A Friend for Life (in Between): 100 Face Challenge #63!

Ever since drawing one of Kathy’s blue jays in ink for June’s installment of Draw a Bird Day, I’ve been drawing more than painting. Pointy implements, please!    I couldn’t resist a recent photo of Jodi’s dog Charlie at Life in Between over breakfast….and by dinnertime, I was off to try this photo from last September as well.   I dare you to resist these gorgeous images of a soulfully beautiful animal!   I enjoy drawing animals, dogs in particular, very much.   Their whole life and all of their love sits in their eyes, and what could attract an artist more than that?!

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Hub and I love baseball, but it’s not always the most action-packed event on TV.   So I’m sharing last night’s “fun in the sketchbook while watching TV” with you this morning. This was done with a 4B pencil in a sketchbook recommended to me by Kirk at Dumb Sketch Daily.    It’s called a Universal Sketchbook and it’s made by Canson.   And I LOVE it! Why? It’s 100 sheets (so, 200 pages) long (longer than most), it’s inexpensive (currently $4.50 at Blick for the 8 1/2″ x 5″ size, perfect for drawing in my lap, as I love to do), lightweight, and it works well for pencil, ink, colored pencil, conte or charcoal, even light watercolor washes (as shown here).

I think what I love the most about this book is that it’s so inexpensive that I’m not afraid to “waste” it.    I will try subjects that are way too big for me.   I’m not afraid to make an ugly drawing or waste the beautiful paper or mess up the lovely book I bought.   You know?    Yet, it’s an inviting surface that works well for most mediums, so I often surprise myself by how the sketches turn out.   Jill of Jill’s Art Journal encouraged me to keep a daily art journal last year, and that tip led to daily drawing nearly every day since last May.   You would only need 2-3 of these little books to take you all the way through the year (I often use the backs of the pages too), and it’s a nice little companion that travels well.    It’s spiral-bound, with perforated pages.  What’s not to love?   I wouldn’t have even attempted a foreshortened pose like this last May.   Now, it’s a fun challenge.   Perfect result?   Heck no, but I’m steadily improving with a daily practice.

Drawing is a really inexpensive pastime.   And it’s a fun way to record snapshots of your life.    Date each entry, and watch your skills improve.    You will be blown away by this practice!    The only other thing you need (IMO) is a kneadable eraser.     It felt funny to use at first, and way too much like something artists use (and I was much too timid to call myself an artist), but you will be glad you got it.    These things cost less than a dollar.    And to start, just use any #2 pencil you have lying around your house!   So, for under $7, what have you got to lose?    People tell me I’m talented.   I can assure you, I’m not.   But I practice.   I practice almost daily.   And it makes a HUGE difference, as you’ll see with each page turned.    (Note:   your purchases from these links help to support my site.)

If you try this, please let me know how you’re doing with it!     If there is anything I can help you with, I will.   Since having a child over 25 years ago, nothing has changed my life more than a regular art practice.   It will heal and transform you in ways you can’t expect – all wonderful!   I shall jump off my soapbox now, but I just had to get this out there!   Jodi, thank you for sharing your photos of your lovely Charlie.

Peace and a happy, creatively wonderful weekend to all!

98 thoughts on “A Friend for Life (in Between): 100 Face Challenge #63!

  1. Animals are so wonderful to draw. You have captured that look in the eyes. Drawing on a daily basis soon becomes a part of who you are. I have been doing this since 2013. Like you I have a not so precious sketchbook where I feel I can play and experiment in. Sometimes this ends up being the sketchbook I take into coffee shops. Keep drawing, keep creating!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Charlie is a sweetie pie pooch and you’ve really nailed his sweetness with your drawing! ❤

    I've copied the link to this post so I can try the sketchbook you and Kirk recommend. I still need to be as good as you and Jill about keeping a daily art journal though. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Teresa, thanks so much! Not sure how much TV you watch, but I often draw my husband’s feet, my feet, or even something on the screen (like your Jeopardy contestants). Makes it easier to fit in that way, I find. So glad you enjoyed this and got something out of it. Those sketchbooks are great!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We watch a program or two each night but I’m usually doing some PT exercises for my shoulders these days while watching. I think I’ll have to draw something from the screen to use in my art journal (which I’m going to try and do daily). 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. OH MY SWEEEET CHARLIE!!!!!!! His Aunty Loo captured him only like a special partner-in-crime Aunty could! 🙂 Oh Laura – you melted my heart with this drawing that captured him even better than a photo could. I can see right into his soul through the eyes you drew!

    This will be a forever treasure to me sweet friend! I am humbled and honored and Charlie is dancing with joy!

    You totally made my day! And Charlie’s! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aw, yay, my work here is done! So glad you love it, Jodi! Wow, I have tons of sketches of Charlie, mostly from my blogging break last fall and winter. I became addicted to capturing him – he’s a terrific subject! Really glad you enjoyed this. This photo was so endearing……how can anyone resist??? ❤ I'm glad Charlie approves too. This is important!

      Liked by 1 person

              1. Chickens are very cool and smarter than people give them credit for and can be pretty attached to you. Some of mine like to sit on my lap which is fine,but they are little hot boxes so it gets really hot. Gracie will sit there for 1/2 hour unless I scoot her off, then she gives me lip…bwaaaaaak! Sasha just looks at me like I’m a mean ol witch. She just stares and then walks off. Nug Nug gets down and goes and does her own thing. Shelley and bunny are more flighty. They don’t sit with me and hoops, wiggles and peanut didn’t come to me till they were 5 weeks old so they just like me for sunflower seeds.

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          1. Laura have you tried pastel pencils, you can use to sketch, then incorporate the colour, which blends so nicely, you may find this helps, I reckon you can do it, it’s just a block you have, at the moment.I use patterns when I am painting, so I am looking for shapes of colour on the animals, then blend them. After that if needed I add the hair. ❤️

            Liked by 1 person

            1. That’s a good idea, Rebecca. I have tried them but it’s been awhile ago and I only bought a couple open stock. I do like colored pencils…..as you say, I have a block. But artwork like yours keeps inspiring me to reach up and conquer it. I appreciate your encouragement and inspiration! 💛

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Give pencil pastels a go, or coloured charcoal, really easy blend, and cheap sets are ok……big plus, you can use over your abstract work to enhance areas, so if you don’t agree with them for drawing, they are fab for touching up and adding to other medium ( not sure if they would work with tube acrylic, maybe with liquid acrylic)….. To test draw an apple and colour it, try with different mediums painting this apple and see how they compare, I am quite sure that under these conditions my most seamless blended would be the oil and pastel ( soft or pastel pencil) …..of the mediums I regularly use. Acrylic should work similar to the oil, but I would still struggle with the quick drying time, unless a medium were added.❤️

                Liked by 1 person

  4. Of course, you know I agree with everything you’ve said. I don’t have any talent. I didn’t think I had the right to buy art supplies because I wasn’t an artist. I thought trying to learn to draw would be a complete waste of time. But, like you, I’ve seen what can happen when we practice daily. I cherish my sketchbooks, and yes, dating your drawings turns a sketchbook into a visual journal of life. I love your Charlie drawing. It’s excellent. Thanks for a very inspiring post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Judith! I had a feeling this post might resonate with you. It really makes a huge difference, anything we do daily. I felt the same as you when buying art supplies at first. I needed permission from a professional watercolorist at our local open studio to buy good brushes!!! Yes, that is sad but I’ve come a long way and so have you. 💜

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Steven but I bet the first story you wrote wasn’t great. Or the first picture you took. Not sure why everyone thinks if they can’t draw at first try, it means they lack some mythical gift and the art fairy somehow missed their stocking. Sometime I’ll find my first bird drawings (from 8/14) and post them. And everyone will see I’m not gifted or talented with art. Truly.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think it’s true that very few are naturally gifted right from the start. I certainly wasn’t… it took years to develop a voice and find the confidence. The ratio between blah and good is quite high… thousands of pages of practice. But eventually, I found the confidence to call myself a real writer. And there’s ALWAYS room for improvement! If you love what you’re doing, and do it enough times, the latent talent shines through.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Bravo! Wonderful image of a loving friend! Hoping some of your talent rubs off on me as a friend has asked me to work on a pooch portrait…. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. YAY! Laura! I’m so happy to hear you are still keeping a daily sketchbook!! 🌟🌟🌟 Your drawing of Charlie dog is super sweet!! ❤️ I have many sketch books going at one time which is very fun! I’m really enjoying my latest one with the nature inspired theme. 😄🎨💕 And I agree, they are really fun to revisit – your sketches, they often give me ideas for art outside the sketchbook. 😍

    Liked by 1 person

  7. CHARLIE!! awwwww!!! LOVE this! Such a beautiful drawing and I recognized him immediately, Laura!! 😍Really beautifully done! 💕💜(you are talented by the way! hehe). Yay to daily sketching! It really does make all the difference in the world. I’m heading toward my Day 365! (and then I guess I’m up for 31 more in July). Honestly, I don’t know if I’ll ever stop now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You never will, Charlie! A rolling stone gathers no moss, and your stone is rolling baby! Building speed and momentum all the time! Thanks for the encouragement, buddy. I wound up liking this one more than I thought I would when I first took up that foreshortened snout shot. hehe. I couldn’t resist those eyes!!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Magnificent sketch of Charlie, you really captured his lovely soulful eyes. Every word you posted is true, drawing everyday is very beneficial, for art, for body and for soul. Thank you for sharing your lovely sketch and putting a good word out there for making drawing a habit.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This looks completely like Charlie, Laura, what a super awesome portrait!!! Love it! The glance in his eyes is so real, every dogowner knows that glance. They look at you and watch you as if they´re completely in love with you. Dogs are so great! (As other animals too.) Love this, Laura, thanks for sharing! Also for your thoughts about practicing art every day! 💕🌞🎨🌸

    Liked by 1 person

  10. you did a fantastic job at conveying the essence and spirit of Charlie!! love this portrait Laura! I think, only an animal lover….. can really see and convey the spirit that resides within an animal. 🙂 3d

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I am trying to draw or paint everyday – the advice you read over and over, and i do enjoy it and see improvement! I am new though and have a question. I was drawing with a #2 pencil in a strathmore sketchbook. The drawing get smudged – how do you avoid that?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad to hear it, Marieanne! For sketchbook work, I just skip the facing page, but you could also protect your work with a spray fixative. I believe it takes a couple of days for the fixative to cure, so you may want to keep that in mind. Let me know if you need anything else, and good luck to you! If you have a blog, I’d be glad to follow you.

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  12. Hi, I’m intrested in art too. I’ve done some sketches of animals and humans. I’d like u to see them. But i haven’t posted it wordpress. I’ll post it now, I’m hoping you’d check it out:-)

    Liked by 1 person

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