Tuesday, April 8, 2014

More About Skool.

If you've read Danny Gregory's books or followed his blog for any length of time, you'll see familiar material in his videos. He discusses his belief that keeping a sketchbook, or illustrated journal as he calls it, is less about the product and more about the process. Slowing down and really studying your subject – whether it be a landscape, a building, a shoe or even the contents of your medicine cabinet – allows you to see the inherent beauty in everything.

To him, drawing is meditation and it's often like that for me in my sketchbook. I find myself looking for simple shapes and shadows, not really worrying about the whole that I'm drawing, but focusing on just a very small portion of it. Instead of worrying over all the daily minutiae that occupies my mind most of the time, I just zone out and relax.
The hard part for me lately has been thinking of something to write. The combination of drawing, writing and adding images or ephemera has been what keeps me coming back. The kiddos used to provide a lot of material for me, but they're growing up and less than amused when anecdotes about them make their way onto my pages. I've written about my cancer journey, but after 15 months I'm done with that being the center of my universe.
I'm ready to let my sketchbooks remind me there's more to life than what's apparent in a quick glance. It's officially Spring here in Ohio. The baseball season has started, the grass is getting greener and most days the temperatures are warmer. There are buds on the trees, flowers blooming in the sun, and dogs lazing in the yard (something I often wish I had time to do).
It's time for new beginnings.


  1. Hi Karen - I think that is an excellent synopsis of the first week and tutor. I hope to sit down today and do a few sketches in the suggested style. The only thing I find difficult is there are so many students and I want to look at all their work and read all their comments but it is impossible. I love your sketches above.

    1. I agree. I can spend all day look at what everyone else is doing ... and comparing myself to their work, too, which isn't always good. I decided to give myself an hour to look and then that's it.

  2. I LOVE your drawings! I just started Sketchbook Skool also.....haven't drawn for years....I was wondering how you learned to do your beautiful lettering....I went to the library....but didn't find much....Thanks! Susan

  3. Thanks Susan! I work as a graphic designer, so I have training in typography in my background. I've never taken a hand lettering or calligraphy course, though.

    I hit the internet and google things like "fun type" or go to sites like dafont.com where you can find tons of different typefaces and lettering styles. I find one I like and replicate it in my sketchbook.

    You could also trace it or use a transfer technique if your pages are too think to see through them. First, scribble pencil on the back of the page with the lettering you want to transfer – makes kind of a homemade carbon paper. Next, place it where you want in the sketchbook and trace the letters. That will transfer the graphite to the sketchbook page underneath and you can go over them in ink or any other medium.

    Hope that helps you!


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