Thursday, September 20, 2012

Working in a Sketchbook

I have long admired the work of Alisa Burke, who often shares "peeks" into her sketchbook on her blog.  Truth be told, I have often been a little overwhelmed by her seemingly unattainable talent!
I used watercolor and marker to re-create a page I saw in a newsletter from a local public garden.

Detail
Recently, she offered a free mini-course called "Finding Your Muse." After watching it, I was as impressed as ever by her work, but somehow it seems more accessible now that I had watched her in the process of creating her sketchbook pages from start to finish. Prompted by that video, and an offer of $10 off her classes, I signed up for her Sketchbook Delight eCourse. 
Detail
I have a rather bad track record with online classes: I have signed up for a couple that I've never made my way entirely through. (Thank goodness for the "unlimited access" feature of so many classes!) Alisa's class, though, has captured my imagination like none other, and I have no doubt that I will make my way straight through her lessons, which are chock-full of videos, still images, and invitational "homework assignments." 
I used watercolor to draw a recently-purchased aloe plant that sits on my kitchen counter.
Her main emphasis is on turning off the computer, closing the magazines, and looking to our own lives for drawing inspiration.
A closer look
Meanwhile, she has us trying out our supplies to decide what pencils, pens, and paints work best for our personal style. She has us exploring patterns and shapes in the objects around us. And she offers great advice for making a sketchbook page feel "finished," such as the frames she often places around the edges of her pages and the way she fills in open spaces with watercolor backgrounds--two pratices that I've already adopted in my own sketchbook.
I created a reference page to explore some of my pen and marker options for drawing in my sketchbook.  I've actually made quite a bit of use of this page as I've worked on other pages in my book.
I find myself looking forward to grabbing my sketchbook and working on a page each day with an enthusiasm I haven't really felt about any other creative pursuit. There is such a wonderful simplicity to working with a book, a pencil, a few black pens, a waterbrush, and a set of watercolor paints. Maybe it sounds like a large list of supplies, but in reality, it is all remarkably compact and mobile.

I created a reference page for my black pens, which are indispensible in the creation of my sketchbook pages.


Finally, I created a reference page for my pencils, exploring their varying hardnesses and shading capabilities.  They represent the first step in each of my sketchbook pages.


I love how the shading on these little balls turned out!
My daughter is mesmerized by Alisa's videos, as well as my own sketchbook efforts. She sits with me and watches as I draw and paint, sometimes re-creating elements of what she sees me doing on her own drawing paper. I never would have dreamed it possible (since drawing has long seemed completely out of my reach), but a daily sketchbook practice feels like something I could definitely adopt as part of my creative life!


16 comments:

lee said...

you are doing an amazing job on the drawing, keep it up, i agree with you about Alisha talent, if only......I to have a bad track record with online classes you dont know how many I have taken and not finished yet, or have not made anything yet...i have just about taken everyone of her classes and enjoy them all and learn something every time, I know you will enjoy sketchbook delight, I have taken that one, and learned much.

VivJM said...

Your sketchbooks are looking wonderful. Inspiration in everyday life is definitely where it's at :-)

laurie said...

i love alisa burke as well - she is so talented. your pages look great! the frames and watercolor really do give them a finished look. i'm glad you are enjoying the class.

Bree said...

Gorgeous sketchbook! I have been taking art lessons for 10 years and you sure make me wanna use my brushes and colors again! Love the drawings and your inspirations. I might make my own sketchbook someday! :D

April Cole said...

Oh my... I am loving your sketchbook!!
Amazing work you do, Amanda. :]
I do hope you share more speaks into your sketchbook, taking us along your journey. ~xx

Parabolic Muse said...

I love this. I can visualize your daughter sitting with you and drawing.

It was so hard for me to draw when I took art classes. As soon as I started working in the visual journaling arena and mixed media, I found I was much more lenient with myself and discovered that I certainly can draw. There'snot the same kind of pressure!

I like your pages.

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