View Full Version : Sketchbook Project: Coffee & Cigarettes & Cat Hair

11-01-2010, 12:42 PM
This sketchbook will probably get the lion's share of my November "Page a Day" posts. I signed up for The Sketchbook Project (http://www.arthousecoop.com/sketchbookproject) last month, paid my $25 fee and they sent me a Moleskine Cahier with a heavy black cover - not hard, just like a textured black card stock and 40 heavy cream colored pages.

It's the same paper as my Moleskine Folio sketchbook and the other Moleskine Sketchbook ones - about 80lb or 90lb cream colored and doesn't really like washes much at all. It's fantastic with pen drawing though, it loves pens with its smooth surface. Not too bad for soft pencils either or colored pencils.

Coffee and Cigarettes was the theme I chose from the list. I'm adding Cat Hair as the third inspiring substance that always goes into writing my novels, so mine will be themed around what I'm fueling - a Nanowrimo (http://www.nanowrimo.org) novel titled Sabertooth about, guess what, big sabertooth cats who lived in LA before there was an LA and did not like getting stuck in the La Brea Tar Pits.

Oh wow, my theme filled up. Good thing I joined when I did. Someone has to actually show these things in a positive light.

It's a book for cat lovers, about really big cats with really big teeth. If you like big cat documentaries it ought to be a fun read. I hope to do some big cat illustrations in here, both studies of living cats and of course, my daring attempt at sketch illustrations of the book in progress!

Size of the book is 5" x 8 1/4" - not as big as last month's book, hopefully that'll leave time for novel chapters!

11-01-2010, 03:47 PM
And here's Page One - much in the style of my "underground comix" pages rather than refined, serious drawings. But it's fun. Maybe I'll do better sabertooths as it goes on. This one at least says what it's about!

A big dumb overconfident cat trotting away from his home who thinks it's all going to drop in his lap with his first roar.


As soon as I got writing (I'm now 1,619 words into the first chapter) I realized just how brainlessly naive and overconfident young male cats get.

11-01-2010, 03:56 PM
what about using some combed out cat hair in collage in some? could be fun?

not to mention cigarette ash ...

I went to a brilliant exhibition at the Tate of huge life size+ images of street children in Brazil 'drawn' with the dust, sequins, cigarette ends etc swept up from the street after the carnival. They were amazing.

11-01-2010, 03:59 PM
wow, I love this already. . . :)
Can't wait to see how much of the novel ends up in the sketchcrawl journal. Is the big kitty's actual name Sabertooth?

11-01-2010, 05:28 PM
Great start. Sabertooth looks to be a naive young male cat.

11-01-2010, 06:30 PM
No, his name is Musky, their names are based on their scents because that's how cats recognize individuals. So I have to come up with scent-descriptive names. But the book title is Sabertooth so that readers get a good idea of what it's about. Might just be a working title but it works as a keyword!

I've got 2,289 words written already, first chapter done - after I did the page. Weird to have to start with the drawing! But it worked!

And he is very naive and overconfident. He'll have fun in the next chapter, or I will hehehehe...

11-01-2010, 08:59 PM
Great start. Love the super fluffy Ari tail.

11-01-2010, 09:37 PM
Looking forward to this one, Robert! It's certainly logical for your novel to be cat-centric, given how much of a muse Ari is for your work...! :)

11-01-2010, 10:01 PM
Musky. . . great name!! :)

11-01-2010, 10:18 PM
Wow, thanks for all your comments!

Vivien, I thought of doing something like that with the ash. Maybe I'll pick some up with a tortillon and draw with it. That's a cool idea. Or even burn holes in the paper to do a windowed page. Plus varnish some clumps of Ari hair to the black cover. I find it all over but it'll need to be sealed so it doesn't come off or affect visitors to the museum who are allergic.

EP - his tail IS that fluffy sometimes when he fuzzes it out. He has an enormous floof tail. Not super long but makes up for it in width and fluffiness. I got his proportions pretty well in that cartoon.

John, yep, had to do the big cats novel! Did my chapter too for the day so I'm feeling all right about it. The only thing that was hard was fighting the back pain today, it went all the way up to the middle of my back and it's getting my ankles too - joints trouble - weather. Got storms coming in and it'll rain all night, hopefully when the rain actually starts the pain will ease up. My ears have been popping like I was on a plane.

Rainy, thanks! I named all the cats after qualities of their scents since that's how cats identify each other. I think they picked up the idea of verbal names from humans, though they recognize them well enough.

I don't know if I'll do any pages with detailed, polished drawings or not. Might, but then it might break the feel of the book to do so. I've got some mediums that could come out really well like that, such as Derwent Drawing Pencils. I might try for a good illustration in there and just frame it with text and cartoons so people can see that the loose doodle toon style is a deliberate style and not the peak of my skills.

11-01-2010, 10:31 PM
Robert, where do you find the time???:D

I run on coffee, and that's bad enough with withdrawal symptoms when I miss out for a day, glad I never got hooked on nicotine!

Good luck with your venture.

11-02-2010, 02:42 AM
Cool stuff Robert, like those sketches and the name too 'Coffee & Cigarettes & Cat Hair.' Will be fun to follow your illustrations... I always wanted to do comics but never got around to it.... this will be interesting looking at your style. :)

11-02-2010, 06:44 AM
great ideas there :)

Joan T
11-02-2010, 03:24 PM
Great start, Robert! With your theme, I love the idea of burn marks on some of the pages...maybe splashes of coffee too. I know artist who have actually painted with their coffee and it looks pretty good.

11-02-2010, 05:47 PM
Wow, thanks! Page 2 is definitely Underground Comics style again, just silly cartoon doodles rather than the fine serious illustrations I hope to produce later in the month. But I wrote two chapters so far today and my word count is up to 8,563 - I think I can be forgiven for turning out fast toons instead of serious detailed art -- so far.

I am not sure I'd want to do this page detailed and realism anyway, it reads funnier as a cartoon.

Coffee & Cigarettes & Cat Hair, Page 2
5" x 8 1/4"
Pigma Micron pen size 05
Moleskine Cahier sketchbook.
Raunchy cat humor from imagination.

11-02-2010, 06:15 PM
Wozers, Robert. . . that is a lot of words! Impressive. Funny cartoon. . . love it with him snoring

11-02-2010, 10:35 PM
I like the idea of painting or drawing with coffee! I've stained paper with tea and coffee before for calligraphy but actually painting with might be cool (esp seeing as archival issues are not such a problem in the sketchbook).

Your idea for using the ash could be interesting too...... ;)

11-03-2010, 12:59 AM
haha...kitty porn...love it. :cat: the cat with her tush in the air is just too funny...it reminds me of the magnets I have on my frig--they are cat butts. they're really funny.

I love the subject matter of this journal...can't wait to see more!

11-03-2010, 11:45 PM
Epoh, those magnets must be cute! I just had fun with that one. Jackie, I've gotten a pretty deep tone with boiling down coffee till it's very strong. I'm not sure but I think a coffee stain can get very enduring under the right circumstances. The ash of course, that's just carbon and likely to last as long as the paper will. Rainy, thanks, glad you were laughing!

Today's page actually came out as a loose sketch for an illustration - not a refined sketch, but a positions and values sketch of an idea. Closer to actual illustrating than the previous. Look close and you can see all four main character cats on top of Ambush Rock, which is what they think of it, their favorite place to jump on the backs of elephant sized animals.

Coffee, Cigarettes & Cat Hair, Page 3
5" x 8 1/4"
Pigma Micron pen on Moleskine Cahier sketchbook, from imagination.

11-04-2010, 01:06 AM
*snorting coffee out my nose* "Kitty Porn" LOL

Yup, I can see the cats. Poor mastodon, doesn't know what's coming!

11-04-2010, 02:15 AM

11-04-2010, 09:50 AM
great scene, Robert. . . I can feel the tension of the coming encounter just looking at it!

11-04-2010, 12:56 PM
Thank you! Today's page isn't quite as dramatic, almost leans more toward Scavenger Hunt stuff.

5" x 8 1/4"
Pigma Micron pen on Moleskine Cahier sketchbook. Life & imagination.

I haven't been posting as much because I'm mostly working on the book. Finished Chapter 8 and now fishing for what comes next. They ate a lot and got in a fight with the lion pride. Now what?

11-04-2010, 02:36 PM
over 20,000 words already - wow. You must be a speed typist.

Love the sketches. Love the story.

Tea can stain too. Used and dried teabags are interesting for collage. I tried coffee staining once but I wa too smart for my own good - dropped instant coffee granules onto wet paper. The lumps of coffeee are still sticky years later. But the rest of the page is OK.

11-04-2010, 03:50 PM
writing and painting - you must be busy!

11-04-2010, 04:49 PM
some breakfast you had there Robert :)
Glad the book is coming along well. . .

11-04-2010, 05:59 PM
Oh I knew any journal with this title was going to be fun but I didn't know the coffee mention was a warning to put my drink down! LOL

Good luck with your Nanowrimo. I had to giggle with your sabretooth being called Musky - as it happens, one of my friends has a blonde little boy with a big toothy smile who is called that. His elder twin sisters named him before he was born and despite his mums instance they were NOT naming a baby THAT for better or worse, it's stuck as a nickname.

11-04-2010, 07:50 PM
Do you ever sleep, Robert!? Your healthy breakfast was missing one key ingredient - one (or two, for good measure) large iced donuts...! :)

Writing and drawing at the same time, wow - oozing creativity. Good stuff here.

11-04-2010, 09:54 PM
Oh that is cool! A human little boy named Musky? That's just awesome. When he grows up, I hope this is in print so he finds his namesake.

Wow, thanks for all the comments. John, you have a great idea with the donuts, except that I don't have a car so they're only on the menu when Kitten brings some home - an occasional treat. That would be great. Halloween candy was all right though.

Today, I did a 10,000 word day. Got finished with Chapter 11 - I am really shooting for a novel of about 80,000 to 90,000 finished way before the end of the month, so that I've got time to work on editing it. Before the halfway point of the month would be a really big help, since editing is the hard part for me. Less practice.

Yes, Elain, I am a speed typist. I switched to the Dvorak keyboard layout in 2000 and went from about 81 words per minute to a guesstimated way over 100 words per minute while making it up. It's been over a decade since I was a typesetter, so I'm now way out of the habit of typing other people's sentences and slow down on typing tests. But I can write for ten minutes and divide the word count by ten to get the estimates. I'm going well over 100wpm.

The main thing is Not Stopping. I put in a good ten hours or so today between writing and drawing, about an hour for the two pages I drew. Most of the day was spent writing or posting on facebook and chatting. More of that was writing than chatting/posting. So that's a good part of the speed right there - I've been up since 8:30 this morning and pulled what would've been a 12 hour workday with a reasonable number of meals and breaks.

Here's page five. I actually did two pages - partly because I did page 4 on the right side page and forgot I was drawing on both sides in this sketchbook. So they are on the same topic more or less.

Coffee, Cigarettes & Cat Hair, Page 5
5" x 8 1/4"
Pigma Micron size 05 pen, Moleskine Cahier thin paper sketchbook.

Carole A
11-04-2010, 10:08 PM
Thank you! Today's page isn't quite as dramatic, almost leans more toward Scavenger Hunt stuff.

5" x 8 1/4"
Pigma Micron pen on Moleskine Cahier sketchbook. Life & imagination.

I haven't been posting as much because I'm mostly working on the book. Finished Chapter 8 and now fishing for what comes next. They ate a lot and got in a fight with the lion pride. Now what?
Robert ~ maybe National Geographic's series, "Great Migrations" will be an inspiration to you. I think it starts Nov 10; but not sure which network, sometimes they are on NG, Discovery or Public TV.

I like your C & C & CH project so far!

Carole A

11-04-2010, 10:49 PM
Ok, I can type fast, but that's way over my speed. Good for you.

Halloween candy works when you can't have donuts.

Like the illustrations you are showing us for your story. Two words, graphic novel.

Joan T
11-05-2010, 01:28 PM
Robert - You are amazing with what you accomplish!!! Great illustrations. I like that mastodon walking away from us.

11-05-2010, 03:12 PM
Wow, thanks!

OMG no, I'm nowhere near that good yet. I don't think I could turn this story into a graphic novel anyway - there's zero dialogue. They are cats, so they roar and snarl and semi-purr and hiss and make cat sounds, not anything I could put in a speech bubble.

But with any luck I'll have a nice series of authorial illustrations to put on the website when I sell it to a publisher. With even more luck, I can convince them to use John Houle's inspiring graphite Smilodon and Bison that I bought on the cover - it is wonderful, I've been looking at it for years and that's what inspired my main character.

Today's is back to doodly cartoony journal. Ari was a rowdy cat! He loves the cold weather, with his thick fur he's just fine with it. He had his Midnight Crazies at noon, racing around like a 15lb kitten.

Coffee, Cigarettes & Cat Hair, Page 6
5" x 8 1/4"
Sakura Pigma Micron pen, size 05 on Moleskine Cahier thin-paper sketchbook.

11-05-2010, 04:45 PM
Holy-moly, that is blazing fast. I work on computers for over twenty years and I know I type fast but I am sure its nothing like that! Heck, I'm not even sure I think that fast :)

Love the motion drawing of Ari and the sound effects. What a fun page!

11-05-2010, 06:03 PM
What a great page. Wonder why cat's do that run around crazy thing. Even the most mellow of them get a bug now and then.

11-05-2010, 06:30 PM
Another several great pages. Cats aren't the only 'run-around-like-insane-things' critters - dogs can do that too. Our chocolate Lab (we also have a yellow) until he was about seven would go into what we would call 'wild dog mode'. He's a mellow, easy-going dog, but literally would get 'the look' in his eyes and just start racing around the house, banging into things, trying to get us to chase him, etc. The other dog looked at him, then at us like she was saying...what the heck got into him?!

11-05-2010, 07:01 PM
Thank you! Rainy, he has these puffs of long white fur between his toes that cushion his feet, plus he's very heavy, so when he runs or jumps to the floor there's a thumple - a muffled but very big sound. It's really cute when he runs on a smooth floor because those fluffs don't give him much traction - he skids all over.

Debby, I think the midnight crazies come because the cat's built to get up and really run around mad for a short time hunting - and when they don't need to, they still want to. But they don't need to eat, so they play like kittens. I know it's a good thing because Ari is a middle aged gentleman and it keeps him lean and healthy. That half hour of exercise does him a lot of good. And it always makes me laugh.

John, maybe it's the same thing with dogs, that they need the exercise and play-hunting time. My daughter's dogs get a little crazy when they first come in but it's mostly running around trying to get petted from everyone at once, social greeting. Annie the corgi especially has to run around and get petted from everyone because she's a puppy. I can't go downstairs without getting puppy-tackled.

11-05-2010, 07:47 PM
Another several great pages. Cats aren't the only 'run-around-like-insane-things' critters - dogs can do that too. Our chocolate Lab (we also have a yellow) until he was about seven would go into what we would call 'wild dog mode'. He's a mellow, easy-going dog, but literally would get 'the look' in his eyes and just start racing around the house, banging into things, trying to get us to chase him, etc. The other dog looked at him, then at us like she was saying...what the heck got into him?!
We call that hucklebutting when our bullies do that. . . or zoomies. . . they get that look in their eyes and then just run willy nilly bull speed, sometimes banking it off the sofas or chairs, its pretty hilarious.

I do think kitties are somewhat noctural as when Nolan was with me, sometimes he'd have a flurry of playing at night and wake me up. Nolan was a BIG cat. . . 26 lbs. of white kitty.

11-05-2010, 08:12 PM
Hooley Dooley, what a work ethic! I am feeling slightly ashamed of my lacklustre dedication...... :lol:

Congratulations on the great work you are producing!

11-06-2010, 06:45 PM
Wow, Rainy! Nolan was HUGE! I know how big Ari is at 15lb, Nolan must've been like having a polar bear trundling around. Sounds beautiful! Of course thundering around at night to play and wake you up. He was just being a cat!

Jackie, thank you! I got a little farther today, two more chapters... the great event in them is in today's page:

Coffee, Cigarettes & Cat Hair, Page 6
5" x 8 1/4"
Pigma Micron pen on Moleskine Cahier thin paper. Imagination.

Yep, I wrote the birthing scene. Based the character Elder on a cat I used to have who had several litters and a much higher than usual maternal instinct. She was wonderful. She treated all the adult cats like they were her kittens too and mothered me a few times if I was sick or sad. She had no trouble birthing after her very first kitten. So the sabertooth that was acting like her earlier naturally followed her birthing pattern too - minus a human sitting by to be her Lamaze coach and kitten-catcher.

11-06-2010, 07:01 PM
Great sketche sof the kitten-cubs. Hope those young sabre tooths don't grow the biig teeth too soon.

Talking o fcats, you don't need a big one to make a thump when it hits the floor. When I was young we had a cat who used to gallop up the long passage - yes, sounded like a hores had got inside - then she used to make a right turn into the dining room and the backend would go into overdrive to control the skid.

For animals that can stalk so stealthily, they sure have a heavy tread.

11-06-2010, 10:03 PM
aww. . . nursing babies. I love it!!!

Yep. . . he was huge. Funny because when I rescued him from the pound at about 6 weeks old, he was a tiny little sickly thing I got on a medical waiver. But after he got a home, he never stopped eating. He was big and I must admit that he was also rotund kitty.

Sounds like the book is rolling right along!

11-06-2010, 10:06 PM
Nursing kittens is so sweet.

11-07-2010, 06:24 AM
Aw... I know you only get a little glimpse of momma sabretooths expression but I reckon she looks awful content curled up and purring a lullabye while they drink the hours and days away.

11-07-2010, 11:13 AM
the fuzzies are lovely :)

It's amazing how quietly our cats can move usually - one seems weightless when he jumps onto something high, like the gate -

- but the NOISE they can make chasing each other up and down the stairs. Sounds more like elephants.

11-07-2010, 03:56 PM
Elain, that is so cute! Yep, I should've also mentioned thumpling kittens can sound louder than a herd of elephants charging up and down the halls. That's so cool. The subtle difference in Ari's thumps is that they're muffled by his toe-tufts, so they have a different, softer timbre. Gemini is half his size but makes a good solid thump when she drops or gallops.

Thank you so much for all your comments! Yep, these are just quick preliminary sketches but I could visualize momma cat's expression purring their lullaby. I wrote it in a lot of detail and they're so clear in my mind that it's like a movie in my head. The trick is freezing it on a frame to draw that!

Here's today's page - first a life sketch of Ari in his editorial muse capacity, followed by a WDE sketch of a weird tree. If I knew these grew in Southern California during the Pleistocene I would put my cats lounging around it, but it's so odd that I'm not sure it even grows on my continent.

Coffee, Cigarettes & Cat Hair, Page 8
Weird Forest and Sleeping Ari
5" x 8 1/4"
Pigma Micron pen on Moleskin Cahier thin paper, weird trees photo reference by oldrockchick for Weekend Drawing Event starting Nov. 5 2010.

11-07-2010, 05:36 PM
very cute!

11-07-2010, 07:33 PM
Great page. That is a gnarly tree. Very cool.

11-07-2010, 07:42 PM
Robert. . . Ari does look very inspiring. You know, isn't it funny how animals can be so inspiring and calming at the same time just by laying in our laps and purring or snuggling close Lovely penmanship on the old trees.

11-08-2010, 08:18 PM
Jackie, Debby, Rainy, thank you!

Rainy, you're right. Ari is both inspiring and comforting just by his looking at me, purring or crawling into my lap. The love is real - feeling that loved is so inspiring.

Today's page isn't about the novel but one of the interruptions in the novel. I can't ignore my granddaughter for 30 days. She has to watch videos with me and draw... so that got me going again on art. I love my Pitt pens.

Coffee, Cigarettes & Cat Hair, Page 9
5" x 8 1/4"
Pitt Artist Pens, brush tip on Moleskine Cahier thin sketch paper
Photo references courtesy of "Squid Invasion" Discovery documentary, fishing guy was what was up when I paused for my granddaughter to go downstairs for dinner.

11-08-2010, 08:39 PM
More nice pages, Robert! I really like the fisherman - very nice for a quick sketch.

11-08-2010, 08:46 PM
Sketching with your granddaughter is as important as the novel. And, you are making great progress on it with 2 more chapters. Amazing.

The squid is so cool. Like the fisherman too.

11-09-2010, 01:18 AM
great sketch of the fisherman. And also the tree, squid and Ari.

Yes, grandchildren can be demending but so rewarding

At 50,000+ words when the aim is 70,000 (or is it 50,000? I forget) for the month, a break is Ok.

Your sabre tooths/sabreteeth tigers must have had a few adventures in 50,000 words.

11-09-2010, 10:10 AM
Love that fisherman. . . great that you took a break from the novel and that you have your granddaughter to prompt you do do so and relax a bit. Hope you both enjoyed the show on squids! Nice to see your color work again!

Joan T
11-10-2010, 06:14 PM
Robert - I love the squid and the fisherman!!! Great idea to pause the tv and sketch that way!!! Your sketchbooks are always amazing!

11-10-2010, 07:44 PM
Purrrrr thank you all! I had to pause the TV because she went down for dinner but came back to watch the rest of it afterwards. I do that for her so she can see the whole show. So I might as well draw the fishing guy while it's paused! She enjoyed the documentary and drew a giant flying dinosaur she made up, with a squiggly tail.

The official word count goal for Nanowrimo, where you get the Winner's Certificate and all that cool stuff, is 50,000. My goal was a longer, more salable book between 80,000 and 90,000. Looks like it's shaping up to be 90,000 or more since I need at least one or two more chapters and right now it's 79,381 words.

Yesterday the site was down when I did my page, so here's yesterday's:

Coffee, Cigarettes & Cat Hair, Page 10
"Mama's Goin' Hunting!"
5" x 8 1/4"
Pitt Artist Pens big brush on Moleskine Cahier sketchbook. Imagination.

I posted it on Facebook yesterday in the album I started for this sketchbook too.

Today's page:

Coffee, Cigarettes & Cat Hair, Page 11
"Rotating Ari, Growing Manuscript"
5" x 8 1/4"
Pitt Artist Pens "Big Brush" on Moleskine Cahier sketchbook.
Imagination and life. This is why I don't print out my novels. I'd need another room to store them, especially in multiple drafts. It is VERY hard to draw those pointy "boom" splash outlines for text like you see in every grocery ad or comic book. Mine always look crude. But when I did typesetting and laid out coupons with them, we used Clip Art ones. Somewhere, somehow, professional illustrators get paid to carefully work out where each of the points are and vary their shape attractively without making them look lopsided or sloppy. Sometimes those ordinary things are hard to draw!

11-10-2010, 07:52 PM
Wow, way to go on the novel!!! Awesome!!

Great page. . . love both Ari's (like his expression in the first, he does look like he's about to turn his back, he has 'that' look on his face :) Adorable sneezing cub (poor fellow) and you got the eyes and body posture just perfect for a sneeze!!! Love the little added color.

PS. . . I hope the acrylic mag arrived.

11-10-2010, 11:35 PM
amazing effort :)

I like the latest Ari sketches, and the squid, I just watched something about them too - they are scarey creatures! Nothing like the squid we catch here to eat...... thank goodness!

11-10-2010, 11:49 PM
You definitely got those cats down... very nice line work. :)

11-11-2010, 09:08 AM

11-11-2010, 11:11 AM
Great job on the cats as usual, Robert! Mama stretching is particularly well rendered.

11-11-2010, 06:37 PM
Wow, thank you! Rainy, the magazine just arrived and I love it! I think when I'm done I'll probably do the cover of this in acrylic - see how the whole thing looks first and then come up with a cool cover design.

I'm surprised myself at how well Mama Stretch and some of the other imagination sketches came out. Mama Stretch is a big leap forward in changing poses and doing imagination.

Coffee, Cigarettes and Cat Hair, Page 11
Grid Your Lions / Epitaph for Elder
5" x 8 1/4"
Pitt Artist Pens and Pigma Micron pen on Moleskine Cahier.
Lion photo reference by Crias from RIL.

11-11-2010, 08:10 PM
Oh, I am so glad it arrived and will prove helpful. That sounds fun to do an acrylic cover to this wonderful chronicle of your story!

I love that pitt pen lion sketch, OMGosh . . . you are so great with those pens. I couldn't do a thing with them myself and am so glad that the ones I had found a home with someone so talented.

So sad that one of the clan died :( What a lovely epitaph for her . . . and wow, one of your characters is named Tiny! My special Tiny girl is honored and now I must get your book so I can read all about her namesake :) Hope its published soon.

Wonderful page.

11-11-2010, 09:45 PM
Awesome cat drawings. Ari, mama cat stretching, baby caught a cold, gridded lions, just great.

11-12-2010, 02:25 AM
terrific lion gridded up.
And sounds like you have almost finished the book.

Interesting bunch of names on the epitaph.

11-12-2010, 11:26 AM
I second Rainy's comment on your virtuosity with the Pitt artist pens on the lion! Given your interest in and knowledge of pens and dry media, you'll appreciate how I'm going to spend two hours this afternoon. The two Daniel Smith stores in our area have free 1-hour demos every weekend on a wide variety of media, styles, etc. given by local artists. (They also do some full-day paid workshops.) Well, today there is an unusual 2-hour free hands-on demo with the Faber Castell rep in the area. I'm assuming the rep will have most or all of their pens and pencils there to demo and try, obviously hoping to get some product sell-through as a result of the demo. I will definitely be there!

Joan T
11-12-2010, 04:33 PM
Love that stretching cat...can almost feel his contentment. Great "Grid Your Cat." Wonderful texture to his mane.

11-12-2010, 10:41 PM
The lion is gorgeous but stretching momma is perfect... you can feel how nice it is to streeettchhhh those muscles! And one little one still attached trying to get last sips in! LOL

Ari is perfect as well... his face, expressions and body language are always a little story unto themselves. :)

11-14-2010, 07:04 PM
Robert you haven't posted in 2 days and you know that worries your fans! Hope your writing/editing are going great!!!

11-14-2010, 11:40 PM
DITTO!!! I was thinking that same thing Candace. . . Robert, hope you are feeling ok and just busy doing your edits. Your fans miss you!

11-15-2010, 05:57 AM
So sad to loss a pride member, I actually nearly cried, and I havn't even read the novel!!!!!!

I hope all is okay, missing you and wishing you and Ari, the family, and the pride all good health and fortune!!!!

GEntle Hugs, Stacey

11-15-2010, 03:10 PM
yes, hope you aren't ill again

11-16-2010, 10:41 PM
Where did you go Robert!!! That last sketch is awesome, very nice lines.

11-20-2010, 12:11 AM
Wow, thank you! All of you! Purrr! John, that demo sounds so great. I hope you do get to try the Pitt pens. I think of them as suitable for serious art as well as sketching because they're archival.

Yes, I have been sick. Nothing catastrophic or unexpected, it's the bitter weather attacking my joints and chronic stuff. I have been sleeping like my cat and not getting anything done. I've lost most of a week. I even did some catching-up on the 16th but got so tired I wasn't up to posting the pages, but I'll post them now.

The epitaph is the end of the novel. I've begun editing it now, but lost track again on the 17th and lost another few days. Yeesh. So much for Page A Day. I'm not up to drawing tonight but I'll do a page again as soon as I'm up to it and start trying to get more awake if the weather ever stabilizes.

Meanwhile, here are the three I did on the 16th, two are make-up pages chronicling their days. Plus the two I did on the 14th.
The first day I missed, symbolized by the coffee spill enhanced with burnt umber watercolor stick.

Day 13 - back to pens, edited. Wrote the new opener. Sad, but made the sad ending a lot cooler, even more heroic in feel.

The book is going to be edited and sent out to a regular publisher, which might take a year or more before it's accepted. Then another half year to a year to print date, so it won't really be ready anytime soon. I'm so glad everyone's interested though! That gives me heart for the long difficult edits process!

11-20-2010, 12:34 AM
Well, that was exhausting. I did three more pages on the sixteenth but didn't even scan them. Had a cat accident this afternoon, Ari stood on the power strip but fell off the table taking it with him. Unknown to me, this also unplugged the scanner. So I had to get up, trace the cords (bending over looking at the back of the table) move the taboret, bend again farther, get at the cord, figure out where it went (not obvious on my scanner), pull the taboret out entirely to get at where it went and still fish around trying to plug it in by feel while bent over.

Needless to say, my back is not happy with me for doing that on a bad day. But having started, I was determined to get it done. Scanned my three pages from the 16th. Despite all that determination I'll need to make up pages for missing days that are basically a lot like these missing days. Slept like my cat, wrote fan fiction, petted the cat.


More Pigma Micron sketching. Ari posed.


The Bad Day, a lot like my other bad days except that I had some time with my granddaughter, which was cool.


The last almost-good day I had, when I rallied a bit and got caught up editing and drawing, but not posting. Wiped myself out doing that.

Then got sick and got to tonight catching up and plugging scanner back in again. I wish this weather would get stable, that I could function better when it gets cold. It's hard. I've got a space heater and that helps but it's something about the pressure changes and intermittent rain or sun that's making it hard to do anything.

I'm not sure if it was this bad last year or not. Last year I spent most of the month writing, the easy part, and not really doing much else.

11-20-2010, 01:34 AM
Sorry you have been feeling so poorly but we sure are glad you are back amongst us. You have posted so regularly and conversationally that I really think of you as a friend, as I'm sure others do, too. :wave: :cat:

11-20-2010, 11:40 AM
Definitely, Candace! I could not agree more.

Robert, your pages from your sick days, though simple, are full of meaning and so touching. I love the one of you and Sacha watching the movie. That is just so adorable.

Sounds like you've made an awesome change to the beginning of the book. How neat that Elder becomes the main character! I am so curious to read the story!

Feel better soon!

11-20-2010, 11:48 AM
Great to have you back again, Robert! Don't overdo things. Great pot o' gold at the end of the rainbow!

Joan T
11-20-2010, 12:05 PM
Robert - I'm sorry you haven't been feeling well. You know how much we miss you when you're not posting. I was laughing about you watching "Go Diego Go." I guess you know the songs now too. lol

11-20-2010, 01:58 PM
I'm breathless! you have been working hard - glad you are a little better. I'm in more pain now it's cold so you have my sympathy.

11-20-2010, 07:32 PM
Enjoying your stuff, Robert. :clap: Sometimes resting is good.


Carole A
11-20-2010, 09:14 PM
Robert ~
So sorry you were not well, but happy to see you back here. It is alarming when a regular goes missing for so long.

Hope to see you contributing regularly soon!

Carole A

11-20-2010, 11:03 PM
Good to see you back Robert.... Like that sketch of you snoring and the one with your daughter... good stuff. Get your rest and stay warm. :)

11-21-2010, 03:30 AM
I'm so glad to see you're back and feeling better! Chronic stuff can be a real pain to deal with I know! I'm impressed you managed to fit in the novel, the sketches and fanfic (nice to see another fanfic lover here btw, although I'n a reader only) inbetween all that! Good luck in the editing/refining phase! I hope when it comes out we'll get a link to where it's available. :) I love the pictures of you and Ari both snoring away (!) and with your grand-daughter watching Dora and the rainbow outlook of your bad day. Take it easy till the weather breaks and here's to many more caught rainbows for you! :)

11-21-2010, 03:40 AM
Glad to see you back. The coffee oops is so appropriate for the sketchbook. The picture of you and Ari snoring is so fun. (Tho' I know the reason wasn't fun. :( ) Feel better.

11-21-2010, 08:49 PM
hope you feel more like your old self soon Robert :)

11-22-2010, 12:08 AM
My doctor swears weather changes are the worst for any kind of joint disorder, says he knows the weather is changing for the worse by the number of people who show up needing something for the pain. My arthritis kicks it as the weather is coming, Doc says it's the barometric pressure. No clinical studies here just years of observing his patients. Hope you are feeling better soon, sleep is good though in such instances, no pain then.

Good luck with the editing and finishing you Sketchbook Project, I'm not even sure where that sketchbook is, guess I'll find it and use it for my December sketchbook. Any advice on dealing with the oh soo thin pages. Is there anything that doesn't show through to the other side? Are you doing front and back?

11-22-2010, 12:09 AM
Hope the weather behaves and you're back to your ususal self soon, Robert.
I have missed your posts.

Love the oops.
Even a sketch with cooments makes for interesting pages. Hope there are lots of rainbows but not if the changable weather causes problems.

Take care.

11-26-2010, 05:01 PM
Purrrrr thanks for all your comments! The weather continued to get crazy with pressure changes - yep. It's the barometer slamming me, especially my spine but on the worst days it also gets elbows, knees, ankles, finally fingers. At least it's in that order.

Margo, I'm doing both sides and almost totally using Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens and Sakura Pigma Micron pens. Neither of them goes through the thin pages. You could test other sorts of markers, but slip a cover sheet under the page when you do. It might be interesting to use a bleed through marker to make a background tint, do it on both sides and do different pen sketches on the same tinted background - just some light color or pattern. It did cockle a bit on the coffee-splash page so wet media are right out of it.

Today, once again, I did a page. But I didn't try to make up ten pages. Date and page number no longer have any connection at all.

Pitt Artist Pens (Big Brush) and Pigma Micron size 05, imagination.

The turkey was long since dismantled but that's one of two pies - mince and caramel-apple, a loaf of pumpkin bread, the bowl of broccoli, the marshmallow garnished yams and of course stuffing piled around the turkey. There's still tons of it. Leftovers of everything, it was so great this morning to have pie for breakfast and turkey with all the trimmings for lunch-dinner-thing.

My daughter is an insanely good cook and used Herbs de Provence for seasoning both the turkey and the stuffing, which came out so well I was stunned. My cat and I then snoozed - see earlier illustration.

Belated Happy Thanksgiving to all!

And if I'm lucky I can get in another page tomorrow. Picking up again after a lapse is tougher than keeping on when there's momentum.

11-26-2010, 07:03 PM
Thanks for the heads up on the pages Robert. I've decided to go with pens and possibly cp's, fortunately I discovered I have a couple of little moleskine diaries with the same kind of thin paper so I can test anything I'm not sure about on those. Silly I know but as the tour comes to my town and perhaps friends and acquaintances will be viewing...there you have it. I did get so far as putting a coffee cup ring on the front cover yesterday. That was it, as I am the cook, yesterday for 8 of us, and my guys went off to the UT & A&M game in person so...home alone to clean. Almost done with the November pentallic sketch journal, and no I haven't posted. Allergies and Bronchitis made me much too crabby to scan or photograph. I did get overly ambitious and did both sides of the pages, which was problematic on some as the op's and cp's rubbed onto the page next to it.:( No worry's its my sketchbook and I have just been having a blast with it.:D Doing what pops into my brain or something one of you guys have been doing I just had to try.

Thanks for your continuing inspiration Robert. I think I'll actually get to posting some images in the next week or so. Got so out of the habit, haven't posted anything anywhere since I left the other group we belonged to. I have had fun with your Scavenger hunt and Firehorse's as well.

So Happy Thanksgiving belatedly, hope you all had pie for breakfast just like Robert and I did! For those who don't live in the US, I sure wish I could share a slice of my infamous Bourbon pecan pie with you, it turned out the best it ever has, and it's always been scrumptious before.

Robert after Kitten's Tday feast you should be back up and running in no time! At least I sincerely hope so.:heart:

Was that enough smilies or what?

11-26-2010, 07:05 PM
Yummy turkey page.

How did you find out hyenas weren't in Ice Age L.A.? Just curious about your research. Tho' dire wolves are definitely cool.

11-26-2010, 11:34 PM
Robert. . . so glad you are back and that you had a nice Thanksgiving!! :wave:

Interesting about the hyenas becoming dire wolves. . . I have not heard of the latter and now will have to look those up to see what they are.

So, so glad to have you back! Hope you continue to feel better and better each day. :crossfingers:

11-27-2010, 02:22 AM
Glad to see you posting again, Robert!

11-27-2010, 12:02 PM
OH pie for breakfast! I'm gone................. blueberry :clap:

11-27-2010, 03:26 PM
Quite entertaining, Robert. Cool you've actually done Nanowrimo! Hope you feel better soon...

11-27-2010, 03:32 PM
Robert -- if you don't mind me saying so... I love you more and more every day.

11-27-2010, 05:33 PM
Big loud happy purrs to all of you! Nuzzle and head-bumps. Today I didn't do anything else but I got in two pages. I was up all night with the pain but took an extra pill in the morning and did a tree branch in morning light in Pigma Microns, then an Ari gesture to fill the page. Just life drawing what's in front of me:


I love my cat. He's such a great comfort on bad days. Stuffing my hands under his fuzzy tummy when he's on my lap helps too when it's so bad my hands ache. It's great to feel the curative power of fuzzy cat snuggling!

Then I watched two 45 minute tv shows in about four hours with my granddaughter painting and drawing, so I did this page in Pitt Artist Pens. She challenged me to draw her pink plastic jack, then she asked me to do a turkey. Finally I did one from an RIL photo that I've got up for wallpaper and have been looking at for months. So there's color again!


These pens are the easiest medium I have, no cleanup, no set up other than opening the box, no getting up for them. Right now it feels like two days in a row is a very big deal, even if I didn't edit today. But I don't try to edit when I'm half asleep - sketching works for that but I'd botch the novel that way.

Purrrrrs and thanks to all of you! Your comments stirred me up to get going again no matter what. Maybe I'll try to sketch in this sketchbook every day till it's full - even if I don't always succeed, start any art day with this sketchbook till it's full. That'll get it done by May, I hope.

As for the hyenas, I found a list of animals on Wikipedia that were found in the tar pits and I also checked the museum site for the museum list of animals and plants. Some giant hyenas lived at the same time but if they didn't fall in the tar pits, they weren't in that area. That was why I put them in at first - and then did a last websites check at the end of that chapter to discover "no hyenas."

Dire Wolves have powerful jaws and big heads. They're bigger than gray wolves and their jaws can crack bone like hyenas. They're slower though, not the fast distance runner the gray wolves are. They existed in the same area, taking slighly different ecological niches the way wolves and coyotes do today. The dire wolves went extinct with the larger prey animals, gray wolves didn't and are still the same as today's wolves. Coyotes haven't changed either! So the canines came in three different types each with its own layer of big, medium and small predation.

Plus lots and lots of different types of cats!
Smilodons, American lions (same as African ones basically), jaguars, pumas, bobcats all were found in the tar pits. That was really a time and place for great variety in cats!

11-27-2010, 07:11 PM
Hi Robert. . . Sascha did a good job of challenging you today. That jack must have taken a bit of observation to get just right and cute turkey, perfect subject for this weekend :) Love the landscape in the pitt pens. I'm continually amazed by what you do with those! Hope you have a better night tonight.

11-27-2010, 07:34 PM
It's good to see you feeling a bit better and working so well :)

11-27-2010, 09:16 PM
I'm going to have to take a page from your play book and sketch with my pitt pens next time my hand wacks out! I can paint, that doesn't bother me, but I guess oil paints in bed is a phenomenally bad idea. Love the style you used on the fall scene, very effective use of the pens I'd say.

11-27-2010, 09:22 PM
Great sketches. Amazing how you can sketch even on one of your bad days. So many (including myself) turn into a zombie and just watch TV or sleep. The landscape is wonderful.

11-28-2010, 09:34 PM
Wonderful colour work - how vibrant and uplifting! As Rainy mentioned - the jack is very well observed.

Hope you are well on the way to feeling better ;)

11-28-2010, 10:47 PM
Nice to see you do some sketches, your pen work looks great!

11-28-2010, 11:03 PM
Purr thanks! That's pretty much what I did besides doing the sketchbook, curl up and watch Netflix on my computer. Didn't get online much other than that.

Today's page was done in four short increments throughout the day. At least I slept last night so it wasn't as bad as yesterday. Maybe the weather will stabilize now and I'll start pulling out of this slump.

Various sketches from life, though I did the cats next to each other when they were on opposite sides of the room. I did Gemini eating first, then looked the other way and saw Ari curled up so sketched him behind her as if there wasn't a table in the way.

11-29-2010, 08:52 AM
Hello Robert. . . I didn't realize you had two cats! Or does Gemini belong to your daughter maybe? Really like how you did that cheese and cracker, very real. Glad you had a better night. Take care.

11-29-2010, 01:51 PM
Sabertooth - is that the name of the book? - "may take a while" ?
That is relative. Your have written the first draft in well under a month when most people take years so I think your while could be a little while compared to a big while.

I can tell you are wnating to get stuck into it though. A space between writing and editing can allow a different perspective. Hope you do feel better soon though.

Interesting sketches as always. You've caught the posture of Gemini eating. Really colourful autumn scene and I agree, you have done the tricky jack great.

Yes, cats are very soothing. Lucky for us they like relaxing back so much.
Take care.

11-29-2010, 04:16 PM
Glad you were able to sleep. Nice montage of sketches.

11-29-2010, 04:37 PM
Purrr thanks!

Rainy, Gemini is my daughter's cat. She just likes hanging around in my room a lot and has her preferred spots on my bed, on the scanner and of course at the food dish. Being the little queen, she eats first and Ari is a purrfect gentleman with her.

Elain, yes, "Sabertooth" is the working title. It might get another one in the final version. You're right, we're very lucky cats are that laid back!

Thanks, Debby!

Here's today's - a couple more life sketches in Pitt Pen (Big Brush 12 color set) and size 05 Pigma Micron.


11-29-2010, 05:33 PM
Hi Robert. . . beautiful job on that watercolor box. . . that is an interesting brush, it must be the one you mentioned in the other thread. I just got a Black Gold travel brush this weekend from DS for my Koi kit and I love it! I did my duck and persimmon with it so far. . . very nice.

Good to see lovely Ari again :)

11-29-2010, 07:53 PM
Nice job on Ari as usual, Robert! And the watercolor box is great - nice combination of a basic drawing and the wonderful splashes of color. My travel box looks a lot messier than this one, however! :o

11-29-2010, 08:13 PM
Ari is his superb self as usual, and I quite like your palette box. What kind of palette box is that Robert? I've been looking for something like that. I guess I'll have to go check the art supply addicts thread, I'm sure you posted about it there. You must be feeling a little better if you worked in 2 sketchbooks today, I hope so anyway.

11-29-2010, 09:23 PM
Ari is beautiful, as always. Very cool sketch of your water color box.

11-30-2010, 06:13 PM
Thank you all!

Rainy, I saw your Black Gold travel brush in the Addicts thread and it's very cool, looks like it has a wonderful point.

Poochemio, my travel box is the one that came in my Cheap Joe's Travel Kit - leather case, stainless steel water cups and bottles, metal watercolor box to fill with tube watercolors. I didn't like the travel brush that came with the set as much as I thought I would but the other items are fantastic and well worth it - so I stashed my other travel brushes in the leather case. Very handy. It also forced me to choose 12 colors to make up my own palette instead of relying on the usual choices in 12 color sets.

John, yeah, they do get messy very fast! I'm sure when I've used it more often it'll have paint splashing between the wells and spots everywhere, it's just clean now because I bought it so recently. And because it's pretty easy to clean.

Debby, purring at you and happy.

Yep, I'm starting to feel better than I did mid November anyway - not good, but not as bad as my worst days by a lot. That got so frustrating. At least now I can manage to do something during the day.

Here's today's page, done on the blank page I left yesterday to the left of Pg 22... go fig! I wanted to do a pastel painting or at least a sketch and planned it but didn't get any farther than planning. Got distracted watching ArtistsNetworkTV videos after the webinar.


11-30-2010, 07:28 PM
That's got to be painful, having Tiny bite your back.

Interesting Notan.

11-30-2010, 08:16 PM
Hi Robert. . . glad you are slowly getting better! Very cool that you got to attend the webinar, I signed up but could not get on computer as it is a work day for me and too much was going on there. I'm SO sorry I missed it. :(

Your sketch of Tiny and Musky is adorable. . . my Tiny is sitting here and she thinks its cute, too.

12-01-2010, 12:01 AM
purring right this minute Robert! I will soon be the pleased owner of the same watercolor set. I've been wanting a metal paint box. I am an absolute sucker for stainless steel anything, my kitchen overfloweth with it, but as I cast my eye over my studio, alas I see not one single piece of it. Plenty of silver, copper and brass but no stainless, soon however! Okay I know this belongs in another thread, but I just wanted you to know how please I am and say THANKS!!!!!!! You rule Robert!:cat:

12-01-2010, 01:59 PM
Margo, that's so cool! I love that little set - just add more travel brushes to it as the one that comes in it is a bit on the small side and hasn't got a cap. I got hooked on it for the same reason - shiny stainless steel is so much cooler than plastic. And sturdy!

Rainy, good news for you! They'll send you an email in a day or two with a link for the streaming recording - you can't ask questions but in all other respects it's like attending. Scritch your Tiny for me.

Debby, thanks! I was thinking about laying out a square pastel painting for once, not just doing my usual rectangle. I'll probably do something with it even though the November Spotlight is over.

Today's not so bad. I must be adapting to the cold - or the pressure changes are evening out. It's sunny and I got up early, really good thing for doing art.

I think the text speaks for itself on the next two pages:


Since I'm also doing 12 Joys of December (thanks for a great title, Rainy!), there'll probably be some duplication between this thread and the 12 Joys thread, especially around the tail end when I'm doing lots and lots of studies of the same subject. Today's was easy. Twelfth one is going to be Ari, I've already decided that.

12-01-2010, 02:10 PM
Love page 24 as it sums up your theme of the book so perfect. . . great pose of Ari grooming, too. Glad you are feeling out from under the weather today! WooHoo.

12-01-2010, 02:17 PM
Good thing you found your note! :eek: And quite appropriate that you need your 3 C's.

The winter pecan is lovely. Trees are great subjects at any time of year, especially the deciduous ones.

12-02-2010, 11:22 AM
Purr thanks Rainy! Yep. It seems to have stabilized at "bright and cold" and hopefully will go on leaving me more functional. Winter's not always as bad as fall, maybe I'm past the worst of it.

Debby, thanks! I love that tree, have studied it in all seasons now and it still fascinates me. The complex fork is right above my eye level in my window and the shadows on it are so intriguing.

Joan T
12-02-2010, 11:58 AM
Glad your turkey day was good and you had time to sketch him too! Love that twisty branch and the sketches of Ari. Colorful autumn landscape. When I look at your sketches with the pigma pens I think I should have ordered some from Cheap Joe when I was picking out Christmas gifts for my hubby to give me. (That way I get what I want.) I ordered a few travel brushes. Love the sketch of your wc box. I had to laugh about you realizing when the journal was due. Don't panic...I'm sure you of all people can fill it easily. I have a friend who is doing one and filling pages each Wed when we meet and sketch.

12-02-2010, 01:54 PM
Thanks, Joan! I hope you're right - it's going to be a bit tough considering how hard it was just trying for one page a day. I'll feel better if I get ahead a bit instead of behind and catching up.

You'd probably love the Pitt Artist Pens, I know you already do awesome things with Pigma Microns. They last a long time though. Cool that you've picked out travel brushes. Those are so handy. I've got two good ones - that brass Escoda Kolinsky one and a fatter aluminum body/cap Arches squirrel mop one. I could paint quite large outdoors with those if I wanted.

Got in my two pages for today though - if I don't lapse on that I'll be done well before January. But I want to get ahead so I may double some days just to give myself a margin for sick days.

Pitt Artist Pens (48 brush tip) on Moleskine Cahier journal.

Pigma Micron pen on Moleskine Cahier Sketchbook Project journal.

12-02-2010, 04:26 PM
I recognized that flower palette :) Looks just like the one on my desk

Nice stippling and hatching

12-02-2010, 05:07 PM
The pen work is fantastic. I definitely need to practice more. I do like the look of pen and ink.

12-02-2010, 05:41 PM
I thought doing both sides of the page at this late a date was a tall order, never realized you didn't know the deadline was looming. This is a big teehee, cause I haven't even started mine. I guess it will have to go everywhere I go for a while!

12-02-2010, 05:55 PM
Oooh, somehow I missed your last 2 pages, sorry I've been out with my plein air group for the last six hours. The texture behind your porcelain palette is very cool, and really sets the stippling off to a tee! You are getting great effects with your Pitt pens.

12-02-2010, 06:52 PM
I've missed out in the past few days - seems everyone has been busy posting awesome stuff! I do love the style you're able to get out of the Pitt pens! I found a shop semi-near to me which carries them and was so tempted the other day, I think they may have to be added to my list for Santa. *G* Especially quite like the one of Musky and Tiny as well as the little one of Ari ensuring his whiskers are in order, the snails and negative space flower palatte.

12-03-2010, 02:31 PM
Purrr thanks for all your comments! Rainy, I love that palette. It's my favorite - cleans easier than anything else and stays where I put it. I sometimes let watercolor mixes dry in it so that I can reconstitute them later.

WYSIWYG, you won't regret trying the Pitt Artist Pens. Unlike most of the brush pens I've seen, these are archival - lightfast and lasting. The 48 color range is big enough for most subjects and the tips are so expressive. I'm looking at getting the 48 big brush ones too, but right now I'm happy just with the 12 color set since it's well balanced.

Margo, yeah, carrying it with you all the time would rock for getting it done.

Pigma Micron and Pitt Artist Pens on Moleskine Cahier sketchbook.

Pigma Micron and Pitt Artist Pens on Moleskine Cahier sketchbook.

12-03-2010, 04:28 PM
Great hunt sketches. I commented on the pony on the other thread. I really like the look you get with those Pitt Pens.

12-03-2010, 05:07 PM
Aw. . . adorable foal. Wonderful shine on the spoon and the ink bottle.

12-03-2010, 05:46 PM
Thank you both! Bought myself a spare day today with two more pages done - mainly because that big Ari sketch blew over onto the next one and so I sketched him again to fill it.

Pitt Artist Pens, grayscale ones. Moleskine Cahier sketchbook.

12-03-2010, 07:26 PM
Ari has got to be the most sketched cat. Not that he doesn't deserve the notoriety. He's just so cute and fuzzy.

12-04-2010, 06:45 PM
Purr thanks, Debby! Yep. He's up there heading for "Most sketched cat on WC!" because he's irresistibly cute and fuzzy. The more I draw him the more I love drawing him. It gets easier to capture his poses before he moves too!

Today's pages are both from the Weekend Drawing Event in the All-Media Art Events forum, reference credits are on the pages.

Pigma Micron size 05 black pen and Pitt Artist Pens brush tip, a couple of tricky subjects I'm just not that used to.

Pigma Micron and Pitt Artist pens on Moleskine Cahier sketchbook. Four studies of the baby bear reference from the WDE getting gradually simpler.

12-04-2010, 10:05 PM
Robert all of these sketches are stupendous, can't pick a favorite. This sketchbook is making you a master of the Pitt pens, using them every day.

12-04-2010, 10:41 PM
The bridge and boat are marvelous.

12-04-2010, 11:23 PM
Love the boat! And it shouldn't be gratuitous Ari studies, it should be ubiquitous Ari studies...:) !

12-05-2010, 01:26 AM
Ah cool! That was going to be my question to you - how big your set was! The 12 pack would be stretching my budget ($45AUD) so the 24 and 48 packs are out for me but there is an online place that sells packets with 6 pens for landscape or earth colours for about half that if I can't save enough. The pages are all gorgeous - love the ink well, river scene, little cub considering the possible implications of gravity from his perch and most of all the streeettttccchhheedd Ari!

12-05-2010, 08:40 PM
John, thanks! Yes! Ubiquitous Ari studies, not gratuitous ones. He'll always creep into my sketchbook here and there. Even when they don't turn out well I learn more and more from them, so they keep improving.

WYSIWYG - the 6 color packs are what I started with. The grays pack is great for doing value studies of anything you run into. The landscape set is extremely handy for on the spot color sketches outdoors or pretty much anything. So whichever you start with, you can add more as you go on with those sixers and will probably get so addicted you need the full range. Having extras in those colors in the six packs doesn't hurt at all since they're so often used.

Purrr thanks Debby and Margo!

Bumper crop today. I did two pages and then went to an online webinar that's being held daily by a WC member ArtbyJohannes - really good webinar. It lasted about three hours. I did two pages of notes on today's topic, Trees, tomorrow's Evergreens. I missed Saturday's webinar. It was 5pm Eastern time, 4pm Central time for me.

Page 34, lousy hand studies for 12 Joys of December in Pigma Micron

Page 35, lots of Scavenger Hunt items in Pitt pens

Page 36 notes from Webinar on doing trees by Johannes Vloothuis, Canadian artist, using example paintings by Clyde Aspevig. Links to threads about webinar: http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=778261 and http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=801791 - he's doing them daily while he still has use of the webinar software. Started on Sat. the 4th but continues daily from what he posted. It started 4pm Central/5pm Eastern time.

More notes from the webinar. It's focused on oil painting but a lot of it applies in any medium.

12-05-2010, 09:30 PM
Great hunt sketches. Looks like a brilliant webinar. Useful notes.

12-05-2010, 09:49 PM
Great sketches. . . love the hunt items. Continue to admire how you use those pitt pens! wow. The webinar sounds very interesting. . . !

12-06-2010, 03:03 AM
good researching :)

12-06-2010, 09:15 AM
Thank you! Debby, the webinar is an eye-opener for any kind of landscape rendering. Johannes is also helping me understand why my oil paintings come out so wretched when everything else I do comes out better, what it is about oil painting that I need to know. I'm gaining confidence about being able to create some good oil paintings, especially outside.

Rainy, thanks! Try them! I've been using them for about five years now. They frustrated me a lot when I first bought the little six packs - the color ranges were good but limited, the techniques left me going nuts wanting more colors. Most of all I had to get used to how much pressure affects the line with brush tip pens.

They're not like normal markers. Even the slightest pressure will widen a line but it's easy to get the very fine details with holding it carefully so that just the tip touches the paper. Sometimes I try to caption with just the tips of the pens to get more used to that barely-touching pressure level that allows so many details.

I got disappointed with the sky blue for being too dark until I started understanding how broken lines and loose effects can look better than filling things in solidly like a cartoon. It took a while to get this comfortable with them, but from the beginning I loved the way they scanned. Anything I do with them goes online with no problems.

Vivien, thank you! I took tons of notes yesterday, even more of them written in my journal. When I write something down or sketch it, I'll remember it much easier.

Johannes is also going to save off these lectures and I think, post them downloadable on his website or link them here or put them in the library or something. I'm looking forward to more this afternoon - he has three more weeks with this software. He's doing the class on a free trial of the webinar software and that's so great for everyone.

12-06-2010, 12:29 PM
Okay, this is where to put both of today's pages. The uploader wasn't working, so I'll attach them. I goofed on the 12 Joys of December one and did seven versions of Six Quartz Crystals... oh well, there really is a gratuitous sketch now. I'll still do seven tomorrow instead of reversing them.

The other page was going to have multiple sketches but I really like that tree and it took up all of the page.

12-06-2010, 01:45 PM
Well, counting is a left brain activity and you were in your right mind. :lol:

Well done on the tree again. I can recognize it now.

12-06-2010, 03:07 PM
I so agree about writing things down helping fix things in your head. In teacher training you have to study the ways people learn and remember - and the more pathways you can create in your brain, the better you remember - listening, doing, writing down etc etc - even explaining to someone else helps fix it doesn't it?

12-06-2010, 04:40 PM
Those crystals came out amazing Robert. When I finally get my Pitts out going back through your pages is going to be like an art class for me! The bark on your tree is just excellent.

I'm a note taker too. Sometimes just the act of writing them helps to lodge it in my mind, when it doesn't there are the notes.

12-06-2010, 08:39 PM
Purr thank you! Debby, that tree's almost like Ari - being right by my window I've watched it in all seasons for over a year now and I'm getting better at it all the time - and at the other ones. The more I sketch from life, the more I improve.

Vivien, it's funny about note taking. I came to it very late in life because the actual classes I attended in school were too dull - I'd read ahead and be so far ahead of the class that I got nothing out of what was said during class time. It wasn't till late in college that I realized taking notes was a) a way to stay focused and b) a good way to remember. I didn't even read the notes again, but having written them helped me retain the material. With this class I was testing the ideas and drawing little examples to teach my hands the things Johannes was saying.

Margo, thank you! Crystals are another thing I've practiced for a while now, several years. They always fascinated me and the more often I do them in any medium, the easier they get whatever I pick up to do them with.

Tonight's one hour webinar ran to three hours and a half hour of Johannes adjusting his photos of his paintings. I wasn't sure if he'd say anything more so I kept it open and watched his paintings, comparing them to the things he said during the class. It went from this stuff into some composition principles that helped me solve a problem with a pastel painting I'm doing for someone. Fantastic webinar, very intense and information packed though.

I'm attaching my four pages of notes from today. At this rate Johannes Vloorthuis is going to help me finish out my Sketchbook Project book much faster than expected - that's two more sick days!

12-06-2010, 09:19 PM
Ah, great stuff. Thanks for sharing your notes. Didn't make it to the webinar, had company today, but, maybe tomorrow...

12-06-2010, 11:58 PM
Love your illustrated notes from webinar! Very informative and helpful. Great drawing of the tree in soft light. You do such nice pitt pen work.

12-07-2010, 04:40 AM
good points

12-07-2010, 04:27 PM
Debby, Rainy and Viv, thank you! I'm showing up again to take still more notes in 40 minutes. It'll probably run long again, but that's the fun part. Before that, I got in two more pages.

This class is doing a lot for catching up on the Sketchbook Project, it may even make up for my losing out on so much of November!

Seventh out of my 12 Joys of December project, all Pigma Micron sketches.

Two more Scavenger Hunt items in Pitt Artist Pens. The dark green Pitt pens box is actually my 12 color Big Brush set and was an experiment in mixing colors. I used three different blues for the values, then went over them with an orangy gold-yellow, then went over that with a green and used a lighter green on the top. Got the values and hues right! It worked! And of course Ari makes me happy.

12-07-2010, 04:44 PM
Just getting around to looking at the crystals and kitty paws -great job on both as always! I've been sitting in on the Johannes webinairs - he is pretty amazing. I am reworking a piece I did a week or so ago in both watercolor and oil taking into account a number of his suggestions, am anxious to see how it goes.

12-07-2010, 05:22 PM
I figured Ari would sneak into the 12 days challenge before day 12. Great hunt sketches.

12-07-2010, 05:23 PM
Love the seven paws!!! That is a great idea. . . And the 'happy' item too :)
Neat drawings, Robert. Enjoy the seminar today.

John, good luck on your reworkings.

12-07-2010, 07:07 PM
Robert it's like attending a mini seminar reading your notes and looking at you illustrations. 7 fluffy cat paws, so well done and so much more amusing than the original 12 days, I think! Rock on my friend.:cool:

12-07-2010, 09:34 PM
Purrrr thank you! I love my Ari. Today I just couldn't wait. I saw his paw in a cute pose and thought, I need to keep trying to get that lovely sheen on his fur. He has wonderful highlights on his paws. That was just fun!

John, I feel that way about almost everything I've painted, especially landscapes. Tonight ran for four hours. I wound up with eight pages of notes. I'm going to need two posts just to post them - I hope they're helping people!

And I still have more typed notes in my computer.

Tonight's class with Johannes Vloothuis started with critiques and the whole four hour session became critiques that helped me understand so many things.

Last night he mentioned the "No Fly Zone." Tonight, now I understand what it is. The area not to put anything too interesting. I think it's proportional to the size of the painting, on an ACEO it'd be about 1/4" or 3/8".

This page, he critiqued a painting by Colorix that I love, showing improvements. I was stunned. It had looked perfect to me, probably because the problems were so minor relative to its strong points.

I am definitely going to try this - paint in plein air while only looking at the focal point of the scene I'm doing. Try to get everything else in by guess with peripheral vision. I could probably try it even working from a photo if I blow it up big on my screen.

12-07-2010, 09:49 PM
Four more pages of notes. Tonight was intense. I'll try to keep them a bit more concise from now on, otherwise I'll just fill up this sketchbook that quick!

More elaboration on how to keep the focal area interesting (and not drag the viewer out of the painting).

Some important, interesting design tips most of which I have not run into in any books I've read. Balancing front to back is new for me but completely makes sense. I usually just try to push things back so there is some depth, but now I can see why I do. If that makes any sense.

If all the cool stuff is in the foreground, then why bother with a background and not just give it a short field of interest? If all the good stuff's deep in the back, there at least needs to be some cool things to point toward it.

More tips on doing buildings. Also on dealing with edges like shorelines and sharp-angled corners. Johannes Vloorthuis tries to break up any V shape anywhere, at any angle. Also any obvious too-simple geometric forms in favor of melodic lines that can include overlapping things of similar value or flaws or any irregularity.

The answer to my question on seascapes. One answer was very simple - if the horizon is that straight and the painting is far out at sea, soften it and fog it up. Other examples had waves nearer the viewer break it up even if there's no land. Or heavy surf if it's near the shore. Rocks out in the water can be moved to break the horizon. So there's a lot of ways to do it. Even something that by definition becomes a flat horizon line can be broken up with something cool.

I had never made the connection that good seascapes I liked didn't have that hard flat horizon. So many reference photos of the sea do that I thought that's just how it is, part of what's there. But weather can break it up.

12-07-2010, 10:12 PM
Wow, Robert, your notes are spectacular! I take good notes, but not nearly as thorough (or as thoroughly illustrated) as yours. Well done. Johannes is truly amazing.

12-07-2010, 10:25 PM
VERY cool. . . never heard that about putting the figure different distance from each side but the placement of the figure in the example is great.

What is meatballs?

I love that darks have more weight image! :) Sure does make it stick in the mind.

12-08-2010, 03:55 AM
you have been soooooo busy....... well done Robert!

12-08-2010, 11:10 AM
the one about the camera having a plane in focus was good and i hadn't read that, but kind of knew it instinctively - it's one of the things I don't like about paintings copied slavishly from photos. They don't work like the human eye at all, which focusses on what interests it, with other things around more blurred.

Joan T
12-08-2010, 12:09 PM
Robert - Great WDE pieces! After reading all your notes on these last few pages, I feel like I've taken a class. Great job on your note taking! Good faces on those quartz crystals. Love the paw page!!

12-08-2010, 01:04 PM
John, thank you! Yep. My mind is sizzling during Johannes Vloorthuis lectures, there's so much information that I have to keep sketching and jotting and paraphrasing in order to remember it all. I'm not very good at remembering verbal information, but as soon as I write it down it sticks. I also try to do my own examples of what he's demonstrating so that I know I understood it, like the weight of a dark vs. medium value object. I was so thrilled this morning that he commented on my eight pages of notes and found them accurate.

I don't think of myself as a good note-taker. I glided through school without taking notes at all until my second year of college. I had a seven AM psychology class with a great professor who didn't rely on the textbook at all. The most interesting things in the class were in the lectures but I had a lifelong habit of ignoring lectures due to already knowing the material from reading assignments.

So I started taking detailed notes in class in order to see it written. I found out I didn't even need to reread my notes half the time. If I took things down in detail, I remembered them. It's just how my mind works, visual and kinesthetic. A lot of these are my agreeing with Johannes and putting my understanding of what he said into words and images.

Rainy - "Meatballs" refers to the way you get clouds or tree lines that have repeated symmetrical hemisphere shapes coming up. They're all the same size and often grouped evenly. They turn up in nature but look stupid in paintings. If you cut into them to give a "meatball" an irregular shape it's more pleasing. Johannes calls that "abstract shapes."

Think of the goofy lollipop tree everyone gets taught to draw in kindergarten, just like stick figures. It's a symbol. Drawing from nature, trees get more interesting and individual but occasionally some of them actually look just like the symbol. Putting them in like that can look unnatural even if they're real.

I had problems with meatballs in cumulus clouds especially. Those curved domes are fascinating but when I draw them, clouds come out looking like scoops of ice cream hanging on wires. I think he's doing skies tonight, so I hope he does cumulus clouds at some point in the class.

Virgo - no kidding! After three days of these afternoon webinars I feel like I'm in graduate school or something. There is so much to learn and only a day to digest the last one before plunging into the next. I think that's some of why my notes are getting more lengthy and detailed. I'll run out of sketchbook before he stops doing classes on the 22nd, but I'll start another one or switch to another one for some of them. I'd like to continue doing 12 Days in this one and keep the last two pages for 12 of Ari.

Vivien - yes! That's exactly what he was saying. People think of cameras as realistic but a camera distorts everything. Cameras are good at capturing detail, no good for getting color and values right and focus is in a plane or depth of field rather than on what your attention is focused on. Binocular vision, human vision focuses on a single point where your lines of sight converge. The farther from that, the less detailed everything is, but you can also see depth immediately by where the focus is.

How far away the deer is matters a lot to a hunter. Eyes forward, a wolf or a human or a cat will know how far away prey is. Deer have eyes on the side of their heads so they see like a camera - as detailed throughout their field of vision, watching for the slightest hint of predator in any direction. Painting a deer's point of view would be a lot more like a camera's.

That's something for me to remember as a writer too, if I ever write anything from a deer's point of view or anything else that has that sort of vision. Such as aliens that evolved from herbivores.

Joan, thank you! I thought I was seriously overdoing it with class notes but everyone seems to enjoy them and find them helpful. I'll go on doing them either way but now I'm committed to posting them every time I do.

Here's today's two pages. I almost shouldn't worry about doing two pages before class because the class notes would give me at least two pages any day I do them. I might cut that back to one, just do my 12 Days page and then class notes.

This first page is my attempt to help the sketchbook make sense to a viewer/reader who's only seeing this one and not anything else. I know I need to send this off to the Sketchbook Project. Throughout the first third or so it was all about writing Sabertooth. Then some art projects and a bit about editing. Now it's about Johannes Vloorthuis's class. Somehow I need to tie these two things together to make the sketchbook a coherent narrative, a chapter in my life.


Then I did today's 12 Joys of December page:


I think if I end the book on the 12th day with a two-page spread of Ari studies, that may work. I know I want to keep that project entirely in this sketchbook, so if I come to that sooner it'll end on a page about this part of my life. If I have to switch sketchbooks mid-lecture, then I will. I got out another one that's about this size to continue in when I fill this project.

12-08-2010, 09:06 PM
Seven more pages of notes on Johannes Vloorthuis landscape class. It's intense! Tonight started with some critique of paintings attendees submitted. There were 65 people there and the topic was "Skies" after the critiques.

12-08-2010, 09:09 PM
Last two pages of tonight's notes. I can't believe we covered so much!

I'm sitting here exhausted but itching to paint, it's a very strange state of mind and body. Wish I had more body energy. I'd be throwing open my oils box, turning on all the lights and try it.

12-09-2010, 12:19 AM
OMGosh. . . such awesome notes. I have to study them when I have time, but my eyes are so tried from working all day (on computer, too!) that I have to rest em for a bit now. Thanks so much for sharing all this! What an awesome book. Next best thing to being able to attend the webinar.

12-09-2010, 12:32 AM
Awe inspiring set of notes. I've only been able to "attend" one of the webinars. I can see I've missed so much. Thank you for diligently taking notes for the rest of us who missed class. Is anyone recording these webinars?

Don't worry about the continuity of your journal. It's a segment of your life during this time. It is what it is. The fact that the public is going to view it is immaterial.

12-09-2010, 12:22 PM
Thank you both! I think one of the reasons the continuity, the "story" of this journal is starting to matter is related to how I plot chapters in novels. I'm planning a little so that the last page really is a good finale. Since I want a two page spread for Ari for the 12 Joys of December, that'd mean the back of that page - which should not be a hook into the next sketchbook the readers/viewers don't have, but something that reflects back on all of them.

I could use that last page for another sketch or illustration from Sabertooth - do some editing, then pick a scene from the chapter I'm editing so that readers can see that project does move forward.

I'm very glad I've got scans of all of these because the notes from Johannes Vloorthuis landscape lectures are vital to me. I'd hate to lose them. Sometimes the color in the scans is a little off but at least I can see what I meant to do.

Here's today's "12 Joys of December" sketches:


I think now I'll relax and do something else, maybe fool with watercolors or pastels before class. I'm going to do at least one more page today with class notes so I can go ahead and use a different medium now.

When I realized how close the deadline was, I had to fight the rebellious urge to use any other sketchbook with any other medium. Sometimes it was a struggle to open this one and reach for the Pitt pens instead of color Conte or watercolors or gouache or anything else.

Oh wow, I still need to do the cover too. Well, I'll finish the inside before I tackle that. It should be fun. Gouache might work if I varnish it thoroughly.

12-09-2010, 01:45 PM
How did I miss all those class notes before??
So interesting. I'll have to go back and re-read.

One note really struck me - "That's something for me to remember as a writer too, if I ever write anything from a deer's point of view or anything else that has that sort of vision. Such as aliens that evolved from herbivores."

I write short stories and they often end up as soft science fiction so this is really intriguing. I can feel ideas beginning to buzz which is a bummer because I'm just about to start work. Grrrrh

12-09-2010, 07:44 PM
Great rocks. . . OH and I didn't think of the fact that you have to send this book away! You are right, good that you got the scans!

12-09-2010, 09:12 PM
Elain, I always jotted story ideas at work when I had a job. I rarely kept my full attention on the work itself, there's usually some time at least when the job that needs doing is "on automatic" and I could ruminate on writing. Definitely bring a jot-book to work for that, maybe one without lines in case the ideas are for paintings so you can thumbnail them.

Rainy, thank you! Yep. I've been aware that I'll have to send this book away from the point I started using it for notes. But I decided that was okay, that gives it some solid content for readers of the sketchbook collection.

This is probably the last batch of notes to go in it. I've got only ten pages left and need to reserve some for 12 Joys, maybe I'll use the rest for cat sketches or my ashtray or something.

Tonight's seven pages of notes, complete with Pitt pen doodles!


I loved the melodic lines of the tree you sketched into the blue painting to replace the green ones, so I sketched something like it.


A better example of violet with yellow-greens on this page, plus some cheesy calligraphy...




Three more pages of notes in my next post!

12-09-2010, 09:13 PM
The other three pages! I love this. It helps me so much in understanding all the examples in the class. I've skipped some but not all repetitions.


Rivers, Streams and Lakes created by what edges they enter on! That was completely new to me and makes sense in the same way that less sky in a painting makes a mountain look bigger. Sorry I couldn't blur the edges of the reflecting rock example with these pens though. Imagine them blurred.


Rocks Under Water - oh I can believe they sell paintings as soon as they're seen. Good reflections do too. I've watched sales of some friends' paintings and anything they did with reflecting water sold and got bid up like crazy. Combining that with rocks under the water is something I've seen in winning place in a number of big competitions.


This has been so cool. The class is helping me improve so much in everything to do with landscapes - and even with composition in other things like animal portraits or still lifes. Of course my big challenge now is to put animals in the landscapes, something I hope Johannes Vloorthuis does address in this course.

12-09-2010, 11:46 PM
You sure got your work in on rocks today, Robert! Rocks from the sketchbook and then rocks in your notes - both underwater and above water.

12-10-2010, 10:15 AM
I love drawing and painting rocks. I could spend a week drawing and painting nothing but rocks and rocky landscapes. I think of rocks as something easy and relaxing, like drawing my cat.

Of course I could always do a rocky landscape with cats draped all over the rocks, that'd be surreal.

Here's something a bit different. Things to hit with rocks!


12-10-2010, 09:25 PM
Those notes are fantastic. I certainly hope you will keep posting the notes you take from this class even if you put them in another book.

12-10-2010, 09:35 PM
looks like you been busy making some great sketches and notes... I like your lines on those rocks and nuts. :)

12-11-2010, 11:56 AM
Thank you! I started another sketchbook thread for the rest of the notes. I post them in the Landscape Forum in the Johannes class threads too - should probably collect them all in one thread sometime to make them more coherent.

Right now I'm working on Day 11 of my 12 Joys, picked a tricky subject especially for using Pitt pens on it. But I wanted a showoff page in this book!

12-11-2010, 02:52 PM
Looking forward to it Robert, after testing all my pens in a similar sketchbook, I'm actually starting mine today, you have inspired me with all of your cool sketches thank you. If I run out of coffee related things to sketch about, I'm going to go for some of the 12 days too maybe.

I think it is a grand idea for you to do a thread with all of your class sketches, it would be educational for those of us who didn't manage to log in to the webinar. You are such a sport, my friend.

12-11-2010, 04:07 PM
Here we go!

12 Joys of December #11: Marbles
5 1/2" x 8 1/4"
Pitt Artist Pens on Moleskine Cahier sketchbook

12-11-2010, 09:23 PM
Thanks for continuing the notes in another thread. Commented about the marbles in your other thread. Very cool.

12-11-2010, 10:40 PM
Robert these are better than the last cat eyes you did, they are so 3d! Congrats.

12-11-2010, 10:46 PM
Great marbles, Robert! Be careful you don't lose them...


12-12-2010, 10:35 AM
Thank you! I'm getting better at doing them in Pitt pens. But not as good at quick plein air sketches. I barely had two minutes to sketch at the tree farm. Finished the page doing a WDE sketch.

Coffee, Cigarettes and Cat Hair, Pg. 73
WDE Pile of Kittens
Pitt Artist Pens on Moleskine Cahier thin sketch paper.
Photo reference by Dewi.

12-12-2010, 10:46 AM
oMGosh, what an adorable pile of kittens! Makes me long for another kitty in the house

12-12-2010, 12:56 PM
I'm with Rainy, these kittens are adorable. The last time I had kittens was over 17 years ago, the last of them lives with my neighbor across the street, he's mine when they are out of town, and becomes very much the baby boy again when they leave, total regression. You definitely did these babies justice, the two peeking over the sleeping babies back are so espressive.

12-12-2010, 01:18 PM
Awww thank you both! Rainy, there are kittens this cute at your local shelter. I know there are. Surrender to the longing. I did in July 2000 and I've never regretted it. Ari was a cute kitten too.

Coffee, Cigarettes & Cat Hair page 74
12 Joys of December - 12th Day! Ari! (Part I)
Pigma Micron on Moleskine Cahier sketchbook

Coffee, Cigarettes & Cat Hair page 75
12 Joys of December, 12th Day! Ari (Part II)
Pigma Micron on Moleskine Cahier sketchbook

Some are from photos, those from life are marked. He hid through about half of these!

12-12-2010, 01:28 PM
Congratulations on finishing all twelve days - on the 12th day even! It's going to come right down to the wire for me to finish in the month, I think, even though I have 7 days done so far. That's still 50 sketches to go...:eek:. Even though I'm more of a dog person than a cat person, the pile of kittens (and Ari, of course!) are very high on the cute factor.

12-12-2010, 04:41 PM
It was a lucky day for both you and Ari, the day you found him. He is definitely your muse isn't he Robert? Everyone should have a pet and I agree the shelters are full of bestfriends waiting for a home. All of my four legged friends have literally shown up at my doorstep, except for the one that ran in front of my car on a busy street, girlfriend jumped out running across 2 lanes of traffic to rescue her.

So was the series of Ari sketches the finale of the Sketchbook project? I got over my heebie jeebies about the paper and just started going for it yesterday, thanks for the encouragement and the view of your sketches, I was about to chicken out.

12-12-2010, 05:17 PM
Great stuff as usual Robert - the sheer volume of work that you produce always amazes me ;)

If only I was so dedicated... sigh :lol:

12-12-2010, 06:32 PM
Awesome pile of kitties.

Congrats on the 12th day and 12 Ari drawings. So cool you got so many from life and he didn't hide.

12-12-2010, 07:04 PM
Thank you! No, this isn't the end of the Sketchbook Project. I still have five pages to go in my journal. Thing is, finishing five pages of it will be a piece of cake. Heh, should've saved the last piece of cake to sketch tomorrow. It never happens though, if I have anything that tasty around it won't last to be in a still life. lol

Margo, yes, he is definitely my muse. This cat sheds Cat Hairs of Inspiration on me all the time day and night, you see the results. He's so cool. I love everything about him and as he gets older, he gets quieter and more snuggly. He used to be a maniac as a little kitten, but that was fun. I'll never forget the Pop-Up Kitten shooting straight up from the floor to hang on my chest or leg and get carried around.

Jackie, a lot of it is that "not having a job" thing as my daughter pointed out.

Debby, yes, he was good to me this morning! He posed! At first I thought he wouldn't, but he came back in and laid around doing poses after a while.

John, thanks. I know puppies would probably get to you the same way. Each their own. I'll probably draw the dogs sometime, though not necessarily in this book since Cat Hair is part of the theme.

12-12-2010, 08:28 PM
Wonderful collection of a dozen Ari poses!!!!

12-12-2010, 09:04 PM
Your cat sketches look awesome, great job!

12-12-2010, 09:15 PM
aw, those are amazing drawings of Ari. . . lovingly drawn I'm sure. just beautiful!

12-13-2010, 02:55 AM
It seems somehow I missed your birthday Robert. So a belated very Happy Birthday to you.

12-13-2010, 11:41 AM
Purrr thanks! And thanks Margo! I got so overwhelmed on Facebook that I'm not sure I even managed to reply with "like" to all the birthday messages. It completely floored me. I felt so loved and appreciated. Purr. I often post late birthday messages not seeing it till there's a big thread or something, so that's natural.

I am so glad I finished and that the 12th day one came out well. I was getting stressed over the project in the last few days because I've been putting so many hours into the Johannes class and each day has been "try to work on two major projects today" instead of what I can count on - some progress on one thing. Now I can focus just on the class and sketch whatever I feel like.

So I decided to go back to the theme. I should at least say hello to it a few times in the last five pages of the sketchbook!

Coffee, Cigarettes & Cat Hair, page 76
Pigma Micron pen, Moleskine Cahier sketchbook.

I'll probably do the next page on coffee. Especially if I can get some beans from Kitten, who gets good coffee and grinds it herself sometimes. I don't actually spend that much and just drink the cheap coffee that comes in the big plastic cans. Used to be in the big metal cans that showed up in every studio as brush washers.

12-14-2010, 03:30 PM
Here we go! Today's page is on coffee. Only three more left now. Just three and then the sketchbook's ready to send in.

I'll probably do the last page on Ari anyway, knowing me. He really is the most sketched cat on WetCanvas!

12-14-2010, 04:57 PM
Hehehehe - I've rinsed my brush out in a cup of tea brought in by my lovely husband......... and picked up my paint jar and almost drunk it before realising just in time :lol:

I realised just last night when I kept going to dip my brush in my rinse water that I hadn't filled yet, just what a creature of habit I become when painting ;)

12-14-2010, 05:29 PM
hehehe, Robert you are so funny, take a ruined cup of coffee and turn it into art. Gotta love it!

12-14-2010, 06:47 PM
Great thematic pages. Tho' I am sorry about your poor cup of coffee that got pastel painted.

12-16-2010, 11:15 AM
I'm finally moving with my sketchbook Robert, thanks for inspiring me. Looking forward to the last 3 sketches in yours.

12-16-2010, 01:40 PM
Thank you! Margo, thank you so much. I'm so glad this has inspired you to work on yours, that's so fantastic!

Glad you both liked my ruined cup of coffee! At least I got something out of it. When I picked it up I could see puffs of color on it - I'd been dusting out a corner of the painting with a fan brush, not even just tapping it. So lots of it swept over onto the top of my HEPA filter, which I also use as where to put my coffee.

LOL Jackie, can't count the number of times I've picked up a rinse jar thinking I should drink from it. Or stopped my cat from drinking. I finally started using empty pill bottles as rinse jars so that when I mistake it for something else, I just get my fingers wet fishing for pills in it.


Today's was just a diary-day, the first things that came to mind. I really did get up extremely early so I got a chance to find out just how long the loud giggles and running sounds go... he literally ran back and forth in the hallway laughing for almost an hour without stopping. I was amazed. He really enjoys running. Trippy!

12-16-2010, 05:41 PM
Love the pastel in the coffee drawing!

Once I have a cup of tea on the desk with painting a watercolor and stopped myself just in time before dipping the brush in that rather than the water tub! :o

12-16-2010, 09:05 PM
Someone should really figure out how to bottle the level of energy children have so they can save it and partake of it when they are older. I know I sure could use some about now.

12-17-2010, 12:03 AM
LOL Rainy!

Debby, I didn't have that kind of energy even when I was that age. I was stumbling around, falling down when I got tired and spent a lot of time sitting still reading or drawing or writing. No one noticed because I don't think either of my parents were used to healthy toddler speed and energy levels. That little guy is fast! I used to yell and sing like he does though.

12-17-2010, 12:22 PM
More fun pages, Robert! Although I'm not a coffee drinker (I get my caffeine in cold form via Diet Pepsi - probably a worse habit than coffee - :o ) I empathize with the pastel dust issue. I like pastels and in some respects think I get better results with them than other media, but the room I have my studio in has light-colored carpet on the floor and it's truly amazing have much carpet stain results from one teensy bit of pastel dust...:( !

And BTW, you've heard it from everyone else, but as with your art, I'm totally amazed at the prodigious quantity of notes from the lectures, in addition to the wonderful illustrations and accuracy. Thank you for doing that. I thought I was a good note-taker, but I realize I'm still probably only in A or AA ball rather than the big leagues after seeing yours...!

12-17-2010, 04:09 PM
John, thank you! I've run through three or four Pigma Micron pens in the course of this sketchbook and taking my notes. Just ordered half a dozen more. I am so glad they're that useful to everyone else, that's why I keep doing them.

I hate having carpet. My cat sheds and throws hairballs, getting that out of carpet is hard compared to just sweeping up and picking up off a wood or linoleum floor. Likewise pastel stains, paint stains, any other stains. I also can't run a vacuum cleaner without throwing my back, so I've definitely become a fan of floors that don't need vacuuming. Though I might try a rubber mat under my pasteling area if I had more space, something that could be mopped off easily but still cushion pastels when they fall.

Today's page is the penultimate page. I feel a little sad finishing this up. I got so involved in it and now it's almost done. After the last page I'll paint the cover and then I'll mail it out, not to see it again. This one's to be shared, and it's an odd feeling sending it away after I've put so much into it. So today I got a little thoughtful and just looked around me, it's another diary-type entry. Some thoughts about Ari.


12-18-2010, 12:13 AM
Wonderful Ari sketches.

It's wonderful that this will be seen by others. I know you are sharing it here with us, but this is kind of going out into the public. I think you've done an awesome job on the whole of it. People will be delighted to browse through this sketchbook.

12-19-2010, 02:03 PM
lovely Ari sketches - specially the one asking for a scritch :)

12-19-2010, 02:32 PM
Aren't cats funny when they butt you with their head.

Not so funny when I used to dip my oil brush into my coffee. The oil does make nice patterns though.
With coloured pencils I don't have the same problem but many a time I have felt like another cup of coffee and realised why when the last cup is still sitting there stone cold.

I put a very large sheet of plastic under my easel when doing pastel. I can scrunch my feet under it so I can walk away without trapsing Pastel dust every where. As it is light plastic and buched up a bit the pastels can't do kamikazi flights onto it. After finishing I can fold up the plastic and dust off outside.

Robert I have really enjoyed this sketch book thread. Invigorating. You don't have to run around to be full of life.

12-19-2010, 04:00 PM
Your sketchbook looks great, there is so much to soak in... kind of feels like I know your cat :)

12-22-2010, 03:05 PM
Elain, thank you! Yep. I love that head-butt. I feel so loved when I get that furry hard punch anywhere. Cool idea for managing pastel dust. I think I'm pretty good at not dropping mine, but I always tap the painting off over the trash can right in front of the HEPA filter so the dust either goes in the trash or the filter. Then I sweep up when I'm done and I'm good.

Purr, thanks for that last comment. That means a lot, sometimes I think that my mobility limits mean I must be boring but I guess not!

Chuck, thank you too - yep, I can see why you feel like you know my cat! That's so great. I hoped to achieve something like that with my sketches.

Here's the very last page. I procrastinated on doing it because I hate to let go of something - especially since this one needs to be mailed away and I won't see it again after it's gone.


This isn't the end of the thread though. I have one more thing to post. I've put off doing the cover till I did all the pages. So there will be an acrylic painting on black to finish this off in the next few days, when I get a day good enough for painting and a good idea for it besides painting the title on in white so that it shows up.

12-22-2010, 03:24 PM
Congrats on the finish, Robert! Wonderful project, and creatively executed. I wound up signing up for the sketchbook project but never finished it. Decided I was overcommitted already and just couldn't get motivated for it, sigh...

Maybe I'll do (and finish) another one down the road, assuming they continue the idea, which is definitely a great one.

12-23-2010, 12:00 AM
Congrats on finishing the inside. Now to finish the outside.

12-23-2010, 11:21 AM
Congrats, Robert. Be sure to show us the cover before and after :)

12-23-2010, 09:43 PM
Woo Hoo Robert!

12-23-2010, 09:58 PM
Thank you! Of course I'll show you the cover. I'm just still considering what to do with it and will probably use acrylics. Or gouache and then some varnish, that might be fun.

12-24-2010, 06:19 PM
Robert you changed your avatar! How shakes it in Arkansas today my friend? I've been baking cookies with a vengence and listening to Eric Clapton. Ain't Christmas, I know, thank goodness I can only take so much of the same old hat every year. The cookies are yum wish I could share a plate of them with you while we drank coffee and smoked cigarettes and looked through each others sketchbook of the same title, yet very individual interpretations of the theme, loosely sticking to my theme, I've sketched at least 2 mugs of coffee with a cigarette in the ashtray next to them. Whatever. Hope the weather isn't giving you fits, it was me yesterday but once the barometric pressure dropped I was peachy again. That's a big yippee you hear faintly in the background. Have a lovely Holiday my friend.
May you always walk in Beauty

12-24-2010, 06:21 PM
ooh and merry merry to Ari to please give him a holiday scritch from me.

12-24-2010, 09:51 PM
Purr thanks Margo! Glad the weather's doing well for you, today turned cold and overcast for me so I didn't get much done. Those sound like great sketches! Keep going! One thing that's always different is the curls and shapes in the smoke. Now that I'm done I think I should've tried those more... ah well, there's always next year! Ari purrs at you.

12-25-2010, 08:07 PM
Congratulations Robert! Well done on the journal completion.......now what is next :lol: I know you are not going to be idle for long :)

12-25-2010, 09:34 PM
Just deciding which sketchbook to work in next. I'm itching to work on a large one again, it's sometimes easier now to have the big pages.

12-26-2010, 09:31 AM
I'm with you on the larger sketchbook Robert, every one I've used since October is on the small size. They fit in my purse better. I have an unfinished book that's going on purse duty and I want to use a bigger maybe 8x10 or 9x12 in the studio. Go for something with better quality paper, the limitations of the moleskine has taught me a thing or two I suppose but not being able to use a variety of supplies has driven me to boredom more than once.

12-26-2010, 05:49 PM
Yeah. I really enjoyed the Pentalic Nature Sketch for its versatility, considering breaking out one of those or a watercolor journal. The watercolor journals do handle ink drawing and pencil/colored pencil or pastel sketches as well.

12-26-2010, 11:04 PM
I was going to go with the watercolor when I remembered I had a large pentallic that I did tests with all of my cp's and watercolor pencils in and then shelved it. There's the ticket I already know which cp's I like best and I only used a quarter of the pages, I have a purse size book to finish too. Okay, 5 pages left in the Project and that is counting both sides, so tonight I sit in front of the fire and play with the Pentallic. Then maybe the watercolor next month. Isn't it lovely to have choices?

12-26-2010, 11:31 PM
Robert....I've enjoyed your sketches. Have a good evening.

01-04-2011, 12:12 PM
Thank you both!

Today's the actual completion - I just painted the cover using acrylics. It worked! I had a concept for the cover but it helped to have sketched the cats so many times before I painted it - got the cat face coming up out of the smoke perfect on the first try! I think this just about says it all!

Coffee, Cigarettes and Cat Hair
Cover - Sketchbook Project 2010!
5 1/2" x 8 1/4"
Winsor & Newton Artists' Acrylic on black Moleskine Cahier cover.
No photo references used. No cats harmed in the making of this book other than the smell of the varnish over this painting disgusting my cat Ari and my continually harassing him with Hunt and Sketch games.

01-04-2011, 01:37 PM
Ah yes - not your usual cat! Nice finishing touch.

I've really enjoyed your sketch book. You say you are sending it off - where is it going? I must have missed that post and your thread is too popular with too many posts for me to go through them :)

01-04-2011, 03:34 PM
What a wonderful and creative cover! Congrats on the final final finish!

01-04-2011, 04:26 PM
like it!

01-04-2011, 06:10 PM
I just read this very long thread with a slightly weird title, and enjoyed it, laughing all the way. Coffee, and cigarettes, and lions and tigers and cats, fishermen and probably some stuff I missed, and the outline of a novel to boot. :-)

01-04-2011, 07:24 PM
A brilliant end, and for the readers a fab beginning. Love, love, love the sabertooth in the cigarette smoke!

01-04-2011, 09:10 PM
Splendid cover. Really like the cat coming out of the smoke. Clever, clever.

01-04-2011, 09:13 PM
Purr thank you! I did this for the Art House Sketchbook Project, (http://www.arthousecoop.com/sketchbookproject) entered it for $25 and they sent me an official black-cover Moleskine Cahier to work in. I actually did both sides of each page, something I wasn't sure if I'd do. It will go on exhibit with all the rest of the participants' journals and tour the country, then get housed in a museum. I'm also going to upload my images online or spend the $40 to get them doing it so that it's done better - might want to do that just to save myself the trouble. Next year I'll click that option when signing up so that it doesn't cost me $20 extra.

But this time I know that some of my current work will actually wind up in an Art Museum, that's pretty cool in itself!