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
3. Visit the studio at 1561 Grange Hall Rd., Beavercreek, Ohio

Final Fall To-Go Mug

Hope to see you at the studio!


Art Journal: Chrysanthemum Doodles

Doodling helps me decompress and I decided to do one that was simple but take a lot of time. I drew out circles and half circles to create doodled Chrysanthemum flowers. I also experimented with thickening some of the lines to draw your eye around the art journal page. The page had been painted a while ago, and I had not decided what to do with it until recently. Now it is one of my favorites!

Great lesson for artists who can get frustrated  with their work. It isn’t bad if you need to step away from it and work on something else. “Good things come to those who wait.” 😉

Doodle Curls

New Year’s Resolutions… I tend to never do them because I rarely remember or accomplish them. I would rather take things a day at a time, but this year I would like to attempt to fill my Art Journal that I have been playing around in for the past two years. I have a tendency to see a brand spanking new sketchbook and buy it, but I have never finished a sketchbook on my own except for two! One of them was filled because I used it for two college drawing classes and the other was for last years Sketchbook Project. A lot of times when I am drawing it is for someone else (gift, etc.) so that goes on loose leaf paper.

An unfilled sketchbook can be daunting to all of us, but I have been subscribing to the philosophy that says:

Do not to worry about what you put in your sketchbook.

Doodle! Paint! Get the color or lines out to exercise your hand and brain. Since I enjoy drawing hair or curls, I had a little fun with my black Sharpie on a couple of pages I had painted ahead of time.

What are some other artist’s resolutions? Or goals for this year?


Vintage Post: Creativity

Why am I calling this post Vintage? Well, my friend, since I am phasing out my long time Xanga blog, I will be bringing over some of my older posts on here so they don’t completely disappear off the face of the earth. Whether you are reading them for the first or second time, I hope you still enjoy the “Vintage Post” series.

Originally posted: Sunday, 22 February 2009

“The world is but a canvas to the imagination.” -HENRY DAVID THOREAU

I tried to draw something quick last night in pencil, but again I ended up really enjoying what I was drawing and continued to work on it through the night.

Every time I draw a character on the page, I feel it becomes too lonely looking and begin drawing more people around her. When I sit and sketch I can’t help but make a collage of images together to fill up the page. The drawing may not make sense, but I am entertained by it while I render such a piece. 
Before I stick the image I did in, I would like to quote an activity out of the book called “The New Creative Artist: A Guide to Developing your Creative Spirit” by Nita Leland.

Do a Drawing a Day

“Reinforce your drawing habit. Draw something- anything- every day. Keep a pencil and paper in the family room, in the kitchen and in the car. Draw odds and ends: a phone, soda can, bone, pencil sharpener, teakettle or geranium plant. Draw from memory and imagination: an apple orchard, the neighbor’s dog, a man-eating flower, a frog who is a prince, a Martian.

Draw with your right hand, then your left; with your eyes open or closed. Whenever you see a pencil, pick it up and draw. You learn to draw by drawing.”

How I Prepped My Sketchbook & Sample

When I first received the Moleskin Cahier sketchbook in the mail, I was a bit worried about the thinness of the paper. It would DEFINITELY show ghost images from the Sharpies I was planning on using. There were people who were rebinding their sketchbooks, but I didn’t want to mess with that when I am not confident with rebinding books.

Here is what I did to prep:
• Gessoed every single page (considerably thickened the book and warped it)
• Left it open to allow the moisture to escape. Next day pressed the shut book by placing the heaviest books I own on top of it for a couple of days. Pressing the pages helped A LOT.

Here are the cons to gessoing your pages:
• Sharpie tips? They will be nonexistent the more you use them on this now finely toothed paper.
• Pencil is not friendly with gesso. It LOVES to mix with the ink from your Sharpie and make dirty colors. (everything I was going to do a pencil sketch for, I ended up doing freehand with a Sharpie or pasted it in)
• Want to use a ballpoint pen? Well…it barely shows up & you will practically break the pen to make it darker.

Moral of the story? I will probably never gesso this type of Moleskin again for the kind of things I like to do.

I did end up pasting in several drawings using bookbinding glue (aka PVA glue). Since I wasn’t sure exactly where I was going to stick the drawing, I didn’t place much glue on the page it was going on which caused it to ripple and some of the edges didn’t want to stick down. 😛 I had to continually press the sketchbook with heavy books to help the rippling. What did help too was after I was done painting the pages, I painted Matte Gel on the edges of the pasted piece which did officially glue and seal the edges.

Now on to showing another spread from the sketchbook! Originally, I had created the drawings for this spread and thought it wasn’t going in, but the spread I had before it looked awful. I couldn’t stand it staying in the sketchbook and decided to gesso the left page and tear out the right. The left page ended up trapping some air bubbles kind of badly, but I enjoyed what it looked like in the end so I can’t complain.

Acrylic and ink WIP.

Final spread