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, October 15, 2008

Nature Sketching Basics~10-4&5-08

That workshop last Saturday
was fun ~ and enlightening.

As is often the case, it was mostly women with a token male. This ratio is fairly typical in the "art workshop world." I don't know whether most men think art is "sissy" stuff, or they're just not open to their creative side, but it's really unfortunate that a huge percentage of guys out there aren't able, for whatever reason, to seize the opportunity to get in touch with their creative impulses. I greatly admire the men who manage to overcome the barrier. I don't think all cultures are this way, but our American culture sure is!

Remember to click on the images to see larger versions.

This was the first run of my new two-day beginning drawing class. On the first day, Saturday, I was moseying along and forgot to watch the clock. My students were only part of the way through their turkey feather drawing (imagine drawing a turkey feather on your very first day in drawing class ~ but oh the results and satisfaction!).

I reluctantly decided to let them take the feathers home to draw. This was really scary for me because I had collected those feathers from under wild turkey roosts on my hillside (here are a pair at left), but the turkeys don't roost there anymore. How would I replace them if they turn up missing?

But the students promised to care for them tenderly ~ and voila! The next morning they all returned with the feathers and the most incredible drawings of them, which they'd done the evening before. Here is Chris's feather ~ Chris is a newby artist ~ always wanted to draw but never got the chance. Nice work, huh?

But with this "timing faux pas" on my part, I realized that I was trying to cram too much into the days. So, that first evening while my students were drawing turkey feathers, I restructured the second day with fewer components, to go at an easier pace so they could get everything done the second day.

My students learn a whole lot of stuff in my workshops. I usher them along in increments, with each new skill building on what they have just learned.

On the second day, which was the Landscape part of of my new Sketching Basics format, they worked on building right-brain templates in the workbook (a duck this time) , drew sticks and Sequoia (Sierra redwood) cones (take a look at those cones!!!!), practiced foliage rendering techniques, learned some basic shading techniques, and practiced shading using a small purchased tortillon a larger one they created themselves.

Then, at the end they did the final assignment, to draw a landscape from a photograph. After graduating from this last assignment, they are ready to proceed to actual landscapes (or whatever they want to draw, actually), just by putting together all of the components they have learned in the class.

I forgot to take pictures the first day, and the second day one of my students, Sandy, couldn't come and another student, Helene, had to leave early. But I was snapping photos off and on all day whenever I saw someone progressing especially well. Lots of pictures (Kiah and Ann are hard at work on their landscapes here)! And although I have pictures from nearly everyone except Sandy, I somehow missed Kiah's landscape ~ sorry Kiah!!!So here are the rest of the photos of their work. [Yo, students: If I misattributed any pictures, please accept my apology.]

I am very pleased with not only their results but the success of the 2-day class format. And according to the evaluations (as usual, filled out carefully by each student for a chance to win a free copy of one of my books) it worked well.

That 2-day workshop was the first two days of my original Nature and Landscape Drawing class. In the past, it was a 3-day workshop, the third day being watercolor pencil. I have divided that 3-day workshop into two 2-day workshops, with the second workshop featuring more advanced pencil drawing techniques, then the watercolor pencil day. I'm eager to teach that second workshop, but so far I haven't had enough people sign up for it.

It's always hard to determine why people don't sign up for a class: it could be a poor title or description (I'm responsible for both) it could be that the topic has already used up the available interested people (Ashland is not a large community), or it could be the dismal state of the economy, with people saving their $$ for necessities.

I'm hoping enough people sign up for this one, though. It's exciting for me to slow down and allow the students more time to try things, even though I don't get to share as many cool ideas and techniques.

That workshop is scheduled for the weekend of October 25-26. Hope you can come!


Anonymous said...


This kind of posts are most important for people who are doing animation course. I was very much impressed about sketching and landscape drawing from this information.

Irene Brady said...

Hi Anonymous,
I'm curious ~ why would this kind of post be important for people doing animation courses? I'm not sure how it would be useful.

Margaret Ann said...

Beautiful examples...what a treasure to be in one of your classes! :)

Irene Brady said...

Didn't they do beautifully? The sequoia cones were a 45 minute project, and I was immensely pleased with the results.

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