Sunday, January 27, 2008

Exercising Your Doodles

doodle1 Before Christmas I bought Bert Dodson's book Keys to Drawing with Imagination. The first few exercises focus on doodles, or rather doing more with doodles. These are some of my examples from the first exercise. I like this book. Even the little doodles feel inspirational. While the book feels like it would be more useful for illustrators, I'm getting a lot of out it. I doodle as much as the next person, but some of these doodles are new to me. As I read through the exercises, I can see how many of these could evolve into paintings. I'm enjoying working through this book.

doodle2You won't find much in the way of actual drawing technique. The book does have a lot of good tips scattered in it. There are instructions for building your own light box. There are also many tips for combining and transforming your doodles and sketches into new drawings. The last part of the book focuses on artists and some of the themes they've chosen for their work. I think I'm going to get a lot out of this book.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Praying Mantis and Favorite Web Sites

It's pretty dreary this time of year and I wanted to draw something living. So I went through my photos and found this picture of praying mantis on a patio torch in my backyard. We have a fairly ordinary suburban yard, but I often see a praying mantis out there in the summer. They are so fascinating to watch. I'm not sure why they like our yard, but I'm glad they do. I started drawing this in pencil and then decided it needed some color so I added some colored pencil.

I'm a little late for this, but here are some of my favorite web sites I visited in 2007. By far, the sites I visit most often are those where I'm learning something about art.

Making a Mark - I didn't discover this one until late in the year, but I never miss it now. I have learned a lot about art and other art-related websites from reading Katherine Tyrrell's blog.

Sixty Minute Artist - I've found some good information here, like how to stretch a canvas. I'm not sure that I'm ready to start stretching my own canvas, but the information is here if I need it.

Gurney Journey - This is a blog that I found and lost and found again. I enjoy reading James Gurney's articles about the process of painting and painters.

Empty Easel - Art and Painting tips, articles on artists, and tips for selling art online.

Inspire Me Thursday - Weekly inspirations and challenges. I don't participate as often as I would like but I've enjoyed it when I have.

This year I'm going to try to get around to more blogs. I don't have time to visit many but I like the interaction.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Random sketches from 2007

I don't really make resolutions for the new year, other than trying to do better. I do like to evaluate my progress over the past year though. Sometime around midyear, the rest of my life got very busy. Art and this blog kind of fell by the wayside. Things are still a little crazy. Until things settle down a bit, I thought I would show some of the messier pages from my sketchbook. When you only see the nicer pages from a sketchbook, it's easy to assume that all of the pages are like that. There is the occasional nice, neat sketch but most pages are filled with quick sketches, notes, studies, doodles, silly sketches, lists, and thoughts. These two pages are typical. Every so often I'll make a page of small squares. These are for very quick, less than a minute, sketches, doodles, and value studies. Often, I'm also drawing a subject over and over for practice, like the cat. At the bottom on the right are some quick faces I was trying to draw from the TV. Faces are not my strong point. These extremely quick sketches help me relax a bit since there's no way they can look polished. Here's another page of small sketches.

Here's a couple more pages of quick sketches of flying birds for practice.

My Moleskine watercolor sketchbook is much tidier. I just can't bring myself to make a mess in it. but it's my everyday, inexpensive, messy sketchbook that brings me the most inspiration.