May Sketchbook


Patchwork of 31 different animals painted using gouache watercolorsMay has been a really long month. Working in schools there are seasons that always seem more difficult than other times of the year. May has been one of those months with a number of times that I have sooooo wanted to go to bed rather than my usual routine of painting at the end of the day. Nevertheless, I sat myself down to create. With 516 consecutive days of daily creations, one thing (of many) that I have learned is when I'm feeling less motivated to create is usually the time I need the meditative and reflective space the most that my daily creative process offers.

Here's a peek into some of my daily creations during the month of May.

The month began with a continuation of #Sketch 50 2.0. I abandoned this challenge after four weeks. It wasn't bringing me the same joy as my painting. I enjoyed capturing the process but never figured out the lighting of my captures. I did like the challenge of creating a small piece of an overall composition focused on a single theme each day only to see a scene emerge after five consecutive days.

One thing I did continue throughout the month was attending different SketchWalks offered at the Apple Store. I feel like a groupie at times with my continued attendance but its such a great opportunity to learn from others who have such great experience and different perspectives. It also has made me more comfortable sketching in public, an exercise I practiced at a recent, lengthy School Board Meeting. And these SketchWalks are 100% free!  As long as the Apple Store continues to offer these, I plan on attending as my schedule allows to improve my digital sketching skills.

The other benefits of the Sketch Walks are that I continue to learn more about the ins and outs of the ProCreate app but also some new sketching exercises. One of my favorites is a quick sketch. This involves giving yourself a minute or two by actually setting a timer and sketching a scene. This eliminates any chance to change your brush, get exactly the right color and my personal nemesis, the undo button. Instead, the focus becomes capturing the essence of what you see. You can always go back and edit. How often do we self-edit ourselves before committing to our ideas on paper? This exercise helps prevent that impulse.

Another fun exercise is a continuous line drawing. I have done this as a blind contour exercise which means you only look at the object you're drawing using a continuous line and avoid looking at your paper. A continuous line drawing is a similar concept but your eyes can go back and forth as you draw something without lifting your pen using a continuous line. I was pleased with the initial results of this scene looking down on the first floor of the mall. I did lose my line in a couple places due to the side menu or accidentally running off the screen. If you try this on your iPad within ProCreate, I highly recommend changing the snap tool under settings so your lines don't snap automatically straight on you.

Most of the month was spent on animals using Goauche. I LOVE the look of gouache but I have not mastered the use of gouache. I also haven't mastered the proportions of animals as seen by my half-face giraffe. It was either sacrifice the length of the neck or the face. I chose to keep the distinguishing characteristic. It was fun to sketch different animals using a photo reference and then mix and apply paint. Overall, I am pleased with the results of 31 Animals over the month of May.

What will June hold? CreativeBug is offering a daily challenge on Mixed Media that I may give a try. I've been spending time in one of my other journals working on drawing faces by trying to emulate different styles as I try to uncover my own. Integrating this with different mixed media techniques could be interested. Or, if I come across a good watercolor daily challenge I may give that a go as well. I do look forward to doing more outdoor sketches through the summer and during some of my planned travels later this month.

April Sketchbook

Roses with lots of leaves in a blue vaseMay is almost over and I forgot to hit publish on my April Sketchbook.  Better late than never! My April sketchbooks consisted of florals, more sketchwalks, and some #Sketch50 captures.  The daily challenge was 30 Florals in 30 days a CreativeBug daily challenge taught by Pam Garrison.  This challenge was less about painting florals and more about being fluid and creative with florals being the vehicle and medium.    Exercises such as drawing with your non-dominant hand and using a laundry list of different techniques and mediums allows one to explore creativity.  Florals have always been my go-to doodle of choice and now following this class, I find myself doodling on different surfaces, with both hands, and experimenting more with florals. (30 Days of Florals Google Photo Album)

Piazza Scene with overhead lighting and shadows with plants around painted using watercolors
The more SketchWalks I continue to attend at the Apple Store, the more I learn about Procreate.  If you live near an Apple Store, I highly recommend signing up for a SketchWalk. The SketchWalk program is Free, led by uber-talented creatives at Apple, last 90 minutes, and you don't necessarily need an iPad or Apple Pencil because you can borrow theirs! It's a great opportunity to learn more and immediately apply and practice your new found skills.  Just a few things, I've learned recently:

  • How to Draw a Straight Line 
  • Fill shapes
  • Edit Brushes
  • Change Backgrounds
  • Alpha Lock
  • Masking
  • Automatic Shape
  • Build Palettes
  • And much, much more.


For May, I'm looking forward to diving deeper into digital art and complete the daily animal challenge using gouache on CreativeBug.  I also have realized as I learn these new digital techniques, I quickly forget them when not used. I realize I need to start creating short digital tutorials to help myself remember these new techniques. Not sure if May is the month to do that with the end of the school year but I see this in my future, at some point.