New Moleskine Watercolourable Sketchbook?

According to Moleskine Art, Moleskine may be about to launch a new sketchbook that will work well with watercolours.

Lots of people are frustrated by their Moleskines, because they love the ebony form of the books, but the paper doesn't take watercolour well.  The notebooks are a bit too thin, and the sketchbooks seem to have some sort of coating that blocks the water.

Whilst you're at it, do stop by to admire the site design of Moleskine Art - the permalinks don't seem to work too big black well, but you've got to love that interactive Moleskine at the top of the page.

From PigPog.
Image Michael Nobbs, 2005

A place in the middle of everything

I read it every day in blog after blog: those moments spent teen drawing or painting in the middle of a busy day are the most centering (or relaxing or peaceful) moments of the day.

Being able to create in the middle of everything is one of the most valuable habits we can possibly develop. But I wonder how many of us have created a physical place to draw and paint (or write or make dolls or sculpt). Our powers of innovation are astounding, yet I sometimes think we expend them all on shifting around our belongings so we have a place to work: clearing off the dining room table, hanging up our clothes so we can sit on the bed, putting away the sewing machine so we can use the little desk in the corner, and so on.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have all that shifting energy at our disposal for drawing instead? Wouldn’t it be great to sit down at a clear surface, open our notebooks, pick up a pen and begin? Wouldn’t it be a relief not to have to put everything away when we’re done?

Hang on a minute, you’re saying. You might have a splendid separate studio with skylights and piped-in stereo, but I don’t. Well, actually, I paint in what I call my relaxing room, which is half taken up by clothes and books and journaling material. Still, I’ve managed to install a small—and this next is the operative word—dedicated table for painting. I tend to like to draw on my lap, but I need a wooden surface for my watercolors. And even if I didn’t paint, even if I always worked on my lap, I would have given myself a dedicated workspace.

A dedicated workspace, be it a two-foot-square tabletop or a splendid studio, is the center of everything else as far as our art is concerned. When a space is used only for art, art energy seems to gather in its layers and alter the composition of the furniture and the air. It’s the one place where you can shift gears into creative mode without first having to wade through lunchboxes, laundry, and newspapers.

Having a dedicated workspace says, “I paint. I respect my painting and I respect my need to paint.” Creating the space without creates the space within at the same time and can significantly affect our regard for our own work. Plus, it’s nice to have an undisturbed place to stack pads and pens and brushes. The objects we use to make our art are beautiful when placed together as a family. It’s as if they quietly save our place for us till we arrive.

Creating a place to create in the middle of things is not always easy. We have to carve it out of our daily lives, often at the expense of something else. But it’s ultimately worth it, bringing us far more in value than we spend in making it happen.

Jori Lynn is a creativity coach exploring the universe from the island of Corsica. Visit her site about ebony black the creative process at www. artinabundance .com.

Sketchcrawl Today!

Don't forget today is the 4th Sketchcrawl.  Full details here.

Happy drawing!

Drawing Reflections

Cooperative AND Collegial
Borderless, & LIMITLESS
The people have kinship here
The Drawing Club ...

The Best of Karen - Drawing Faces

This week I was interested in drawing faces using crosshatching for shading, so this is an ebony girls exploration along that line.   When I study a portrait done in that style by another artist, the lines all seem very logical and obvious (where to put them, I mean.) Starting with a blank page I find that the selection of line, width, heaviness, direction, curvature (or not) is anything BUT obvious. A humbling experience, to say the least. I am thinking that if I had done a pencil drawing underneath or a value sketch to think about highlights and shadows ebony hardcore that it might have gone better. Ah well, there's always tomorrow.   

© 2005 Karen Winters

You can find more new art daily at Karen's Blog  and weekly journal pages at Karen's Journal.

Jennifer New Reminder

Don't forget to get your questions in for the latest Drawing Club Email Interviewee, Jennifer New.  Closing date for questions is Friday 2nd September.

As usual, email your questions (with the subject line Jennifer New Interview) to  Five questions will be picked at random and emailed to Jennifer.

Speak Softly

Line work is a necessary beginning point when learning how to draw. There's nothing quite as satisfying as developing this skill, but it's not the only route to take. Laying in masses of pigment using a very soft touch and, in effect, building the intensity layer by layer is also useful and equally satisfying. As you may already know, squinting at your subject or model will make light and dark areas stand out so that you can begin laying in the shapes and forms that each value takes. This is a bit like contour drawing, except that you're working from the inside out to define what you see with soft masses that should have no hard edges. In the drawing of my good friend Morgan McArdle, you can see that building up an image in soft layers gives a drawing dimension, weight and the illusion of 3-dimensional rendering. The same method can be applied to objects and if you study the chair further along you'll be hard pressed to find very many hard lines.

Best Before

Lovely loose drawings.  Get some inspiration here.

Image © Best Before, 2005 used with permission.

Toned Paper

If you have one of those days where the white of the paper prevents you from laying down those first marks, try toning the paper first. I tone my sketchbook paper with a light watercolor wash. I typically will use Indian Yellow for a warm feel or an indigo or ultramarine for a cool feel. To give the wash a bit of texture, I will splatter paint or clear water into the damp wash.I have also found that by laying down a wash first helps me to loosen up a bit before sketching.

Image © Jeff Kennedy

Jeff Kennedy is an industrial designer, artist, sketch addict and avid fly fisherman living in Illinois.

Harry Hindmarsh and Drawing from Photographs

This lovely blog entry from Harry Hindmarsh has helped make me rethink my attitude to drawing from photos.  I remember at college I was very hostile to drawing from photos.  If it wasn't solid and in front of me it wasn't worth drawing.  Then a year or so I made this drawing of my father and began to think differently.  I remember when I was making the drawing I really felt I was getting to know my father - he had died when I was eleven and the photo I had of him was of a much younger man than the one I knew.  As I lost myself in the drawing it was if he was there sitting for a portrait - well nearly.

Harry Hindmarsh's drawing is of people he never knew, but looking at it I do get the feeling that as he made the drawing he got to know them just a little.

Why not dig through some old photos and see if there is someone you can get to know a little better?

Image © Harry Hindmarsh, 2005.  Used with permission.
Visit Harry's blog.


Nate Williams (aka n8w) is originally from the Western United States, but currently lives in South and Central America. He works as a freelance illustrator/artist and apparently speaks in 3rd person.

Image, Hemp Converse Allstar, © the artist.  Used with permission.
Check out n8w's The Head Project.  Great Stuff.

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