Pen and Ink...and maybe some paint

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Some exercises...

When in doubt, do some exercises! These little drawings are from Rendering in Pen and Ink by Arthur Guptill. I really love his book! It has a lifetime of drawing instruction in it and I'm just beginning, but I know I'm making some progress as long as I keep doing a little at a time.

My hand got a little tired. I think I did too much at once, but it was good practice.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Decisions, decisions...

I am INSPIRED by this collection of sketchbooks! I hope to one day have such a collection full of my own sketches.

One problem I'm encountering is just DECIDING what to work on first! I find I'm paralyzed into inactivity by all the possible drawing projects I would love to do. Maybe I should begin by just making a list so I know I won't forget the ideas that are flowing through my brain.

I'm currently reading a book called "Colored Pencil Drawing Technique" by Iain Hutton-Jamieson, so I don't feel like I'm completely wasting my time! It does have lots of good information on technique, but like the books on illustrating children's books that I've read lately, it was published in the mid-1980's, so some of the info on materials are probably somewhat out-of-date. Some techniques are timeless, however, so I'm learning.

I don't want to fall into the pit of JUST reading and never doing, but I have to choose small things to do since I don't have hours of free time in which to pursue my drawing. This will take discipline!

More later...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Max's supper...

My favorite thing about "Max's supper" and Maurice Sendak's drawings in general is the cross-hatching. I'm not very good at it, but it's fun to practice!

I may try this drawing at some point... :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Some little sketches...

I made up a little booklet of sketches inspired by children's books. This is my first attempt in what I hope will be a long series of art exchanges (via snail mail) with my bloggy friend Pom-Pom. (Glad you enjoyed it Pom-Pom!) :)The cover
A Bargain for Frances
Walter Farley's Black Stallion books
Charlotte's Web
Pierrot's ABC Garden
Where the Wild Things Are
Bill Peet
Richard Scarry
Winnie the Pooh

It's in the mail!

Wa-hoo! Let me know when you receive it and then I'll post the sketches here. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I got your little envelope full of delightful creativity a couple of days ago! I really loved it all, especially the story about me walking in the light. Very encouraging! I'll probably say more about it in my envelope to you. I didn't think it would take me this long to get it finished and sent, but work and a CPR class have slowed my progress. But I'm enjoying the process!

I'd better eat my lunch so I can get off to work. Thanks again for the artistic treat!

See you in the mail! :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Since my computer won't let me leave comments I thought I'd answer you here. Yes, you can see the small soon as I get them in the mail! (hee, hee!) Which may be a few days yet.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Did some reading...

Yesterday I spent a lot of time adding colored pencil and ink details to some small sketches. Today I enjoyed reading and learning from Rendering in Pen and Ink. I have to get up for work at 3 a.m. tomorrow morning, so I think I'm finished doing much today!

We went to a great church service this morning at Firestarters in Ottertail, MN and then had a good lunch with some of our kids at Thumper Pond. After we got home I took a 2 mile walk. Hopefully I will sleep well tonight!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

An oddly specific blog...interesting...

I just came across a blog called The Art of Children's Picture Books! This blogster apparently comments on the illustrations in children's books that she likes. Although I don't care for all of the art, I should find some gems while going through the older posts. This should be an interesting blog to peruse.

Draw Boldly...

Something that really struck a chord with me in Uri Shulevitz's book, Writing With Pictures was on page 187 where he talks about "drawing boldly". As he puts it, "once you take the plunge, draw resolutely." He also says, "Hesitation, like driving a car with the brakes on, stops the momentum and results in vacillating lines. If the lines in your sketch aren't right, don't erase them; draw again, without hesitation, over the previous lines."

For years I've avoided doing more than an occasional sketch. I was afraid of color and shading. I wanted so much to try it, but was afraid the results would be disappointing. Today I took my little pencil sketches, colored them with pencil (I plan to purchase some watercolor paper soon to try out my paints) and then filled in the detail with pen. It was SO MUCH FUN!!!! The results were very pleasing and better than I had hoped. Pencil sketches come to life with the addition of color and pen. Too bad I waited so long to try this, but better late than never! Move over Grandma Moses!

As an aside to Pom-Pom, my only reader at this point, forgive me if I don't reply to your wonderful comments, but this computer won't let me. I think it has something to do with enabling third-party cookies. Be assured that I do read and appreciate your encouragement. I can comment using my laptop, but I try to use it only for my schoolwork since there are so many viruses lurking around. Thanks for dropping by!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Reassuring Word from da Vinci...

While reading through Writing With Pictures by Uri Shulevitz, I read the following quote from Leonardo da Vinci:

"Consult Nature in everything and write it all down....Memory is not that huge."

Uri Shulevitz interpreted this quote to mean that we need actual models or photos of real things to aid us in drawing accurately. I LOVE this! As Shulevitz says, "You can, of course, try to draw from imagination, but this can be difficult and the results are often unconvincing. True, there are illustrators who rely totally on imagination, but they are few. When you rely on imagination alone, you soon discover its limitations." It's good to know that I'm okay when I feel the need to look at a photo in order to draw something accurately!

I highly recommend this book for those learning about illustration. It was published in 1985, so some of the material on printing books may be outdated, but there is still much good information to learn from.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Learning about my camera...

I finally figured out how to transfer the pics from my camera to my computer. Wonder if I'll remember how I did it, next time! :) Here are a few photos of my sketchbook. I did some lessons from Bruce McIntyre's Drawing Textbook a few years back. I thought it was a lot of fun. There are still more to do, so this is another avenue for drawing practice. Of course, my sketchbook also works great for pressing flowers!
These are some of the red Columbines that bloom on the edges of our woods. They have changed color somewhat as they dried. They are usually salmon colored with a yellow middle. My favorite wildflower along with the bergamot.
I save illustrations out of old magazines as models to copy. This picture is from a 1974 issue of Cricket magazine. I may remain a lifelong copier since someone else has to make all of the design decisions and I can just parrot them! So much easier than thinking for myself, lol!

These two are from Bruce McIntyre's Drawing Textbook.
Here I copied an interesting "Bilbo Hand" font from a website. Cute, huh? To the left you see an illustration by Kevin Henkes I saved for copywork.
I also sketch ideas for hooked rugs, notecards, etc.
Here is a sample of some of the drawings I saved from the Cricket magazine to use as inspiration for drawing practice.
I'm having fun! How about you?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Another great teacher...

Long ago I purchased a copy of Rendering in Pen and Ink by Arthur Guptill. I think this is one of the finest books around for learning the art of pen and ink. He passed away in 1956; the same year I was born, so some of his instruction is a little dated as when he refers to inkpots and blotters. The exercises he includes, however, are timeless, and I will use this as the basis of my practice for a long time to come (speaking that by faith). Anyone wanting to learn pen and ink techniques should find a copy of this book to guide you! I see it's also available as a downloadable ebook!
And now I will disappear for a while to actually practice!

Friday, June 10, 2011

A first attempt...

Although I've got a sketchbook with drawings in it (which I will someday scan into this computer), my first official attempt to make a sketch to mail to my friend (mentioned in my last post) was rather anticlimactic. I've pretty much decided that flowers are one of the most difficult subjects to capture. They are incredibly complex when you really look at them and I find them slightly overwhelming to draw. I made a sketch of a Columbine (the red variety that grows in northern Minnesota) and finished it with colored pencil. Pencil is not my favorite medium. I don't like the way the lead disappears so quickly and lines change in width. Sharpening a pencil every few minutes isn't my idea of fun. I've loved pen and ink for quite some time and love the textures achievable by the use of cross-hatching, stippling, etc. I think my next attempt will be a pen and ink drawing.

I have many favorite pen and ink artists, among them Maurice Sendak, Ernest Shephard, Beatrix Potter, Gillian Tyler and Uri Shulevitz. I will include some of their art in this post to inspire myself! :)

I love the details in this Gillian Tyler painting!
Isn't this a great little illustration by Ernest Shepard? I'm a fan of The Wind in the Willows in large part because of his illustrations.
Classic Sendak. Love that crosshatching!
I love Shulevitz's use of watercolor to complement his pen and ink. His drawings have a dream-like quality.
For an Anglophile like myself, Beatrix Potter's paintings are a delight. I really enjoy looking for all the little details of English life in her art.
I think I AM getting inspired! :D

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Beginning to dream...

For years I've put my dream of illustrating on the back burner. Now I'd like to at least take some baby steps and begin DOING SOMETHING, even if it's something small!

I'm taking some good advice from Alicia Padron, a talented illustrator of children's books. Alicia suggested that I read good books, visit illustrator's websites and take classes if possible. The books she considers a must read for prospective artists are Illustrating Children's Books: Creating Pictures for Publication by Martin Salisbury and Writing With Pictures by Uri Shulevitz

Alicia mentioned that many illustrators post process videos on their websites to show you how to create art. She has a great video on watercolor painting that taught me a lot already! Just click on the link to watch it.

Another friend suggested sharing artwork via snail mail. I thought this was an amazing idea! We're resurrecting the old-time tradition of using the U.S. Mail! The idea is to mail small drawings or paintings to each other, thereby inspiring us to create art on an ongoing basis. I now have a reason for creating something. It's sort of like a deadline, but a very flexible one. If I didn't have this kind of incentive it would be easy to put off actually creating indefinitely.

This blog is also an incentive to create drawings/paintings. I hope to eventually display some of my art here just for fun. So, here's to beginning!