Last year, I decided I was done with writing. I was tired of always talking about writing a book, and then never following through. So, I decided to just give up. It was right about that time that I came across Karen Abend’s Sketchbook Revival. There are not words to express what an impact taking part in Sketchbook Revival had on my life. Since participating, I have created something every day for a year. In fact, taking part in Sketchbook Revival is what eventually brought me back to my writing. If you’re interested in participating, the 2019 session has just started, and it is free! You can sign up here. If you’re worried that you are not artistic enough, just know that I could not even draw when I participated, and somehow, the exercises awakened a creative part of myself that I didn’t know even existed. So, if you have ever wanted to develop a daily creative habit, I highly recommend participating. I am eternally grateful to Karen Abend for creating such a wonderful, safe environment to allow everyone to spread their creative wings.
The first sketchbook page below is continuous line portrait drawings from Koosje Koene‘s session Portrait Party. One thing that I love about the Sketchbook Revival sessions is that they are so much fun. This was no exception.
The second page (second/third photos) are sidewalk crack animals. Yep! That’s right. In Carla Sonheim‘s session we made animals out of sidewalk cracks. So. Much. Fun! I imagine my son and I will have a lot of fun doing this creative exercise over the summer.
The third page is filled with magical mindfulness houses from Tamara Laporte‘s session which really did help me relieve some overwhelming stress I was experiencing this morning.
I’m hoping to keep up with all the sessions this year, and to share my progress here.
For Day 19/40 of #DailyArtDevotions with Elizabeth Foley, I engaged my inner creative child for this fun Picasso inspired piece. I did a pencil sketch first, then used black artist’s pen and Tombow markers. It was a lot of fun sketching this and coloring it in because I didn’t have to worry about getting anything “right.”
For today’s creative practice, I decided to do some experiments. I wanted to recreate the dual brush markers over gesso background that I’ve created by accident the last two days so I could take pictures. Well, guess what? I couldn’t recreate it! I tried and tried and tried, but nope! So, I thought I would take my messy, experiment-failed background and play around with it. I used a pencil to sketch first, then wet a black, Stabilo All pencil to trace over the sketch. It was a complete mess, but I just kept going. I tried adding colors to the eyes and mouth, but those didn’t work out so well either. So, I kept playing around. I got a paint brush and pulled most of the color from the eyes, and the effect ended up being really cool. I pulled the red color up from the mouth, and it didn’t turn out so well, so I added black all over it, then pulled it up, added more red, but it still didn’t look right. I kept going back and forth adding black, then color, then black….and well, black with a hint of color it is 🙂
I look at her now, and I think, so freakin cool! Not too bad for a failed experiment ❤
For today’s creative practice, I decided to do more #SketchbookPlay and test out a technique I discovered while playing yesterday: dual brush markers spread out with a wet paint brush over gesso. It was AMAZING! I love the soft, glowing look it creates. I loved it so much that I kept on going. I added stenciling with distress and archival inks. Then I added butterfly stamps using more distress and archival inks. Then I added Bombay ink sprayed from a spritz bottle, and more water with a paint brush. I love the result…AND it’s been a lot of fun taking a break from my art classes just to play.
I was a little unsure of what to do for today’s creative practice. I toyed around with a few ideas, but nothing really spoke to me. So, I just started to play in my sketchbook. I started with watercolors, then moved to gelatos with stencils, and then added some clear gesso. I decided then to create a face sketch on tracing paper and add it on top of the clear gesso with graphite transfer paper. I then added hair with MozArt dual brush markers, and then added acrylic paint bubbles. Fun, fun, fun!
Something I learned today is that I love how the dual brush markers come out when applied over clear gesso and washed over with a wet paintbrush. You can see the difference in this piece. The dual brush markers over clear gesso can be seen where her hair is below and on her face. The dual brush markers straight on the paper can be seen where her hair extends out above her head. I enjoyed playing and learning with these mediums.
For today’s sketchbook practice, I did another two-page journal spread using a page from Start Where You Are by Meera Lee Patel. Using the torn out page, “Courage, dear heart,” I played with some new stamps and stencils I got in the mail today. Some worked out really well, and others did not, but it was fun playing with them all.
A few days back, I watched Lou Reed’s free #WomanUnleashed #ManifestingIntuitively session. I really connected with her session, and especially her #FlowerofLife exercise. Her free gift from the session was her year-long Art of Manifesting Quest, so I signed up.
This week I started the Quest, and the art prompt was to create a safe container for the work I would be doing. So, for my sketchbook practice today, I chose to create my own journal, mixing various types of sketch paper with watercolor and Bristol paper. I then stitched it together with waxed thread. I then followed the assignment by selecting images and words that spoke to me and gluing them onto the front and back covers I had created. After completing the covers, I spent some time with the images and words I had put together to find any hidden messages. It was such an insightful exercise that brought so many connections that I never would have seen otherwise. So much fun!
I decided to go back to character sketches for today’s sketchbook practice. This is a representation of “joy” from Nina Rycroft’s Emoji Me Skillshare class. I used Raffine Aquarelle watercolor pencils for the color.
It felt good to get back to character sketches because I really connect with my intuition when I’m drawing characters. There is this little voice or pull (it’s hard to put it into words) that will say, “There needs to be a different chin there,” or “The jaw should be rounded here and here.” The best I can describe it is like being able to see in my mind’s eye a characteristic before it exists on the page. I could have a square jaw already drawn, but the sketch will keep calling for a round jaw until I change it. This fascinates me, but also causes some irritation because what I set out to draw is never what comes out on the page. Oh well 🙂
I found myself wanting to get all serious with my sketchbook practice today. I wanted to return to the seriousness of sketching characters, get back to what I started during the first half of the #FindYourFlow challenge. But…my mind wanted play. The watercolors kept calling me. I kept telling myself, “No, get back to the character sketches.” I kept procrastinating. Then some new watercolor brushes came in the mail. I got super excited. Set up my table to do watercolor, try them out. But then my serious mind said, “No, get back to the character sketches.” I put the watercolors and brushes away. Procrastinated again. Then my son’s therapist arrived for his session, and I thought, “I will just play with the new brushes while she is here.” That worked to bypass my critical mind. And…dare I say it, I had FUN creating today’s sketchbook entry. Character sketches will have to wait for another day…or more 😉
Today, I watched Karen Abend’s #FindYourFlow support video and really thought about the idea of fun. My logical mind wanted to continue with the character sketches, but my heart wanted something different, something fun to signify the change of scenery. After finishing the video, I sat for a little while and let my imagination take over. I realized that I was really limited in what supplies I could use. I only brought watercolors and pencil and pen. That led to some frustration on the perfectionist side of me. But, supplies I could use were out of my control so I had to work with what I had. Then I got scared to try something new. Maybe I should just stick with what I had been doing. What if what I came up with was a huge failure. I have such a fear of the blank page, the unknown, both in art and in writing.
Time to suck it up buttercup!
Something HAD to be created today. When I got over the initial irritation and fear, my mind started to issue challenges. Play on the page…Wouldn’t it be fun to draw the ocean? How about in one color? How about in a favorite but atypical color?
One of my favorite colors is violet. I decided to use that color in a liquid watercolor and to utilize a round brush I hadn’t used before along with my favorite dagger brush. Everything is limited here, so for a water cup, I downed the rest of my coffee and used the washed out paper coffee cup for water. I did add some white along with the violet because I followed where my intuition led me. I even listened when it told me to stop. It’s fascinating that I have a voice behind all the chaos, and through this sketchbook practice I have begun to hear it.