View Full Version : Small ProArt Sketchbook

01-09-2011, 02:41 PM
These are the mainstay of my sketching - they're hard cover but spiral bound, not very expensive at Blick with lots of plain white sketch paper pages. I don't use wet media in them because it's only 70lb paper or something like that, but they're so darn handy.

A couple of quick sketches in Derwent hard pastels on white sketchbook paper. 4" x 6" - the cabin was an explanation of light on different sides of a cabin that I wanted to post, then I filled the page sketching Ari from life.

There are a few earlier pages in this book that I'll scan later, got to go.

01-09-2011, 05:15 PM
Where is the explanation?

Love the one ear up on Ari. You know he's listening.

01-09-2011, 06:22 PM
Yep, he was. Of course he moved halfway through my sketching him but not too far and I had the pose in first.

The explanation was in another thread. I commented on someone's painting who asked for critique, she'd done a cabin in perspective and complained the perspective was way off when that wasn't the main problem - the problem was that not shading the shadow side had made it look flat. So I exaggerated it so that she could see the difference the shading made, and put in the cast shadow afterward in that post because I'd forgotten to when I first did the sketch. Added it in before scanning the page.

Once you choose the side of the building the sun's on, that wall will be lighter than the other one. Both of them can benefit from gradating the value so that the greatest contrast is at the corner of the building. If you already established light direction in foliage of trees or another object, stay consistent with what you had of course.

01-09-2011, 10:30 PM
Thanks. That was a very helpful explanation. :)

01-09-2011, 10:32 PM
Glad I could help! Here's another pastels sketch in this one - I'm still on that pastels craze, love how the Derwents handle on unsanded paper.

A Red Horse (With a White Face)
4" x 6"
Derwent hard pastels on white sketchbook paper.
Photo reference by Jim56

This is for the Southwestern & Western January Challenge, which is all equine photos. Most of them have saddles or harnesses on, I'm more interested in sketching horses than their complicated tack though.

01-09-2011, 10:58 PM
love the little cabin, looks cozy . . . great form and musculature on that horse. I had a proart last month and used water in it. . . it cockled a little but held up well!!

01-09-2011, 11:39 PM
Nice horse, Robert. Always fun to see you start a new sketchbook. I know it will be full of interesting drawings and explanations! I also like the inexpensive and smallish handy size books. They never intimidate me out of making my mark!

01-10-2011, 11:46 AM
Cool book Rob, what are you doing to fix these pieces or are you only sketching on one side of the page. As soon as I clear off the debris from the last two days of fun, I think I'll drag out some of my hard pastels too. Seems like a fun sketching tool.

01-10-2011, 03:22 PM
Thank you! Rainy, I've used water in one before and if I don't use too much or give great large washes it's all right. What worked well was a sumi-e type of watercoloring where most of the page is negative space. But I've got multi-media books for that now.

Candace, the small ones like 4" x 6" seem to fill up so much faster. I love that about them.

Margo, I spray them with SpectraFix fixative, which takes a little patience as I have to hold the page flat while it's drying and use several layers or it cockles horribly. It flattens out again though. I'm doing the pastel sketches on one side only but using both sides if I sketch in pen or pencil.

I'll probably do something more in this book today, went for a different book this morning.

This page is in the hardbound Basic sketchbook that I haven't made a thread for. It's also in reach.

Scavenger Hunt #207, #1, 2, 3
8.5" x 11"
Cretacolor hard pastels on white sketchbook paper.
#1. Ari keeps me warm
#2. Plastic dinosaur reminds me of childhood
#3. Toes - Ari's fluffy toes. Who else would I draw?

01-10-2011, 05:23 PM
I really love the colors you used in the little dino for the body and the shadow. You are really good with color! And that is a beautiful drawing of Ari, esp. love those vibrant blue eyes and aren't animals just the best warmers ever :)

01-10-2011, 08:37 PM
Wonderful horse.

Gorgeous Ara sketch, as always. The dino is darling. Toys are great to draw.

01-11-2011, 01:48 AM
Robert, I can't imagine how many finished sketchbooks you must have lined up or stacked up somewhere. You are so prolific! These are more great sketches in yet-another new sketchbook. I love the horse, but the last one of Ari is one of my all-time favorites. You used a small number of strokes to express so much!

01-11-2011, 02:08 PM
Handy is good. There's our art-muse Ari again :) :) :)

01-11-2011, 02:34 PM
Thank you! Ari is the best lap-warmer I've ever had. He gets downright snuggly as soon as it gets cold out and seriously clingy even in the summer. Also the purring tends to warm me up too.

Today I went back to the little ProArt one again for a Pen & Ink Project sketch. Simple but I think I got the gist of it.

Orchid for Pen & Ink Project Jan 2011
4" x 6"
Rotring ArtPen on white sketchbook paper.
Photo reference by chaosia.

01-11-2011, 03:44 PM
I really do like the look of pen and ink. This are wonderful.

01-11-2011, 04:38 PM
beautiful lines on the orchid, Robert!

01-21-2011, 04:36 PM
Thanks, both of you. I've been neglecting the daily sketching for a while but I found a thread for a sketch a day challenge on the Drawing and Sketching forum. Maybe I can include daily sketching along with my pastels spree.

Past three days I didn't do anything, not pastels or sketching or whatever. Weather just got me down and I hate it when that happens. Especially if I got new art supplies and don't feel up to trying them yet.

Today though, I pushed myself to some pen sketching for that sketch a day challenge. I'm going to try to stick with this and post daily again. That's why I'm so glad this sketchbook is this small!

You know the model. He posed for the first one from life, then decided to go have his lunch so I sketched him again from photos. Used the wooden barrel roller ball pen Sandra (gakinme) gave me in an art swap, it's got a great feel in my hand since it's shaped like an old fashioned fountain pen. The bottom left one is my favorite since it reminds me of the cats in the Crow or Sandman, that style of comics art. The masked steely jawed heroic feline that knows everything that's going on and shows up to twist the plot.

01-21-2011, 04:55 PM
beautiful drawings of Ari. . . love that full face one on bottom!

01-21-2011, 06:44 PM
Purr thank you!

Here's some more sketches under the color chart for my new Mungyo Gallery Artist oil pastels. Ari is from life, the tree's from imagination and the Virginia Creeper leaf from memory. This is in that big hardbound sketchbook that I sometimes post in here with the ProArt one.


Here's the photo of the same page:

01-21-2011, 08:32 PM
Glad to see you posting sketches again. Ari is beautiful, as always. Cool, you got new pastels.

01-21-2011, 11:24 PM
beautiful tree but LOVE, LOVE that drawing of Ari!

01-22-2011, 04:53 PM
Purr thank you! At the urging of a couple of friends here, I've put that OP sketch of Ari up on Zazzle where you can get him on a mug, t-shirt or mouse pad. Somehow being able to virtually scritch Ari while mousing is too cool. If nothing else I might order that mousepad just to see the look on his face when he sees it.

Today I sketched a bigger, wilder cat. Okay, not much bigger, Skip the recuperating bobcat is 17lb and I think Ari is approaching 15lb. But Ari is not as skinny or long legged and Skip is young. This is the first study for a planned painting of Skip to donate to Big Cat Rescue, which is who's taking care of him and paid for his hip surgery and hosting him for months of recuperation and physical therapy. He might not be able to be returned to the wild, but they are giving him every chance.


01-22-2011, 06:08 PM

lovely :)

especially the top one

01-22-2011, 07:54 PM
Skip looks great. Would love to see the final painting when you get there.

01-25-2011, 01:27 PM
Purr, thank you! I've got several to post because I forgot to bring them down into this thread from Sketch-A-Day Game:

Ari in Derwent "Dark Wash" Sketching Pencil for the 23d.

Back to pen drawing with the wooden barrel roller ball pen I got from Gakinme in a swap, this is a fun pen. One sketch of Ari and two face sketches of Skip the Bobcat from a reference by Lisa Polo.

Today's sketch with the same pen is the first preliminary sketch for my cat portraits commission. Lisa Polo has four beautiful cats and I'm painting them all from her references. This sketch is to establish the crop for composition along with aspect ratio.

A 4" x 6" page is proportionally wider than 8" x 10" so I knocked an inch off the side to give it the same proportions as the final painting. Next I'll be blocking her in and decide what color of paper to use. I think she needs a mid-tone background in value since she's black and white, a very dramatic cat. Final version will be pastels or oil pastels but I might do a charcoal value sketch first.

01-25-2011, 01:32 PM
Gorgeous cat sketches, Robert!

01-26-2011, 01:31 AM
Kitties! Yay! These are all great. Like seeing your preliminary work for the cat portrait.

01-26-2011, 10:34 AM
sweet :)

01-31-2011, 02:54 PM
Thank you! Cat portrait is now in progress on my easel - please, please let the sun come out so I can work on her some more. It's so frustrating when it gets too dark in here to paint in pastels. Isabella's about half done and really needs her last two or three layers.

I completely blew the Sketch-A-Day thing. Other things happened and I lost the daily sketching habit. So here's one for today. If I don't manage anything else on this cold glum muggy pain day, at least I sketched a couple of local trees while I was watching a movie downstairs and discussing it afterward.

Tree sketches 1-31-2011, daily sketch
4" x 6"
Rollerball pen on sketchbook paper, from life.

01-31-2011, 03:43 PM
nice form on the trees, Robert. . . hope you feel better soon

01-31-2011, 04:54 PM
Good tree sketches. It's the coldest, wettest time of the year here in the US. Spring is coming. The trees you sketched, if you looked at them closely, have buds swelling on the tips of the branches. The sun will return. Hope you feel better soon and we are once more in awe of the amount of drawing and sketching you produce in a day. ;)

01-31-2011, 11:05 PM
wow they are great

02-01-2011, 12:30 AM
Great to see Ari back in numerous poses again, Robert!

02-01-2011, 05:33 PM
Thank you! Oh yes, Deb. I can see them when I look outside the window - not much but just a trace of buds showing on the pecan tree right by the window. I can't wait for it to leaf out and turn the world green!

Did a daily sketch today and started a silly challenge on Facebook. National Geographic is donating ten cents for every viewing of the trailer for "The Last Lions" on YouTube, shooting for a million views. Well, to encourage people to view it more than once, I invited my artist friends to watch the trailer, then try to draw either the cubs or the lioness without pausing it. Or the male lions too I guess, your choice of animals. You can run it as many times as you want though, that's the thing - if you take longer sketching, then you donate more to help the lions in Botswana.


Don't expect them to be good drawings doing gestures from a moving video, it's enough to try to get the feel of the subject and get the practice.

Ballpoint on paper, 4" x 6".

02-01-2011, 05:45 PM
Great idea for a great cause. Like the sketches.

02-02-2011, 04:19 PM
Romantic Rose
4" x 6"
Ballpoint on paper, photo reference by Faafil.

Thanks, Debby! Try it, go find the video on YouTube and watch it, then try to sketch one of the cats. It's fun!

Today I did the February Journal Challenge, it just seemed the moment to do it. Enjoy the rose! All you beautiful creative single ladies out there, it is for you. All you beauties already taken, it's the thought of what might have been. If you don't think you're beautiful, I know you're wrong. To those who love you, you outshine anyone alive.

02-02-2011, 08:18 PM
Robert, thanks for the lovely words and rose! Interesting to see it in ballpoint, the soft rose and the bold marks, but it sure works. If you look closely at rose petals they do have a veined texture that usually isn't portrayed in art. Good work!

02-02-2011, 08:27 PM
A beautiful rose. Thanks for joining the challenge.

If you'd like to do chocolates too, I've added a few pictures to the challenge thread. :D

02-04-2011, 08:10 PM
Thank you, Candace! I had a great reference with the veins very defined on it, so I had to include those. One of those interesting textures I love in flowers.

LOL Debby, thanks for the thought. I'll check out the references and if I'm moved to do the other side of the challenge, sketch them.

Today's great art is a planning sketch for a pastel painting for the Pastel Spotlight challenge. I did this mostly to consider a composition idea. Polychromos on paper.


02-04-2011, 09:16 PM
From your notes and Johannes' classes I'm going to make a small critique. You've got a worm in the turquoise mountains(?) shape. I do like the family of colors you are using here. And the lead in looks great.

02-04-2011, 11:36 PM
I like this composition Robert. Even the wormy part :lol: I'm usually too impatient to plan with a thumbnail or study like this- but I should do them. I'm sure I would make better art with these methods!

02-05-2011, 12:45 AM
Been away Robert and missed commenting on this one.

Love the "Bedhead is a whole body thing" concept :lol:

Joan T
02-05-2011, 10:56 AM
Robert - As always I'm enjoying your sketches and commentary! The rose is amazing! I've fallen so far behind in reading the journals...I guess I've thrown my hat into too many places lately. lol Keep up the good work!

02-06-2011, 01:19 PM
Debby, thank you! I'll be sure to give that final line of trees a more melodic line - you're right, it's wormy! Mistakes in thumbnails are meant to be found! That's how I'll come out with a better sketch on the sandy paper for the real painting!

Today's sketch is a value thumbnail for my cat commission #2: Maceo. He is a sweet boy. The photo has a wonderful mouth expression like he's about to say something - just a hint of teeth shows, not fangs but incisors. He looks so serious and so lovable at the same time. King of the Cat Tree!

Cat Commission #2: Maceo
Value Sketch
4" x 5" approx.
Faber Castell Polychromos hard pastels on paper.
Photo reference by Lisa Polo.

02-06-2011, 05:37 PM
Robert I like the Maceo sketch. Nice composition line from ear tip thru eyes and paw. Very appealing... what is he thinking???:cat:

02-06-2011, 07:14 PM
Sweet kitty face. Cat's do talk. My sister had one when we were teens that could say "Let me-owut!" when stuck on one side or the other of a closed door.

02-06-2011, 08:12 PM
Robert my friend, I thought I had subscribed to this thread and hadn't! Great sketches, and thank you for the rose, and such literary styling to the sentiment! I liked the daily sketches as well. The past 2 days are the first time since October I didn't sketch!?! I know how you feel. It wasn't there for me at all. At first it kind of depressed me and then I said oh take a small break the sky won't fall in on you. I think it did me some good to just read and day dream, it's easy to forget that day dreaming is a very valuable tool for artists.

02-06-2011, 08:55 PM
Thank you all! Marge, you're right. Some days are like that. Ruminating and resting to recharge are part of art too.

I am thoroughly enjoying these cat drawings. It's so much fun. Each one of them is so different - fur texture, personality, features, all so beautiful in so many ways.

02-06-2011, 09:21 PM
I'm glad you are having fun with the cats, and so cool you have a large cat commission, you are definitely THE MAN for that!!! Seems it is inspiring you which is good in this the yuckiest part of the winter, we could all use a dose of inspiration right now methinks!

02-07-2011, 04:38 PM
It's inspiring me so much! I'm looking forward to doing landscapes in the spring and summer when it's green around here and warm enough for me to go out. Winter's a good time for still lifes and cats! Locally most of the time there's no snow, just lots of dead brown grass and bare trees with the occasional evergreen.

But once in a while something cool comes up outside.

Four Woodpecker Gestures
4" x 6"
Cretacolor pastel pencils on paper. I lucked, an actual woodpecker landed on the tree outside my window and spent several minutes wandering up and down in plain sight pecking at the bark. Very fast life sketches.

02-07-2011, 08:16 PM
Very cool. Hard to catch birds from life.

02-07-2011, 09:26 PM
great woodpeckers from life. . . l

02-07-2011, 11:17 PM
Great gesture sketches Robert! Don't you just love woodpeckers, I watch them in the trees around my deck regularly!

02-08-2011, 06:57 AM
lovely quick sketches, it's great when you can catch these lucky moments

02-12-2011, 11:32 AM
Thank you! It's lucky when I can catch them on the Africam live streaming video too. Usually if I click on it, there's nothing at the water hole. Instead I'm just relaxing to the sound of African bird calls and frogs, which can be its own cool background sound for painting.

Last night around midnight I noticed a Facebook post that Africam had animals, water buffalo. So I clicked on it, expecting them to have wandered off since it was twenty minutes old when I saw it. They were still there, two big water buffalo. I took some screen captures and sketched them.

Africam "life" sketches from video stream
4" x 6" Pigma Micron pen on paper.

02-12-2011, 11:35 AM
Too cool Robert.

02-12-2011, 12:45 PM
great idea :)

02-12-2011, 04:14 PM
Lovely sketches. Particulary the oil pastels of the tree and Ari on the previous page :)

02-12-2011, 06:36 PM
Hey, Robert! It's been too long since I popped in here to check up on this book. Unsurprisingly, there's yet more great stuff here. :) Nice work on the woodpeckers, and the water buffalo as well. (And the cats, of course, but that goes without saying! :lol: )

02-12-2011, 09:08 PM
Great water buffalo sketches. I forget about those live cams. Thanks for the reminder.

02-13-2011, 11:46 AM
Thank you! Today's challenge is similar.

There's a movie trailer for a new National Geographic film that'll pay 10 cents to lion conservation every time you watch. I'm sharing it on Facebook with a challenge - draw one of the animals in the trailer without pausing it. Watch as many times as you need to in order to finish your drawing. It's on my profile page if you want to try it yourself.

My male lion paid 80 cents toward his conservation. I also caught myself on him - his ears are from memory, they didn't show in his clip. He was on screen maybe two seconds.


Joan T
02-13-2011, 01:28 PM
Great job sketching the animals on video. Fun idea!

02-13-2011, 08:36 PM
He's very majestic. Great job.

02-15-2011, 06:12 PM
Thank you!

Today I went out to meet Mary Beth, a local oil painter who's one of my daughter's horse shoeing clients. She'd seen my art online and wanted to meet me. We hit it off so fast - she has wonderful animals and paints her horses so well. Gigantic oil paintings of horses, three big realism canvases and a gorgeous mural interpretation of the Lascaux Cave horse paintings on one wall of her den.

She also has a lot of animals - horses, cattle, a parrot, dogs ranging from big German Shepherds and a coon hound down to a tiny Chihuahua mix that looks like a micro-mini version of those guard dogs with the orange eyebrows... and three very friendly cats. Her small gray fluffy Persian mix cat purred her way into my lap and stayed there almost the entire time I visited. They are such sweet cats. Even the dogs were so friendly and affectionate, the teeny Rottweiler looking Chihuahua mix was both polite and friendly, bumping my hand like a cat to take his turn at getting scritched.

She's a great person, just as lovable as all her friendly animals. Her horse was friendly to me too. Phantom, the Arabian gelding that turned up in my sketch was very calm and friendly letting me pet him after I sketched him.

Mary Beth's house and yard have that elegance that artists' homes do. Her front porch has four paintable views at least just from sitting by the door. I was drawn to this view by the lead-in zigzag path of the deck and the round paving stones going into the arch.

Just as I'd sketched all that in and wondered what I'd put in the arch, Kitten rode up on Phantom and stood there a good five minutes. So horse and rider became the focal point of the composition because they literally walked into the perfect spot!
Kitten riding Phantom at Mary Beth's Place
3" x 5" approx.
Pigma Micron on Pocket Moleskine Notebook (the thin paper one, not a sketch Moleskine).

Then I sketched a tree that was beyond the arch and drew some other things from that area just for fun while they walked Phantom back down to the farm. Phantom got his crooked shoe straightened and nailed back on by Kitten, that was the reason for the visit besides just hanging out with Mary Beth.
Life sketch at Mary Beth's Place
3" x 5" approx.
Pigma Micron on Pocket Moleskine Notebook.

I will be going back to visit her again often, we may even schedule regular plein air outings. She paints so well that I might even start getting good with oils!

02-15-2011, 07:06 PM
Bravo on the sketches and equally bravo for getting out and about to do them plein air. A plein air sketching buddy, sounds like just the ticket to get you out there painting! Woohoo, I am so glad.

02-15-2011, 09:19 PM
Very nice life sketches, Robert!

02-15-2011, 09:24 PM
Wonderful sketches. So cool you got out to see such an amazing place. All those critters sound like fun.

02-16-2011, 03:42 PM
Thank you! Oh yes, they are incredible. Even her horse Phantom was friendly with me. Her dogs were numerous and all well behaved. Her little grey Persian charmed me completely and I know I'll be scritching her every time I walk into Mary Beth's house. She's just so cool. I've rarely met cats so aggressively friendly with new people, she's wonderful that way.

02-16-2011, 04:06 PM
Robert - I suspect her cats immediately sense you are a major cat person. This happens with me and dogs all the time. (Probably because the dogs can smell my dogs on my clothes!) :)

02-17-2011, 01:08 PM
John, you're probably right. She caught a whiff of Ari on me and knew that I spend most of my time with a long haired cat on my lap. Then there was the type of eye contact I made with her, the smile, my expression and body language, okay, on first meeting I reached out to let her sniff my hand or walk into a scritch. She head bumped. We got along great.

She did know that I was much more interested in her than the dogs, but that tiny Rottweiler/Chihuahua mutt actively competed and got some serious petting too. I couldn't believe it - that looked like one of those dreaded orange eyebrow junkyard dogs that you stay out of the way of, preferably on the other side of a fence - but the size of a chihuahua - with the mellow politeness of a much larger friendly yet well trained dog. That little guy was cool. I think the cats taught him how to behave.

I need to sketch Mary Beth's cool animals when I'm over there again just as much as her beautiful yard. And get some photos of the ones I like best. It was brainless of me not to bring my phone for photos.

Here's a thumbnail sketch I did today to prepare for an oil stick painting. I did the painting for the Feb. Oil Pastel Challenge, one I really wanted to get in before the month was over. It came out a lot more like an oil painting than I expected. R&F Pigment Sticks actually are oil paint in stick form, more than any others I've tried.

Charcoal on 4" x 6" sketchbook page.

02-17-2011, 03:10 PM
it sounds as if you have to visit again to sketch all those characters :)

02-17-2011, 08:37 PM
Sounds like you have the same problem I do. I get somewhere or am on the way and I see something. I don't have time for a sketch and oops, I don't have my camera with me. :o

The thumbnail looks well balanced for darks and lights.

Joan T
02-18-2011, 11:35 AM
Sounds like you found the perfect person to go visit in the future...imagine the sketching potential there!!! Love the sketches you did. It must have felt great to be outdoors sketching.

02-19-2011, 11:01 AM
It was wonderful sketching from her porch. We're planning to go over there again some time and to set a day for me to go over and paint with her. Mary Beth doesn't manage to make time for her painting as often as she wants, so my visits are a reason for her to haul out her stuff for some plein air too. This is going to be so much fun!

Today I sketched Skip the Bobcat from one of the Big Cat Rescue photos. Another preliminary for when I do the good painting that I'll auction to benefit BCR.

Skip the Bobcat
4" x 6"
Pastel pencil on paper. Photo reference by Big Cat Rescue (where Skip is recovering from hip surgery.)

02-19-2011, 03:05 PM
A good likeness of a beautiful cat.

02-19-2011, 03:26 PM
Great bobcat, Robert! I've been fortunate enough to see a couple of these in the wild while doing bird surveys in the city's watershed which is not too far from our house. The watershed is off-limits to the general public and so the wildlife is both more plentiful and also less people-shy than elsewhere.

02-19-2011, 06:04 PM
Thank you both! John, you're so lucky to get to see bobcats in the wild in such an undisturbed area. I'm sure your birds aren't as happy about them but the ecosystem needs its top predators.

Today right after class which focused a lot on abstract shapes, I glanced over at Ari while he lay sleeping next to my pastels box. He made a good abstract shape so I did a contour drawing of him.

Sleeping Cat as an Abstract Shape
4" x 6"
Pigma Micron pen on paper.

02-19-2011, 08:40 PM
The bobcat is very cool. Sleeping Ari as an abstract shape is interesting.

02-20-2011, 12:34 PM
Johannes would be proud of you, Robert! :) My chocolate Lab could often be pictured as an abstract shape...but mainly because he's a bit, uhhh, portly...!

02-20-2011, 08:11 PM
even as an abstract shape, he's cute. :)

02-26-2011, 05:51 PM
Purr thank you! John, yes, that's exactly why I saw Ari as an abstract shape. LOL your chocolate Lab as a portly abstract! Aww yes, Rainy, he is a very cute abstract shape. Purr thanks Debby!

03-03-2011, 10:55 AM
Yesterday I watched the new Maggie Price pastels video and sketched along with her block-in sketch.

Then today did a notan for my third cat commission:
Notan for Pointdexter, #3 in Cat Commissions series.

03-03-2011, 01:00 PM
Oh, cute curled up kitty! A mostly white one this time! YAY. . . I love white kitties (as you may remember, my Nolan was a solid white).

03-03-2011, 05:41 PM
More notes is good. Cute curled up kitty.