Free Sketching

“You can’t do sketches enough. Sketch everything and keep your curiosity fresh.”
-John Singer Sargent

Experiencing a dry spell of creativity or trying to work out an idea? If you are a writer, you may be familiar with a prewriting technique called free writing. For a set period of time you continuously write without regard to the topic, and it could end up being the words, “I don’t know what to write.” over and over again on the page. Think of it as exercising your brain, and you can also use this technique with sketching. 

A sketchbook becomes a booklet of possibilities that you keep by your side. Don’t be afraid to make random marks, doodles, patterns, or spread color around. Express your ideas using lines or words! Sketching is a great way to become more familiar with mediums you haven’t used before. Or doodle what you see in the world while you are on a lunch break. You don’t even have to “finish” a drawing. Paint a color and leave the page to draw something else. There is no rule that says you can’t go back to the painted page.

“Sketchbooks should be the one place without rules.”
-Marilyn Patrizio

A Page from College Sketchbook

Admittedly, I have never been an artist who regularly sketches, but it does help me work out the ideas rattling around in my head. Knowing I was going to be teaching a pottery painting class at Beavercreek’s Decoy Art Studio on Wednesday, October 28th, I broke out some paper and thought about what a 21-year-old & up group would want to paint for a “Fall To-Go Mug.” 

Fall To-Go Mug Sketches

Without worrying about making perfect drawings, I used my pen, Crayola watercolor set, Sharpies, and drawing pencil to figure out a possible design. Wanting to include at least one of the specialty glazes from the studio, I drew out a few ideas but ultimately was drawn to the complementary color (meaning any two colors that are directly opposite each other on the color wheel) combination of blue and orange. 

The final piece gives a nod to the fall theme without hitting you over the head with it. People will enjoy carrying this mug whether the season has passed or not. If you would love to learn how to create this wonderful mug on Wednesday, October 28th, 2015, please sign up for the Wednesday Workshop at Decoy Art Studio in Beavercreek, Ohio! The price is $30 per person and this includes the instruction, your mug, and use of the glazes.

You have three options to sign up:
1. Call the studio at (937) 431-4838
2. Surf their website at www.decoy-art.com
3. Visit the studio at 1561 Grange Hall Rd., Beavercreek, Ohio

Final Fall To-Go Mug

Hope to see you at the studio!

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The Progression of Maggie

Using the same type of process as I was doing for my Musician/Singer Series, I wanted to make a late birthday gift for my Bestie, Michelle, who was moving back from San Francisco. Sneakily, I looked through her Facebook and found a perfect image of her Great Dane, Maggie.

Maggie, The Goofy Great Dane

When creating your own artwork or photography, think about keeping compositions off center or not entirely symmetrical. It helps create intrigue when it isn’t stuck in the center of the paper or photo. There was a lot of personality to the picture above because of her right ear being folded in on itself and it not looking like the other ear. Once drawn out in pencil (often use Faber-Castell or Staedtler brands) on an 8″x10″ piece of watercolor paper, I did have a moment where I wondered if the ear would be too weird, but I ultimately stuck with it.

WIP Great Dane Portrait
WIP Penciled Portrait of Maggie

It took me a while to get going on the inking of the pencil drawing because (to this day) inking makes me nervous. Ha! There is this fear that one stroke is going to ruin the whole piece. Especially, since ballpoint pens do have a tendency to spit ink from time to time. I try to switch to a different pen (I have several of one kind I like) when that happens, and that tends to help the problem. Or I have a little strip of paper that I will roll the ballpoint tip on to clean it up. Once I finished the inking without any catastrophes, I felt it really brought her to life.

WIP Inked Maggie
WIP Inked Portrait of Maggie

After I doodled in the background with a finer ballpoint pen, I felt I might have taken away from the dog by doing so and decided to paint the background thick enough to dim the doodles. At first, I was thinking of painting everything in bright colors but after my dad mentioned it would be a shame to not leave the dog white I was tempted to do as he suggested. Concentrating on only painting her tongue, inner ear, slightly in the eyes, and then the background, I went to town. This town I was painting dominantly pink, and then I realized I had almost obliterated the doodle background. Whoops! I gave it a day to dry before I went back over the doodles with the thin ballpoint, and BAM it looked great!

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”
-Scott Adams

Final Painted Drawing of Maggie
Final Painted Drawing of Maggie