To join me on a virtual sketching trip, download a travel sketch-journal here.
I add tutorials to them so you can learn the techniques and details you see in the sketchbooks.

My former workshop students asked me to upload my workshop workbooks to make them available to everyone. So you can also download a workbook and give yourself a workshop! Enjoy!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Peek Into a Travel Journal

I went to Whaleshead Beach last April (2009) with a sketching buddy, for the express purpose of sketching and journaling. Not many people are able to concentrate totally and ONLY on sketching and journaling during a trip, myself included.

Usually we artists have to balance artistic endeavors with hasty travel, socializing with friends and relatives with whom we are visiting, and/or attending to the business that made us take the trip in the first place.

And unless you go with a sketching buddy, your companions are all too likely to get bored and pester you (you can't really blame them!).

The Oregon beaches are about 150 miles and four hours away from my home, so it makes sense to leave on a Friday and return on a Monday. That allows the whole weekend for playing (plus the first evening's sunset and the last morning's quick trot along the beach).

On this journey, the weather was April-spritzy, with occasional brief rain, afternoon breezes, and sufficient (mostly misty) sunshine.

We stayed in a lovely little cabin at Whaleshead Resort, and spent the entire time roaming the beaches, collecting goodies to keep us busy drawing, pleine air and studio sketching and painting (sometimes it was too rainy or windy to sketch on the beach so we painted and journaled about our adventures in the evenings).

Below are my journal pages for that trip. There are captions under each page.

(click on any image to see a close-up

This is the cover, a collage of map and postcard, with copies of artwork (scanned in, printed, and cut out) pasted on later.

Maps can add a lot of fun (and clarity) to a journal. And don't get stuck on perfection ~ quick sketches, even cartoony ones, can add a lot of character.

Keep an eye out for ephemera to glue or tape in ~ mementos and things like tide tables (above) add to the story.

A little haiku can give interest to a page. And don't feel that you have to color everything once you start. Fade it off to black/white if you run out of time or energy.

For a change of pace, if you're doing nature stuff, stick in some "architecture."

If you're drawing something that will change (tide coming in, light/shadows), complete that part first then draw/color the rest.

You might incorporate some natural item as a design element. I used the surf grass as a framing and partitioning device in two pages above.

To emphasize the most important thing, color that but leave the rest black & white. I was using a ballpoint pen for these sketches, and you can get wonderful shading if you use a light touch (practice at home). The best part is that ballpoint will work on damp paper (I was on the beach, remember?) where pencil doesn't work well.

I made cracks in the rock serve as frames here. Outlining page titles and labels can give a lot of pizzazz to them. I went through and colored them later. And more haiku here tries to add some humor.

Be careful that you keep your sketchpad oriented properly in the heat of battle. I managed to hold it upside down for this sketch of a kombu seaweed, only realizing after I drew it that I'd upended the sketchbook. Since you would have to stand on your head to view it properly, see the next picture for the upright version of the kombu.

This makes a bit more sense, I'd say.

This is Whaleshead Bay at low tide with the largest rock, supposedly, "The Whale" breaching.

Here's the same place in different lighting. The nice thing about being the artist is that you can color your painting any way you want.

Except for the millipedes, this little collection was sketched and colored one evening from treasures gathered on the beach.

Try using a photograph as a base for a later sketch. The photo is the darker square in the lower right corner, and this entire page was done after printing out my digital photo of the scene. If you're on vacation, a quick trip to a photo shop with print-out capacity can add a lot of scope to your journal.

Don't be afraid to tackle something new. My attempt to show water pooled in the brown Mermaid's Cups was less than accurate, but it was fun trying. I think it needs some white sparkles. The before/after drawings of the sea star add a time element to the page.

The dining room table of the cabin did double duty for dinners and drawing.

For the final page, I used another photo printout and some sand (top right) as a paragraph divider. This was a fun, but exhausting marathon of sketching and journaling, an experiment, to see how much I could do in a 4-day weekend. I loved every minute of it, but I was ready to stop by the final evening. Next time, maybe I'll take it a bit easier.

Did you enjoy this? Did it give you any ideas for your own journaling? Leave me a comment ~ I'd love to hear from you.

Merry Christmas, if you celebrate that, and Happy Holidays if you don't. May your 2010 be simply glorious. Keep sketching!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Art Show & Studio Sale Recap

A number of people have asked how the Art Show and Studio Sale on December 12-13 went (see previous blog entry). Keeping in mind that there is a Recession going on and that the first morning the entire valley was iced up "slicker'n-snot," it went pretty well.

One thing I did discover, however, is that it's going to take a couple dozen more of these sales to clear all the illustrations out my cupboards -- hmmm... But it paid for itself, and lots of my students and friends dropped by, which made it quite enjoyable.

As you may recall, I did the event in conjunction with a friend, and we split the hall roughly down the center to make it easier to tend to our customers. The first picture (above) is what people saw on my side as they entered the hall. There was a balcony just above my side, and the view at left shows a composite photo I took of most of my side with Cathy's across the aisle at the top right. We each had twelve tables, ten large easels, and ten table easels to fill, and that was accomplished without an inch left over.

My "Art Show" part consisted of pictures that had been framed for previous shows, arranged on the big easels around the perimeter as you can see at right. Most of them weren't for sale (next time, mebbe).

As for the Studio Sale part, on the tables I arranged books I've illustrated and the illustrations from those books, with the largest illustrations on table easels and the rest in the bins. You can see this in the picture at left. People could look through the illustrations, then check out how they looked in the books if they wanted to.

Up at the front I had a whole table of both new and "hurt" books (with dinged corners, scuffs, etc. -- sometimes next to invisible, but apparently unsightly to distributors and their bookstores.) of which I managed to sell quite a few -- not surprising since the dinged books were about half price. Selling these was a big bonus for me because hurt books are hard to find homes for. My customers didn't seem to mind a bit.

You'll notice I'm wearing a fleece jacket here (at right). The front doors had to be kept open to let people know we were there, and the weather was in the 30s, so I was glad to dress in layers of layers, sometimes pulling my hood up to keep warm. I also brought a little space heater which was nice to sit down beside with guests for a chat.

The hall is pretty large, but with the big easels creating a visual border and the lovely spruces provided by Daniel behind them, it was actually rather cozy. Dan had been planning to bring ball-and-burlapped trees, but the nursery crew had thinned out a bed of spruce Christmas trees recently, and the discards, with double tops or one or two unruly branches, made a perfect backdrop for the show (a lot easier to work with, too). Here are some shots of the doings. Click them to see close-ups.

Dan, and friends of Cathy (I'd thank them but I don't know all their names) helped us set up and take down, as well, assembling easels, draping tree lights, etc., and I am very grateful for all their assistance. I don't think the trees would have gotten draped with the lights without them!

At 5pm on Sunday, we took it all down. Dan loaded the trees back into his truck, Cathy and I swept the hall and tidied up, and it was all over for this year. (BTW, check out the collapsed art bins on the end of the table there. Sure makes stowing easier!)

If you didn't get a chance to come this time, aim for next year. We've reserved the hall and made our lists of what went well and what could be improved, and next year it will be even better.

I expect to keep adding to my Illustrations For Sale collection here (and yeah, I know it needs updating -- it's on my list), so let me know if you see something you can't live without. I've been shipping books for years, so it's no trouble to ship an illustration off to you.

SO! CHEERS! Have a great holiday, and stay tuned. You never know WHAT's going to happen here.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Preparing for the Art Show and Studio Sale

This marathon started in September with the mapping out of how to do the show/sale (I keep a log ~ it reassures me I am actually DOING something at my desk every day).

After selecting which pictures to sell, I scanned each one into my computer so that when/if it sold I would still have the image and the ability to make prints from it, even though it was long gone. It took a couple of weeks (well, there WERE around 300 pictures).

I am assuming you know that when you buy a piece of art you don't buy the copy rights unless they are specifically sold to you by the artist. All rights remain with the artist. If you copy the art or publish an image of it, you are infringing copyright. Didja know that? I made a little sign to that effect and will display it prominently at the show/sale.

I've been illustrating for 30+ years and have HUNDREDS of illustrations just sitting in dark cupboards. Some hadn't seen the light of day for decades, pore thangs. It's going to be quite a show.

After selecting which pictures to sell (I still have hundreds left) the next step was to strip off old protective covers and clean up any smudges.
I have nearly 300 pictures, so it was a major event to get them all into sleeves (you can get those here), sealed and taped to size.

Finally, each one had to be priced. Ones I sorta wanted to keep I put high prices on ~ high enough so that if they sold, the pots of gold would overcome my sorrow.

As soon as that was done, I put 74 of them up on a webpage so people who couldn't come to the Show/Sale could still buy one if they wanted. It's here.

And for those on a limited budget, I made up a number of prints of some of my favorites, which are 8 x 11 and will sell for $10 each.

Have you priced easels recently? They were far out of my financial reach, so Daniel (my ex-but-best-friend) volunteered to make twenty big easels. I volunteered to be gopher and sander and such. Daniel and I have been working in a mostly unheated shop and it's been in the 30s and 40s, so things are taking a bit longer because we get chilled and have to stop. We have put in much more than 16 hours each on them so far (just talked to Daniel, and he oiled some last night, and we're going to work on them together tonight at his house). We're putting two crossbars on them in order to double up pictures, 2 per easel, if needed (see the raccoon pictures, above).

But how do you display (or even arrange for viewing) all those works of art? Since I fill book orders when I sell my books, I buy cardboard shipping cartons by the hundreds, and I have new boxes in bundles. I pulled out a 12" x 10" x 8" box and got busy with an X-acto blade, and invented a display bin (see photo) and book stands! (How-to for the box easels and book stands at the end of this blog.) All this was done under the supervision of Jessie-The-Cat, who is a hard taskmaster.

I discovered I could make large and small individual book stands. On each table I will have art bins full of illustrations plus the books the illustrations came from propped up in book stands on either side.

So in addition to 12 art bins, I cut and assembled about 15 book stands to add to wooden and metal stands I had already, then I made some larger box easels, using the same pattern as the book stands. Table easels will hold the biggest illustrations while the box easels will hold lighter, smaller ones.

And then, with all the nitty gritty done last week, I sat down to design my window dressing, which I did yesterday. It was really intimidating to me. The empty window was scary. Could I really do it?

After innumerable trips outside to see how things looked thisaway and thataway, I think the window turned out really nice ~ attractive, interesting and instructive.

I hung around last night watching people stop to look. They examined the illustrations and books closely to see what on earth an illustration looks like before and after it gets into a book, and (hopefully) thinking what a unique Christmas gift that would make. A huge owl looks out with round eyes from one part of the display, and I also put a hanging mobile of birds (from an illustration) in the window. Since there are air currents in the window the birds move and attract attention.

Setup will start at 7am on Saturday, and I'll Fling Open The Doors at noon.

Hordes of people will rush in, shop around, then sail out the doors with their purchases and delighted smiles. I hope.

So there are SOME of the details of preparing for the show. Two months of non-stop labor. Hope you can come to see it. Wish me luck!

Here's the How-to for the box easel/book stands.

1. First, flatten the box and mark the pattern on each end as shown above. Make a template so each side will be the same. 2. Cut out the piece on each side as shown in the first picture. Use a sharp blade so you don't get ragged edges. 3.Crease two lines across the front of the box -- see where it has to fold in the third picture and crease there. Use a dull point so you don't break the surface. 4. Fold the front along the two creases, the first one down and away from you, the second fold toward you. Tuck it in. 5. Tape three of the bottom flaps closed, but let the fourth, at the rear, flap OUTward to help support the contents of the box. 6. If you want a short stand/easel, cut off the top flaps. 7. If you want it taller, tape the corners of the flaps together as shown in the fifth picture. 8. Below are views from side and front. 9. For easy storage or transporting, it's okay to tape the flap corners but don't tape up the bottom flaps until you are ready to display your items (see the final picture).
(You can use boxes from the grocery store if you turn them inside out or cover the print with something.) Have fun!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

An Invitation to my Art Show and Studio Sale!

IT's COMING! I'm almost ready for the big Art Show and Studio Sale!

It's being held at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Great Hall, in Ashland, Oregon, December 12 and 13, from noon to 8pm on Saturday and noon to 4pm on Sunday.

If you live in the Southern Oregon area, and plan to come, the location of the OSF Hall is in the block between the Plaza and Pioneer Street.

I'm going to be blogging further about it today, with details on preparing the artwork, dressing the huge street front window (Monday or Tuesday), and setting up for it. But in the meantime, you've got the important stuff: Where and When. Hopefully the art I've added will tell you What.

For the people who can't come to the event, I've posted 74 of the artwork pieces and illustrations, along with their sizes and prices, and a button to purchase them online if you're interested. Illustrations seldom come on the market, so this is a real opportunity. You can find them here.

Since it's a studio sale, each piece is in a transparent sleeve, but not matted or framed.

For the illustrations you might find printers marks in the margins or on the back (but never within the picture area itself), and you can also find most of the books they're in on Amazon.

I'm doing this with my friend Cathy Egelston (her daughter is in the show, too, but is off at college and won't be there for the show), but we've divvied the display windows and area inside into our own areas, so while we're "together" our shows are separate.

Today, The Daniel and I are sanding the cross-pieces on 20 large easels. I'm HOPING to get back to the blog by tonight, but if not, check in tomorrow afternoon and SURELY I'll have found time by then to write some more. It has been a major project -- I've been working on it since October, and there's lots to tell!

Hugs to all my faithful followers,

Here's a grab-bag of other entries...

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