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March Sketchbook

Reflection Doodle from #Sketch50
One week into April and I did a Reflection Doodle last night as part of #Sketch50 and thought the fact that I rarely reflect on my various creations. March seemed like a good place to start. March brought a lot of new creations and techniques into my creative daily practice. Some actually made it into a sketchbook others are awaiting a purpose.

Embroidery Daily Challenge

blue bird with long needle nose used to thread needles
I started the March #CreativeBug Daily Challenge that was embroidery. I have never embroidered before and learned a lot along the way through mistakes. I started with a number of super thick stitches. Who knew embroidery floss was meant to be separated? It only makes sense and makes threading the needle much easier. My difficulties threading needles led me to my favorite tool, a twitter bird needle threader. This was a lifesaver and I would have been lost without it! Even though I lost steam on this challenge during the middle of the month, I hope to return at some point. I would like to try to "embroidery doodle" something.

#SketchCUE & #Sketch50 2.0

#SketchCUE was a series of daily challenges leading up to the CUE Conference in Palm Springs. The 25 days of prompts included basic elements of sketchnotes such as containers and fonts as well as providing practice on frequent recurring themes like grow and thinking.

#Sketch50 version 2.0 began in March and will continue into May. With the new format of five days a week for five minutes focusing on weekly themes, I am taking the opportunity to experiment with capturing my process. Here's the timelapse playlist so far. Each day, I try something different with the setup, lighting, etc. to see how it goes. I haven't figured out the magic capture technique combination yet but was super-excited on Day 3 when this happened! Total fan-girl moment!! Thankfully, I have many more days to get closer to perfecting my capture techniques.

Screenshot of Peter H. Reynolds liking my #Sketch50 Tweet.

30 Days of Watercolour

This was a challenge that came across my Instagram feed on April 3rd by #FoxAndWatercolour. It's hard to pass up a watercolor challenge. The prompts were varied and diverse. Some focused on a single color, others focused on a subject, while other prompts focused on techniques. I learned a new technique. Who knew that spraying alcohol on a watercolor would create a neat marbling, texture effect? Definitely, something to play around with more.

collage of 30 different watercolor prints of different subjects


During Spring Break, I took the opportunity to sign-up for 2 SketchWalks at the local Apple Store. These SketchWalks are free, last 90 minutes and are a great way to expand your digital sketching skills. The class begins within the store with a quick overview of the subject, signing release forms, and then off we go in a small group with an Apple employee to different locations near the store, one inside and one outside to sketch what you see. The SketchWalks I did focused on capturing movement and watercolor.

It is no secret that I prefer analog over digital because I enjoy the analog process so much more as my mistakes, explorations, trials all become part of the process to create and learn something new. When sketching digitally, I find myself crippled by the undo button. Back in 2014, I blogged about my choice to sketch on paper over digital. During a SketchWalk conversation, I realized an alternative purpose for digital sketching. It's not an either/or proposition. Digital sketching can serve a different practical purpose. It provides an opportunity to practice mixing and layering colors with different brushes and textures all without the expense of materials or paint. Instead of being paralyzed by the undo button and thinking about the final product, focusing on what I'm learning in the process and how it can be applied to analog materials is surprisingly liberating. I look forward to some more SketchWalks with my iPad in the future.

What's next in April?

Hopefully more SketchWalks if it works with my schedule, CreativeBug is offering a 30 flowers in 30 days challenge, more #Sketch50 capturing work, and maybe a class at the local museum but that might have to wait until summer. In any event, the sketchbook will be busy!

#Sketch50: Capturing the Process

Sketch 50 written in different colors inside banner with Back to Basics in manuscript font
#Sketch50 begins anew with the 2.0 edition. I participated last year as part of my #CreateEveryDay goal and experimented with different mediums along the way. Here's my 2017 #Sketch50 album.

So far in 2018, I have continued to create every day and have been wanting to find another means to capture the creation process besides posting completed creations to Instagram. With the #Sketch50 focusing on process over pretty this year along with the "Five in Five" format, it seems like a great chance to experiment with capturing my analog creation process.

Below is my first attempt at capturing my process with the weekly theme of Back to Basics. I plan on continuing documenting my 5-minute sketches and speeding them up into a one minute clip. I figure by the end of #Sketch50 with the repeated practice, I'll have a better handle on lighting, angles, and setting while also continuing to nurture my creative habits.

31 Days of Patterns

Animation of 31 pattern paintingsFor 2018, I am a committed to continuing my daily habit of creating. The daily challenges offered by CreativeBug makes this super easy with the added benefit of learning new techniques and playing with new mediums. January's monthly challenge was all about painting patterns using gouache, an opaque watercolor to paint patterns.

After 31 Days of Patterns, here are a few takeaways. The most important thing is to start. A blank page can be intimidating in the same way that starting a new project can be or really doing anything new for the first time. With painting, it can be especially terrifying with the placement of color on the page. There is no eraser, there is only moving forward.

Sketchnotes: EdTech Team Roseville Summit

It has been awhile since I have done live sketchnotes but when someone gives me a blank notebook, I have to break it in. I attended the EdTech Team Summit in Roseville over the weekend and received a new Rocketbook. Even though I brought my iPad for this purpose, I briefly took it out of my bag and put it back in exchange for pens.

Of course, the sketchnote on Accessibility is my favorite because it provided an opportunity to combine my two passions--Creating and Increasing Awareness on Accessible Design. This was a regular session, presented by Adina Sullivan-Morrow and having a lot of background knowledge of the content helped a lot during the creation process. Also, the impact of having a flat table surface and not having to worry about your losing any of your pens is not to be overrated.

Patterns and Creative Imperfection

teal painted paisley pattern with 2 paintbrushes above and a paint tubeThis week I began creating patterns as part of the Creative Bug 31 Days of Patterns Class taught by Lisa Congdon. The focus has been on basic patterns such as gingham, basket weave, argyle and more using gouache paint. (Gouache paint is a more opaque watercolor.)

Pattern making is so relaxing, comforting, and incredibly meditative. The repetitive brush marks allow me to focus on the brush strokes and connection to the paper. I see why Zentangle is so popular. I see lots of patterns in my sketchbook in the future.

marker code with an Ozobot lit up in Green
Creative Imperfection with Coding
It also got me to thinking about patterns in general. In school, we teach patterns very early. During CS Week and Hour of Code in December, I visited numerous TK, Kindergarten, and first-grade classrooms with Ozobots and we talked about, read, and explored different patterns.

"Blue, Black, Blue." Let's see what Ozzy does. About 60% of the time Ozzy went noticeably faster after traveling over this code to the screams of delight of students. In fact, that's the fast code that helped encourage students to play with patterns and discover other codes for their robot.