Friday, January 29, 2016

Quick Lettering Guide Tutorial And NEW Classes!!

First Up: Quick Lettering Guide Tutorial

There are times when I'm out in the field and I don't want to take the time to carefully draw out lines to get a title of type just right. With this in mind, I came up with a quick way to do lettering without having to invest a lot of time.

Once your art is complete and you're ready to add your title, grab a piece of paper. In my example, I'm using tracing paper as I usually have a piece tucked into the back of my journal. Plain white paper works just as well. (The art is from the Keeton's class demo I did this past Saturday.)

The art is fine the way it is, but I really wanted to add the word, Seaside, at the top of the art.  I probably should have used "gulfside" as this is the Gulf of Mexico. You can click on the photos to see the steps more clearly.

Size the tracing paper to the width of the area where you want the type to appear. In my case, I wanted my type to stretch all the way across the top of the art. Please click on the photos to see the steps more clearly.

Once you have the size, fold the paper in half, then into quarters and then down to eighths. This step really depends on how many letters you'll be using. Fold down as much as you want, but the more folds you have the smaller the lettering will be. It may be necessary to space the words rather than the letters. Please click on the photos to see the steps more clearly.

Once I have my folds, I usually mark the folds as it makes them easier to see. I also mark my center fold with a "c." Based on how many letters and the lettering style I want, I then write out my word(s).

If you already know what lettering style you want, you can use the edge of the paper as your straight line. If you're going to play around with a few different styles, draw out several straight lines to practice different styles.

Knowing I really wanted the long, stretchy lettering, I flipped my paper and wrote out my letters in between the folds rather than on the folds themselves as I did in the first example.

Position the word so that it is centered in the space where you want the title to appear and then recreate the lettering using the guide as a visual map for placement. Depending on how complicated your title is, it may be necessary to pencil in a few lines. 

And when you're done, hopefully this is something like what you will have when you're done! 

Next Up: NEW Classes Over At!!
Okay, I'll admit I jumped the gun a little bit as the poll is still open, but Norway got out in front and never looked back! It's a pretty safe bet we'll be heading there first! To learn more about An Imaginary Visit To Norway, please click HERE! Class will get started on Thursday, March 3rd. Come and join the fun! Did you know they have a knighted penguin?! (I didn't either!)

After Norway, we'll head over to Sweden as Norway and Sweden share a border of over 1,000 miles. The history they share is also quite complex and intertwined. We'll head out for An Imaginary Visit To Sweden on Thursday, April 7th. Wanna come along? Click HERE to learn more! Sweden is home to the largest reindeer herd in the world and I'm pretty sure they've a huge moose population as well.

There's still time to vote on the poll and help decide where we go after we leave Sweden! Click HERE to go to the poll. It's open until February 1st!

I look forward to traveling with you this year!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Catching Some Wave Action (Tutorial)

Have you ever wondered how to sketch a waves, whether on location or in person?

If you're local, please come and join me at Keeton's in Bradenton where we'll be painting waves on Saturday, January 23rd, from 9 am to 12:30 pm. It will be loads of fun! Click here for more info!

Below are some observations on my approach to sketching waves from a photo. After sketching from waves, I highly recommend tackling a few in your sketchbook while you're on location.

Even if you were the speediest sketcher ever, it's doubtful you'd be able to sketch just one wave while you at the beach. Instead, you'd be sketching parts of different waves as they rolled into shore. With a photograph, that's one thing you don't have to worry about as the wave is stopped for you.

Before you start sketching, there's a very important first step you need to do and that's to study the waves to see their shapelight and dark parts of them, where the sun is hitting and what reflections are showing up in the water in front of the wave as well as behind it. All of these things are necessary to sketch a realistic looking wave.

It's up to the artist whether or not to sketch waves in pen or pencil. I've done both and I've found that I prefer just pencil.

When you're ready to sketch, take note of where you place the horizon line. Try to avoid placing it in the middle of the sketch. As humans, we like things divided in thirds rather than halves.

Once you have the horizon line in place, decide if you will add any sand or if your sketch will be all water.  If you're going to add sand, indicate the sand line (bottom of the sketch) AND the water line. I always try to make my water line uneven as water seldom rolls into the shore in an even, straight line.

Study the waves to find out how close to shore they're breaking. You can adjust the waves closer or farther from shore to make a more pleasing composition as well as how many waves are breaking...remember the photo is just for reference!

Sketch the general shape of a wave, clearly defining the white splash of the wave as it breaks. Notice it is not even on the bottom or the top. Include lines to indicate the reflections in front of it. Be sure to draw the edges where the water can be seen curling over on either side. Pencil in the small wave as well. I do not mark the areas of white foam before and behind the smaller wave that can be see in the image above as I know it's there. If you're concerned you'll forget it, lightly mark it in pencil.

Once you're satisfied with your sketch, pull out your paints and paint in your sky. I used a tissue to blot up some of the cloud shapes. While this is drying, I switched to the other end of the paper and painted in my sand and I make sure to go past my waterline as the sand would show through the shallow water.

Once I went far enough, I feathered out the edge so that it faded back to the white of the paper. After the paper was dry, I went back with a dark blue and started at the horizon line and painted down towards the big wave. Along the way, I added some green to the blue to indicate we were closer to shore and the water was not as deep.

Picking up more dark blue, I continued painting around the whites of the wave and towards the foamy area of the water. To indicate the foam, I leave lots of skips allowing the white of he paper to show through. At this point, I stop and check out the reflection in front of my wave. If it needs to be lighter, I can either lift with my brush or use a tissue.

Picking up more of the blue-green paint, I start below the foamy area and begin to paint around the smaller wave line. I then repeat the foamy area and paint up onto the sand area.

I make sure everything is dry and then go back with a damp brush and tickle the edges of the foamy area to soften some of the edges. I pull some of the paint into the white areas so they're not all the same value.

Next, I make adjustments to the wave areas. If you look at the base of the wave where the white water meets the blue, you'll see lots of very dark shadows in a dark blue. These shadows help to give form to the wave. I also take a very small amount of the blue mixed with water and begin to paint all kinds of random marks and squiggles to indicate the water frothing in the white of the wave. If needed, I add more dark areas along either side of the wave to give it more definition. I repeat with the smaller wave.

Last, using the same blue-green paint I used for the water, I paint a section of the sand to indicate where the sand got wet from a prior wave rolling up onto the shore.

After everything is good and dry, I take my white Uni-Ball Signo® pen and put in the white splashes around the waves and along the edges of the water line closest to the sand. If needed, I may add some of the white ink to the foamy areas.

Painting waves is lots of fun and very rewarding. I hope this helps you get started painting waves and I highly recommend going to the beach and sketching live! Meanwhile, I hope to see you at Keeton's!

And don't forget to vote on your favorite location for the 2016 classes! Click here to access the poll.

If you're not able to participate in interactive classes, check out the self-paced classes over at The Imaginary Realm. You set the pace and you have access to the materials for a year from the date of purchase! Go here to learn more!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Where Would You Like To Go This Year?

Where would you go if you didn't have to worry about jet lag, expenses, danger, your health, obligations at home, work obstacles, child- or care-giver responsibilities or anything else?!

It's a big place out there and there's so many incredible places to go!

Below, I have added a list of locations that I am considering for the Interactive class schedule for 2016. I'd love to know what your TOP 3 choices would be! Feel free to share in the comments why you've chosen your three locations.

If you don't see a destination you'd like to go to, please add it in the comments. I can't promise we'll get there, but I will put it on the list for consideration. Voting is open for 14 days. Three votes per person per day, please!

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Best Laid Plans

Willis doing her gargoyle impression in the dark of night
Why are you looking at cute cat photos on an art blog? 

Because even the best laid plans go awry and my carefully planned week did just that with a phone call early Monday morning from my dad. He needed my help with several pressing issues and just like that, all my plans went out the window. 

It took 9 phone calls and a visit to my parents' home on Monday.

On Tuesday, he and I had to run some errands, including stopping by my mother's doctor's office. That took the better part of the day. Wednesday was more phone calls and another visit to their home. Make no mistake, I'm glad to help out and I'm thankful he called so we could get matters taken care of, but I also have to acknowledge it shot a huge, gaping hole into my plans. 

Oddly, this article came up in one of my feeds on Monday afternoon. It talks about only scheduling yourself to 80% capacity so you have room for the unexpected and for creative, unscheduled pursuits. Who doesn't have the unexpected coming up in their lives on occasion and who doesn't want time to pursue those unexpected glimpses of creativity? 

Joey on the "traveling tree skirt" back during the holidays
Since I know this isn't going to be the last time I'll get a call that will take my day (or week) in an unexpected direction, I'm going to try leaving room for the unexpected so that I don't panic when I see my plans going off the rail and to give me more of a chance to pursue my muse when she dances off in a completed new direction. 

Another article that Kathy from Catching Happiness shared with me is about learning to stop doubting ourselves, giving in/up and looking for quick-fix solutions. It resonated with me as I recognized myself and this is an article I'll need to revisit more than once as the year and my plans go in directions I never anticipated. 

One of the things that helped me get back into the swing of my week was having clearly defined goals for the week. I may or may not get everything done. I'll make note of the things that came up that kept me from meeting my goals, but the week won't be a total waste because I was able to get back on track fairly easily. Without a written plan that said go here, do this, I'm pretty sure that wouldn't have been the case. 

Moby lounging in the shipping supply box
So what does this have to do with cute cat photos? I have a log of posts to develop for the blog, but my research time is one of the things that went out the window on Monday after the phone call came. 

I could have stayed up on Monday night trying to do the research. I could have posted the article in its half-baked state. I could have not posted at all. Or I could choose to give you a glimpse into the a life that's doesn't always go as planned...kinda like yours...and not stress over the article I had originally planned to post. 

Someone had commented back during the holidays they'd like to see my other cats and here they are. Willis likes to hang out on top of the file cabinet in our office and to me, she looks like she's one with the shadows. 

Joey's hanging out on the "traveling tree skirt" in our living room back during the holidays. We never knew where the skirt would be when we awoke each morning. (Well, we knew it wouldn't be beneath the tree.) The cats, mostly Moby, decided it was too much fun to leave it beneath the tree. 

The last photo is of Moby hanging out in a box where we keep bubble wrap and air bags for things we need to ship out. Maybe she thinks she's going somewhere?

What about you? What do you do when your plans go off the rails? I hope you'll share your methods for salvaging your day or week as it may be a great help to the rest of us still looking for ways to cope.


Be sure to check out the classes over at The Imaginary Realm for self-paced, independent learning!

Thursday, January 7, 2016


Practicing my lettering in the No Name Sketchbook (that I'm almost through with!)

As I mentioned in the last post, I am way too excited by the reset mentality that comes wrapped up in the 1st of the year. I find myself wondering where the year will take me and what I will accomplish, what new adventures will I find for myself and what, if anything, will be different NEXT January 1st.

Only time will tell!

To BEGIN. There is magic in those words! Do you feel it? To begin a fresh new year, a way of life, a new approach to life, or maybe just a new day. All new beginnings and filled with promise.

Underneath my sketchbook you can see my planner and the notes and scribbles already beginning to populate the page—heady stuff! Well, for me anyway, as it is a new beginning for how I will approach the new year.

I used planners in my old corporate life when my day was filled with scheduled meetings and phone calls, deadlines and projects. When I started working for myself, I didn't have a need for that type of planner and so I gave it up.

I'm not going to try to convince anyone to keep a planner nor am I advocating creating goals, tasks, steps and such. You know what your life needs far better than I.

I can only tell you that my life needs a planner filled with goals broken down into steps and tasks. Desperately. My realization that my life needed this happened when I looked back over last year. My first thought was that the year sucke...wasn't great.

Now, I am not a big one for looking back at where I've been, but I learned a rather surprising lesson this past December and I thought I'd share it with you...I had the unfortunate luck of picking up some sick person's germs and came down with the flu the week before Christmas. Stayed home for two weeks as I did NOT want to share the crud with anyone else.

Here's the lesson I learned: I was judging the entire year on the last few weeks—and those weeks were memorable only for how truly horrible they were!

But the year wasn't horrible. Far from it! When I looked back over the blog and through Facebook, I saw the fun things I did, people I met, and the goals I accomplished. It was a good year!

IF I had kept a planner where I was tracking my goals and accomplishments as well as the challenges and obstacles I encountered along the way, I would have had a much more complete, balanced picture...and who knows, I might well save myself from having to repeat history if I'd kept better track of what I did and didn't do.

Regardless, I'll be keeping a planner this year as a place to work out the next steps for what I want to accomplish in 2016. It will also be a written record of those darn obstacles that seem to crop up from time to time.

I hope it will help me to fill in those unexpected free hours with something more meaningful than wandering around lost, wondering what I'd like to do. (I'm keeping a project list of current and future projects in the planner.)

And last but not least, I'm hoping to break myself of the very annoying habit of scribbling down notes, info, thoughts and ideas on the back of any handy piece of paper. If I put it all in one place, you'd think I'd be able to access it later, right?

With no more backs of envelopes, sticky notes or scraps of paper lying around and cluttering up my desk, perhaps next January the first thing on my to-do list won't be to clean my desk!

So what about you? Will you be keeping a planner or using some other system for tracking goals and accomplishments?