Sunday, January 30, 2011

75 Day Sketch Challenge - Days 1 through 3

Thought I would share where I'm trying to fulfill a challenge shared with me by vickylw I discovered on Flickr some time ago.  A link to her blog is to the right of my blog page here.

Vicki found this challenge offered by Brenda Swenson at

So far I am into Day 4 with the first three days showing here.

Various pens are being used in a 3 x 5" Mead Notebook picked up at Walmart.  Not exactly what I had in mind for a dedicated journal for this challenge but I'm finding it's working out just fine.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tufted Titmouse - Pen, Ink and Wash

Another of our visitors at the bird feeder station...........the tufted titmouse.

This was done using the Tombow Dual Marker in my Daler Rowney sketchbook................some marks placed directly on the paper surface using the marker pen with the remaining done with round brush dipped in pools of watered down ink.  The marks that were directly placed on paper were washed over with a damp or wet brush to make the ink spread.

What captured my attention with this particular one was the facial expression.  With its markings, it looks like it's frowning.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Special Gift - Peach Lily and Perserverence - Pen and Wash

I was headed for bed when I suddenly felt this itch to sketch.  I had gone to the kitchen to make sure lights and coffee pot were off and this plant caught my attention sending me off to grab my journal book and marker pens.

This was just a little plant years ago that my middle son surprised me with for Mother's Day.  Number One middle son is not one for gift yes but gifts no...........normally because he's not in a position to do so with money being stretched only so far.  Anyways......that Mother's Day I was totally taken back by him getting me this plant.

For years I struggled keeping it alive.  It grew funny and the leaves were forever turning brown on me forcing me to cut them off making it look funny.  And I came close to losing it completely a couple of times.  The idea of losing this plant just tore at me inside.

Last year it started growing but sending out these funny long side shoots causing the plant to topple over.  I would have to brace it against something just for the leafy stalks to stand up.  Finally I potted it in this rectangular planter box securing the shoots or funny growing stalks in the soil with metal clips.  I also placed small rocks to anchor or help hold the stalks upright.  I think what's happened is the plant sent off new roots from those areas of contact with the soil and this is now how it's growing......spreading out.

What grabbed me's flowering for the first time.
So this is a sketch not so much for accuracy but instead a recording in my visual diary of something that means the world to me.

All Tombow markers with some direct line work on paper (using both tips) but mostly the ink scribbled on acrylic adding just enough water to make pools of ink and applying with a round brush.  Added in my Moleskine Watercolor Journal Book.

Once completed, I finally went to bed and slept like a baby.

Monday, January 24, 2011

And Yet Another Black Capped Chickadee - Pen and Wash

What can I say.......three done in one day.  Just shows how much I'm enjoying trying to capture these little guys.

Completed in the same way using the Tombow Dual Marker Pen and Round Brush using water to move the ink around giving form and dimension.  Still adding to my Daler Rowney 3x5" sketch book (cartridge paper).

Notice with this chic I didn't leave a definite white ring around the eye.  I like this better and have since gone back with the others and darkened that white all except just a hint.......looking more like this one.

Second Black Capped Chickadee - Pen and Wash

I'm hoping to do several of each of the varieties of birds that visit our feeders.  As starters I've chosen the Black Capped Chickadee and this is the second one so far.

Using Tombow Dual Marker Pen - Black only along with a round brush with water.  I've completed this in my small sketchbook with cartridge paper. 

Black Capped Chickadee - Ink and Wash

From one of many photos I take watching birds at our bird feeding station, I did this ink and wash sketch.

I love watching the Black Capped Chickadee.  They are cute and funny to watch with their acrobatic antics.

Tombow Marker Brush Markers - Black and Gray
Daler Rowney 3x5" Sketchbook (cartridge paper)

Started out with a light pencil sketch...

Using the brush tip end of the markers, used black around the darker areas and gray within the body for shading and definition within the white areas.

From this point I use a damp or wet round brush and start pulling ink causing it to bleed and spread.  On an acrylic board, I scribble black with the marker pen and create a pool of diluted ink for further shading using brush and water like one would with watercolor.

Continued by going over the darkest areas at neck and top of head in addition to the tree limb.  To finish, I waited till dry and then went back over with deeper glazes in some areas and dry brushing using the ink on the acrylic board.

Two Pages into One Equals Four - Pen and Wash

Working in a small Daler Rowney sketchbook - 3 x 5 closed, I worked a landscape sketch on the left page.  After I finished that sketch, later I did another on the page to the right.  Here is how the two pages looked minus a small part cropped off the bottom.

After completing the second sketch, I noticed with a little ink/wash work, I could tie the two pages into one scene.  Here is the results....

What's really nice is how each page can be framed as individual scenes plus the two pages together making a third composition.

Now look at the two side by side together sitting opposite from original layout in the sketchbook.  They could make for a fourth composition  if "stitched" together.

This was not planned ahead of time so for me ended as quite a nice surprise with the results.   

Used a black Tombow marker pen to initially sketch the landscapes and then washed over the ink marks with a damp or wet round brush to make the ink spread or bleed out.  Also mixed pools of ink on an acrylic surface and used a brush to apply to paper like one would watercolor.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Lazy Susans and Bee Ink and Wash

Did this sketch finishing off in ink and wash early hours this morning.  These flowers are one of my favorites and bees are my least favorite.  And they know it as it never fails they seem to migrate towards me anytime I'm outside.  Almost like they are taunting me!

Can you make out what type of paper I used?  (ha ha)

#2B pencil followed by the Tombow marker pen.  Used a small round brush and water.

Tried to place emphasis on the bottom right flower with bee by leaving more white in the petals.  I might just have to try this one in watercolor.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Surprise Gift for Boss and his Wife

I don't have a lot of experience with drawing and painting people.  Thought I would try my hand on capturing my boss and his two little twin daughters from a photo hanging in the office.  Out of all the photos I had to choose from, I went with this one so I didn't have to worry about facial features.

Although room for improvement....especially with my tonal values, I don't think I did too badly.  The setting was a bit busier with surrounding elements in the photo but I chose to keep it simple with just some light and dark shading.

Going to surprise the boss and wife with it matted - ready to be framed. 

Was done on copier paper using a mechanical 0.9 pencil, #2B and #6B pencil and paper stump for a little blending/shading.  Printed off on textured paper.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My Surroundings at Work - Ink and Wash

Earlier today at work I had a little down time and decided to do some sketching.  It was difficult being inspired due to the surroundings in an office and Industrial Park but decided to just pick something whether it intrigued me or not.  I learned that once I started, I became engrossed in trying to capture the lines and shapes making little difference if subject was really interesting or not to capture on paper.

So with Tombow marker pen and a waterbrush, I did these little sketches on regular writing paper. 

I have several sheets of writing paper with sketches like this.  I'm saving for when I have several to bind together as a notebook or journal book.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Bird House and Resident

This sketch is dedicated to Linda Bethel Wiggs.  She graciously gave me permission to use a photograph from her wildlife friends album she's posted on facebook and I chose this one due to the birdhouse. 

The angle of this hanging bird house was a definite challenge for me as I could use more practice on drawing man-made structures of any kind.  The bottom was the most challenging of all. 

Although room for improvement, I managed to come close, I think, and feel pretty good with the results....flaws and all.

Used a Staedtler Mars 2B and 6B pencil on Cartridge paper. 

This is one occasion in particular I would love to see results using Pastel Pencils.  I think color would have really done this bluebird more justice than graphite.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sketching Beneath the Feathers

When I find myself in a slump, I am forever surfing the internet for inspiration and motivation.  My favorite places are active blogs and those that inspire me the most are listed to the right. 

In addition, I love looking for tutorials on the net.  I find that if I'm in a drawing or painting slump, following a tutorial sometimes help to bring me out.  Maybe I'm not up to composing my own work (thinking up and working out the preliminary ideas) because I lack the energy to do so while at the same time wanting to do something.  When times like that hit me, I'll go looking for a tutorial where the subject matter has already been laid out and try emulating what I see.

Here is a website I recently discovered with tutorials on drawing birds.  I like how this guy (John Muir Laws) approaches and presents drawing birds.  Watching his little animated gifs, one caught my eye and it was the young bird's stage without feathers I chose to try.  On his page, it's the second image I captured in pen, ink, and wash and took scans along the way to help me remember and share with others just what I did to achieve my final results.

I've used a Tombow marker pen and small round brush with water in a Moleskine Watercolor Journal Book. 

First I did a pencil sketch of the 'naked' bird with a #2 pencil.  Taking the Tombow marker pen using the brush tip end of the pen, I outlined the pencil marks and filled in the eye and beak.  Next I used a round brush dipping in water and tapping onto a paper towel to remove excess water.  I like the ink to run but maintain control at the same time.  I ran the pointed end of the brush inside the outlined area along the ink line causing it to bleed and spread.  Along the way, I filled the body area with diluted ink that I scribbled onto a piece of plexiglass and added some water to (using like a diluted watercolor mix).  Normally I'll pre-wet the area on paper before applying the ink wash unless I want some texture or hard edges on my marks; at which time, I'll use the dry brush technique and diluted ink.

If you're new to sketching birds, do check out John Muir Laws' site and try your hand following his animated illustrations.

More Practice at Sketching Birds

Until I need a change of subject, I'll probably be sharing several more like this.  Again sketching on cartridge paper using Staedtler Mars 2B and 6B pencils.

Lately I've been sketching larger than I'm normally used to working.  I've stepped up from a 5 x 7 sketchbook to an A4 size.  This little guy takes up half the sheet. 

One last note - This is a bit bluish in tint but that comes from photographing rather than scanning my work.  To remove the blue cast, I would have lost the lighter shading around the bird.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Practicing Birds

Since I sit and devote so much time watching birds at our feeders, I decided to sketch and later paint birds for a yearly project our small forum group tries to accomplish each year.  My selected subject is birds and/or wildlife. 

This is on cartridge paper using Staedtler Mars pencils 2B and 6B with a little blending with a paper stump.

For viewing, the image is a bit darker than the actual pencil sketch plus my photography skills are not the best battling white balance issues.  One day I might just get the hang of photographing my art......correctly.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Private Group Challenge - Gargoyles in Graphite

Each month this small private group I'm a part of comes up with a challenge for each of us to complete.  For January 2011, the challenge was to sketch gargoyles.

The expression on this guys face says to me................

"And, you can't make me!!!"

Was sketched on cartridge paper using a Derwent Sketching - Dark Wash - 8B pencil and paper stump for blending.

Gargoyle rendered from photograph shared with me by Clare Manners and her daughter, Laura.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Redention of Jan and Bob's Dogwood Island Bed

A quick sketch last night using a Tombow pen marker and waterbrush.  This has a small splash of color (Burnt Sienna) on the little bird house and a section of a fence post railing.

This scene was inspired and rendered from memory of an area on my in-law's property that I love.  The entire piece of property is a gardener's and nature lover's dream. 

We just returned from a week's visit in North Carolina after their big Christmas snow storm that is truly rare for those parts.  They ended up with about 7 to 8 inches of snow that lasted for a couple days.  By yesterday their temperatures were back up around 60 degrees.  What a major change from just a weekend prior.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Ink and Wash Sketches

Here are three new sketches to start the New Year off  that I completed while visiting my husband's lovely family in North Carolina.  All were done with a Rotring ink pen and water wash in a small 4 x 6 Daler Rowney sketchbook consisting of cartridge paper.  Not sure exactly what cartridge paper is compared to what we are used to using here in the USA but I like it and seems to hold up fairly well to light washes.  I love creating these quick sketches with water soluble ink and then applying water either with paint brush or a water brush to give substance and depth to the overall scene. 

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