To join me on a virtual sketching trip, download a travel sketch-journal here.
I add tutorials to them so you can learn the techniques and details you see in the sketchbooks.

My former workshop students asked me to upload my workshop workbooks to make them available to everyone. So you can also download a workbook and give yourself a workshop! Enjoy!


Sunday, June 24, 2007


As I promised, I'll now be working on my Journaling/Sketching Workshop "out loud."

It seemed to me that I should probably take a journaling workshop before I finished preparing to teach one, just to see what other people felt should be included in such a workshop, so I w
as delighted to find an "Outdoor Sketching and Personal Journaling" class being offered through Ashland Parks for June 22.

Gathering up my journal, pen, pencil, kneaded eraser, watercolor pencils & brush and a new sitting pad (one of those seat & back connected with straps, you sit in it and it supports your back), I paid my $45 at the office in Lithia Park (this is a gorgeous, "organic" park designed by John McLaren, who designed Golden Gate Park in SF), then hiked down the trail along the creek to the Madrone Picnic Area.

It was chilly when I got there, but the instructor, Elaine Frenett, was ready to go, with examples of her journals and the supplies she uses to create them displayed on one of the picnic tables. One of her journals, which she had set upright and fanned out so that many pages were visible (possible with a spiral binding), was stunning. (That's a student in the photo.)

Each page was a work of art, with "illuminated" caps, at least one to a page, and brilliant, loose watercolor paintings. The text was also a graphic design element, flowing and meandering across the pages. They were written in an attractive style, somewhere between calligraphy and, well, I can't describe it -- but it really adds to the beauty of the page. She's a real artist! Here's a sample -- click on it for a larger view.

Iwas immediately welcomed and made to feel at home, and the sun started to warm the park as class commenced with Elaine introducing herself and having us do the same. I hesitantly shared the fact that I was putting together a Sketching/Journaling Workshop and wanted to see how someone else presented their material.

Fortunately, she wasn't taken aback by this. After introductions, she passed out her beautifully designed brochures which included a short discussion of why we might want to keep a journal, a list of basic materials useful for journaling, and a checklist of ideas on how we might want to present ourselves in our journals.

I was pleased to see that they closely paralleled the list I had made during my long drive to Idaho a couple of weeks ago (998 miles round trip providing 21 hours of contemplation and note-making for my journaling workshop). Exhausting but productive (more on this later).

Next came a brief introduction of drawing techniques. Students in this particular class, which is held
every second Friday through the summer, already had some experience drawing, so Elaine kept this brief.

Then we voted to continue by watching Elaine demonstrate how she creates a journal page, so we gathered around as she roughed in a scene containing a rough stone bench, the creek, and the cool green foliage and trees in the background.

After awhile, still watching, I got out my journal and made a sketch of Elaine sketching, and colored it with my watercolor pencils. Her style is very free and loose, while mine is fairly tight (although when I use
the watercolor pencils I tend to loosen up considerably). While we sketched, she continued to point out techniques she was using and tell us how and why she did it that way.

The class lasted from 9-1, so, shortly before one o'clock, Elaine critiqued our efforts helpfully but gently, and we exchanged emails and said goodbye, leaving with a better grasp of this particular style of journal sketching. That was a very enjoyable class and I am delighted to have made the acquaintance of such an excellent new colleague.

I would highly recommend Elaine's class to anyone who journals -- it would really open up lots of possibilities (if you enroll, tell Elaine I sent you -- she'd probably like to know if blog exposure like this helps bring in new students!).

BTW, I asked Elaine for a scan of the finished drawing, and when she sends it I'll stick in here. Be sure to come back and see how it looked!

3 comments:

bskackley said...

I am one of the students in Elaine's class last Friday. It was fun and inspired me to begin sketching and journaling. Elaine's journals are beautiful and something to aspire to! Looking forward to more classes with Elaine!

Irene Brady said...

I couldn't agree more! I was trying to estimate how long it took me to do that sketch of Elaine, and made a wild guess at "about an hour" but as always, when I get engrossed in a drawing, time just disappears.

Do you have any idea how long we sat and sketched there beside the creek?

ado said...

your blog is very inspiring. my regards from indonesia.

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