I love Sketchbook Skool!

truckandmodelIt keeps me drawing, and even when I’m not drawing, I’m looking at everything as a potential subject to draw.  Getting back into this visual way of thinking, this way of slowing yourself down, concentrating, looking carefully (really observing), experimenting, finding the joy in simplicity.  I needed this!  Sketchbook Skool is an online six week course.  Semester one “Beginnings” is almost finished and I’ve already signed up for the Semester two “Seeing.”  It is affordable, inspiring, has great instructors (semester one included Danny Gregory, Roz Stendahl, and Tommy Kane).  All the teachers are well known in the sketchbook/journaling world, and they all have different approaches to share.  Comments shared by fellow students keep you going and testing new tools and methods.

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This is Why I Love North Vancouver!

This is Why I Love North Vancouver!

I saw this pileated woodpecker on a tree less than ten feet away from me. I didn’t have my camera, so I had to draw him.

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On Drawing

CorruptionI’ve been inspired lately by a number of books on drawing: Vitamin P: New Perspectives in Drawing, Danny Gregory’s An Illustrated Life, and Big Book of Contemporary Illustration…Gregory’s book includes the artists talking about their favorite drawing materials, which is helpful, and Vitamin P is stuffed with amazing visual delights – a very ecclectic offering.  It has made me ponder the benefits of drawing, especially since I’ve mainly been doing abstract work lately.  I drew constantly as a child (and have the bump on my finger to prove it – I insisted on pressing really hard).  I thought I might enrol in Emily Carr when I was younger, but then other stuff happened.  I used to draw and write poetry in my earlier journals – in the eighties – but when I went to grad school, it killed my creativity, since I was far to busy reading and writing in a completely different and much more formal way.  Now, however, I am again invested in utilizing those petrified skills.  Perhaps I’ll take a summer drawing class to re-hone my abilities.

Gregory’s book also has some thought-provoking quotes regarding the value of drawing, such as this one by Rick Beerhorst: “…Drawing and writing help me remain whole in a world that feels so broken apart.”  Many of the artists who keep sketchbooks talk about the way drawing quiets them down, allows them to pay closer attention to the moment and to inhabit it.  They remember objects far more if they’ve drawn them than if they’ve photographed them.  Drawing is how they know and understand the world around them; many of them can’t imagine life without it – no matter whether they find it pleasurable or frustrating, whether they excel at it or have to struggle with it.