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!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Belize -- Beach & Jungle Adventures

At LAST! It took longer than I expected,
but here is my latest sketch journal, ready for downloading!

Creating a tutorial can take quite awhile, as I want to make each one as useful to you as possible. I try to be really specific about how each page came into being so you can benefit from my triumphs, experiments, mistakes and mistrials (of which, I assure you, there are many). There are some preview pages below so you can look inside the sketchbook.

For instance, while sketching some aricaris, toucan-like birds with huge bills, I was so entranced with that gigantic schnozz that I drew it FAR too large ~ and in ink, as I always do in the moist tropics (find out why in the tutorial). What to do?

After I got it home, I got out my dreadful-but-usable photos of the aricaris and redrew a correct-size beak on a scrap of drawing paper and glued it over the glaring mistake. Unfortunately, I forgot to photograph the way-too-big beak I had originally drawn before gluing on the replacement (or was my subconscious too embarrassed to let it be seen? I dunno!). But I tell you all about it in the tutorial so you'll know how to cover up your booboos, too. It really worked well ~ in fact, you don't notice the correction in the original sketchbook unless you run your finger over it and detect the glued-on piece. Take a look at the tutorial page here.

Using photographs from your digital camera is a useful technique to be comfortable with in case conditions don't allow you to sketch on the spot.

There was a delightful little coati mundi (a raccoon relative) at the Macaw Bank Jungle Lodge where I stayed in the jungle. I wanted to sketch her roaming through the jungle, but she moved so fast that quick digital snapshots were the best I could do ~ and many of them were blurred in the dim light. Adding to the problem, it began to rain and I had to take cover in my cabana. The tutorial shows how I overcame these conditions and got the sketch I wanted. I'm really jazzed about this sketch of the coati. Her name is Tallulah.

Sometimes I don't plan my page design well ~ it's one of my many flaws as an artist ~ and I have to improvise later to make a page look half-way decent. Here's a glimpse of a tutorial page where I show how I filled in a long, skinny blank area left at the bottom of a sketch page, and also how I used a sketch of surf grasses to divide two areas on the page.

You could use other interesting things to divide areas, too. For instance, if you were drawing sailboats in the harbor and wanted to set off an area for seagulls, or perhaps a detail of the dock, you could drape a drawing of a rope or hawser between the two as a nautical touch. The possibilities are endless, and you can see how I dealt with those two situations on the tutorial here. Actually, I did a whole section on such things in my workshop workbook Nature and Travel Sketch Journaling if you'd like more suggestions.

I've uploaded the Belize sketch journal now and everything is set to go on my Belize Sketch Journal webpage, so you can go see what I've been up to. If you'd like your own copy, I've kept the download price at $9.95, to keep it affordable.

One of the reasons it took so long to get this tutorial up was that I'm selling my immense collection of wildlife clipfiles which I've been cutting out of magazines, sorting, and gluing into binders my entire life. They're carefully identified ~ if I wasn't sure of an identification, I glued it to a "miscellaneous" page ~ and the entire collection fills 75 binders (some of them 2½" thick) and 140" of shelf space. But I'm done with book illustrating now and have moved on to travel sketching, and I don't use them anymore. I offered them to the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators, and so far the bidding has reached $600 (the buyer either pays shipping or picks them up in person. There are 20 boxes weighing 15-20lbs each.). I'll close the bidding later this week. If you are interested, you may still have time to get a bid in before it closes.

And FINALLY I can move on to doing my taxes (whoopee! Uh huh.) then start preparing for a family reunion where we'll be working on our big collection of family photos, trying to get them into an online scrapbook. What fun!!!

So, it'll be awhile before I blog again, but be forewarned that I'll start preparing for a trip to South Africa this summer, which is sure to produce yet another sketch journal. I can hardly wait!

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time!

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

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