Monday, June 18, 2012

75 Day Sketch Challenge: Days 6-10

I'm already reaping the rewards of the 75 Day Sketch Challenge... and I'm only on Day 11! It's becoming second nature to draw directly with a pen. No more fussing around with a pencil drawing first. Now I simply observe closely and record what I see. It's saving me time and energy. And I think the sketches look livelier than when I do a preliminary drawing.

(All sketches are 5" x 7", watercolor, pen & ink.)

I'm nuts about hydrangeas and have them planted all around our house. Despite a late frost which killed off the early buds, they're beginning to bloom with those delectable blues, pinks, and purples that are so gorgeous, they almost don't look real.

You'll probably be seeing lots of sketches of Buckley during these 75 days. He's always at my side and willing to pose/snooze long enough for me to do a sketch. But his fur is so blonde that it's difficult to paint him. He ends up looking like a ghost dog if I don't give him a makeover and add some color to his fur. In this sketch, he's falling asleep on the granite hearth in the breakfast room, his favorite place to cool off on a warm summer evening.

After doing all those details on Buckley's picture, I decided to go a different route on Day 9. I've been wanting to try adding some stamping to a journal page, so I dug out some stamps that I made awhile back from Dollar Store erasers. (I just cut them into pieces with an X-acto knife, then glued them to a small block of wood.) I stamped the border on my sketchbook page, then drew the flowers with a fuchsia Sharpie pen. I added the finishing touches with watercolor. It was so freeing to keep it simple (something I struggle with most of the time.)

I wish I could do this next sketch over. I got carried away with all the detail, and it's much too fussy. But I do like the colors, and each drawing or painting is a learning experience, so it's staying in my sketchbook. I was on my way back from running an errand up the road, way out in the country, and stopped along Tenmile Creek to draw this scene. I'm so glad it's summertime, and I can enjoy moments like this.

Don't you wonder what I'll come up with next? Me, too!


  1. Your sketches are fabulous! Love that you are gaining confidence in using a pen. I think I'm more focused with a pen and more messy with a pencil. Not necessarily more talented...

  2. Oh my goodness, these are wonderful!! Can you describe what sketchbook you are using? I looked at the web-site and there are several versions. Do the wire bound books lay flatter? Thanks so much.

  3. I'm using the Alpha Series, because I wanted a hard bound sketchbook for this project. The paper does buckle a bit with all the watercolor I'm putting on it, but it flattens down pretty well when the book is closed. The heavier weight S&B sketchbooks with 140 lb. paper would be more suitable for this type of work, but they don't come in hardbound. It's a compromise, but it seems to be working out okay. The book itself lays flat after you break it in by bending the pages back. One reason I wanted the hardbound was so I could paint across the center spine and do two-page spreads, but the Alpha paper allows the inked lines to show through more than I like, so I'm not doing two-page spreads. I don't want the ghosting of the backside image to show up on the scans.

  4. More wonderful sketches! I absolutely love the day lilies. And good old Buckley - he's beautiful - and so faithful. What pen are you using? On several of your sketches it's so subtle it barely shows.

  5. Lovely! And your persistence, delightful!

  6. Cheryl,
    I'm using a Noodler's flex pen (from Goulet Pens) with Noodler's Lexington Grey ink for most of the sketches. I like the subtle look; it doesn't overwhelm the watercolor, and, I have to admit, it helps my mistakes to blend into the background a bit. Also, it dries really fast, so I don't end up smearing it.But sometimes I feel like being more bold - then I'll use Bulletproof Black ink my my flex pen, or pick up my trusty Pitt Superfine pen.

  7. Thanks for that info Leslie. I have a couple of those pens and that ink so I think I'll give it a try.


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