#Train2ISTE Train Doodles

Last year, I took the train to San Antonio for ISTE.  It was a 2 day trip on a train without wifi.  I was doing a lot of watercolors at the time and trying to pain on a moving train is very difficult.  This year as I traveled to ISTE in Chicago via train and decided to try something different. And even began with more of a plan. And let's be honest, it wasn't exactly a plan but more like being receptive to different ideas around me.

I had the good fortune to watch (or re-watch) two things right before leaving on this trip that inspired me.  One was Jon Burgerman's recent Creative Morning Talk in New York called The Art of Doodling.  In this talk addressing the monthly theme of Craft, he talks about the British concept of graft as doing the hard work. This combined with rewatching Episode 1 of Abstract on Netflix about the Illustrator Christoph Niemann. The title sequence of this episode has a doodle bike riding through the streets of New York City.  Knowing I had 48 hours on a train through Califonia, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois it seemed like something to try out.  I packed some wet-erasable pens and transparencies in my ArtBin to see what I could create!

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.

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)

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.

#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.

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.