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!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Oregon High Desert Crossing Tutorial

Okay, here 'tis.
I have before me three versions of my Oregon High Desert Crossing Sketch Journal. The first one you may have seen and/or downloaded within the last three weeks or so, the straight sketch journal of my May sketching/journaling trip across Oregon (journal WITHOUT tutorial). Click on the sketchbook images to go see their descriptions and/or order.

Then, because several people expressed an interest, I've assembled a tutorial of how I did it (does that make it a "howdunnit"?) and inserted each howdunnit page across from its finished sketch page for a second version (journal WITH tutorial).

And THEN, since a) mebbe you downloaded the sketchbook hot off the press without the tutorial, or maybe b) you don't think you'll be wanting it but would like the option of changing your mind later, I'm offering JUST the tutorial (Tutorial ONLY), so you can add it to your journal if/when you decide you'd like both. You wouldn't want the tutorial alone, because it doesn't show the finished sketchbook page ~ that's in the Journal without Tutorial. aiieeeee!!!

So. If you'd like to see how it's done and you already downloaded the journal, now download the Tutorial and you'll find out how I approached each page, and the obstacles I overcame to do it, and even some of the booboos I had to fix (or just sob over quietly before turning the page).

For instance, you'll find out what happened when I made some ghastly color choices for the background of this quail, what I did about it, what I wish I'd done about it, and what an artist friend suggested as an alternative fix. There's even a photo of me drawing the quail, to prove that I didn't just trace an image off the internet [grin].

Since the straight journal is $5.95 and the combined version is $9.95, I've priced the tutorial at $4 so that it costs exactly the same to download them separately ~ or to buy the combined version.

Have I totally confused everyone? sorry!

It's been easy to stay indoors this last week and work on this. Thursday and Friday it was 104 and 105 degrees (gasp, gasp), then Saturday and Sunday it was in the 60s and overcast (kinda not what you expect for August, and a bit chilly for skin accustomed to dry heat) then today it went whole hog and delivered rain drizzle at 50 degrees! Geez Louize! That's 54 degrees colder than it was just five days ago, in the middle of the day, and quite a bit wetter. I'm not complaining about the rain, because we really need it,! And now I can't go get my daily fix of nirvana as I weed/prune/stake down at the nursery because everything is sopping and I'd get drenched.

After toughing it out for several hours this morning and saying "aw, c'mon, it's August!" I finally started a fire in my woodstove and at last it's comfortable in the house again. Maybe all the climate change poo-pooers will start to see what the climatologists have been trying to tell us ~ that global warming will deliver us wild and crazy weather, not just heat.

The forecasters are saying we should expect lots of snow here in western Oregon this winter. Good for the snowpack, which will melt all next summer to provide water for the streams, but not so good on my steep-hairpin-curves driveway, which will probably be too slick to skate down. "Cook up the beans and rice, Jessie! We done been snowbound agin!"

Enough digression! Come see my wonderful new tutorial. It was a joy to create, and I'm going to seriously consider doing tutorials for some of my future journals. And hey, if I get snowbound, mebbe I kin draw a snowflake collection. Huh!


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My new Oregon High Desert Crossing Journal is up!

I finally DID it! The new sketch journal is up! But only after going through two interminable months of journaler's block. I couldn't write or sketch or even think about finishing my new Oregon High Desert Crossing Journal, no matter how hard I tried. Whew!

Here's what happened:
In May I drove across the entire state of Oregon, from where I live in Talent (near Medford and Ashland on the west side) to Eagle, near Boise, Idaho, where my brother lives. It was a great trip, 500 miles, with four days on the road and another exploring the high desert Owyhee Mountains in Idaho with David & Marcia (Marcia's my sis-in-law). I sketched and journaled the whole time, with ballpoint pen (mostly) and watercolor pencils, but when I got home......

Well, it seems I got the blues. I loved being with family so much, and went into withdrawal symptoms, I guess. Finally, after weeks of avoiding the sketch journal, filling up the time with building a new work desk, cleaning my storage shed, getting out and refurbishing my old 4-harness loom, and any number of other subterfuges and dodges, I got sick and tired of my shenanigans.

I uncoiled the coil from my journal, freed all the pages, and tacked them up onto a big corkboard visible from my computer desk (where I'd been whiling away much of the time). Now it was In My Face, and inescapable. Looking at them many times a day, I began to see little details I might be able to add, things I wanted to improve, tiny things that m.a.y.b.e. I could manage to creep through.... and I managed to scrape and shovel my way through my "journaler's block," finally emerging victorious last week....

... whereupon I got to work and finished adding text to some pages, color to a bunch, and adding sketches from photos I had taken to a couple of others. The result is a sketch journal I am very happy with. And it's a great example of how to turn an ordinary road trip into an adventure you can relive again and again. I've made that trip across Oregon many times. THIS one I'll remember.

Most people think journal pages, and indeed, entire trip journals, emerge as finished works of art at the end of the trip. Some people's do, I suppose. And some of mine almost do, but often pages need a little finishing later on: color, notes, another bit of writing, a haiku, etc. (here's me, journaling on my brother's patio). Sometimes I want to add a sketch from photos I took at the time. Sometimes I originally only have time for a sketchy little note or picture which I can finish or add to later. And generally a fresh cover is in order. The cover for this journal is a composite of elements from several different sketches, plus color and a border, all constructed in Adobe InDesign, a desktop publishing program.

Last week I was talking with a friend (via email) who thought it might be a good idea if I made Oregon High Desert Crossing into a kind of "workbook" sketch journal, with each spread having a facing page showing what I did to create the actual sketch page. For instance, I could show the page as it appeared, unfinished, at the end of my journey on the left side, and what I did (and why and how) to create the final journal page which appears on the right page of the spread.
It might look something like this (remember, you can click on an image to enlarge it).

Does that sound interesting? If it does, I can make a second version available with that sort of addenda. I'd love to get opinions on this to see if anyone is interested. I'd hate to spend the time and effort on it if no one would find it useful. Please, comment and let me know?

I've left the insanely low price for the travel sketch journals intact (only $5.95) so they'll be affordable. And all my other sketching workbooks (basic and intermediate drawing, watercolor pencil, journaling, wildlife sketching, etc.) are still available, too.

And now, I need to get back to my desk. I'm working on the design and layout (and illustration) of a trail guide for the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, and the deadline is getting pretty tight.

Here's a grab-bag of other entries...

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