with that amber glow that the twigs often get as the sap rises.


it's A4 on some really nice but nameless watercolour paper and I'll stick it in the sketchbook as an extra page.

The murkiness on the right is light seeping into the scanner, not actually there on paper.

John I hope you get to your class, it sounds a great idea and you'll come back with lots of work for your book.

Jackie I like mark making in others work and it's something I'm keen on - it's a bit like vocabulary for an author I think. You need it to tell the story well?

10-08-2010, 12:28 PM
Great watercolor landscape, Vivien! You have such a nice spontaneous look to these that seems like it should be so easy on first glance but is really difficult (at least for me) to pull off. Wonderful piece.

10-08-2010, 03:48 PM
This is a wonderful piece, it does have that fresh dazzle of spring in it.

10-08-2010, 09:18 PM
Very lively piece. Gorgeous colors.

10-08-2010, 10:18 PM
I like mark making in others work and it's something I'm keen on - it's a bit like vocabulary for an author I think. You need it to tell the story well?

I agree! It is one of those simple aspects that is easy to forget - too much of one particular method or style in a drawing makes it bland. But often you get so caught up in what you are doing that it is only when you step back and look at it with fresh eyes you realise what you've done!

The colours in the last watercolour just sing - very lively!

10-08-2010, 11:40 PM
You do such great work - I love the Autumn Pool, and your 5mn. sketch is very good! Great inspiration!

10-09-2010, 01:12 AM
Hi Viv,

The Class sketches are great, very expressive and full of character!!!!

LOVE the demo's, their is so much potential developed within each!!!!!

Both Brushes are FANTASTIC! But I prefer the biro one more as you have achieved a more "scruffy" look to the bristles compared to the charcoal one!!!!

LOVE the cup!

Ohhhhhh, the Landscape is so full of life and colour - LOVE it!!!!

Gentle Hugs, Stacey:grouphug:

10-09-2010, 01:17 AM
excellent looking sketchbook... that last painting is awesome, incomplete is a good thing... that is something I want to learn with glazing and splattering. Great job!

10-09-2010, 12:08 PM
Love the spatter. The unintentional murkiness adds to the atmosphere :)

10-09-2010, 12:17 PM
thank you everyone :)

I've been sketching today but larger so they can't fit in this book - maybe tomorrow ......

Vivien Maloney
10-10-2010, 04:59 AM
Gorgeous painting. Love the colours!

Joan T
10-10-2010, 10:29 PM
Your demos for the students are so rich and wonderful!!! I really like the drama of the autumnal one and the splashy, colorful look of the other one. Good sketch of your student too.

10-10-2010, 11:10 PM
what a gorgeous little painting . . . it just glows! Love the splattering. . . did you use a fan brush at all for the rushes/grass?

10-11-2010, 01:01 AM
wonderful job on the 5 min sketch!
and the demo landscape is beautiful!

10-11-2010, 06:44 AM
What a NEAT technique! I'd never thought of using the backend of a brush!

10-11-2010, 01:03 PM
no Rainy, I never use a fan brush - I've got far too many brushes! but no fan.

I love riggers but I think these were just a Chinese brush used loosely and also I did that dragging the wooden end of the brush through the wet paint to pull it out and draw fine marks that I described. I do that quite a lot.

Thank you everyone :)

10-12-2010, 02:58 PM
I like the watercolor and the portrait

10-12-2010, 09:51 PM
so lively....great work

10-14-2010, 09:51 AM
deleted - in wrong place

10-14-2010, 10:07 AM
ooops! that leaf should have gone in the moleskine not this one

this is for this one - doodling and making a cover to hide the yukky thin pink card one


acrylic ink, marker pen and a touch of coloured pencil

10-14-2010, 09:55 PM
Lovely sketch book cover.

10-14-2010, 10:19 PM
cool looking cover...

10-15-2010, 12:00 AM
Great cover! Really like the color scheme and low key of the pattern.

10-15-2010, 03:45 AM
Hi Vhere,

FANTASTIC cover, LOVE the colours and design!!!!

Gentle Hugs, Stacey

10-15-2010, 01:18 PM
I always enjoy your mixed media work.

10-17-2010, 08:29 AM
thank you all :)

and here is a page of just doodling, over time, some of the clutter lying on my desk


mostly sketched in ink with a Kuretake pen - then colour added with coloured pencils, simply because I felt like playing with colour :) The swirls were drawn with a Jakar battery operated eraser into the coloured pencil, taking the colour away

and does anyone know the best way of unclogging mechanical pencils? I've got 2 that have got clogged up and I love them. I've tried really fine needles but they aren't fine enough and bend because they are very fine. Is there some way of soaking them in something? oil?

10-17-2010, 12:27 PM
Sorry about the clogged pencils. Love the doodle of clutter :)

10-17-2010, 05:34 PM
I really love all the work here Vivien You have such a range of skills from 'scruffy' sketches ( neatly observed though) to beautiful designed graphic style painting and lovely fresh and lively watercolour, (not a smidgion of mud to be seen) My very favourite is the autumn pool. (Wish I could have seen that demo - I have so many horrible muddy watercolour messes) And those Chinese brushes are so lovely too, and the doodling work is great as well and is reminding me to get back to some observational sketching along with my journaling. I like the way you use your materials to suit the task.

10-17-2010, 06:21 PM
Sorry I don't have an answer about a clogged mechanical pencil. I've always just used a fine pin or wire to push the graphite out. Years ago, I had one that came with a wire attached to the eraser holder, hidden inside the pencil.

Your doodle of objects on your desk is a fun drawing.

10-18-2010, 08:53 AM
thanks :)

Here is the next page - again random objects picked up one at a time and not to scale or from the same viewpoint. Again the Kuretake pen - it's growing on me!


my daughter gave me the peacock feathers at least a year ago, knowing how much I like drawing feathers and I've only just around to it.

10-18-2010, 04:28 PM
Splendid sketches. The feather is marvelous.

10-18-2010, 05:12 PM
Ooh, I love that feather!

10-18-2010, 06:55 PM
love it all Vivien, the purple heart in the last lot caught my eye ;) I really enjoy your variety of line with the ink - it is quite descriptive.

Hope you sorted the mechanical issue - not something I know anything about unfortunately!

10-18-2010, 07:34 PM
Vivien, Not sure how your pencil is constructed, or how you used the fine needle but this is how I have unclogged a mech pencil. I unscrewed the steel tip and used a needle or sewing pin from the inside rather than poking from the outside. Gets the crumbs out. I use 2B lead so it does crumble up sometimes from being softer lead, I guess. Good luck.

10-19-2010, 02:33 AM
Like the others, I really like the peacock feather - great job! I'm going to have to try a feather or two here soon.

10-19-2010, 09:54 AM
Hi Vivien! I'm sort of late getting around to looking at all these October sketchbooks. I loved your skull. Nice little sketches of your students. I also loved the color blending demo with the added ink. Beautiful! And an awesome sketchbook cover page! Terrific work!!!

10-19-2010, 03:48 PM
thanks everyone - and for trying to help with unclogging the pencil ideas :) One suggestion on my blog was to try rubbing alcohol, which I think is what we call surgical spirit. I'll try it. I've tried with the needle from every angle but it isn't fine enough :(

and now for something completely different (was that Monty Python?)

I was thinking about another book for my 3 year old grandson (for Christmas). All previous ones were about him. I thought about making this one a story book. I wondered about designing a couple of alien ragdolls and a little alien dog and making them, then doing the story about them. These are the first very rough ideas. I think the rag dolls need to come first so that the illustrations are recognisably them.



The second pair of eyes on stilts may have to go as I can't yet think of a way of making them stand up like that, whilst being safe for a small child (not poking his eyes out!)

10-19-2010, 04:47 PM
Catching up after all those weeks of being sick - wow! Love the new cover, the colors really pop and the design is magnificent. Gorgeous drawings of objects on your desk, and the whole assemblage with those erased-out swirls has a beautiful composition. Great peacock feather and other drawings on that page, again so well laid out.

Your designs for the alien dolls and their alien dog are great! The dog's feet are almost like frog feet, bulging at the tips of the toes, maybe they could be soft wire covered with foam and cloth so that they bend and grip? It'll be tricky making those unless you decide to make them webbed, then the digits could just be quilted in. Wonderful poses for the dog.

That's a great idea for a book too. At that age toys are alive, and having the real toys there while you read the story to him will be so cool for him.

10-19-2010, 06:35 PM
Love, love, love the doll and dog ideas. That is so cool. When you make them, please come over to the fiber art forum to share.

10-19-2010, 11:28 PM
your sketchbook is looking great, i like how you did the peacock feather and your alien dog!

10-19-2010, 11:50 PM
LOVE the alien dog-toes!!

10-20-2010, 02:42 PM
thanks everyone :>)

remind me when I make them Debby and I will :)

It's good that you are feeling better Rob

I'm covering for a colleague again, so absolutely dead on my feet - I'm off the computer now to curl up with a book and chill

10-20-2010, 05:42 PM
I love your idea for a book and Christmas gift for your grandson. I would love to have a alien rag-doll dog stuffed animal. Looks so cute!

10-20-2010, 08:31 PM
so cool Viv, love the way we can watch the progression of your ideas through your sketches!

10-21-2010, 12:06 AM
I want one of those dogs when my two geriatric Labs take their leave at some point. Who do I call? :)

10-21-2010, 10:57 PM
oh man, I love your doodles and playing with color. Its cool. Love that polka dog dog too!

10-22-2010, 01:14 PM
:lol: I think you'll have more fun with the labs John!

thanks everyone

I've been working long hours, rushing around and getting paintings ready for 2 upcoming shows and generally feeling steamrollered.

Crab apples from my tree

This one isn't very good as it was done with cheap pencils at college on some cheap sugar paper - I've stuck it in the sketchbook as an extra page (this is a skinny book). Not to mention the observation could have been better.


10-22-2010, 05:47 PM
Yum, crab apples. They make really good apple butter.

10-22-2010, 05:55 PM
Love the alien spotty dog-like guy. Wonderful work from the college.

10-23-2010, 11:14 AM
thanks :)

I must get something more done- I've actually only got one page left, but I'll keep sticking extra pages in as I manage to get stuff done until the end of the month. I thought staying with a skinny book would give me a chance to complete it.

I've got a lot on at the moment and knew I wouldn't finish a thicker one.

10-25-2010, 08:56 PM
I kinda like the crabapples just as it is Vivien, it has character and the use of blue behind it works so well to make the colours sing ;)

10-25-2010, 10:05 PM
I really like those crabapples. . . they look right to me and love the blue behind them.

10-26-2010, 01:09 AM
Vivien, despite the materials your little crab apples have a special charm. They're lively and lovely, have this cool illustrative quality and a nice balance within their area. If you rearranged them a bit from your observation, your sense of composition might have a lot to do with it - they are great. That's a wonderful little sketch. Even the slight crinkling of the paper adds texture to it, that could make a cool little print or card.

Joan T
10-26-2010, 03:04 PM
Your sketches are always such a joy to see. I love the idea of alien ragdolls. lol You have so many different subjects in your book!

Vivien Maloney
10-27-2010, 10:46 PM
Love the alien rag-dolls and dog. Wonderful idea. I like the way you work your ideas out in your sketchbook. I did the same thing as you, in using a small sketchbook for the October challenge, so I'm nearly finished also.

10-28-2010, 01:57 AM
Nice sketchbook.

and does anyone know the best way of unclogging mechanical pencils? I've got 2 that have got clogged up and I love them. I've tried really fine needles but they aren't fine enough and bend because they are very fine. Is there some way of soaking them in something? oil?

I have used WD-40 successfully on larger mechanical pencils, but not on fine ones. Worth a shot if nothing else works??? Good luck.

10-28-2010, 03:46 PM
thank you everyone for the nice comments :)

it is a slightly schizophrenic book of random bits n pieces! but it was cheap and nasty paper so I decided at the beginning that it wouldn't have a theme but would be anything that interested me at that moment, with pages stuck in for watercolour or whatever.


This one is a doodle done today on watercolour paper that will get stuck into the book. I was helping a student who was doing very very heavy, childlike trees, to consider splattering the paint and letting wet colours mix and dragging the wooden end of the brush through to create branches etc For a 'serious' painting they need more observation but this was about technique and mark making.

10-28-2010, 03:52 PM
That is such a cool technique. Thanks for sharing.

10-28-2010, 04:29 PM
How fun and colorful!!

10-28-2010, 04:42 PM
That's a great pair of trees, cool little painting in itself. I'd probably frame it if I'd done it, it's gorgeous. Great technique demonstration. I don't usually do spattering myself - the last time I did I was cleaning red spots off my laptop screen and keyboard afterward in great relief none had gone into vital cracks and wrecked it. Looked good but I'd need a bigger working area to do it. Very cool drawing in with the brush handle on the branches though, I could try something like that with puddling sometime.

10-28-2010, 04:59 PM
love it! ...for a "doodle" it is quite beautiful! I'm like Robert...I would have framed it too! :)

10-28-2010, 05:21 PM
Love those colorful trees and the spattering. BEAUTIFUL!!! I would love to try that technique but I think I'd end up like Robert said with paint everywhere and polka dotted dogs which are forever underfeet 'helping' me in whatever I am doing.

Vivien Maloney
10-28-2010, 06:01 PM
Love the splatter work and the colors you've used are beautiful.

10-28-2010, 06:18 PM
Wonderful trees, love the colors. I have to try that!

10-29-2010, 07:34 AM
thanks everyone :)

don't do the splattering for this effect by sort of 'throwing' the paintbrush Jackson Pollock style as that has a linear direction, suitable for some things, not so much for this

- hold the brush flat above the paper (couple of inches) and tap it sharply with your forefinger of the same hand. The blots are much more controlled in where they land and size by doing this - I'd love to see your try outs of it :)

Joan T
10-29-2010, 01:24 PM
Love those vivid splashy trees!!!

10-31-2010, 03:00 AM
Love the crabapples! And the last watercolor doodle came out very nicely as well.

10-31-2010, 07:51 AM

and the last ones


just doodling with charcoal pencil



a computer doodle using a gorgeous little free online programme called Harmony (http://mrdoob.com/projects/harmony/#chrome)

That's it - finished!

10-31-2010, 02:02 PM
Gorgeous charcoal pencil doodles. I like the eraser. I love the way you've got these expressive sketchy lines pulling off the subjects and still have the values spot on. That's an odd little toy or manikin. I think I've seen those, they're cool, you can make them move? Gorgeous computer doodle. That has a fine sense of sketchiness about it and looks like charcoal too.

10-31-2010, 05:06 PM
Congrats on the finish. You made it!

The charcoal sketches are marvelous.

The computer sketches are beautiful.

10-31-2010, 06:53 PM
Congratulations!! I like your charcoal pencil sketches very much :)

10-31-2010, 09:49 PM
congrats on finishing! :clap:

the computer doodles are quite interesting and the charcoal doodles have a wonderful quality to them :)

10-31-2010, 11:43 PM
congrats on the finish!!! Woohoo.. . love your charcoal sketches, esp. the pen.

10-31-2010, 11:59 PM
Awesome computer doodles :) :) :)

11-01-2010, 01:56 AM
congrats, great finish... I may have to try that program, very cool image you created.

11-01-2010, 01:13 PM
thanks everyone :) that computer programme is brilliant to use

it was fun