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?!


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!

Hippity, Hoppity (#53): 100 Face Challenge

Could Easter be on its way?! Maybe, now that there’s a frog on the screen. One never knows.   I want to thank my friend Donna at Bay Photos by Donna for a wonderful reference photo of my little amphibian friend.    I’m so inspired by my photographer friends here on WordPress!


This was done with a Derwent drawing pencil, as it was the closest thing around.   I really enjoy drawing with them, love the buttery smoothness, but I wish they erased better. That’s what I love about the Polychromos colored pencil: you can erase almost every color they make, unless it’s really dark. Nice bonus when working in color!

Happy, hoppy Thursday to all! Peace.

ABC Leap Day Finale

A very talented artist friend just finished an A to Z alphabet challenge of wildlife creatures and has assembled his beautiful artwork into a poster. It is for sale in his Society6 shop, and I just had to share it with all of you. Free worldwide shipping through Sunday, March 6! Let’s support the artists that make us smile every day with their marvelous creativity here on WordPress. Thank you!


Cat and Urchin Doodlewash

Happy Leap Day everyone! A couple of my doodlewashes just wouldn’t work in the final collection for this month’s adventure. First, while Grumpy Cat was fine as fan art, I needed a generic cat to put in my final piece, so we have this little guy instead. Also, the mythical unicorn was a bit out of place with all the reality surrounding it, so I did decide to make an urchin after all. The weird pairing shown here is simply because I didn’t feel like making two posts, but has the unintended effect of making it seem like the cat is the victim of an urchin attack.

Since cats are rather well-known, I figured I’d focus the educational tidbits today on the little urchin. One of the coolest things I found about sea urchins is their life span is typically 30 years, but can be as long as 200 years. Though they look a bit…

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Hey, You! Wanna Moo? (#49): 100 Face Challenge

Donna at Bay Photos by Donna recently shared some amazing photos she took in Florida while on vacation.   Normally, she focuses on birds…..but lately she’s thrown in alligators, and cows!


This is another image that keeps drawing me back for more abstract paintings with those Neocolors by Caran d’Ache.   It’s hard to describe how hooked I am on these things.   I used to love coloring with crayons as a little kid.    This is like that, but a million times better, because they’re water soluble!   Imagine vibrant, buttery smooth color with no fuss, no mess, and yes, lots of fun!

I hope you have a Super Happy Tuesday today and that you find time to play, in whatever way brings you the most joy.   Peace.

Mara, What Lovely EYES You Have (#43): 100 Face Challenge

I recently discovered a fabulous place here at WP called Gold Hearts Blog. There are so many amazing artists and photographers here, and some people are lucky to be called both. Brianna is such a person, and when I saw this photo of her cat, Mara, I just couldn’t resist!


I hope you enjoy. Oh, so struck by her eyes! That 2B graphite pencil is starting to become a favorite! This one was done in my Strathmore mixed media journal.

Are we ready for the Friday/Valentine’s/President’s Day weekend dance?! Are the paints, papers, pigment poised and ready? hehe. *cue the music*

The Perfect Couple (#37 & #38): 100 Face Challenge

This post from Robin at Robin’s Robins really caught my eye a couple of weeks ago, and I finally found a moment to quickly sketch this pair of mallards.  Aren’t they sweet?


This was done in 2B graphite with a touch of Derwent Graphitint pencil added.   I’m finding I like those Graphitint pencils as much to simply draw with as when they are activated with water.   (They are basically water-soluble graphite pencil with a touch of color in each.)   The tones are muted, so they’re particularly suited to nature and landscape work.    Do check out Robin’s blog.   He takes lots of wonderful bird photos, and I think you’ll really enjoy them!

I don’t have as much time for blogging as busy season cranks up, so if I’m not in here daily posting, I didn’t disappear, and won’t be away for long.   Take care and enjoy your Wednesday.   Quacks and peace to you.

Contented Dog (#35): 100 Face Challenge

When I saw this photo of my friend Jodi’s dog at Life in Between…do I have to finish this sentence? How could anyone resist this face?!

Charlie: MM journal, 2B graphite

There is nothing sweeter than the eyes of a dog. A challenging, foreshortened view that I’m still working on rendering just right, but every single time, such a joy to try and capture. Thank you, Jodi, for sharing your lovely photos. And thank you, Charlie, my partner in crime!   You both inspire me.

Saturdays are inspiring too! Beef stew will bubble in the crockpot, some kind of cool gluten-free chocolate chunk bars will be baking in the oven…..and then let the weekend dance continue with color galore! Happy almost February…..peace.

Cat Saves Man (prelim) -#27 & #28: 100 Face Challenge

I’ve not got far into this book, but I know it’s a keeper.   Here’s the Amazon link – it’s called “A Street Cat Named Bob And How He Saved My Life” by James Bowen.


While watching TV last night, I was sketching faces in front of me the whole time.   (It’s a great way to practice, if you’re into faces.)  Time for bed, and I happened to see this book cover…and I just had to do a quick preliminary sketch, to see if I could capture their essence.   For a quick sketch, I was happy with it.   I’m happier with the man’s face than the cat’s, but I’d like to revisit this image and try and do it some justice.    Don’t they look like a wonderful pair?   Apparently, the man was a heroin addict, and this cat wouldn’t leave him alone.   He wound up turning the man’s life around.   I just love stories like that!

Enjoy your Saturday.   I may be dancing with a ski mask and gloves on today, but I’ll be dancing!   Stay warm and keep those pencils and brushes moving!  🙂

Partial Rabbit (#26): 100 Face Challenge

I found a nice closeup of a rabbit/hare head via a Google images search and had to try to capture it.   This is a simple ballpoint pen with a bit of Polychromos colored pencil on top.

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It kind of reminds me of the hares I’ve seen Rebecca over at RebeccaEvansCreate do so many times, but now the photo is gone and I can’t find any more info about him/her.   I just know he was cute and I had to try and draw him.    I was surprised how much I enjoyed working with the ballpoint pen!    A nice inexpensive art supply, I tried it due to a suggestion and related video from Alphonso Dunn (my ink hero).

Let’s all blow really hard and send that snowstorm out to sea.   Who’s with me?   Stay safe and warm, my friends.   ❤