More Sketchy Sktchy Portraits

Nyla Rose, Watercolor

Nyla Rose, Watercolor

Sketching from Sktchy App photos (I explained it here) is a great warmup exercise and opportunity to practice drawing a wide variety of faces and expressions. Each week they offer a Weekend Art Exploration (#WAX) challenge and 3 of the drawings marked in the collage below were for WAX. All are in a 12×9″ sketchbook.

PicMonkey_Collage_20160312

Collage of sketches and inspiration photos from Sktchy. (Click on image two times to enlarge.)

The challenge marked in the top row was to draw on text; mine is on a page of “Secrets of the Flesh: The Life of Collette.” The challenge in row two was to show your tools used to create the art so I put my colored pencils in front of “Crazy Eyes,” as she titled her photo. The bottom row challenge was to use the magic of art to transform a photo into something else (I combined Tweety Bird with the girl making a bird face). The last sketch above is from a photo I uploaded for others to draw. I did a better job on Millie than me.

Below are larger versions of a few from this batch (click to see larger):

This weekend the challenge is to draw from the same photo twice, once with each hand. Wish me luck! I don’t think my left hand knows how to do anything except type.

Cathy Sketching at Le Bateau Ivre, Sepia pen and watercolor, 8x5

The Drunken Boat, Burlesque Convention, International Sketchcrawl Reminder

Cathy Sketching at Le Bateau Ivre, Sepia pen and watercolor, 8x5

Cathy Sketching at Bateau Ivre, Sepia pen and watercolor, 8x5"

We had a wonderful Tuesday evening sketching and dining at Le Bateau Ivre (The Drunken Boat) in Berkeley. The ambiance and food are fantastic. We sat in the dining room with lovely brick walls and a fireplace. When we sketched there last year we sat in the café area which is equally charming.

International Sketchcrawl 35 is Saturday, April 21!

Here is a link to the Sketchcrawl website where you can find out if there is a group sketching near you (or start a location yourself).

San Francisco looks to be a particularly juicy sketchcrawl, starting in North Beach and ending at a free Burlesque Queens sketching marathon at a hotel at Fisherman’s Wharf, hosted by Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School. The  burlesque performers are in town for the Tease-O-Rama, a “showcase and convention dedicated to the thriving neo-burlesque revival.”

Unfinished sketch of stuff on table with bits of business card

Unfinished sketch of random stuff on table with bits of business card

Monkey Business: New Journal Bound

Monkey Business Journal, covered in flannel, 8x6"

Monkey Business Journal, covered in flannel, 8x6"

When I was a kid I had a sock puppet that looked like this so when I saw this fabric at the store I couldn’t resist. I used a piece of it to cover a cushion on a stool about 5 years ago and then put the rest on the shelf. I needed to bind a new journal right away and was too lazy to go shopping for book cloth or to make my own. Hence off the shelf and onto the book!

Monkey Business Journal inside

Monkey Business Journal inside

For the end papers I used some lovely warm grey paper a friend left at my house from a family history book-making project I was helping her with. This was the first time I could use my case-bound journal making instructions all the way through without needing to revise them and it went really quickly.

Monkey business journal

Monkey business journal

I’ve actually been using this journal already for a couple of weeks and writing this post prompted me to name the journal which I hadn’t yet done. Calling it “Monkey Business” will help me to lighten up as I use it, to get more playful and fool around and let go of “right” and “good” which always trip me up when I get in that judgmental place when I’m drawing, instead of just enjoying the act of looking and sketching what I see.

And since it’s red flannel it’s warm and cozy–perfect for fall sketching.

How to Turn Potato Chips Into a Sketchbook

Foil bag of potato chips, ink & watercolor, 5x7"

Foil bag of potato chips reflecting on red cloth, ink & watercolor, 5x7"

When my friend Mindy sent me a fun little gift box of potato chips (which were invented in her town, Saratoga Springs, in 1853–read funny history here), I was smitten by the cute box (photo below). Then I opened the box, saw the foil inner pouch and had to try to draw it (sketch above, on a red cloth).

Box of Saratoga Springs Chips

Box of Saratoga Springs Chips

The box was charming, a replica of their original packaging from 1853. I remembered seeing  journals created from packaging on the fabulous Make a Book a Day blog where Donna Meyer binds and posts a new book almost every day. In August she did a whole series of recycled packaging books, from KitKats and Snowballs to root beer books.

Saratoga Chips Journal front cover

Saratoga Chips Journal front cover

So I grabbed a sheet of Stonehenge Kraft-brown paper and the excellent Gwen Diehn book Real Life Journals: Designing & Using Handmade Books to find out how to make a pamphlet book and got started. Read More

The End of Harlequin

Harlequin cover, Sketchbook 2011 A

Harlequin cover, Sketchbook 2011 A

When I finished the journal above I decorated the cover and sketched a self-portrait as I do for the last page of each sketchbook. This journal is called Harlequin (theoretically because of the multi-colored cover–the back is turquoise, the front is lavender with black spine covering). I know the word “harlequin” has nothing to do with patching together leftover bits of bookcloth to make a cover, but I let my sketchbooks name themselves and this one wanted to be called Harlequin.

I used (expensive, oil-based) Sharpie Paint markers for the color on the cover but they didn’t show up at all on the black and required several layers on the lavender. Despite the art store clerk’s recommendation, Sharpie Paint markers are not meant to be used on fabric. Annoyed with the markers, I switched to a gold gel pen for the words and lines.

End of sketchbook self portraits, ink & watercolor

End of sketchbook self portraits, ink & watercolor

These are the two journal-ending self-portraits sketched on the last spread of the book above. I don’t know why I refuse to try for accuracy when I sketch self-portraits. I just draw and see what happens instead. The first one (on the left) feels like me, even though the proportions are wrong. The one on the right is wrong in so many ways I might as well have been drawing a completely different person.

Newly bound journal

Newly bound journal

I’d planned to experiment with dying my own bookcloth for the new journal like Shirley does, but when I went to the store to get the Wonder-Under (iron-on stuff to fuse fabric to paper backing) I fell for this linen fabric and used it instead. My adventure on the previous journal was figuring out how to patch the bookcloth together. This one was figuring out how to fuse the fabric to the Thai Mulberry paper per Shirley’s instructions (the hardest part was figuring out how to peel the almost invisible paper backing off the Wonder-Under). Maybe next time I’ll dye fabric.

I’ve also updated my file How to Bind a Watercolor Journal (as I do each time I bind a journal and learn more) and it’s available to download on the Comments & Resources page of my website, JanaBouc.com.

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