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!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Redoing my How To Draw Raptors e-workbook

I've taken the How To Draw Raptors workbook offline.
I was persuaded by an eager artist to put it up a couple of years ago, and it has been downloaded many times since, but I am no longer satisfied with it.

It went up onto the website in its original form, exactly as handed out in the raptor workshop, but my experiences since then have taught me that a lot more needs to be added to the workbooks to make them fully able to stand-alone. I noticed that I would get anxious when someone downloaded it, so I knew it was time to pull it.

Since 1973, I've been filling sketchbooks with wildlife drawings [OMG! That's 37 years! Whew! I must be a crone, or something!]. I have 8 wildlife sketchbooks, mostly big ones 11 x 14, running about 100 pages each, so if you're any good at math you'll know I have quite a pile of pictures!

I started leafing through the pages filled with everything from shrew-moles sketched from cat-delivery specimens, to boas from a pet shop, to window-thumped thrushes, to newborn coyotes from a colleague's research project to. . . . YES!! Eagles, hawks, owls and vultures sketched mostly, over the years, at Wildlife Images, a wildlife rehab center some 40 miles up the road near Merlin, OR. I go back a long way at that rehab center; my first drawing there was of a golden eagle in 1976. In fact, the eagle on the Sketching Wildlife Basics workbook cover (at right) is a sketch page featuring that very eagle from my first visit.

So I'm redoing the How To Draw Raptors workbook before I go any further with revamping my other workbooks, beefing it up with lots of those sketches. I may change the name, too, since it's going to be WAY different from the original. It'll show up on my workbooks webpage when I get it done.

Keep your eyes peeled for it, (BTW, that's a snowy owl at left, keeping its eyes peeled) and if you haven't signed up for blog alerts for when I post, leave your email address in the box at the bottom of the right panel on this page.

Now, back to work on that raptor drawing workbook!

[Don't forget, it's illegal to copy and reuse somebody else's images without their permission, and if these end up on any other website, I'll track 'em down and come after ya.]

Monday, March 15, 2010

Downloading the Watercolor Pencil Workbook

Just a quickie note: I am still in the process of learning how to use PayLoadz (which allows you to download my e-books) and just yesterday I discovered the "test delivery" button, which allows me to test what happens when you pay for and click on the download button for one of my workbooks.

I was nonplussed to discover that the watercolor pencil workbook, which is pretty large, downloaded as two files, one with a .PDF with zero MB in it and the other with a .PART extension on the end. Neither one would open into the Nature Sketching with Watercolor Pencils workbook. I was very distressed, and went back to reload the file because there was obviously something wrong with it.

Imagine my amazement when I later came back to my download directory and discovered that the two files had merged into one! The .PART file was gone, and the .PDF file was full of good little bytes! I tried it again, and sure enough, it appeared initially as two files, but resolved itself after several minutes into a single workable download of the workbook, which opened perfectly in Adobe Acrobat.

So just in case this happens to you, smile knowledgeably and go get a cuppa, or dust the windowsills or something and give it some time to get itself together before you go bananas (like I did). It's a BIG file, and it apparently just take some time to squeeze itself through the funnel into your computer.

So that's my take on downloading big files ~ and it's really all we need to know, huh?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Watercolor Pencil Workbook is ready!

I've been trying to decide if working on these workbooks is just another form of procrastination...because I DO need to do my 2009 taxes, and I DON'T want to. I do not have a mathematical mind, and even with a tax preparer (one of my few ~ but probably smarter ~ splurges) I can find a million other things to do to put off getting it all the little receipts and numbers together. Bet I have a lot of (gloomy) company, though....

Anyway, to avoid the inevitable taxes, I've been working day and night on the next Workshop Workbook, Nature Sketching with Watercolor Pencils, and IT IS DONE!

I kid you not that I have been working long hours. Even when I finish the final edit and print one out for my
reference shelf, the job isn't done. Because at that point, it takes a whole day to write its webpage with descriptions and information, upload the book to PayPal, jump through all the hoops required to make it active on PayLoadz (which downloads it to you), rewrite and link all the webpages (7) on my website that have any mention of it, insert the new Buy Now buttons into my order form, and finally, upload the new graphics (4) and new and revised pages to my server. Oh, my, there's a lot involved!

But it's done, now, and hey, you can go look at it now if you want! And even download one, if it strikes your fancy! Here's the new webpage for
Nature Sketching with Watercolor Pencils.

I need to tell you, though, that the $9.95 is an introductory price good only through April 15. After that, the prices on all the workbooks go up to $15.95 (which is actually what they're worth, compared with other similar art tutorials offered on the web). I still have a few workbooks to go after this (after taxes, actually), but they'll each start out at $15.95.

There's a lot of cool stuff in Nature Sketching with Watercolor Pencils, drawing (pun intended) on my last few year's adventures in using watercolor pencils. It covers, among other things, the color wheel (in a fun way, nothing boring there I promise!), lots of colorful examples from my sketchbooks, directions on how to fill a waterbrush, eight different ways to use watercolor pencils on your artwork, and applying and working over/around masks/resists.

even wrote a tutorial on how to use a brush for different effects, simulating fur and duck down, how to draw your base drawings with media the watercolor pencils won't fuzz and blur, sunlight and shadow effects on foliage.....many tutorials, how-tos, step-by-steps...whatever is needed to show you how to get the watercolor pencils to do what you want them to do. And even then, there's probably enough more I know that didn't get in this workbook to write another workbook about .....Watercolor pencils are SO C.O.O.L!

I'd like to mention here that there is also a page from Susie Short's tutorials, How to Paint Rain Drops or Dew Drops (with her generous permission, of course!).

workshop this workbook was originally designed for was aimed at people who already know how to draw (or could catch up to the intermediate artists in an hour or so), so there's almost nothing about drawing techniques in this workbook. You can find those in previous books if you need to brush up.

In fact, I took the drawing element almost entirely out by providing sketches for you to color. That way I could concentrate on what you want this workbook for ~ to learn how to color drawings with watercolor pencils. I even put extra drawings for you to paint in the back of the workbook to give you a second chance if you muff the first one. The Quintessential Coloring Book!

Here's a big thank you to the many of you who have downloaded workbooks so far. I hope they are what you were hoping for, and I'd really enjoy getting feedback if you have any, especially if it's about something I can improve.

there it is! And dang it, now I have to start wading through receipts and parking stubs and 1099s and mileage records and other grubby things that no artist should ever be expected to do. Fie! If you've any mercy atall atall, wish me patience and accuracy and oh, please, tiny glimmers of pleasurable memories about such unknown things as whatever it was I appear to have spent $14.99 for on May 13, 2009.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Sketching Wildlife Basics Workbook is out!

Announcing: Sketching Wildlife Basics!!!!
This is a really pretty workbook, if I do say so m'self, full of sketches from my sketchbooks and how you can get there from here, wherever that may be.

If you want to sketch wildlife (and that includes birds and squirrels at the feeder and your lap kitty or snuggle pup), you are going to love this one. You'll get advice on how to find proportions by relating one part of your subject to another, how to draw a critter that inconsiderately keeps moving around (with anecdotes from my adventures sketching a herd of longhorns), and how to develop your "visual snapshot" skills, and practice doing just that.
Then the workbook moves on to developing the textures you see on critters ~ fine fur, coarse fur, long and short fur and other textures ~ by observing and practicing your control of line quality in both pencil and ballpoint pen (ballpoint pens are extremely useful in humid locations ~ essential in tropical Costa Rica, for instance!).

Then there is some good advice and a practice session on how to draw and shade with tortillons and pencil, plus detailed instructions on how to draw any eye quickly and realistically whenever you need one. Next comes downy fur and feather on ducklings, mammal hair direction and how to render realistic fur.

If you've ever tried to sketch birds, you'll know what frustration is all about. Here you'll find pointers on how to sketch moving birds with confidence and speed before they fly away ~ and advice on how to maximize your chances of getting a good drawing in a minimum of time. There is a page of techniques on how to see and draw believable feathers on any kind of bird.

What do you do when a bird hits your window? Sketch it of course! But there are some things you should know before you pick it up to draw ~ and some unbelievable benefits if you decide it's worthwhile. You'd better know what you're doing if that's your choice.

Using photos as a primary and backup source for your wildlife sketching is discussed at length ~ what to photograph (and when), and how to make the best use of your photos and the view screen on your digital camera ~ plus examples of how photos and sketching can put the icing on your vacation travel experience.

In this workbook you'll find tidbits about labels, carrying a handlens for closer inspection, introspective notes, sketchbook selection, the joys and terrors of using ballpoint pen to sketch, info about ink pens and electric erasers, and how to use a frame to help you draw a problem view.

And to top it off, you get instructions on how to make a quick and useful pencil and eraser "keeper" for your sketchbook, invaluable for the hiker, traveler, and even the windowsill sketcher who'd like to keep the drawing tools with the sketchbook for instant use.

That's twenty-three pages of useful stuff gleaned from my decades of wildlife sketching and my wildlife sketching workshops.

The introductory price (good for a couple of weeks at least) is $9.95. After that, it will go up to $19.95, so take advantage of my good nature and grab this before the price increases.

If you were thinking of downloading any of my other workbooks, the introductory price ($9.95 for them, too) will continue for a week or two, they they'll be going up as well.

I've been making good progress on Nature Sketching with Watercolor Pencils. Keep your eyes peeled for it! If you haven't done so already, sign up for blog notices at the bottom end of the right-hand panel on this page so you'll be notified when it's available.

Happy sketching!

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

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